Day 50

You can find the map for today’s 6.64 mile walk here26 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

As per usual, today’s walk had some distinctly different areas.

For the first bit, I finished off the streets I had left in St. James. I thought these would be a little boring because I had obviously seen the prettiest parts of the neighbourhood the day before. But there are a few gorgeous places around here, too rich for my blood, perhaps, but fun to walk by.

Most of the pretty buildings are hotels (really swanky, rich people hotels), or private clubs (to go along with the gentlemen theme from Day 49), or both like the St. James Hotel and Club (probably the most beautiful of all the buildings around here), which is also home to a Michelin Star dining experience.

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Also, I had always wondered where Duke’s was, the hotel whose bar claims to be the creator of James Bond’s famous martini, and I found it tucked down a tiny little mews off St. James Place. One day (when I like actually like martinis) I will come here and get the real deal. Continue reading

Progress Report #4

27 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Hello!

I have some big, exciting news!

I have officially finished the NORTH!!!

That’s crazy.

Looking at the map and remembering back to Day 1 at Tower Hill, I can’t quite believe I have done it all. It’s really far. Look at all that blue!

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And Now for the Stat-gasm

I tallied up the stats from my GPS tracker and blog stuff, and here’s what it says:

Stats

Nearly 305 miles! Woot!

For some perspective, if I had gotten out of bed one day and decided to walk in a straight line (as straight as you can in the UK) instead of up and down every London street, I would now be in the Lake District instead of Vauxhall (damn!).

And 138.5 hours is nothing to snigger at either. That’s 5.8 solid days of walking.

Also, with all these posts (and I have walked much more than I have written), I am now over 48,000 words. I haven’t had a goal for writing a certain number of words, but once I realised they were adding up, I thought it would be nice to track them and see how much I actually write over the course of the whole project.

A typical novel is 50,000 words, so I am pretty impressed I’ll be there in a couple of posts. NANORIMO here I come.

This all sounds like a great excuse for a…

Party!

I would love to see you at the party on July 26th (open house style from 2:30-5:30) to celebrate being done with this beast of a project.

Everyone is invited.

That means you!

I love London nerds, walking nerds, writing nerds, travel nerds, book nerds, any nerds at all (and regular people too, I suppose), and I would love to meet anyone who happens to have some free time that day so we can chat about our mutual nerdery (and maybe I can get to hear what other people are up to for once!).

I am going to be honest. That last walk (Day 53) was a big one. Really big. I wanted to finish the north by the end of June so I pushed through, but there is no way I could do that three times a week for a month.

I keep (somewhat obsessively) totalling, re-totalling and trying to estimate how many walks are left, and I hope I can get them done in time! All I know is that it’s a LOT of walking to go. Those last couple of weeks could be interesting. Stay tuned! I might need some pep talks in a few days!

You can find out details about the party on the Facebook page here.

Note: I might be moving venue because, as it turns out, the bar is closed at exactly the time I booked. I will update you as soon as I pick another place but it will be equally close to all the big transport links, so it shouldn’t change your trajectory much at all.

Need More London Walking in Your Life?

Also, a little more good news.

I wrote a piece for an ebook called The Insider’s Guide to Walking in London that just came out this week!

The book was organised by Catherine at London Hiker, who compiled ideas for walks from loads of London-loving folks like you and me.

The best part is that the book is FREE! You can download your copy here and find lots of inspiration for days out in London.

Enjoy!

And now I have to try and contain all this excitement and get back to writing these posts I owe you.

See you again soon! 

27 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.


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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!

Day 49

You can find the map for today’s 5.98 mile walk here. 31 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Today reminded me a little of Day 22. The first half of the walk was really boring. There were big, grey buildings and lots of statues and things that I am sure I am supposed to be excited about and interested in, but I am just not.

I need life around me. I like streets with weird shops, busy restaurants, hidden squares, colour and curiosity. I was not feeling any of that in the beginning of the walk.

I was immensely bored.

By the end, though, I found a part of London I absolutely loved. I can’t believe I haven’t spent more time there. Not sure how that happened. But I will be going back again when I want to show someone new territory (aka my parents when they come to visit for the Congestion Zone Ends party in a little over a month!).

