First official International ParkRun for me, I have run one in Australia but as I didn't have a barcode back then it didn't count. It started at 9am, a little bit more responsible hours to back home if you ask me, the downside is it was a little hotter, about 28 degrees by the time the run had finished. Just before the race started someone spotted my Tarawera Ultra cap and asked if I had run it, I said yes, asked if was a Kiwi, she wasn't but lives there. We got chatting on the run, turns out she had just arrived from the airport literally just a few minutes before ParkRun started. Sara was here for UTMB like I am, she has come over as support crew for a couple of her flatmates who are running as well. We decided to hang out and do some exploring for the day.
We walked back to the hotel where I loaded up my washing and dropped it off at a nearby Laundromat, from there made our way to some markets down one of the streets just a few blocks away. These markets were way more what I was hoping to find when I was in Switzerland, lots of food, fruit and vegetables, and wow the fruits were enormous. We got some fruit and made our way to a couple of sports shops trying to find some gear. Decathlon is not a shop I had heard of, but you could think of it as a Macpac or Kathmandu store, but with sports equipment as their main focus.
By this time lunch was calling, although not super hungry we decided to take a look around for some food. After not really finding anything that appealed to us, we decided to pop into a supermarket and brought some food to make something ourselves. After sorting out some logistics I went off and grabbed my Laundry which was now clean and dry, dropped them back at the hotel and begun making our way down to see the Sforzesco Castle. Stepping out the door of the hotel, we walked about a block and we felt our first small drop of rain, the winds started to pick up, dust flying around, I swear I got some in my eyes, we crossed a road and then the heavens just opened up and started downpouring on us. It was crazy insane, everyone along the streets ducking under cover or jumping into shops to get out of the rain, after about 10-15 minutes it started to ease up just a little, not much but enough that we decided to make a run for it to the metro station which is underground.
A bit damp from the rain we got onto the train toward the castle, it felt like people were looking at us wondering why we were so wet, while we were looking at them wondering, did they even know how wet it was outside. It was still coming down outside, but as luck would have it there was a Decathlon store attached to the subway. This one was way larger than the first one, multiple stories and I'll admit, I got a bit lost as I was looking around, you name a sport they had a section dedicated to it.
By the time we got outside the rain had finally dried up so we made our way to Sforzesco Castle, passing by a Lindt store, we had to pop in a take a look at all the chocolate, it would have been rude not too.
We eventually made it to the Sforzesco Castle, It was built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza and served as a military fortress and residence for the ruling families of Milan. Some of the walls were up to 5 meters thick in places. As we looked at the wall I noticed a heap of holes all over it, I couldn't help but wonder what there were for, I thought perhaps for shooting out of, but there were just way too many for that, then we thought, perhaps ventilation, but once again... That's a lot of holes. Sara found someone to ask and it turned out they were there as holes where they put posts in for their scaffolding to sit on... That made so much more sense.
We headed off to get some dinner and after almost getting caught in another rain storm we ran to a shop nearby called Why Run, well then this case... To get out of the rain. I tried to find another Garmin charging cable as my other one seems a little temperamental but no luck, while we were in there Sara sussed out a good spot just down the road which the staff like to frequent, so we made our way down there now the rain had stopped. BhangraBar was its name, a very small looking area that as you walked in had there small corridors that just kept taking you further and further back, so many people inside. It ended up being a buffet, you would buy a drink and food package for about €15, which when you weighed up everything else, was rather responsible. A group of about 6 Chinese ladies in their mid 50's all came in to the area, very loud, but entertaining to watch as one of the ladies kept on setting up her phone and filming TikToks of her dancing, who knows, pehaps one day I'll see that video pop up when I'm on TikTok.
After finishing our meal, it was getting rather dark as we made our way back to the subway, as we walked though the park a couple of young ladies ran up to us in the park asking for directions to a certain monument and then asked us to join them. It seemed a little off, then Sara asked, Is everything alright?, turns out some guy had been following them and they were getting a bit worried, he had also been drinking, so we walked them in that direction until they said we were ok to leave them.