Our city of Winterthur spreads out like a six-fingered hand into the valleys between wooded hilltops. The city and its people own all the wooded areas, and protect them from being developed. To maintain them, they periodically do selective cut logging of the woods, and sell the firewood. It is a really good system, and they are careful not to over-cull the trees. Each section of the forest has clearly marked trails and the occasional bench or fountain.
In these trails there are three vitaparcours, which are trails that have little stops along the way containing tools for exercising, and a sign explaining how to do the particular exercise. I remember seeing a similar trail in the suburbs of Dallas, too, so I know it isn’t all that uncommon in the US. The one nearest us is the Winterthur Lindberg. I’ve not had the chance yet to try all of it, but we generally try the exercise if we come across one. There are over 500 of these types of trails in Switzerland.
In addition to the vitaparcours, there are trails marked for jogging, bike-riding, and horseback-riding. Most trails are only for jogging, though.
We’ve mainly explored the Lindberg, which is the large area north of the city. The trails are really popular. On weekends we see lots of people on the ones that are an easy jog from the parking lot or the trails that are closest to the line where the city meets the forest. Even during the week day you’ll see lots of folks on their lunch, taking a break. Sundays brings families and slow walkers drifting down the wider trails, especially along a scenic route that takes you to a gorgeous overlook of the whole city. The name of the park where the overlook is located is the Bäumli.
Near the Bäumli, there is a restaurant, which we’ve yet to visit. And there’s also a pretty large vineyard on one side of the hill, with lots of trails zig-zagging through the steep slope. There’s also apple orchards, and private gardens that you can skip around. Basically, the rules are, if there isn’t a gate across it, you can go up, down, or through it. Continue reading