Day 60

You can find the map for today’s 13.62 mile walk here.

Today was ridiculously long. The area looked small on my map, but out-and-back trips across six bridges added a lot of footsteps without marking much off the page. I’m not ashamed to say that this walk totally kicked my ass. The exceptionally mediocre lunch I ate at the 9-mile mark was one of the best meals I have had in a while, mostly because I sat for an hour and didn’t move a muscle (the cider might have helped too). I was absolutely knackered by the time I got back to my bike.

But, despite the distance and fatigue, if there was any day to spend with the river I love so much, it was this one. The sky looked like this ALL day long. Continue reading

Day 59

You can find the map for today’s 6.46 mile walk here.

Well that was a busy couple of weeks. I can’t believe it’s already been ten days since I finished my last walk. In the days leading up to it, time slowed down the way it does whenever you are excited about something, and I felt aware of every minute ticking by. But the moment I took that last step, everything sped up again, and here I am, a week and a half later, just getting a minute to catch up on the last few posts.

Although finishing the walks was a feat in itself, it might be wrapping up this blog that proves the more studious task for me. I love writing about the experience and connecting with all of you over the great treasures of London, but with that last step I felt like everything was done and I could quickly feel my mind moving on to the next thing.

That next thing has a lot to do with walking too and is something I hope to share with you in the next few weeks, but for now I am going to put it aside while I wrap up this project fully and tie the blog up the way it deserves.

So, without further ado, I give you: Day 59 Continue reading

Huge Thanks and Quick Update

Only 3 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on FB and Twitter for more updates.

Wow! I am so overwhelmed by how many kind comments I’ve had off the back of the Londonist article yesterday! Thank you so much!!

For anyone who was reading along before and didn’t see the article, you can find it here. I have loved the Londonist since I moved here and am absolutely over the moon to be featured on their amazing site. It is the perfect way to end this adventure!

As for this little project I am working on……I only have one walk left!

I worked pretty hard the last few walks to make this final one nice and easy and to give me time to take the Thames Clipper the whole length of the congestion zone so I don’t neglect that part of London. The river is probably my favourite part of the city (ironically, considering it’s street-free), so I am pretty excited to end the adventure there. Plus I get to sit down the whole time! What luxury.

I’m currently in the countryside enjoying a little break with my family before the final walk on Friday and the Congestion Zone Ends Celebration Picnic on Saturday (details here if you want to come along to the picnic!). I hoped to have all the posts out before Saturday but it’s not looking extraordinarily likely. Oh well. I’ll get them to you soon (and I still owe you some from May, so the blog won’t be wrapping up for a little while still)!

Apart from the regular posts, I have a few other things I’ll be putting together for you in August when I hunker down in Utah for a month and process all the information I have collected out on my walks. Here are a few things I am hoping to get done then:

A big archive page and category system with all the links to posts and the corresponding maps, all tagged with relevant neighbourhoods so you can find ideas for places to see near where you live, work or plan to visit.

A stop-motion video of the big map as I have filled it in over the 65 walks. I’m pretty excited about this one!

There are also so many places that I liked but that I couldn’t get into the posts for that day, so I will probably hit you with a series of one-off recommendations after all the big stuff is done too.

Still lots of things I want to do with this project, as you can see!

For now I am trying to enjoy the countryside with my family and rest up so I can really soak up that last walk on Friday. I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Thanks again for reading and I hope to see you at the party 🙂

See you soon! 

Only 3 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on FB and 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 58

You can find the map for today’s 6.8-mile walk here. Only 7 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Lots of houses again today.

It’s still that same, slow, residential thing I’ve talked about on the last few walks. From reading this it might sound like it’s all a bit samey in the south, and it is in the sense that it’s mainly residential, but it’s not boring. The style and aesthetic appeal of the flats can sometimes change radically from street to street (even midway down the same street sometimes). Today was very much like that. A couple of the estates were really rundown and depressing. A couple of streets were absolutely gorgeous. I enjoyed exploring the contrasts.

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All this repetition means you’re in for a short post today though because, apart from a few photos of houses, I really only found a couple of places that stood out. They certainly stood out though! Continue reading

Day 57

You can find the map for today’s 6.73-mile walk here. Only 8 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

Today was another fairly lazy walk.

