Saturday, May 07, 2011

Running on the River Arno

http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/15521/florence-copy.jpg
Been scoping out the running scene in Florence.  I have a ten minute jog from the Duomo south to the River Arno; from there one can venture east on the north side of the river, meandering along dirt and gravel paths.

Runners can cross the Arno via bridges at several points, then run west along the south side of the river back to Firenze.

I put in 90 minutes this morning at a slow pace.  Allowed myself to get lost on the way out, which isn't a scary thing to do in this city.  With a  map in hand it's almost impossible to lose one's bearings for long.

One of the greatest treasures of my life is the opportunity to run in every city where I roam.  There is no better way to integrate into the culture and geography of a community.  Running is the purest form of tourism.

Some other thoughts:
  • Run early.  This city runs on pm time, with dinner for most locals at 8 - 10 pm.  The mornings are slow to start.  It's now almost 10 am on Saturday and few have come to life.  Once the city gets bustling, it's crowded and the sidewalks are narrow.
  • The big downer in Florence is the graffiti.  It's everywhere.  Defacing this wonderful city just plain sucks.
  • Americans have more and in turn expect more.  We don't appreciate the overall low cost of living we enjoy in the USA.  Costs in Italy are much higher. Paying $3.50 for four bananas is one example.  A simple meal out is around $25. Fuel is high, at a level way beyond what we complain about.  Being "average" here takes a lot more cash than we're used to spending.
  • In America, we buy motorcycles and bicycles for recreation.  In Italy, most are used for utilitarian means, to transport to/from work.  The scooters here make serious power and speed.  It's a prime form of transportation.

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