Fit Five Friday – 5 Not-to-miss Places I (try to) walk or run every week

14 May, 2021 22 By Renée
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Welcome to the Fit Five Friday!

It’s that time of week again! Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this new link up with your FIVE amazing hosts – me, My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida ! Feel free to join in on the fun!

5 Of My Favorite Places to Walk or Run

Sonsbeek Park

Of course, this is where we do notparkrun at the moment and I know it like the back of my hand. Early mornings are amazing, Lunch times can be lively or not depending on the weather and after work seems to be dog walkers and people from the neighbourhood relieving some stress after the work day. When the weather is amazing the park is bursting – and my neighbourhood suffers parking places because of it! But still, it’s my favourite park in Arnhem and I could go there every day.

Morning View
mid-day glory
with the notparkrun crew

Belvédère Tower

Fun Fact: Sonsbeek was originally called St Jan’s Beek (Sint JAHns BAKE) which is the creek that runs from the park into town down to the River Rhine..

Zypendaal Park

Zypendaal (ZEE pen Dahl) was a lesser known park to me before the move – I knew it was “attached” (rather across from) to Sonsbeek but never spent any time there. I used to live near Presikhaaf park (which has Sacre Coeur park and Angerenstein “attached” to each other) so if I ventured to Sonsbeek I pretty much stayed there.

I’m still discovering it and I can tell you it’s really hilly! Sonsbeek has some hills and is a rather large park but Zypendaal is even more hilly and seems bigger! And I have yet to know all the paths and exactly where they lead, but I am truly enjoying the journey!

Fun Fact: Audrey Hepburn and her family lived in various locations in Arnhem between the ages of 10 to 15. Her grandfather Baron Aarnoud van Heemsta, lived in Huis Zypendaal and she used to visit here often. Baron Aarnoud van Heemsta was also the mayor of Arnhem from 1910-1920. Though Audrey was just a teenager she supported the underground movement during the war to help Jews and others persecuted by the Germans to escape persecution and in many cases, death.

Windmill “De Kroon” (The Crown)

Something I’ve always loved about Arnhem is the fact that there is a grain mill in the middle of the city (in the neighborhood Klarendal to be precise) and it still excites me like a child to walk by it. My new-old house is already on the border of Sonsbeek and Sint Marten neighborhoods and our street in particular is on the border of two additional neighborhoods, Onder de Linden and Klarendal. Imagine my delight the first time I walked to the windmill and discovered it was only 300 meters away. That’s even closer than the park (560 meters), my friends!

The mill is open occasionally (a couple days a week) to buy flour ground on the premises and once a month it’s sails turn as well. I will never, ever, tire of that sight!

Fun Fact: When I first moved to Arnhem the shop next to the windmill was a sex shop. Now it’s a design center and I even voted there in the recent elections. But how typically Dutch – a windmill with a sex shop next to it?? (There are “coffee shops” that don’t really sell coffee *wink wink* just down the road from it as well)

Meinerswijk

This nature park is actually a floodplain area on the southern bank of the Rhine River. Traces of habitation of this area date back to the Roman Empire. For me it’s like an escape from the city, fully into the country. Here you can find wild horses, cows, ducks, birds and I’m told even beavers and the occasional fox. The other day I saw a little mouse scatter from one side of the path to the other. You can also learn a lot about Arnhem during WWII by walking through this area as there are reminders and information posted throughout the area.

I got to know Meinerswijk the first time when I ran the Arnhem Bridge to Bridge “Run to Remember Freedom” . And have been going back regularly ever since. It’s a 2+ kilometer walk from my house to the “start” of Meinerwijk and the full round is 5KM.

Fun Fact: There is a nude beach in Meinerswijk; I did not know this, nor did Mr Pie until he accidentally stumbled upon it by running through there once. I believe he avoids that area now – ha!

Along the Rhine and Across the Bridges

During WWII, Arnhem was unfortunately one of the main places where the unsuccessful battle “Operation Market Garden” happened. It was September 1944 one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. The plan was to secure the bridges so that the Germans would not be able to reach the area, But sadly, due to weather conditions and other logistical and communication reasons the operation failed. Arnhem was “A Bridge too Far” for the allies who came from different directions and didn’t quite make it into the city The bridges were destroyed along with a part of the city center of Arnhem and Nijmegen (where one of the bridges was located).

The British Airborne Division were the only ones to reach the bridge and they were led by Major General John Frost. Today the old, destroyed bridge is rebuilt and named the John Frost Bridge.

While I don’t mean to give you a history lesson, these facts about the war are very intriguing to me. I walk along the Rhine, over the John Frost bridge and along the dikes very often. I think about what it must have been like. From the John Frost Bridge I walk over to the Nelson Mandela Bridge and am reminded each time just how lucky we are to be free. I stop often and admire the view.

Growing up in the US, I knew about WWII of course, my grandparents were both in the military during WWII but they never talked about it. Here it’s a real living history, commemorated every year. Lest we forget.

Besides all that, it’s just a beautiful place to walk or run!!

Along the Nederrijn in Bakenhof
View from the Nelson Mandela Bridge

Fun Fact: You probably think of Germany when you hear people talking about the Rhine, but it actually starts in the Swiss Alps and ends in The Netherlands.

Do you have a few favorite places to walk or run in your area? Any fun facts or history about those places?

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