Sunshine and Apfelwein

Our first day of travel brought us to an overnight layover in Frankfurt where we were greeted by dazzling sunshine. They say sunshine helps with jet lag, so we met up with an old friend of Gareth’s and set off for a walk along the Main, a wide river bisecting the city.

IMG_20160508_063257527

Taking a closer look at the river after playing in the playground and sandbox

There are wide pedestrian paths and greenbelts along both sides of the river. Apparently this was the first sunny day after a long, dreary winter, and just like in the Pacific Northwest, the sunshine brought everyone outside. There were picnickers, bikers, runners, and ice cream trucks in every direction.

After checking out the playground, we took a break on a shady bench to enjoy the local specialty, apfelwein.

IMG_20160508_072921209

Apfelwein, a kind of cider, is made from apples, then mixed with juice from the fruit of the speierling tree

I also learned that it is traditionally served in these textured glasses to improve grip, a holdover from a time before people regularly ate with utensils.

13131758_10101014457805252_8205316182875148807_o

Hugo had a lemonade

Lest you think we were all bright eyed and happily frolicking along the river after eleven hours on an airplane, here is Gareth carrying a sleeping Hugo back to the hotel:

IMG_20160508_071134279

He weighs about 40 pounds now, so this is much harder than it used to be

Tomorrow is another travel day before reach our final destination.

Advertisements

Running in Taichung: Zhongzheng Park to Calligraphy Greenway

I made a great 7 mile running route through some of the best places to visit in Taichung, starting at Zhongzheng Park and taking you through the Botanical Gardens, the National Museum of Natural Science, and the whole length of Calligraphy Greenway to the Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts and back.

If you don’t want to run the whole 7 miles, it’s easy to turn around at any point, or just do it as a 4 mile, point-to-point route.

You can find all the details through this link over at worldwiderunners.com!

Running in Taichung: Wenxin Forest Park

After taking two months off while we were in Indonesia, I’m happy to fire up my Garmin, lace up my shoes and get back out on the road!

Taichung has a lot of parks and tree-lined roads, so I’m excited to get back out there and find some good routes. Unfortunately on the more major roads the sidewalks are often used more for scooter parking than for pedestrians, so I’m going to have to wind my way around on side roads more often than not.

We’re lucky enough to be living in walking (running) distance of the Wenxin Forest Park, which contrary to its name doesn’t actually contain a forest. There are a lot of new trees planted, though, so maybe in 10 years it will be more properly live up to its name.

There is a large amphitheater in the park which hosts a lot of performances, and winding around the park is a biking and pedestrian track.

IMG_20150409_100847244

The track is divided into lanes and lightly rubberized, so it’s a slightly softer surface than running on a regular sidewalk.

You can see that the trees in this picture are meant to provide shade for the path but aren’t quite big enough yet.

There are also sidewalks that wind around the park, grassy fields, and an outdoor a roller skating rink.

IMG_20150409_101349901

There are a couple of moderate hills as the path circles the amphitheater

There is also a large playground, so if you bring the kids, be sure to stop and let them run amok!

IMG_20150409_094755702

Running in Chiang Mai: Princess Mothers Health Garden

Tucked into a corner of the Chiang Mai University campus beside the Convention Center is the Princess Mothers Health Garden.

I talked about visiting this park in a previous post, but was mostly talking about all the circuit training stations places all around the park.

What I didn’t mention is that there’s a great paved running path around the park.

You can always stop and do the circuit training if you really want to

You can always stop and do the circuit training if you really want to

It’s marked as 300 meters around, and is fully shaded. It meanders a bit, so it’s a little more interesting than just running on a track, and is not at all crowded. I think I only saw two other people there on the day I went.

If the 300 meter loop is too short for your liking, you can also run around the Convention Center area, which is connected to the park, or use this loop as part of a running tour of campus.

This park can be a little bit difficult to find. It is just north of the Convention Center, and if you are on Nimmanahaeminda Road in front of the Convention Center, you will be able to see it to your left as you are looking at the Convention Center.

The gate into the park is on Sai 26 Road. Just turn right on Sai 26 and you will see the park entrance.

Running in Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai University

Chiang Mai University has a sprawling, wooded campus on the western side of Chiang Mai. There are nice sidewalks all over campus, so it’s easy to enter at one of the main gates on Suthep Road and just wind here and there until you’re ready to head home. I’ve found that the best place to enter the campus is at one of the gates just west of Canal Road.

There are a few highlights to the campus that I’d like to point out, both located at the north end of campus (by the zoo):

The Lake

There is a nice little lake up at the north end, near the north gate onto campus. It’s not very big, but is a good destination point for your run.

Paved path (most of the way) around the lake

Paved path (most of the way) around the lake

The path doesn’t go all the way around the lake, just about three quarters of the way, but if you’ve been running through the campus it’s a nice change of scenery.

Taking in the scenery

Taking in the scenery

Huay Kaew Arboretum

This park has a nice paved running path, some gazebos, and clean bathrooms.

Hugo prefers to run off-road

Hugo prefers to run off-road

Or you can take a shortcut:

The path less traveled

The path less traveled

Since it’s an arboretum, the different species of trees are all labeled. The loop through the arboretum is not very long, but is fully shaded and flat.

Regular cross training will help prevent injury

Regular cross training will help prevent injury

If you don’t want to run through campus and would just like to check out the arboretum or the lake, hop in a songthaew and tell the driver to take you to the zoo; then, just hit the buzzer to get out when you see the north campus gate or the sign for the entrance to the arboretum. They are very close to the entrance to the zoo.

 

 

Running In Chiang Mai: Muang Chiang Mai Stadium

If you know me, you know I love to run! So I’m hoping to make a few posts about great places to run at each of our stops on the trip.

Chiang Mai has very mild weather year round, and I have seen a lot of runners out and about. Sidewalks tend to be crowded with motorbikes and food carts, so most people run in the parks instead of on the streets.

This morning I hopped a tuk tuk to Muang Chiang Mai Stadium, which is just north of the Old City. It is an area fairly popular with runners and walkers, although not at all crowded when I was there.

The main running path is a paved, two lane loop that goes around the stadium complex:

Stay on the left!

Stay on the left!

All of the runners I saw were in the left (inside) lane, running counterclockwise, just like you would on a track. There were frequently motorbikes going by on the outside lane, so for safety it’s probably best to just stick to the inside lane.

There are no distance markers going around, but I’m guessing it’s about 500 meters. As you can see in the photo, there are trees on the inside of the path, so it’s mostly shaded the whole way around.

The track area is also open to the public, and I saw people running up and down the stadium steps, too.

Happy Running!