Friday, May 27, 2016

Running in Southeast Central (Europe)

Southeast Central is my own description for this part of the planet. It includes the destinations we traveled to during this trip: Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. We also visited Slovakia, Bosnia and Montenegro, but I didn’t run in those places.

Vienna, Austria

It’s 4:45 AM. I turn left out of the Hilton Danube to run Northwest along the river. There are nice all-purpose trails adjacent to the river, as well as everywhere else around Vienna. It’s a little over a mile to the first bridge, but instead of going across the river, I turn left to go into the city center area. A couple miles later, I come back, and this time I do cross the bridge.

There’s a long, narrow island in the river. Most of the bridges pass over it to get to the other side, but I was able to exit the bridge onto the island for some further running. Actually, quite a bit further. I turn left, further away from the hotel, intending to get to the end of the island before turning back.

I never make it. It’s a very nice serene place that has almost no  development, but after going on and on and on, I finally decide that enough is enough and turn back to go home. I had determined earlier that ten miles was all I’d have time for today, and this should just about do it.

It does. I run back on the other side – the island can’t be more than a quarter-mile wide – and I head home. It was such a nice quiet run along the Danube that I don’t know whether any of my subsequent runs on this trip will be as good.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

I use the words beautiful, serene and scenic enough in my travel blog, so I’ll try not to do so as much here.

It’s around 4:30 AM, and I’m out running around the lake. It’s beautiful, serene and scenic. There. I failed already. But it’s mostly just serene in the early morning darkness; the beautiful scenery came as it began to get light.

Which it did by the end of my first time wound the lake. Slovenia, it seems, is just beginning to wake up, and it’s great. My Garmin tells me that it was 3.7 miles around, so I take off again, this time in the opposite, clockwise direction.

This time I make it back much faster – at least a minute or so. Now I’ve got to do another two and a half to make it ten for the day. What to do? Run up to the castle on the cliff, of course.

I didn’t make it all the way up; it was time to head back. But I did walk up later on, as part of an afternoon hike around the lake with Debbie.
My two laps around Lake Bled

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Not feeling too well, but wanting to get a quick run in, I venture out and am immediately hit by the crisp, ice-cold air. I can hear the falls all around (there are thousands), but I don’t see them since I am only running on the road – it’s still a little dark to wander onto the trails. I don’t get too far, but at least I can say I ran in Plitvice.

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar is an island in the Adriatic Sea, not far from the Dalmation coast. It’s still a little cool, and I am still not feeling well – now I have an earache to go along with the sore throat. But today things is a little better, so out I go. I go into Hvar town, around a few bends, and then back. At two plus miles, it’s better than the other day, and better than not running at all. And I even managed to take a few photos.

Running in HvVillage

I get out for another run on Hvar the next day. It’s another beauty of a day, but once again, I don’t get too hvar.

Hvar Marina


The exclamation was added by poetic license! I’m out the door at five. I am still (!) not feeling all that well, but at least this hotel has coffee.

Dubrovnik is a medieval walled city at the southern tip of Croatia's Dalmation Coast. It's a stunning location.

I’m not all that confident of finding my way around here. It’s a complicated place, with jumbles of streets all over the durn place. I do know that we’re a few miles away from the old walled city itself, but there’s a little bit of sprawl here. I decide to make for the old city, just to say I got there (and hopefully back).

The worst problem is that our hotel is not on the map that I have. I’m therefore not entirely sure where I’m starting out from. Once I do get moving, however, I do see some landmarks that are indeed on the charts. It turns out that it’s not so difficult – I run just to the city wall, and then back, for a total of six hilly miles. Not too bad.

In addition to that slightly sub-epic run to the city walls and back, I do get out for a couple other shorter runs in Dubrovnik.

Zagreb, Croatia

I am finally feeling a little better, and I'm ready for a decent run today. Maybe even good. But probably not epic. Epic will have to wait for another trip, or at least another day.

Out the door of the Westin Zagreb, I head south, away from the Old Town. We'd done a lot of walking there, and I thought it was a little too congested for running. South would take me to the river, and possibly some nice paths.

Zagreb is our last stop, and today is the day we will be flying back home. Our trip has been enjoyable, and we've seen many great sights.

After nearly two miles, I do reach the river, and turn west. There are indeed some nice paths, but before long I come to a 400 meter track. I turn in and do a couple laps. As expected, my pace improves. But the paths along the river are so inviting that I exit the track and continue running west.

By now it's about 6:30 AM, and other than on the main drag, I've only seen a handful of people. This seems strange, but after running in other parts of Central Europe, and many other parts of the planet, it's not unexpected; some people simply sleep longer in the morning.

As I'm beginning to think about turning back, I reach a lake, and naturally begin to circumnavigate the thing. The thing, however, turns out to be bigger than it had originally appeared, and I begin to worry about getting to far away from home.

I turn back and return mostly the way I came. It was a very nice 7.5 mile run. Yes, nice; maybe even good. But not epic. Just like my other runs on this trip.

Also, please check out my travel blog post for this trip. You will enjoy it... And that's guaranteed.

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