Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to travel to a conference in Vienna with work and got a chance to do my favourite thing while traveling: run tourism.
It was the second time I’ve been (same conference last year). I travel with work quite frequently, and since it’s hard to find time on a work trip for sight-seeing, I like to go for runs.
Run tourism is one of my favourite ways to see a city. Often you see things that you wouldn’t have thought to visit. My first day in Vienna I went to see an open air market I had read a lot about on Trip Advisor. It was a total snooze. I saw more on my run the next day without the research and had a way better experience.
Last year in Vienna, I found myself running around the gardens of a palace with other Austrian runners. When I got back to the hotel and looked up where I’d been, I found out that it was actually a popular spot for competitive runners to do long runs – great way to feel like a local.
I also thought that my Garmin would work, but apparently you need to prepare in advance and download a special Euro-GPS map so I was out of luck. In the end, it’s was nice to run without a watch for a bit and get a chance to re-connect with the body’s natural pace. Also, it was super freeing to stop and start as I saw things I liked without worrying about making sure my watch was paused.
Another thing I love about run tourism is that as long as you take a look at a map before you go out and have a general idea of where you want to go, you can choose your own adventure as you run. In the cobblestone streets of Vienna it was so freeing to turn a corner and see a huge cathedral in the distance and think: “Sure, I’ll go that way.” I would see a dark, winding alley and take that for 100m and then come out into a town square with a mini farmer’s market. Or turn a corner and find a perfect little café with old men smoking, eating schnitzel and reading the newspaper on large wooden assists. It was damn charming.
I went by London on the way home (for the first time!) and went to visit a friend for a few days before heading back to Canada. It was lovely. Though I didn’t have time to do any run tourism there, I did do a ton of walking around the city and did a simple 5K around Clapham Commons where my friend lives that was really beautiful.
If you’re curious to hear the sounds of Vienna and London, I’ve got some soundscapes up on my Soundcloud page.