by Melissa Brunner
Aside from the standard change of clothes and care necessities, what's the one item you always bring with you on vacation? For me, the answer is my running shoes. The sites and activities are great, but some of the best memories I have are of my husband and I lacing up and setting off on a run though a unique (to us, anyway!) setting.
Our recent trip to Australia was no different. I studied a map of the area and, on a day with no immediate obligations, we set out to exercise and explore. Sydney's Hyde Park was just a couple blocks from our hotel, so we started from there then picked up a path that ran along the harbor at the edge of the botanical gardens. It took us around a jut known as Mrs. Maquarie's point and over to the Opera House. From there, we headed around Circular Quay, where the ferry boats are centered, and, still feeling good, we headed up a hill that took us up a few sets of stairs and onto the famous Harbor Bridge. We went across the bridge and back, dodged the commuters who were now making their way through Circular Quay, then back through the gardens and Hyde Park to the hotel. All told, we logged about seven miles. We didn't notice it, though, because of all the distractions along the way! Heading across the bridge? What a rush!!
I'll file this one away with other memorable runs -- through the Shenandoah Mountains where we stumbled on a herd of deer; surrounded by geese at a bird sanctuary in Alaska; in the shadow of the original Olympic Stadium at the National Gardens in Athens; along the beach in Maui. I'm not sure where the shoes will take us next, but the journey won't end once we reach our destination.