Still looking for Karl

Karl Marx Strasse sign

Last week I was visiting Trier on a business trip.Trier is a lovely town in the Moselle wine region of Germany close to the border with Luxembourg, with quite a few claims to fame including being the birthplace of Karl Marx.

It’s not the first time I have been to the city, but in previous occasions my visit has been fleeting and often in cold or snowy weather so my runs have been functional rather than allowing any sightseeing, but this time my hotel was nice and central so kind of essential to do a sightseeing run.


Sometimes on these kinds of trips, the challenge is mostly around the work schedule – so trying to fit in time for even a short run when meetings start early and sunrise is late – can be tricky.

But as I seem to have developed a mild obsession around having to include a run when I am in a strange land – once my plans are agreed – my inner trainspotter has me working out how I can seamlessly weave time for running into the business timetable.

The trip was just a couple of days after the Inverness half marathon – and I was feeling a bit creaky and a foot injury was a bit raw, but not raw enough to stop running completely. And the joy of the sightseeing run is that it provides the perfect excuse to stop often for pictures.

Cathedral, Trier, germany
Trier Cathedral

At dinner on Tuesday evening I discussed places to run in Trier – always worth getting a sense check on routes from locals.  I mentioned that one thing I wanted to do was to see Karl Marx’s  birthplace. My colleagues seemed a bit non-plussed by this ambition – maybe poor old Karl has fallen out of fashion – or maybe my choice of Trier landmark seemed odd given the more obvious appeal of Porta Nigra and  the Cathedral  – or maybe like many of us who live in cities that are home to notable celebrities and monuments of old – we just don’t always see the appeal that others do.

Porta Nigra, Trier
Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra ruin, Tirer

Anyhow – Trier is a nice compact city centre with the key landmarks conveniently located within a short distance from each other, and the river pretty close by, so planning a run route was quite straightforward.

My plan was  to run starting at the city centre near the cathedral, then loop out along Karl Marx Strasse ( quick photo opportunity outside Karl Marx Haus ) , head to the river, cross the Mosel then return across another bridge to arrive back at the hotel taking in the Porta Nigra en route.

If all went to plan this was probably a 3 or 4 mile circuit and even allowing for stops was quite feasible within the time available.

Moselle river

Rivers are easy to follow, but streets can cause confusion – for me anyhow – and although I had taken a map, I was wearing contact lens and so reading the grey text on the map was virtually impossible ( my sub optimal reading vision with contact lens is a big running hazard for me).

Suffice to say I did a few loops of downtown Trier – desperately seeking Karl Marx Haus – I saw many signs pointing to it, and I even ran along much of the aforementioned Karl Marx Strasse – but somehow I still missed the key place. At 7.30 am there few tourists or Chinese pilgrims to confirm that you are in the right area, and with imperfect vision and a time limit, I could only devote so much time to seeking out the birthplace of one of the great political thinkers and philosophers of our time.


But in my quest for Karl,I discovered Triers’s lap dancing and club scene, a lovely quiet path along the river – encountered some fellow runners – young lads sporting German football tops ‘OZIL’, I passed several foot remedy shoe-shops ( or was that my imagination ?), I saw C & A , Woolworths and the Cathedral and Porta Nigra , and still made it back to my hotel in time for breakfast.

The Karl Marx Haus selfie will just have to wait.





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