Running. You either hate it or you love it. I most definitely belong to the latter, having been “on the run” since my early childhood days. For me, jogging or running is the perfect sport for a traveller, especially a #foodlover like me! All you need is a good pair of shoes. Socks to match, if you wish. Light, practicable sportswear. And off you go. Anywhere in the world.
“So have you been jogging lots already on this #CreativElenaRTW trip of yours, what with your food tours all the time?!”
That’s mum on the phone, teasing me for good. I smile. She has a point. Running really is, for the #foodlover among you!
Right now, only days ahead of this year’s World Food Tourism Summit in one of the world’s great foodie nations, Portugal, I am sweating. Honestly. There is never enough jogging, or running, to balance delicious events such as the “Street Food European Festival” in Cascais, Lisbon. Or the countless food & wine tastings lined up. But I hang in there nonetheless. Food, wine, jogging, or else.
A perfect balance? Perhaps. A wonderful way to see the world? You bet.
I simply loved all of my (marked & impromptu) running trails around the world, from intimate places such as Kyoto’s Imperial Gardens all the way to busy Central Park in New York City. Music in my ear, smile on my face, I go. Anywhere. And so can you! Running, I believe, is a fantastic way to see a new city! True aficionados like myself will go to great lengths: I remember even deciding against a potential party night in Miami, opting instead for waking up early to go jogging along South Beach’ famous Ocean Drive!
So having recently returned from my #CreativElenaRTW trip, let me seize this opportunity and share my top 10 running spots around the world with you. You need not be super fit. Honestly. You most certainly do not have to compare. You should simply, go at your own speed and allow each place to add its distinctive “flavour” to the travel experience you are having. Just go with the flow, as they say. But do. Go.
1. Running in … Central Park, New York City.
Getting up early on a Sunday morning in one of the busiest cities in the world only to go jogging not only made me a fitter (and happier) person that day, it also allowed me to see the “city that never sleeps” at its most “quiet”. Madison Ave drained of cars and people. Central Manhattan at my doorstep. Me walking towards the South-Eastern corner of Central Park, crossing the famous Plaza hotel where decades ago, my parents, brother and I sneaked in with our backpacks and shorts only to … head for the toilets !! Yes ! I do remember that, smiling sweetly at the memory as I pass by once more in my jogging shoes.
Being back in New York City, and offering myself the chance to go jogging in Central Park alongside many other fellow joggers, has been a true “life jogging dream of mine come true“. I guess anyone as passionate about this particular sport as me will be able to relate to that.
2. Running in … Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami.
“Party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach ’til the break of dawn … Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami …!” Will Smith’s old classic about Miami rings in my ears as I gently trail my way south from Grand Beach Hotel Miami Beach towards the South Beach area, running literally only metres away from the sea. Anyone running would have likely heard of the “fitness craze” that reigns in top model-style Ocean Drive, Miami South Beach. And it is true !! All I see are fitness-driven, like-minded joggers in admittedly perfect body shapes.
3. Running in … Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Now this might be a place that does not immediately spring to mind when talking about top 10 travel spots to run around the world! But sometimes, “if you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go”: Too much love from Santa Fe School of Cooking, their famous “Restaurant Walking Tours” (!) & #winelover chocolate tastings has me hit the road even at close to 3.000 metres above sea-level …
4. Running in … Florianópolis, Brazil.
Why consider going running in one of UNESCO’s Creative Capital Cities of … Gastronomy ?! Because. The food is just too good. Which is why, “sadly”, I never made it to run actually.!
But the beautiful Brazilian city, located on a singular island off the main coast line, boasts many a beach trail or city walkways suitable for running. Nice. Even. Dotted with pretty boys & girls. Do consider, therefore ..!
5. Running in … Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires.
Back to the true jogging tips! Modern Puerto Madero, peacefully wedged between downtown Buenos Aires and the city’s more colourful La Boca district, is definitely a top travel spot for jogging around the world. The scenery is great: Old sail ships contrast with glittering skyscrapers, visitors mingle with the locals, pretty terraces and food shops line the runway along the harbour. And if you tire of the concrete surfaces, there is a beautiful park right beside. Way to go, really.
6. Running in … Easter Island!?
Why on Earth would you consider travelling to one of the most remote Pacific Islands in the whole wide world only to … run?! Well. People have been known to do even crazier things. And I am on a mission!
So, have a look at what I found on Easter Island …
7. Running on … South Island, New Zealand.
Oh dear. Words are not enough to revel in the beauty of my favourite travel destination in the South Pacific. Just as difficult is narrowing down a choice of places where to go running there. Having lived and worked in South West New Zealand for more than a year, I do recommend the Queenstown / Te Anau areas for their adventure-filled travel opportunities: Both cities for example offer excellent lakeshore trails and further (hiking) trails to also go jogging.
This time, however, I had to trade in my jogging shoes …
8. Running in … Windy Wellington. Especially after (yet another) Food Tour!
Once again, the food tour jogging logic. Never knew whether it quite worked out to keep me balanced from all my delicious food touring round the world (mum, you are allowed to keep teasing!), but I do know – and will recommend, Wellington as the place to go jogging. The city’s harbour district perfectly unfolds on a length of several kilometres, reaching all the way from New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa to the Interislander ferry terminal. Jogging gently, you will have time marvelling at some of the local street art, sculptures and Kiwis passing you by. People, that is. Kiwi birds are of the more nocturnal kind.
9. Running in … Kyoto Imperial Gardens, Japan.
A (cultural) adventure of a kind! Are Japanese people into jogging? Will I look odd? Can I go? Should I go? Where do I go if I get lost?!
Curiosity, and a willingness to keep fit, win. Getting lost will help you find yourself – or such is the saying. I found Japanese people way too polite to openly show what they thought of me passing them by in Kyoto’s Imperial Gardens, jogging. And after all, I did see some of them jogging there, too.
10. Running in … Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
You could (during the 20°-25°C winter, that is). Honestly, I would have been for another run if our days had not been so busy exploring the fascinating local Arab culture. Again, would it have made me feel odd compared to seeing other people around me, dressed differently, acting differently? Probably not, given the fact I would have stayed close to some of the large, international hotels in Sharjah and learning about the relatively open mindset of the “local population” – a population made up of about 90% foreign migrants, that is.!
So yes. Do go, if you like to. Just don’t wear your tightest tank top or shorts, as it might not fit with the general code of clothing. But do consider. Especially if, like me, you are a happy #foodlover traveller around the world in need of a perfect sense of balance.