Running Around Spain

I’ve been “running around Spain” in the literal sense, actually- I’ve been in Spain since Saturday, and I was dedicated enough to bring my running shoes, along with my portable Manduka yoga mat. This has indeed been a perfect yoga mat for travel. It is about 2 pounds and folds nicely on top of itself many times without leaving creases. It folds down smaller than an 8 by 11 piece of paper.

I never think of Europe as a place for running. I remember when I studied abroad in Germany ten years ago, it was somewhat weird that I went running most days. It didn’t seem to be part of the culture, though that seems to have changed more recently. The same goes for Spain. I din’t know whether there was a running culture. Was I wrong! Check out where I’ve been pounding the pavement:



I stayed two nights with my friend Sven in the Salamanca neighborhood of Madrid; he’s an old buddy from Georgetown. Now he lives in a fantastic 2-bedroom flat in posh Salamanca, directly in between Lacoste and the Benefit cosmetics storefront. Seriously you’re walking from boutique to boutique, and suddenly you’re at his house! Less than 1K away is access to Parque de Retiro. Being a San Francisco girl, I compare everything to Golden Gate Park. Retiro is more crowded and way more manicured. Some of the shrubbery landscaping reminds me of Versailles. There is something about the splendor that lets one know you’re in Europe!


My favorite part about Parque de Retiro was actually the footing. The running paths were made of tightly packed sand- soft enough so your shins and knees feel good, but hard enough so that your foot doesn’t slide around at all.


I felt particularly peaceful while trotting through this leafy canopy. It was the quietest area of the park with people reading, comfortably sitting on benches. I could hear the wind rustling, and the heat of the day was wearing off. It was a classy run, if we can use the word “classy” to describe a run. It felt like perfect sightseeing, even though that wasn’t my intention.

Estación de Tren: Puerta de Atocha, Madrid

Estación de Tren: Puerta de Atocha, Madrid

After bidding Adieu, or Adiós to my dear Sven, I took the AVE high speed train over to Valencia in less than two hours. PS The AVE trains are incredibly fancy and confortable. I think back to years of AMTRAK and simply cringe. They have these little garbage cans for you, and there’s even chargers on your seat! Can you believe this is the interior of the train station in Madrid?! You know what Penn Station looks like in New York? Never mind.


This was kind of ridiculous. I had spent an amazing afternoon on the beach in Valencia and was in the mood for a quick run afterwards. This was more than I had bargained for. I ran 10 blocks from where I’m staying with my AirBnB in Barrio Russafa until I got to the 9km-long park Jardines del Turia. But then I became so distracted by the amazing sights!

I mean, I’m just running along, and look what pops up!


You’d get distracted, too, no?


These buildings are part of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Tomorrow I’m exploring them from the inside, so I’ll leave it at that for now- they’re an amazing backdrop to an evening run!

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One Comment on “Running Around Spain”

  1. Martha LaValette July 7, 2014 at 15:54 #

    It looks wonderful!

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