April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the category “Travels”

Friday in Salzburg

The beginning of the third trimester caught us in Piesendorf again and as running really does not bring any joy anymore, we decided to switch to walking. The weather on Friday morning looked like packs of snow are going to come down on our heads – so why not to look up a city trip. Our choice quickly fell to Mozart’s pre-Xmas Salzburg.

For a change, we left the car parked in front of the house and took a train.301120121469With one stop over (in Zell am See), it took us less than 2 hours to get to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof which is about 2 km from the bautiful city centre. As we were walking along the river Salzach, the runner in me couldn’t have passed this sign unnoticed:

301120121479The biking and walking/jogging paths along the river are actually very inviting for a city run and there were quite some runners there. So Salzburg is definitely a place to return to once my belly gets flat again!301120121476

301120121477Austria has historically so much more in common with Czech republic than The Netherlands and after 12 years in NL, I always feel there like being at home. Especially with the Christmas tree and all the traditional Christmas cookies. V always teases me that the vanilla ‘rohlicky’ are actually Ausrian – which is of course not true!301120121485




For the music lovers, the house of Herbert von Karajan here301120121490


and Mozart, of course:


Leiden Halloween night run

Here a couple of pictures clearly showing why running outside is better than chasing the treadmill…

Rhine river downtown, bridge “Koornbrug”

Church “Hooglandse Kerk”

Windmill “De Valk”

City gate “Zijlpoort”

  Happy (belated) Halloween!

Preggo running IV.

20-22 weeks: As many of you know, we have spent last week in the Alps. As V was busy with her ski instructor training (Anwarter), I had all the time to work, eat and… run. My daily routine consisted of 1-2  hours of early morning (6.30 – 8.30) running and geocaching and then working and eating and walking – until it was time to go to sleep again. This scheme did me good. I managed to run 40 km that week and until now, I actually feel very good.

Total weight gain: 7 kg

My running has reached a point where anything faster than 8.5 km per hour is not comfortable, however, maintaining the snail speed of 8 km per hour is quite nice, actually. Walking/hiking is good, too. And here it the evidence: last Saturday (when many of you ran marathons all over Europe) we took a little hike from the Hinterglemm valley to Forsthofalm:

White morning

We are spending a week in the Alps and although I have some work to do, there is always time for a little morning run. As other bloggers noticed long before me, autumn is a great time of the year:

But in the mountains, the landscape can change overnight. This is how ‘my valley’ looked this morning:

Do you recognize this tree? Try to look at the first picture again…

Leiden in the morning

I love running though my town – but it is only doable on Sunday mornings, early… My favourite route is the 6.6 km loop around the city canal (or ‘singel’ as Dutch call it). On the way I pass the old university buildings with the observatory, botanical garden greenhouses, the statue of Rembrandt, a couple of city gates and of course the mills. And water – with the geese and ducks always present.

Prague by night

When planning our ‘racing autumn’, my eyes fell on the Nike Run first. One quick remark of 12Honza (“Prague by night is unforgettable, V will love it!”) made me change my mind and so we registered for the Mattoni Grand Prix Prague on September 8 instead. Of course we combined the race with a long weekend trip to Czech rep. to see my mother so the 1.5 day before the start shot, we were working in her garden, harvesting plums,

hiking around and enjoying the good old Czech cuisine. (Turns our V. loves my mum’s homemade meat loaf). Oh yes – not to forget: we had a great dinner with the whole family on Friday and finally announced my pregnancy. Surprisingly, nobody made any remark regarding the pregnant woman racing. Both my mum and my brother know that there is no chance to change my mind once I set my goal…  On Saturday afternoon, we went down town to pick the start numbers and to breathe some of the ‘racing air’. The starting area looked like this:

We walked around with ice coffee, did some shopping and returned to my mum’s house. For the last time we tried to persuade her to join our friends along the race in Parizska street and to see us running. And at the end, she agreed to come with us! After a series of telephone calls we managed to get a camping chair and 2 friends to accompany mum to the best spot to watch us. We equipped them with a bottle of Becherovka as one never knows when the traditional liquid medicine will come handy. Both the liquor and the camping gear turned out to be unnecessary as we picked a perfect spot at a terrace in front of a fancy café. Mum could see us easily from her place!

Slowly we walked to the start area on Staromestske square that now looked like this:

We found the toilet (twice) and our D corridor and then all of the sudden I spotted attributes that unmistakably belonged to 12Honza (design glasses, black Asics running shoes ‘for formal occasions’, big smile, running pants with a hole on the right knee,…) with his daughter

and he spotted us.

