Today we have a lovely guest post from Dasha (!!), who managed to work in a touristy run while visiting Stuttgart. Obviously Dash isn't in Germany in the photo, just evidence that running is also very handy when terrorizing Tanzanian goats...
So while Monica has been training for her 192,839,280kilometer-uphill races, I am lucky if I motivate myself for a 200 meter trot every other week. However, while I was visiting the lovely German city of Stuttgart, I got dragged out for a run by one of my friends. Now, to be fair, my friend K works on one of the U.S. military bases in Stuttgart and actually has a physical component to his job; therefore, our definition of "running" was a bit different.
I am currently on month 2 of 8 of an around the world trip, and I have to admit that running is one of the best-est ways to see a city. Not only do you cover the territory faster, but many popular running paths are just the exact mixture of passing by some very scenic sites, and being off of the tourist path. Stuttgart is Germany's sixth largest city (at least according to Wikipedia), and has a very nice public park right in the center. The name Stuttgart roughly roughly means "Garden of Horses" from "stout" for horse and "garten" for garden or compound. Interestingly, some hypothesize that the Stuttgart city seal is actually the basis for the Porsche logo; so it seems like the perfect place for a run!
One thing about European cities is that they are just so much more friendly for pedestrians and bikers. Some cities (like London) have bike paths that are adjacent to the roadway, while others (like Stuttgart) have bike pathways adjacent to the sidewalk. Word of wisdom, beware of the later! While running in Stuttgart was very nice because it involved a minimal amount of street jogging, the cyclists can freaking get ya! One thing that is kind of funny slash peculiar is that Germans do not jaywalk. Ever. Now, as any city runner can tell you, jaywalking is an essential part of actually being able to run in a city. So while I am sure we offended German sensibilities with our rampant jay-running, it definitely beat waiting for every street light.
The Stuttgart public park is quite large and very beautiful. Because my legs gave out after the first 35 minutes of our run, I was very thankful that the park also had an extensive kids' playground. While my friend elected to keep running for another few miles, I enjoyed some quality swinging on the swings time! As much as the layout was very pedestrian/biker friendly, I really wish they had stuck some water fountains somewhere in the park; thanks to global warming this summer has been an unseasonably hot one in many parts of Europe, and with temperatures close to 90 by the time we hit the park, I was really wishing for a hydration option (guess I should purchase a hydration belt, right Monica?). On the way back I was re-energized by views of the castle, and (not going to lie) dreams of the beer awaiting me at the end of the run. Nevertheless, I would be lying if I didn't admit that the following days my legs were begging for mercy.