When I first visited Zürich last summer I was excited to discover the amazing array of running, biking, and hiking trails winding through the city center, along the river, and up the Uetliberg.
Now that I’ve had time to settle into my own Zürich neighborhood, Wollishofen, I’ve really enjoyed having the time each afternoon to explore the trail system. I now know that it is just 1.5 miles to run and meet Martin at his throwing ring. I’ve found a big hill over a highway tunnel entrance to challenge me on future runs. I’ve serpentined along the river and around a sawdust covered forest track. But lately, I’ve found comfort in the soft gravel loop of Friedhof Manegg.
Friedhof Manegg is a beautiful cemetery and park just around the corner from our flat. Each morning its locked gates open and let in an array of visitors: elderly friends and couples from the nearby retirement home slowly loop the paths; commuters and bicyclists cross through to get home; families visit the well-kept graves of loved ones; and a multitude of caretakers groom the grounds. On my run this afternoon, despite the falling snow and chilled air, I ran past at least 6 groundskeepers and a dozen other quiet visitors in just 30 minutes.
Though I’ve got plenty of other trails for running, I’ve lately found myself regularly returning to the trails of Friedhof Manegg. Every visitor is quiet and respectful, but not somber. The graves are well tended, even lit by small candles and covered by fir and pinecone wreaths. And the sculptures throughout the park always give me something to discover on each run. My favorite is the cheerful angel standing high above the park blowing his trumpet to resurrect the righteous and announce the coming of Christ. I cannot wait for that day, but for now I’ll have to be satisfied with the meditative sound of my feet crunching along the gravel trail each afternoon.