Running: Innsbruck, Austria

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Europe. The first in various places with work (incentive trip – i.e. all expenses paid holiday with nearly the entire company. I’ve never heard of it until now, but it is apparently fairly common with companies here) and the second in Spain having a brilliant time with one of my bestest friends.

Spurred on by these two guys from work, we started to run every morning before breakfast. Sometimes a random workmate would feel inspired enough to join us. Even after everyone had given up, I kept on setting the alarm for 6.45am, suddenly determined to run in every city or town we stayed in.

I realise it’s probably one of the best ideas ever on a holiday. You are out when everyone is still in bed. The streets are empty. You run pass empty churches, squares, cathedrals, beaches, and lakes that are normally packed with tourists. You get all the sights to yourself. You see places you would otherwise not go. You discover places you would otherwise not find.

I learned to take my camera with me. That and my hotel room key. And then I just ran. I had no route. Just an approximate time I needed to be back for, and the aim to run at least half an hour or 5km. Sometimes I enjoyed the peace and quiet so much I stayed out longer. You see another side to these towns and it still amazes me, the brilliant light of the early morning, the crisp chilly air, the serene stillness of places normally thronged by masses of tourists. This is one tradition I hope to bring with me on my future travels.

At times when I’m alone and no one is around to take a photo of me, I started taking photos of other people running. And when by chance I came across this poster advertising a race, I started taking photos of all things running related that I come across on my runs. Somehow I see them as evidence that I did actually run!

Failing that, there’s always the self shot. :) As I battle my 300+ emails at work on my return, I hope to do a post for each of the places I ran in in the coming weeks.

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2 thoughts on “Running: Innsbruck, Austria

    • Yes, you should definitely give it a go! I have a really poor sense of direction too!

      At first it was great when I ran with the guys coz I just followed them and they always seemed to know how to get back to the hotel.

      But when they’ve given up and it was just me, that took a bit of thinking. I’ve thought about taking a map with me, but that’s too touristy (I’m not keen on attracting unwanted attention on quiet foreign streets) and frankly it’s just too much stuff to hold.

      I try to find something to run along if I can – a river, the shoreline, a beach, a park, a main street, etc. Failing that, or if you’re in one of those cities that are just a maze of little streets and such, I try to find a big landmark and base my running around that.

      For example, in Milan, I started off by running the most straight-forward, easiest way I think I can remember from my hotel to the Duomo (that famous large cathedral in the middle of the everything). So that whatever happens, as long as I can find the Duomo, or ask someone where it is, I will know my way back to the hotel – e.g. run along the right side of the Duomo, straight cross the road, right cross the road, straight again then I should be able to see my hotel. So that should be the only thing I need to remember on my run.

      Then from the Duomo, I will take off in one direction and run off into a side street or whatever until I can’t see the Duomo anymore or think I can’t find my way back anymore. Then I will back track to the centre.

      Then I will take off in another direction into other streets and repeat the same exercise.

      I know it sounds kinda stupid or tedious, but for someone like me, it’s really how I manage. That first week, I’m only in each location for one night, so I have no time to study a map or think about where to run. I just kinda improvise as I step out of the hotel doors. I’d rather run like this than get lost and be late and come back to find 30 people waiting for me!

      Hope this helps a little bit!

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