Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I didn't get lost. Much.

I left home at noon. A breeze kept me from getting too warm in the sun. I felt a bit naked heading out carrying nothing more than my phone, my keys and sun lotion on my arms and legs. I've gotten used to carrying a rucksack. Running without one, and with my summer clothes on, my step felt light, unforced.

I left the traffic behind after 3 km. I was now in a residential area that was built not too long ago. The architects must have drawn their inspiration from fairy tales. The white picket fences and flowers were just too pretty to be real.

That's when I almost got lost. I reached a dead end, certain that one of the paths through Änggårdsbergen started there, but there was no path to be found. I ran back another way. There, at another dead end, hidden behind a house, was the path. And it wasn't going to reward me for my trouble. It was uphill from the start.

Just before uphill hell started

The hill continued for, oh, I don't know, 1,5 km? I had to stop and catch my breath once I reached the top, defeated, still not so disappointed as to not notice the jungle around me. Firs, birches and pines formed a green canopy over my head, and the ground was invisible thanks to a carpet of ferns and other, alien looking plants.

But what goes up, must come down. I came to a crossroads, where a sign informed me that the Botanical Garden, my first destination, could be reached either by running down one hill, or up another. The choice was tough. I put a determined look on my face and headed downhill.

The slope brought me to a small lake, where a party was taking place and every frog in the area was invited. They were loud. No, really. Take a look at this video.

I was already at the border of the Botanical Garden. I was surprised at how short the run through Änggårdsbergen had been. It was probably made shorter by how I managed to not get lost there. I entered the Garden and was immediately greeted by the many colours and lovely scents of the flowers hosted there. Also, by amused tourists, who probably didn't expect to see a runner emerging from the vegetation. And I, who thought I blended in well, with my bright orange t-shirt on.

I continued down the hill, revisiting places I hadn't been in years. Once again, I wondered why we don't spend more time here, in this serene environment. I made a mental note to have a picnic here sometime soon.

Then I got lost again. But kind of on purpose. I turned away from the path I knew would take me to the hospital and the easy way to J's workplace, and almost back to where I had come from. I had hoped I would end up further up the hill, where I would cut through a residential area and avoid the worst of traffic. It was an interesting choice. Some parts of the area around the hospital are currently being rebuilt, and I chose a path that brought me to a gate, behind which there was a drop of about 10 meters, where they had dug into the ground. I had to turn back.

I somehow managed to emerge from the Botanical Garden unscathed, not exactly where I wanted to end up but not completely off course either. My lust for adventure was far from satisfied, though: once I was among the houses, I chose a completely new road to follow, one that I was sure would turn out to be a dead end too, but which turned out to be a real pearl. Old brown houses with stone foundations lay sleepily in a quiet neighbourhood, surrounded by tall pine trees.

For once, the road I chose to follow was not a detour. I ended up right where I wanted. 11 truly wonderful, adventurous kilometres later.