Wednesday 18 April 2012

Luxembourg City - Luxembourg

A view of the park and city from Adolphe Bridge

Only two words can describe Luxembourg City - Grey and Bleak!

I was here in November and all week the temperature never got higher than 5C, with morning lows some days as cold as -8C.  I was told it was unusually cold for that time of year but either way, it was pretty bleak.

Weather aside, this is probably the most uninteresting city I have ever been to!

I had imagined a quaint unique place full brimming with character but as soon as I left the portacabin, sorry I mean airport, it was clear I was very much mistaken!
According to the IMF, the country has the highest GDP per captia in the world and so unsurprisingly there was a huge amount of financial presence, with what seemed like every major building having a bank's name and branding plastered all over it.
It may have been due to the influence of the bitterly cold weather, but it seemed as though wherever you looked, all you saw was grey. Grey skies, grey buildings and a sea of concrete.
I was staying at Hotel Carlton on Rue de Strasbourg on the south side of the city, so it was always my intention to head north, as I had passed over the Adolphe Bridge on my way from the airport and it looked like an okay area to run in.

Below the bridge was a large park, set in a steep valley, which looked as though it might have some interesting hill climbs.

I set out from Rue de Strasbourg at 8am, with the temperature gauge on my phone reading -7C. I left my shorts in my suitcase!

My hotel was just opposite the central Train Station in the city, so the congestion on both the roads and pavements made it difficult to get into any sort of rhythm for the first 500 metres, but it soon thinned out and I was able to try and get some warmth into my toes and fingers.

Approx 1.1km north west from the Train Station along Avenue de la Liberte I reached the Bridge, which to give it some credit, is a really impressive piece of engineering. I managed to find a set of steps down to the park, which sits 138ft below the bridge. Needless to say it took a while to get down there.

The grass was still frozen in most places as were the paths, so the pace was definitely down compared with most of my other runs. From the bottom of the stairs, I headed towards the west side of the park, with a relatively pleasant setting for 1.4km until I reach the boundary.

The path navigates itself around the outside edges of the park with several other walkways forking off of it. There is a small stream that runs the heart of the valley so there are also several small footbridges.

From the west side of the park, I then followed the footpath around the outside of the park to the eastern point, which measured 2.2km from end to end. I then just continued along the path back to the bridge.

Overall the park was relatively flat, obviously nearer the valley base it was a bit more undulating but overall there were very few hills. The path was solely concrete.
I was feeling brave so decided to tackle the stairs without stopping. If you are having visions of Rocky, don't, I probably looked more like a dying swan by the time I reached the top! Most of my runs are relatively flat so the burn in my quads was unbelievable.
To that point I had only covered around 6.2km and was only 1km from my hotel, so I took a right and headed east along Boulevard Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The road then picked up Avenue de la Gare and after 2.1km of fairly uninspiring pavement, I came out at the Train Station, and my hotel. The ice bath was replaced by a very very hot bath for a very long time!

Sorry to anybody who gets to try this run as it means you are in Luxembourg - Dude, what the were warned!

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Start - Luxembourg Central Train Station, Avenue de la Gare
Journey - 1.1km to Adolphe Bridge, descend stairway into park, 4.7km lap of park with views of the bridge from 136ft below. Leave park, continue along Roosevelt and de la Gare for 2.1km.
Finish - Luxembourg Central Train Station

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