Running itself is a gift.
Out front Jana and Hans-Christian's accommodation in Porto, just as I was about to wrap up and thank them, after our 2hr running tour (which was a birthday present to Jana, btw), Hans-Christian reached deep into his small backpack for an item and handed it out to me: it was an oficial 2019's Nikolauslauf Tuebingen half-marathon official t-shirt!
In this blog post I'll unveil the reason for this kind offer and explore the fact that running experiences can be such a memorable gift , whether it is a race entry such as the amazing Nikolauslauf - Nicolau's/Santa Klaus' run in English - held in Southern Germany or a city running tour of Porto, in northern Portugal.
Also taking this opportunity to tell you about yet another Nicolau - not Santa Klaus - and his Porto-based wine company - the oldest still active!
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Unexpected gift, directly from Tuebingen, Germany: an official Nikolauslauf t-shirt!
Porto is always a good idea
It's that time of the year : public Christmas lights were switched on last Saturday - the official kick-start to the holiday cheer here in Porto. For runners visiting the city during this season we prepared something special, too...!
30/11/2019 photo credits: AgoraPorto
Starting with Pedro IV's heart: Porto's most precious treasure
Here's a compilation of stories, some of which were brought round by visitors, about one peculiar topic: hearts that were separated & taken away from the rest of their owner's body to a fairly distant burial place or even to be scientifically studied. Today PORTO RUNNING TOURS is celebrating 4 years of operation and so, because one of our best-sellers from day one has been the HEART OF PORTO TOUR, let's start with a shorter version of the amazing story about our dear Pedro IV's heart, our city's most precious treasure, a true story we always share with running visitors...!
LOOKING FOR A CHALLENGE?
The running scene in Porto is tremendously active and eclectic, with many well-established and organized races throughout the year. Here's a short list with 8 of the most interesting ones, including Porto marathon (November), Porto half-marathon (September), a couple of 10ks and specially selected introductory videos of their previous editions.
We've even included an orienteering event and a 'one-of-a-kind-mad-two-stages-uphill-race' named Porto a Subir...!! Tap 'read more' to see the videos!
Why was there never a royal palace in Porto?
This blog post provides you a virtual guided tour to the interiors of Palácio da Bolsa, which was never royal, despite its majestic appearance. In fact, this is somewhat odd for a second largest city of a country that was a monarchy for almost 8 centuries: there was never a royal palace built in Porto, by any of the Portuguese kings of any dynasty (...)
PORT, ONE OF EUROPE'S GREAT CLASSIC WINES
Produced on the steep hillside vineyards of the upper Douro valley, this wine originates from one of worlds oldest and most beautiful wine regions where vines have been grown for over 2000 years...! (...)
TAKING IT INto YOUR OWN HANDS?
Self-planning a honeymoon can seem like a daunting task...! In this piece by Samantha Lefave, you'll find a few suggested destinations that will surely end up being great fun, if you're in to street art!
Here's what she has to say about Portugal and Porto, in particular: "Lisbon is getting a lot of tourist attention right now, but those looking for a more local experience should book a ticket to Porto instead. The second-largest city is on the rise, becoming well-known for its street art (...)"
WE KEPT IT SHORT
The following list is not about gourmet experiences. It is not about a search for the best food or the most authentic, nor about the cheapest prices or the most expensive meals. It's really not. There's also no partnership with us or commissions from their side. This is simply a list of places I enjoy having a meal in the company of friends or family. And these are the places I return to because, for some reason, I happen to like them :)
A DASH OF IRONY
Guess what… a new Starbucks franchisee cafe just opened in Porto… yay.. (not...!)
You know, we've all done things in the past that we’re not proud of. Mine include entering Starbucks a few years back in Madrid on a desperate quest for free wi-fi or going for a BigMAc burguer in Vienna. Oh and… those chicken wings at a KFC in London… shame on me…!! Yes, I have been a lazy tourist, I must admit. Against all guidelines of sustainable tourism, I have 'sinned'. Not proud of it though..!!
neologisms: love them or hate them?
Honestly, I have no feelings of prejudice towards neologisms. Terrible as some may sound at first, I have come to like these made-up words that combine different concepts or activities.
The bLeisure buzzword is a bit on the horrendous side but people have been using it to describe a new type of business traveller: one who fits in leisure travel while 'on the road'. Even some companies are realizing that helping their traveling executives to tag on some me-time to work trips is a good way to retain talent and provide some work-life balance.
However, professional or personal commitments at home may mean you can't book that extra day.
This is where Sightrunning comes in.
A sports pavilion named after a marathoner
Frequently heard during our sunrise running tour:
" - Is that the Crystal Palace you've mentioned? "
" - Well.. not exactly... :) "
The present building's real name is Super Bock Arena/Rosa Mota sports pavilion, a multi-sports venue. To explain you who Rosa Mota is and why running is involved, we need to go back to the 80's.
Care to join me?
I know how tough this day can be for some of you. If you're not in a relationship, then you're probably trying to schedule a night out or a dinner at home with a group of other single friends, as far as possible from any of those 'romantic' restaurants...
On the other hand, if you're already committed, then you're possibly still searching for the perfect gift... is this your case?
Well, if your soul mate is an avid runner, I believe I can help. If he or she is not - but you are! - then I suggest you surreptitiously leave your laptop open on the dinner table, with this post on display...!
Around 60 million people are estimated to run or jog in the United States. In Europe we have around 50 million people running, 6 million in Germany alone, the Netherlands with 2,4 million regular runners and, according to a Marktest study last year, Portugal with around 1.5 million natives 'saying they've engaged in some form of running activity at least once in the last 12 months'…
2015's Boston Marathon finish line - running community has huge numbers in the US
Sérgio is the founder of Porto Running Tours, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide-storyteller since 2015.
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