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Hiking in Venice?

Hiking in Venice

I suspect that when you think of hiking, you imagine mountaintop vistas, strenuous climbs, and solitude. There should be trees and dirt and sweaty armpits. Probably bugs, but hopefully a few glimpses of more endearing wildlife.

hiking view

Moment from a typical hike

 

Venice is an unlikely place to find any of these things. Sealevel is nearly always within arm’s reach. The biggest (outdoor) elevation changes occur at the peaks of bridges. No dirt. (Although we did wrap-up our hike with a stroll through a secret garden.)

hiking in Venice

The high (outdoor) point in our hike. Shown is the Rialta Bridge spanning the Grand canal. At its peak, we climbed almost 8 whole meters. And I only had to stop once to catch my breath!

Instead, our flint-tiled hiking path lead us through narrow alleys bordered by ancient buildings, past ornate palaces, mansions, and Byzantine cathedrals. A cool, steady breeze and leisurely pace suppressed our armpit’s urge to do what they do, even if we don’t want them to.

 

With all these differences in mind, the hiker in me wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of several days spent wandering through another major city. I wanted to experience all the things that hiking promises: inspiring scenery, exercise for my body, and my mind (minus the torture treadmill), and a chance to rediscover the inner peace that is so hard to find in a busy big-city life. Unlikely we’d find any of this on a tiny, man-made island that hosts millions of people every year.

 

Venice, you sneaky little city, you’ve been holding out on us.

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(almost) funny, Photos

Training for the trail

You may have seen the Rocky movies. Even if you haven’t, the iconic images of Sylvester Stallone grinding out the miles in a grey hoodie on the grim streets of Philadelphia are probably at least vaguely familiar. No? Then surely you can relate to the frenzied dance workout Jennifer Beals put herself through after a long day at the steel mills in the movie Flashdance. Still nothing? Well, I’m not gonna say your too young to be using grown-up electronics like laptops and smart phones… but you should really consider expanding your cinematic horizons.

Now that I think about it, have you noticed that there really aren’t that many movie role models that have to work-out really hard in order to accomplish their goals? Sure, there’s Kung Fu Panda, but I’m pretty sure his story took place back before my time so even this exception doesn’t hold up. And yes, Jason Bourne is pretty active, but it’s clear he’s not working too hard. Do you ever see Iron Man working out? Or the X-men?

Anyway, I was trying to create a moving and motivational image of someone training tirelessly towards a seemingly impossible goal. Hiking over 2000 miles in less than 6 months is one of those seemingly impossible goals. The vast majority don’t make it. I’ve done some long distance hiking (some of it along the Appalachian Trail) but I’ve never been able to hike more than about 800 miles before crawling (literally) to the nearest motorized transportation that would get me back to my cave.

This time its going to be different! Seriously. I’ve been training for the past few months and I’ve included a few pics below to prove it. I’m eating healthy (I’m still technically a doctor so I get to say what “healthy” is) and Dad forced me out of my cave at least once a week to get outdoors while I was with him in Colorado.

For any fashion-conscious readers out there, no, the awesome onesie that I’m sporting is not for sale, but I can understand why you’d ask…