Running on holiday, is something anyone can do to keep in shape.
My latest travels brought me to Berlin.
Because it’s so spread out, Berlin is not a stroller’s city – you really need to use the U-Bahn (underground) or the S-Bahn (elevated trains) to get round. Once you’ve decided on location or base, then you can start to look for areas to run. There are many green lungs scattered all over Berlin, so you are bound to find a park you can run in, with no problem at all.
During my trip, I stayed in different places, and so, when I was closer South in Urbanstrasse, I managed to run the ever so famous park – Tempelhof Airport.
At first, Tempelhof was nothing but a very large meadow on the southern edge of old Berlin, where shepherds brought their sheep to graze. It was known as Tempelhof field, and it eventually became the site of military exercises for the Prussian army. At the beginning of the 1920s, Tempelhof airport was built on the site. After the airport closed in 2008, the city of Berlin reclaimed the 386-hectare open space and one of the world’s largest buildings in a central location for public use. Today, the area has a six-kilometre cycling, skating and jogging trail, a 2.5-hectare BBQ area, a dog-walking field covering around four hectares and an enormous picnic area for all visitors.
Then I moved to the City center, near Brandenburg Gate. Here there is a vast running park – Berlin is a metropolis of 3.5 million that seems designed for running.
Not only that, if you look left or right, you are probably running past a monument or other. There’s always a great moment to grab a cool photo! From the downtown hotels, you just need to head towards Brandenburg gate, and you will soon hit the next green lung, Tiergarten. The size of 525-acre Tiergarten is nothing to scoff at. At one time a royal hunting preserve (“Tier” means “animal,”) it’s now a huge park where folks go to cycle, run and you can push yourself to the limit with over 22KM of paved and packed gravel paths.
To the East of Berlin there is also the cafe-chic Mitte sector. Venture east beyond the Mitte, however, and you’ll see that much of the old Soviet utilitarian influence still dominates i.e. the place is still rather drab and gray.
Finally, of you have time, pay a visit to Grunewald forest – it is Berlin’s biggest forest and great for trail running. There are 23KM routes that circle the forest, and the sights are just amazing. Back when the Berlin Wall still stood, the Grunewald was the largest forested area in the western part of the city, full of strollers and bike riders. It is much quieter but it still is frequented by avid runners. There are also some mountains here where in winter, it is used as a ski-slope and toboggan run. Also, it is not unusual to spot a hang-glider or two in this area.
Berlin is definitely a runner’s paradise. I might consider moving here just for that!