My first run in Wiesbaden: Spa Park!
So while I’ve been here for a few weeks, I’d like to recount my first run around Wiesbaden. Like I’m sure many of you, I enjoy going for a run as a great way to explore a new place. It allows you to move a lot quicker than simply walking, plus it helps force you outside of your comfort zone by not checking your GPS/iPhone maps as often as you would otherwise. So I set out to find some greenspace from downtown Wiesbaden. I first stumbled upon the Hessisches Staatstheater, a beautiful theater in the heart of the city. From there, I ventured out into Kurpark (“spa park”), past the Kurhaus, a major events theater sporting its own casino. Kurpark heads northeast from the heart of town, with both hardball and dirt tracks at various points. It does annoyingly have to cross a few roads, but that can’t be avoided in a city. For an urban area, there’s plenty of green space, and you feel really secluded from urban bustle. Plus the homes on either side are absolutely gorgeous.
As you near the end of Kurpark, there’s an offshoot on the right allowing you to continue on the bike path up a steep hill. This path leads you to the beautiful Herz-Jesu-Kirche (Heart of Jesus Church). The path seems to end at Am Schlossberg, but a quick left past Gollner’s Restaurant in the ruins of Burg Sonnenberg (Sonnenberg Castle) takes you to a continuation of the path with beautiful views overlooking the Rambach valley. (More on the ruins of Sonnenberg Castle in a future post). As you descend in the valley, the route becomes a bit confusing, as the hardball ends, with numerous options to divert on groomed dirt trails to the east and north.
I flagged down a passing runner to ask about how best to follow the path. (As an aside: I find it funny that whenever you ask a German if they speak English, they always say “a little bit,” and then proceed to communicate with you in fluent English). He directed me toward a singletrack trail heading up into a nature preserve in Rambach district. This also seemed to double as a hunting area, so I was a bit nervous running up there. I still need to do a bit more research on land conservation in Germany, which I’ll address in a future post. But after getting a bit lost trying to follow the trails on Google Maps (grrrr), I eventually ended up in a quaint little neighborhood on the top of the hill. From there, I was able to bomb back down the hill on surface streets, which connected me to my original path leading back into the city.
I’m not sure this is my favorite urban run of all time, but the Charles River Loop or the West Side Highway certainly don’t sport the ruins of 13th century castles!
Below are some photos of the run. I’ve also included a link to a route I created in mapmyrun.com–this is the first time I’ve tried doing this, so please let me know if it doesn’t work. While most of you may never experience this particular run, I hope this post provides a bit of inspiration to go out and explore your local area. I bet there’s some history and hidden gems in your own neighborhood that you never even knew existed!
Run route on mapmyrun.com: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/1771164878