My job, as probably any job, has its advantages and disadvantages. A certain disadvantage is that I quite frequently get to travel overseas (mainly in Europe but not always) to meetings and events, which means constant getting to and from airports, transfers, sitting in cramped spaces and all other joys of travels. It is partly compensated by the fact that sometimes I get to visit nice places and if I can I will take the opportunity to run there.
Earlier this week I was in Stuttgart, the capital of the German state of Baden-Wuertemberg. It was one of the few remaining main German cities I hadn’t been to so I was quite interested to see a little bit of it. One downside of this trip was that the week before I had caught cold and had to put my running training aside to properly recover. While getting ready for the trip I still wasn’t feeling too well, just in case took my running gear hoping I will feel ok the next day. My past experience shows that one of two things can happen: I will either feel rejuvenated after the run, or I will feel much worse and perhaps go down with bronchitis or some other ailment.
I woke up after 6 am the next day and decided to proceed. I had earlier chosen a destination and roughly checked how to get there. My destination was a hill called Birkenkopf, known by the locals as Monte Scherbelino (Mount Shards). It’s a prominent hill just outside of the city centre, 511 metres above sea level high. I chose it firstly because of its historical significance, secondly because over a distance of just over 5 km it offers over 250 metres of altitude gain, so very reasonable, and thirdly because the views from there are alleged to be quite nice.
The history of Birkenkopf is interesting. During WWII, the Allied aerial bombing significantly destroyed Stuttgart. After the war 1.5 million cubic metres of rubble and debris were removed and piled atop Birkenkopf, increasing its height by 40 metres to the current 511 metres. Interestingly, there are plenty of such hills (called Trümmerbergen) all across Germany, serving as a grim reminder of the consequences of war and as a warning to newer generations.
I started my run at 6:40 am from the central railway station (Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof), which probably is Stuttgart’s most characteristic building, also very well-known across Germany and recognisable by the rotating Mercedes star atop its 12-storey tower.
From the railway station I followed the pedestrianised Königstraße after which a gradual descent started. At the end of Hasenbergstraße it flattened and the residential area turned into a forest. Having crossed the forest and then one major artery I reached the foot of Birkenkopf. Following a gradually ascending path around the hill I made it to the top.
There I took a short break to take in the views and shoot some pictures. It would have been much lovelier on a sunny Summer day, but it wasn’t too bad either.
The way back was much quicker, courtesy of gravity, so after 1 hour and 16 minutes altogether and 11.23 km I was back at the hotel with batteries charged for the day.
PS after a few days it seems I am feeling ok and the cold seems to have almost gone so it was worth it 🙂