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Pleasures of urban walking

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
As one who lives in the center of a large city and therefore do a lot of city walking, I can appreciate this. I often walk the same routes so apart from what is mentioned in the article, I also get to follow how different things are developing. Walking past the same buildings and houses in suburban areas again and again I find myself thinking things like “Now, pull yourself together and get that fence mended!”, “Oh, they finally got around to trimming the hedge”, “Nice job on that chimney”, “When will they fix that hole in the pavement”, etc. Another of the small entertainments of urban walking; and you also get to meet quite a lot of interesting people – at a safe distance of course :)
 

David Manzo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2018)
Great idea. I live in downtown Boston, a very walkable city that was created by adding landfill and, in the 19th century, annexing near by towns. The result is an odd shaped city of about 25 neighborhoods. I decided to make my urban walk an adventure. My goal was to walk in every neighborhood without leaving the city limits in one day (about 30 miles). Took from sunrise to sunset on an autumn day. Alone and with no earbuds. Just walked and observed. 41BE4470-4F45-4E78-8A98-C99DE6BBFAD6.pngLoved it.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
When I lived in London, I walked the Capital Ring (78 miles / 126 km) and started, but did not complete, the London Outer Orbital Path (150 miles / 241km). The routes are well marked with public transportation links along the way, so you can take the bus or train to the start and finish of your walk. Not a bad way to train for a Camino.
 

Hugh Larkin

Perpetual Wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Sanabria 2018
Pieterpad 2018
Kumano Kodo (202??)
After our 2014 CF, we have been walking more and driving and biking less. As Turga noted, we too, are seeing small changes here and there on our daily walk-abouts of our small city of Eugene, OR; we probably wouldn't have noticed them unless we walked. And its nice to be able to smile, nod at/acknowledge, and chat with strangers as we did on our Caminos.

I would add that after reading "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben and "The Bird Way" by Jennifer Ackerman, my local wanderings are more exciting and engaging.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Hi Raggy - thanks so much for the link to the Walk London website - what a fantastic site it is. Gosh - how I love London - it’s an old and enduring love which began in 1975 on my first visit there. Some of the walks on the site are going to be something I will love to do once the Covid All-Clear is given and happier times are with us once again.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Hi Raggy - thanks so much for the link to the Walk London website - what a fantastic site it is. Gosh - how I love London - it’s an old and enduring love which began in 1975 on my first visit there. Some of the walks on the site are going to be something I will love to do once the Covid All-Clear is given and happier times are with us once again.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
I'm glad that I gave you something to look forward to. In my opinion, these two sections were the prettiest parts of the Capital Ring:

1) From East Finchley (the last third of stage 11) as far as Stoke Newington (stage 12)
2) From Wimbledon Park (Stage 6) to Osterley Lock (Stage 7)

If you're making a short visit, those are the sections that I would recommend. There are other nice bits here and there. As you might expect the route goes through some gritty post-industrial scenery (e.g. Stage 15) and some rather banal suburban streets (e.g. much of Stage 4 and 5 if I recall correctly).
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I loved this paragraph —

We need to resist these habits that deplete our experience of the city. We need to learn to walk undistractedly. How? Start by turning off your phone. Once it’s off, consciously cultivate an attitude of active curiosity to your immediate environment. Don’t fix your eyes before your feet. Look up, look down, look around. Commit to noticing two or three things you’d never have noticed if you’d been looking at your phone. Savour them.

And I was surprised at how the article also spoke to me as a newcomer to cycling out on deserted country roads in my area. I have lived here for almost 50 years, and have never been to any of the places I now plot out for my Sunday rides. Paying attention and savoring, just as the author suggests — a particularly pretty farm, an old barn falling down, birds on a wire, a few meandering streams that somehow escaped channelling and draining, an unexpected plot of native prairie grasses, old main streets with remnants from their 19th century past, old rural cemeteries. The list goes on and on, and I have only been doing this for about 8 Sundays!!!

Taking the time to pay attention to what’s around us, whether it’s the built environment or the natural one, is one way to keep the sense of wonder alive while we are shut out of the camino.

Thanks, @mspath, for posting it.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
I'm glad that I gave you something to look forward to. In my opinion, these two sections were the prettiest parts of the Capital Ring:

1) From East Finchley (the last third of stage 11) as far as Stoke Newington (stage 12)
2) From Wimbledon Park (Stage 6) to Osterley Lock (Stage 7)

If you're making a short visit, those are the sections that I would recommend. There are other nice bits here and there. As you might expect the route goes through some gritty post-industrial scenery (e.g. Stage 15) and some rather banal suburban streets (e.g. much of Stage 4 and 5 if I recall correctly).
Thanks Raggy - I’ll do the two you recommend first. London’s such an interesting city for wandering. In past years I’ve mainly stuck to walking in Central London but now these walks will cover all new territory - terrific.
Thanks again and cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
In The Guardian, 17/10/2020, as cities across Europe are experiencing new waves of Covid-19 and consequential/additional lockdowns Matthew Beaumont suggests rediscovering the simple pleasures of urban walking.

I am so blessed to live in the beautiful capital city of Canada, the National Capital Region of Ottawa/Outaouis. Wherever I walk nature surrounds me. I’ve discovered so many new wonderful paths through and around the capital. Once I put on my hiking shoes, grab my poles & hook my dog to my pack waistband I’m out the door and on the Camino in my head and heart. ❤️ Anyone in Ottawa/Outaouais wanting to walk just message me....I’m practicing covid safety measures.
 

LotusCompass

Conscious Travel Coach
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Portugal (2020)
Camino del Norte (2020)
I started walking the average distance of a day on the Camino and challenged my friends to do it. It was really fun! I saw parts of my city that I had never really noticed. There's something so special about walking and simply noticing what's happening all around. Made me really appreciate life, much like the Camino did.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I am so blessed to live in the beautiful capital city of Canada, the National Capital Region of Ottawa/Outaouis. Wherever I walk nature surrounds me. I’ve discovered so many new wonderful paths through and around the capital. Once I put on my hiking shoes, grab my poles & hook my dog to my pack waistband I’m out the door and on the Camino in my head and heart. ❤️ Anyone in Ottawa/Outaouais wanting to walk just message me....I’m practicing covid safety measures.

I spent some time in Ottawa some years ago and it’s a very nice city. It was in January/February though, so the city was in winter dress. I didn’t do much walking in those days, but I spent a fine, sunny Sunday skating several kilometers up and down the frozen Rideau River along which there were small huts on the ice selling hot chocolate, cookies and pancakes and the like, very nice - and very cold :)
 

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