Hopefully you will get a chance to wander through here and love it as much as I did.  Continue reading

Day 48

You can find the map for today’s 6.63-mile walk here32 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Today was a lot like Day 46. There were really fancy stores, cars and people around. To set the scene, two things I heard people on the street say as I walked around today:

“Yes, we’ll be moving the Picassos tomorrow.”

and

“What shall we do now? Oh yes, we were going to pop into Chanel, weren’t we?”

But just like Day 46, the area was very accessible and the streets were rammed with great art galleries.

art, Art, ART!

Who knew Mayfair could be so much fun?  Continue reading

Day 47

You can find the map for today’s 6.49 mile walk here33 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

On Day 46 I was surprised at how un-snooty and un-standoffish the people of Mayfair were. It was a great walk.

Today, the stereotypes I was wrong about the day before were, annoyingly, in full swing. This part of Mayfair (check the map here) was not lovely and wonderful and blissfully full of inspiration and friendliness. It was ugly in parts, unwelcoming on the whole and pretty disappointing after I had such a great day out just around the corner.

Most of the streets were lined with the back side of houses: cold, ugly garages, all with signs explicitly stating that you are not welcome there.

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Replace “park” with “be” and it’s a more accurate representation of the feel when you’re there. Also, am I not allowed to park here at all or just in future? Now isn’t the future so surely this means everyone is allowed one park in front of this gate before all future parks are verboten.

When I happened to stop on one of these angry, get-away-from-here streets to mark my map, I instantly heard the crackle of an intercom and a voice ask, “Can I help you??” in that way only the English can use to sound friendly while actually telling you to shove off.

Can I help you

Boring street. Intercom on the left. Evidence of my inappropriate behaviour.

I hadn’t pushed any buttons, peeked in any gates (surprisingly), or acted in any suspicious way. I was walking, I slowed, I stopped, I pulled out a piece of paper and put a pen to it. Oh the scandal!!

So that happened.

And that attitude epitomises the whole day out really. It was mainly residential, mainly not that pretty (not what I expected in Mayfair) and, all in all, not that fun or friendly.

Two good things did happen though. Three if you count this panda. Continue reading

Day 46

You can find the map for today’s 5.74 mile walk here. 38 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

I loved this walk immensely. I am writing this post after having done two walks since, and I still get a big smile when I think about this one.

Mayfair Street

I went into Mayfair with a lot of ideas about what the day would be like and I was totally wrong. I learned two big things: Mayfair isn’t as snobby as you might think and there is art everywhere. I had no idea about either of those things.

Compared to the rest of the West End, I have spent much less time in Mayfair than anywhere else almost entirely based on the fact that I thought I wouldn’t feel welcome here, walking around being my totally average self. I hate shopping, I don’t wear heels, I don’t seek out sparkly things, I never wear makeup, I have never been in a Bentley and I certainly carry my own luggage when I travel, normally on my back.

Luggage

For those reasons, I have avoided a lot of this area and that was really lame of me to do. One of the things I love best about London is that I really rarely feel judged or unwelcome. I walk confidently into places feeling like I have a right to be there. Rather than get a turned up nose from the staff, I end up chatting with them, learning a lot and laughing a lot. So I don’t know why I was so worried that this part of town would really be different. I broke my rule of “If something intrigues you, check it out” because I was so worried I would be judged and gently escorted out. Silly me. I’m happy to have learned my lesson.  Continue reading

Day 45

You can find the map for today’s 6.10 mile walk here. 40 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Hello again.

Today I finished off the last few streets of Marylebone and made my way into Mayfair. Marylebone is the largest neighbourhood I’ve covered, by far. All told, I was there for five walks. I still haven’t written about a couple of them but I have to keep you waiting for something, right?

I really enjoyed the walk today. The weather was beautiful, the buildings were gorgeous, the streets were full of greenery and I met a stranger who loves London and taught me all kinds of things about some of the places I have been. Perhaps he was making it up as he went along, but he’s a good bullshitter if that’s the case so I salute him either way.

Mayfair

Duke Street

Mayfair is just beautiful. I can’t get over the architecture and the dedication to green space. It is a truly unique part of London. The homes here are phenomenally decadent, with private gardens tucked away around every corner. When I have a few million pounds lying around sometime, I think I might get me one of these. Continue reading