Kick your vacation up a notch and get exercise!

6 bucket list run routes in the world's best bucket list destinations. You are welcome!

Pixabay.com

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

World travel is a wonderful gift that not everyone will experience. One of the things that I hate about travel is finally making it to the destination after a 15-22 hour flight just to get caught in the tourist’s trap. You know when the only thing on your itinerary is museums, clubs, and restaurants. And because I'm the international marathoner, I totally recommend getting some exercise on your vacation, at least one day. Here is my list of bucket list runs or walks to do in the world's best bucket list destinations.


Get a little wet on Barcelona's beach.Pixabay.com

Take a run down Las Ramblas to the beaches of Barcelona, Spain.

Las Ramblas is a famous shopping and dining boulevard in the center of Barcelona. Along it, you will see musicians giving impromptu concerts. I swear to God, the most beautiful people in the world, and some of the best tapas in Catalan. Take Las Ramblas all the way down to the beaches of Barcelona. Once you are there, it is fair game. Barcelona is full of partiers. And they go all night. Make this a night run, not only will it be cooler, but much more interesting. Be at your risk, Barcelona is the only place that I felt totally high while being completely sober.


Run the Louvre for the best Instagram pics.Pixabay.com

Take the perfect morning long run in Paris, France.

Because of Paris' best tourism is in the city center, you should be able to see the best of Paris in one run. Start at Notre Dame, the cathedral of the hunchback, making the Eiffel tower your next stop before crossing the Seine River. Run down the Champs Elysse to finish in the Louvre Square. Of course, we are on vaca, so we are in no rush. Take time to take pics for your social media. Wish you were here.


This is the Real Bellagio.Pixabay.com

Run intervals in Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy is small towns situated around a large lake and surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you want to know what peace feels like, go to Lake Como. This one is a different type of adventure, but I swear Lake Como is the safest place on earth. Tie on your shoes and run to the ferry. The ferry goes to about 5 towns. Run two miles in the next town, walk back on the ferry and repeat. The ferry provides for good rest time and one of these towns is the real Bellagio! Eat your heart out Vegas!


Run across the Chain Bridge in Budapest.Pixabay.com

Take a photo run from Buda to Pest in Budapest, Hungary

You can get an amazing run in one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. Start with a picture of you tossing up your baseball cap at Heroes Square. This is just a start. Run towards the Parliament and along the Danube River that divides Buda from Pest. Take photos of the Royal castle in Buda (across the river) and of the many creative statues along the way before crossing the Szechenyi(Chain) Bridge to Buda. Stop and take pics of the picturesque sites and the ferocious lions on the bridge before taking the hilly challenge up to the castle. Take in the grand view of Pest (the Parliament). And to think that communism just ended in the 1989.


A dramatic finish in San Marcos Square.Pixabay.com

Run to a dramatic ending at San Marcos Square in Venice, Italy.

A run, in Venice, will make you truly feel like a mouse in a maze searching for cheese. You will run down this walk just to hit a wall, literally. So you turn to the right, go down a little way and guess what, another wall. Before you get flustered, just go with it. Mix in frustration and the unknown with endorphins. After much mental and physical work, you will come to a clearing…..San Marcos Square, a wonderful picture worthy prize for your adventure!


Watch your step in Bangkok!Pixabay.com

Run with the Wild in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand does not seem like the place you would want to take a run. If you have ever been there, you know the motorcyclists make it impossible to run or walk in the road. So, you hear about this park from the locals called Lumphini Park. You as the avid runner has to get your fitness, so you go. It seems like such a peaceful park until you see a five foot monitor lizard just walking along the path. Then another and another. Little did you know that this park was full of 5 foot monitor lizards. Run at your own risk at Lumphini Park! I did and I came back alive!

H-Town Run Tourist's Guide to Mental Health

Terry Hershey Park: My place of solace

Author's own.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx


When I need a serious reset, I jump in the car and and go to that parking lot under Beltway 8 and Memorial. I get my headphones, and my phone and just start walking. I'm talking about Terry Hershey Park. This out and back trail of about 12.5 miles has been my place of solace. This is the place where I began my journey into fitness. This is the place that brought me out of depression. I have used the rolling hills of Terry Hershey Park to train for my races, and I still come here to chill the f*** out. This is why:

Breathe in the beauty.

Author's own

There is beauty all around.

Terry Hershey Park is situated along Buffalo Bayou. There are all these trees that are overgrown with vines. It looks like a rainforest. It's like the trees befriended a vine and the vine showed them up. I don't know who is winning in this relationship. I think we are because it is beautiful. See how I just had this weird conversation in my head. Guess what I wasn't thinking about. The bad breakup I went through 5 years ago. Terry Hershey is also great during bluebonnet season. Many people visit to strike a nature pose. You can also use one of the many dedicated benches to reflect on your beautiful surroundings.

Shh! Keep quiet or you will scare them.

Author's own

The wildlife is abundant.

I really get a kick out of counting the different wildlife that I encounter. While preparing for the article, I tried to find all the insects, birds, and mammals that you will see in Terry Hershey. Too many to name so I will tell you my favorite stories.

This week, I saw 5 rabbits, some squirrels, a cardinal, lots of butterflies, a turtle, egrets and herons. There have been many times that I have seen 30 turtles just sunbathing. They are really scared of people so you have to be quiet or they duck back into the water. One time, I was running and almost ran into a huge spider hanging from its silk. I stopped to take pictures, but it wasn't having it. I waved bye-bye as it crawled up it's silk. I have also encountered poisonous snakes, but luckily, I saw them before they saw me. I can't help it, I'm a wildlife voyeur.

Walking or running, you get a great workout.

Author's own.

You can train for challenging races.

Terry Hershey Park is a great place to train. As I stated before, you have 12.5 miles of trails to work with. Whether you are a walker, runner, biker, or canoeing is your thing, this is your place to train. There are some of the best hills in Houston here making it a challenge. There are different trails with different difficulty levels. If you are training for a trail race, you can take the more difficult unpaved trails which are great to work those supporting tendons. You can also get off the beaten path that is across the bayou that will really test you. Honestly, I still don't know how to get on it.

Worth the 4 mile run.

Author's own.

Personal Experience

You have probably gotten that this park is dear to me. Let me tell you about some of the fun times that I have had on it. I call it "fun with myself." Not like that. Brace yourself, This is silly. When you have moments like these, you just have to give yourself over to them. I was listening to classical music while running. All of a sudden a song from the Last of the Mohicans comes on. It was so dramatic, I felt like I was running across a meadow or the frontier. Every turn felt new. I really felt alive and guess what? I was actually running across a meadow because that is what Terry Hershey looks like. I never forgot it. But, you know what I did forget? The fact that my car needs yet a new tire and oil change.

If you are new to Houston, want some hill training, or just need to relax, do not hesitate to get on the Beltway. Exit Briar Forest and park in the parking lot just underneath. It will lead you to mental health heaven.

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