A bit of a surreal moment to shake Honza’s hand, I was so happy we met there! We wished each other good luck and an enjoyable evening and shortly after that the famous Moldau from Smetana’s My Country brought me to tears and made us running.

The evening city was amazing. Yes, it took a bit of an extra focus to avoid the curbs and uneven cobblestones in darker areas but hey, we are urban people and this 10 km track showed Prague at its best. Especially the long stretches at the embankment were not to be missed. Funny enough, we passed pretty much all ‘important’ areas of my young student years and as our pace was moderate, I could show V all of them and even comment on ’what happened here and there…’

Before we knew, we were half way through, keeping the pace at a comfortable 6:15 or so per km. We drank some water from the bottle that V was carrying with her and ran on. Every time as we were passing Parizska street (4x in total) we waved to my mum. Then as we were passing Manesuv bridge on our way to finish, the fireworks above the river exploded!

At Ovocny market, 12Honza with his daughter ran over us in a mighty finish pace and soon we were passing the finish line as well. The race was fantastic as the atmosphere of medieval city by night cannot be substituted by anything else in the world. Our time 1:03:44 was way below what we predicted and I am very happy with it considering the fact I am almost 16 weeks pregnant.

With the golden medals hanging around our necks we walked to Parizska street again and joined our support team at the terrace. It was great to chat with them some more while drinking huge glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and chewing cheesecake. I saw the twinkle in my mum’s eyes. She was so happy and proud of us! We talked and talked and if it was not for the public transport that we were depending on, we would have stayed over the midnight…

On Sunday morning we went to my mum’s cottage again to enjoy some more sun and hike a bit and also to finish some garden works.And then it was time to head home. A perfect weekend if you ask me – and I am sure we will be back!

Wandelweekend in NL/B

Back in the Middle Ages when life was complicated, the landlords of Breda (The Netherlands) and Brabant (Belgium) managed to get involved in a number of rather complex treaties, agreements, land-swaps and sales. As a result, until now the border between  NL and B around the villages Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog counts about 22 enclaves and in many situations it divides villages, streets and even houses to Belgian or Dutch sector.

We have friends living in Baarle so spending our annual ‘wandelweekend’ there promised numerous border crosses and a lot of good beer.

On Saturday morning we departed early to join the rest of our friends at the breakfast table. The daily walk at the banks of Merkse (the local version of Rio Grande) started around 1 pm…

During the first kilometers the walking pace was killing… except when the city-people spotted a spider, frog, bird or any other unusual creature…

We hardly ever stopped.

By the end of the day, Ling, the wandelweekend dog, ended up exhausted (if April was there, she wouldn’t have survived).

So 15 km down the road, we called it a day and returned to our friends’ farm.

Next morning, a different walk was selected and the encounters with nature got wilder:

The end of the day brought exhaustion again:

But all together, we managed another 14 walking kms. I have to admit I missed my running shoes…

Weekend in the Alps

Our outdoorsy life has gained yet another dimension: after developing the running bug, crossing lakes with the inflattable canoe, V’s ski instructor training and a new mountain bike (all in course of several months), we have finally secured a mountain apartment for ourselves. It is located in Piesendorf, Salzburgerland, about 4 km from Kaprun and Zell am See and it is GREAT. More posts on HOW great it is will follow as we will explore the surroundings in the coming months but here already something to start with. This is our view:  We spent there a great weekend furnishing, arranging 1000 things and getting to know our neighbours. But most important was that we went running and hiking: 

Juneathon Day 22: Last day

Today is our last day here in France. I went to ‘our’ trail again and returned home with fresh bread while everybody was still asleep. What a feeling to be back at home, after a good run, with hot cup of coffee, while the house is still quiet…

Despite the sweat and pain, I will miss these stones:

Now off to the lake to discover new bays and beaches.

Juneathon Day 21: Longest

It is the longest day of the year today. And for us, this morning it was the longest trail of our holiday. It did not start so nice, at least not for this guy: As usually, we ran above our village and lost our breath in the first 2 kms. But then again, the views around here ARE breathtaking:

And instead of turning back down, we crossed the main road and disappeared in the wilderness to discover some additional paths. No people, just sheep and rocky paths. What an excellent exercise for our ankles!

After about 6 km we reached a small summit above Tourtour and from there, it was all downhills – better/wider paths and at the end regular roads. The two creeks we were supposed to pass were both dry.

Back home it turned out that our run was over 12 km long.

Ehm, and one girly remark to top the story: on our way home, we even managed to buy a table cloth for our garden table. It fit perfectly in the camelback (all water was finished by then, anyway).

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