The south has been nice because, without the hustle and bustle of the city and the plethora of shops and distractions, the streets themselves are the only thing I have to pay attention to. I like that. It’s why I started this project in the first place. I like the experience of seeing what the streets themselves have to offer: their aesthetic, their atmosphere, their level of activity. I like observing it all and getting a feel for each neighbourhood as it’s own thing.

The relaxed vibe around here means also don’t feel as much pressure to find amazing things to tell you about. It’s becoming more natural to just walk the walk and tell you how it went rather than try to make it be something spectacular. That’s pretty nice too.

So like I said, today’s walk was slow and lazy. I found some streets that weren’t very pretty. I also found a couple of places I think every Londoner should know about. It’s a lot of fun uncovering these gems in an area that is otherwise pretty ordinary. It’s like going on a big Easter egg hunt.

Although having said that, the first one I’ll tell you about was very hidden, but the other two are pretty much right there in plain sight. Chances are you haven’t stopped to check them out though!

William Blake

I met Mr. Blake and his wife Catherine back on Day 10 in Bunhill Cemetery. It was nice getting a little visit from them again on the walk today.

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Apparently, Blake had a dream of having his works displayed as public art around London, so Southbank Mosaics decided to make that vision come true 200 years later. They designed and installed a whole series of mosaics showcasing his poems inside the tunnel system that sprouts out the back side of Waterloo Station.

Day 57

I like how much poetry is lying about the place in London. In memory of my grandma’s birthday a couple of years ago, I decided to go for a walk to see where the day took me (surprise, surprise), and I ended up getting a poetry-filled day. She was big into poetry so it was an absolutely perfect thing to have happen.

That’s the day I discovered the Poetry Library hidden in the Royal Festival Hall and spent an age reading through the Poems on the Underground at the London Transport Museum. Coincidentally, the Southbank also had a poetry festival going on that day, so the railings were covered in big prints of short poems from around the world.

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Finding things like these poetry mosaics always brightens my day (particularly if it is in an otherwise grim tunnel).

Lambeth Riverside

I don’t know why more people don’t know about the Bankside walk between Lambeth and Westminster Bridges. It is absolutely gorgeous. I mean look at this view! Continue reading

Day 56

You can find the map for today’s 5.74 mile walk here. 10 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

After three days of walking in the south, I can safely say that it is mostly houses around here. There’s not a whole lot for a visitor to get into in these parts. The things that aren’t flats are warehouses, company headquarters, storage facilities, educational institutions, community centres for the people who live here…but not much to report on in terms of things to visit.

I can say definitely say though that I could see the benefits of living in some of these places – not just the pretty spots either. The idea of the south overall is actually quite appealing (sorry about that, Northerners). When I am walking around here I feel so far from the chaos of the city. It’s so calm and quiet. Even the high street chains aren’t as prevalent.

Let me take that back.

The high street chains don’t exist.

On a normal walk, unless I find an outstanding place for lunch, I eat at Prêt and end the day at a Nero for a tea and a Skype date. Don’t judge. I have my reasons. Mainly the new Passion Pop smoothie and reliable internet.

On my first day in the south though, I did a quick search for a PrĂŞt for lunch and there aren’t any – any at all – between Vauxhall Bridge and Waterloo. That’s basically half of the congestion zone on the south side. That’s crazy. These things are like the plague everywhere else. Don’t believe me? Look at this map.  Continue reading

Day 55

You can find the map for today’s 5.7-mile walk here. 11 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.

I was so lazy today. I really did nothing at all and it was so wonderful. I just meandered through the neighbourhood, enjoying the sun. The biggest decision I had to make all day was which flavour of ice lolly to buy.

The guy at the cafĂ© helped me break it down by categorising them (milk vs. water-based), removing the flavour I knew I didn’t want (watermelon) and giving me the pros and cons of the remaining fruits so I could make an informed decision.

I finally settled on strawberry.

I love strawberries.

When I was a kid I loved them so much that I named by cat Strawberry, my five-year old logic being: I love strawberries and I love her…let’s call her Strawberry!

We travelled to California a lot at that time too, and we’d always stay at the Big A Motel (which, shockingly, still exists!). In the 7-11 next door they always had strawberry fruit bars, and they were the first thing I begged my dad for the minute we got there. I loved those things so much.

Turns out they still do the trick for me.

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Other than that very important decision, I didn’t do much apart from chat with a street sweeper and take lots of photos of flowers. Continue reading