Saturday, 16 May 2015

40 Years of running!

I just remembered that it is pretty much the 40th anniversary of my first run! I started in early 1975, where I was looking towards my third summer of hitchhiking out west to hike the back-country in the national parks. And in 1975, I wanted to be fit from the first day, and not huff-and-puff my way through the mountains for weeks before it became enjoyable. So I started running, from my room in Gainesville's Green Latrine. I figure that I've run about 11,000 times over the ages. 
Here's me finishing today's run, feeling surprisingly OK
I owe so much to the experiences that running has given me over the many years!

Best Amsterdam Running Routes and Trails

Top 5 Amsterdam Running Routes
Amsterdam is definitely a party town. The the little lanes of the red-light district, right in the heart of the old-town, are stuffed with mobs of fun-seakers every evening, who then fill the bars, pubs, restaurants and coffee houses. But that's just one aspect of any trip to Amsterdam. Other aspects you can discover best, like always, with your running shoes on. Head out into other neighborhoods, where things are quieter and you can appreciate the understated Georgian-era elegance of this very special town.
Typical Amsterdam
Best Amsterdam Running Routes
Canalside run: The old canals are THE ingredient that makes Amsterdam so unique. And nowhere are the canals as beautiful as along the old Grachten on the west side of the town center. The concentric rings of water, lined by beautiful brick houses are a sight which you won't find in any other world capital.

Vogelpark / Rembrandtpark / EgmontPark: For a bit of green right from the city center, try this three-park route. It starts in Amsterdam's summertime back-yard, Vogelpark, full of barbeques and hangers-out on summer evenings. Then on through two quieter parks and a few canals before landing back in the center of town.

Amsterdamse Bos: This big park on the south side of town provides a huge expanse to run among fields and woods.

Amstel River run: Get a feel for real Holland by running out of the city along the Amstel River. Beginning at Amstelpark, you head past windmills, fields and farmhouses before the turnaround spot in the village of Amstelveen.

Sloterpark: The west side of Amsterdam has lots of modern apartment buildings, and doesn't seem too interesting at first. But this route around the lake in Sloterpark will give you a whole new perspective on the west side.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Lisbon Park of the Nations (Expo) Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 6.9 km (4.3 miles), terrain: flat

Lisbon Running Routes:
Best Lisbon Running Routes: Overview
Park of Nations (Oriente)
Ancient Alfama  
Elegant Lisbon Downtown  
Belem World Cultural Site  
Cool Bairro Alto
   

For other running routes, see the Route List

There is a neighborhood up in the northeast corner of Lisbon that will provide a huge contrast to the otherwise historic, hilly town center: the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations). A lot of people just refer to it as "Expo", for the world's fair that took place there in 1998. The neighborhood is a declaration of love for modernity. There are creative, modern buildings, statues and parks all over the place. And the whole place lines the Tejo River, which looks more like a big bay.
Walking lunch-plates: good thing I didn't have a fork with me
I had to work there a couple of times, and I was immediately captivated by the upbeat creativity of the whole area, with its impressive exposition halls, offices, hotels, museums, marina, parks and apartments.
Modern architecture near Oriente
So, if you want to explore Lisbon's modernistic alter-ego, just head to Oriente Station, reachable by Metro, commuter trains and buses. The station itself is a breathtaking construction, like a huge piece of modern art, with a metallic forest holding up the glass roof. The Vermelha (red) Metro route will take you there from the city center.
Oriente Station details
Exit the station and head across the square to the right, cross busy Avenida Dom João II at the traffic circle, and then run eastwards along Avenida Pacifico. The Vasco da Gama mall is on your left, and you're running past one of the elegantly curved, shrimp-like buildings that flank the mall.
Looking towards the mall from the station
At the next corner, turn left onto the park-like pedestrian strip in the middle of Alameda dos Oceanos. You can run right under the gigantic three-legged sculpture ahead, with the long, flagpole-lined reflecting pool to the right. You are running northwards, parallel to the riverfront, which is a block further east.

Next, on the right side, you'll pass the gigantic dome-shaped Pavilhão Atlântico (Atlantic Pavilion), one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe. On the left side is the other shrimp-like building at the mall.

The Alemeda dos Oceanos, a quiet side-street, has very cool black/white mosaic sidewalks, several colorful, volcano-shaped fountains, huge red-and-white striped waymarkers and a lot of other stuff to entertain you on your way.

Now you pass the very long, futuristic Feira Internacional de Lisboa on your right, the exhibition center, with its suspended roof.

At the big traffic circle at palm-lined Avenida Boa Esperança, turn right and run towards the observation tower at the water's edge. This is the 1-km mark. Ahead is the Vasco da Gama tower, with a luxury-hotel built at its foot.

Just before the tower, turn left and continue running north along Passeio dos Heróis do Mar, another quiet street. A long water-side park now begins on your right side. The park will get wider the further north you go.

Just before you come to the big traffic circle ahead, turn right onto the little path called Caminho das Gaivotas (Seagull Way), where the little blue sign points the way to the right.

Run eastwards across the park. The sidewalk turns into a boardwalk going out over the water. You'll see the huge modern Vasco da Gama Bridge spanning the bay to your left.

Just past the muddy shore, the boardwalk is crossed by another boardwalk running parallel with the shore. When you get to the crossing, turn right and start heading south, with a great view of the Tejo stretching out around you. This is the 2.5-km mark.

In just 150 meters, the boardwalk connects back into the riverside path on land. Keep heading south.

You'll have to run around the Vasco da Gama tower and keep running along the water's edge.

You'll soon pass the northern station of the waterside gondola lift ride, the Telecabine. You'll then run past the exhibition center and the arena again.
The boardwalk at the marina, da Gama Tower on right
Just past the reflecting pool with the flagpoles, you'll come to a big basin. Here, you can keep running straight, over the boardwalk along the river. The multi-storey Oceanarium sits out over the basin.

At the Oceanarium, turn right, then left to get onto the main pedestrian promenade on land, which will take you along the marina after passing some small, strangely landscaped parks and the big, blue theater.

At the southern end of the marina, you've reached the southernmost point of the run, at the 5.5-km mark. Turn right onto Passeio do Adamastor and run between the yellow apartment buildings.

Ahead of you, you'll see a strangely industrial tower sitting in a big square, the Torre da Galp (Galp Tower). This is a left-over piece of the oil refinery which once occupied this spot.

At the tower, turn right and start heading north along Alemeda dos Oceanos again. You'll run past another park on the left and then some museums, like the "Pavilion of Knowledge" life-sciences museum on the right side.
Back at Oriente Station
When you reach the mall again, at the Avenida Pacifico, turn left and run the one block back to Oriente Station again.