Walking London

With the impending holiday marathon I can bet I will not be walking until too late next week to post about it by Thursday (writing this over the weekend).  So I decided to share some other people’s thoughts on the streets of London. 

Happy Holidays!!!!

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Day 1

Getting Started

Day 1 began at the Tower of London and saw me wind my way through 7.78 miles of streets, alleys, and crescents (not to mention around 16.5 miles cycling to get there and back).  Could I have asked for a better day to spend walking around London’s little lanes and courts?  No way! An absolutely gorgeous day out. Continue reading

Abbey Orchard to Zoar Street

I am willing to bet that, despite rampant smart phone mapplications (I’m not afraid to invent words), most Londoners still have at least one copy of a trusty A to Z map in their possession. The ubiquitous Mini A to Z was my first purchase upon moving to London. It’s shown me all around this fair city and is still with me on many an outing. It’s been bumped and bruised but is still in pretty good shape for the miles it’s seen. It was only just yesterday that it saw its first major injury when the front cover was all but sheared off by a rogue Stylist. Surgery is imminent. Continue reading

Feeling a Bit Congested

Today has seen a flurry of writing and I blame it on the fact that I have no voice available to me.  When one method of communication is eliminated, the others become more attuned, I guess.  I would bemoan my raw throat and the intermittent bursts of pubescent squeals I create when attempting to produce coherent language, buuut I kind of saw it coming.  Sore throat and flu-like symptoms be damned!  I had a Bavarian Village to rock last night!  And so I sit at my computer, a shadow of the person who sang it like she meant it but a few hours ago.  Sigh.  Ow.  Ok, no sighing either.

In my youth, sick days were often used as a time of education and PBS watching.  I say we stick with the learning sick-day, if only to ensure that kids have nothing to gain but more schooling for skiving.  Mwahahaha!  Sorry, back to the point at hand: you’re gonna learn some stuff now. Continue reading

C is for Challenge

When I moved to London in 2010 I spent an average of three to four hours a day learning the city by foot.  After I had the main thoroughfares solidly mapped in my head, I decided I should get to know each neighbourhood as best I could.  I made it a habit when out and about to always go down at least one road I had never been on before (a relic of my parents’ weekly desire to “find a new bit of road“).  I can’t imagine a better way to get to know London than on foot.  How else are you meant to linger outside people’s windows and see how they decorate their Christmas trees and set their tables?

I love love love maps and have a mild obsession with knowing where I am and how it links to where I’m going and coming from (no, that’s not a profound life philosophy, it’s just basic geography) and I am a very visual/interactive learner so mapping my outings became the best way for me to understand where I’d been.  My bedroom is adorned with two maps of London: one of greater (Wembley, Richmond, Bromley and Illford being its limits) and a large-scale of central.

Every time I walk down a new road, I mark it on the map in whatever colour suits my fancy that day.  For the first few months, my fingers were constantly stained with the byproducts of my nightly routine.  Then I fell into the habits that daily routines bring and slowly found myself treading the same bits of ground more and more regularly.  As a compulsive explorer, this just would not do!

So, in the lead-up to my 30th birthday (still a 20-something as of today!) I compiled a list of 30 things to do before the big 3-0.  Not surprising to anyone who knows me, improving my knowledge of London and the UK in general features prominently in this list.  One item in particular was designed help me get to know as many hidden corners as possible:

WALK ALL the STREETS of CENTRAL LONDON

Ok, this requires some boundaries to be set.  First of all, what IS central London???  We all have our own definitions which seem to range in size quite dramatically.  To solve this riddle, I decided to go by what the local authorities define as the busiest parts of the city: the Twilight Congestion Zone…dun dun dun.  Technically they call it the “Congestion Charging Zone” but that loses the sentiment that I might end up in a place that doesn’t exist, and is therefore far less appealing.

Having established this area, I STILL had to decide WHICH Congestion Zone.  You see, right around the time I moved here, the boundaries were changed quite dramatically.  Whereas the old CZ spread alllll the way along the river, up past Earl’s Court and into North Kensington, the new CZ ended really quite neatly at Park Lane.  With just a little over a year to complete the challenge, time was certainly a factor.  Right, that’s my reason and I’m sticking to it.  Call it laziness, call it cowardice, call it what you will; I chose the new CZ as my barrier.

FAILING the CHALLENGE

So now you know the story and you know the quest (but what is your favourite colour??!).  What you don’t know is that I have failed already.  Yep.  That’s right.  You just wasted all that time reading when you could have been doing your morning callisthenics. What a waste.

The fact is, my 30th birthday is just over two months away and while I’d LOVE to say I will spend the next ~60 days walking my little legs fit over London’s cobbled alleys, I will not.  I’m working on something apart from this that’s pretty exciting and fun (if you stick with me you’ll probably hear about it pretty soon…you knew there’d be a hook!) but it has a tendency to take up really a rather large amount of my time.  In short, I will not have the CZ badge on my sash by February 20th.

I have chosen, therefore, to lift my self-imposed deadline and continue on with my quest till death (or dry markers) force me to admit defeat.  And for you, dear reader, I will document my wanders in as few words and as many photos as possible (I mean really! Why are you even still reading this tome?!).

Let’s get our walking on!!!

Maybe my next tattoo?

Quick update from the future: now that this project is finished, I’m off on another adventure! Keep in touch on my new blog at Three Miles an Hour. See you there!