Downtown Warsaw

Warsaw doesn’t only have an historical city. It also had a very modern business district, complete with glass facaded skyscrapers. I took this photo while standing by the last remaining piece of the ghetto wall, and it is quite a dichotomy seeing this modern view while standing next such a profound piece of history.

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Running in the Tatra mountains (part 3)

Read part 1, and part 2

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I left you on the Tatra mountains, roughly halfway between Zakopane and the Slovakia border. I was soaking wet, and running on some very water-logged trails, and having loads of fun. The flat, wide and dry touristy trails turned into waterlogged impromptu rivers, and these finally turned into firm earthy single-track trails.

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While I ran through the forest, I could smell a wonderful wet and earthy decay. That wonderful smell of nature composting dead branches and leaves back into earth from which new trees will grow. It was misty weather, so everything had a slightly mystical nature. I felt like I was running in one of the many fantasy novels that I have read.

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The view from the top was spectacular. I had finally run above the forest, so I could look down at the trees. I couldn’t see much besides the tops of the trees just in front of me, but it felt liberating to stand there, having run all the way to the top.

When I say “to the top”, I was only about 1/2 way to Slovakia; I had already climbed over 500m in about 7km, and that was the easy part of the trail. I very much doubt you would be able to run the second half to Slovakia. It would be a very tough hike.

Here is the route I took if you want to see it. https://www.strava.com/activities/702351830

Some quick notes on safety.

  1. I had the Tatra mountain rescue number in my phone. For reference it is +48 601 100 300
  2. I pre-loaded my route into my GPS watch, and my wife had a copy of my route
  3. I took water & some food with me
  4. I took a space blanket, first aid kit, compass, mountain maps, windbreaker & gloves with me
  5. I make sure Lois know my expected arrival time, and gave her a suggested window before she worry
  6. My phone was fully charged

Running in the Tatra mountains (part 2)

In my previous post I was telling you how good the trails in Zakopane were to start with. Well as soon as I got off the flat touristy trails it got wet…very wet…By now I was very much alone, and very much wet!

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There was so much water running off the mountain that the trails turned into rivers. This is part of the trail that I ran up. Yes, this is a trail – not a river.

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Two rivers joining an even bigger river.

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And more of the trail. At first I tried to stick to the edges and keep my feet dry, but soon I revised that it was hopeless, so I embraced the water and ran straight through the water. My feet got soaking wet. But I was having so much fun. I hadn’t felt so alive in ages!

To be continued…

Temple of Aphaia

Cds IMG 3002The Temple of Aphaia is in the mountains of Aegina, a small island close to Athens. When we were staying in Vagia, a small village in Aegina I decided to go for a run, and the temple is a perfect turning point for a nice loop. But its a brutal climb up the mountain. When I got to the top I was hot and thirsty, so I went straight to the kiosk to buy a bottle of water. The lady helping me thought I was having a heart attack and wanted to call an ambulance. She just couldn’t understand that I had just ran to the temple.

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When I went back the next day with Lois (this time we drove), they gave us a braille guide book, and that is something we found a lot in Greece – the awareness of blindness and disability. In many countries the tourist spots have braille guide books but you normally need to return them. In Greece they are to take home. The only problem is that we found out after we got back to the hotel is that while it was in braille, it was not in English! We still don’t know what language that guide book is in.

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At the temple in a Two Oceans Marathon race shirt. The person who took the pic for me thought that I was a professional adventure runner – not quite!

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