Have you ever been lost on a run?
Today’s question was inspired by Giorgio at Giorgio's Runners Blog from Rome. He reminded me of a run when I got lost in Rome and later that week lost in Florence. Running in Europe is always a favorite part of a vacation and getting lost makes for an interesting story. Naturally a challenge with being lost is not knowing where you’re at but more importantly the lack or challenge of being able to communicate with others.
I went to Italy with some girlfriends and would run in the mornings. In Rome I figured I’d have an out/back run and I was staying near the coliseum and ASSUMED that I would easily be able to find my way back to the huge, historic, well known structure. Also, with an out/back course…how can you go wrong?
I did have my Garmin with me but didn’t think of using the feature to mark the location when I walked out my hotel door. I also had a map with me tucked into a pocket. I ran down a main road and headed to where I knew the river was and ran along the river. At some point, I figured I had run far enough and turned around. It was raining and I was worried about my map getting wet but when I went to pull out the map, it wasn’t there. I guess it didn’t really make it into a true pocket and I had lost it. What I didn’t know at that time was I had run too far along the river and past the coliseum. When I got back up to the main road, nothing looked familiar and there were no signs saying coliseum this way with gigantic arrows pointing me in the right direction. I wasn’t really worried though.
Early morning there aren’t too many shops open but I found an open deli and asked if anyone spoke English, simply by stating the single word Inglesi. Being the typical American in a big city, I thought everyone in the tourist area would speak English. Not so much. My question was met with a blank stare but the shop worker understood enough to call out and ask if any of the customers spoke English. A gray hair, long bearded man stepped forward and rattled off a number of languages that he spoke…Italian, French, Hebrew, Spanish and German and probably a couple other languages. Having some knowledge of the German language I pounced on that one and tried to ask “auf deutsch” where the coliseum was. I didn’t know the German word (or the Italian word) for coliseum but eventually I got him to understand and he pointed me in the right direction. I believe the guy was messing with me though and knew English. If he knew so many languages, wouldn’t English be one of those?
I'm not running but this was taken later in the day and it was still raining (a lot)
I did find my way back to the coliseum and was on the opposite side of when I started my run. My 6 mile run turned into 11 miles. It was a great run and the story of being lost is just one of the great memories I have of Rome.