Let’s add up the numbers on our latest adventure abroad. In twenty three, consecutive days of independent travel to Paris, Dublin, London, and Rome, my I-Phone pedometer recorded that my wife and I had walked over 80 miles total distance. That’s around 3.5 miles or over 10,000 steps in daily exertion. Clearly, we continue to prefer traversing major sights on foot in our European travels. Yet, on several occasions, during this challenging journey, our will to “hit the streets” regularly had been severely tested.
1. The Complexity Of Stuff
The essentials of conducting city walks for us in densely populated areas in Europe requires considerable planning. Since heavy backpacks no longer suit us, we economized on what we included in in our smaller day packs for both space and weight purposes. Our most important essentials for daily storage would as a result include bottles of water, backup chargers, emergency snacks, and lightweight umbrellas/jackets. Bulky maps and travel guides had now been rendered obsolete as we downloaded information about desired places to visit beforehand using apps like “Triposo”and “Maps + Me.” Wearing well cushioned walking shoes seemed equally important as well.
2. Europe Often Designs Vertically
European infrastructure designs present a formidable pedestrian challenge. When traveling by “Metro”in the Chatelet stop in Paris or the Victoria Station “Tube” hub in London, for example, we typically traversed challenging distances into the depths of the underground to reach our designated point of departure. While escalators did exist at a selected stations, we often faced a stampede of busy commuter foot traffic along these pathways in reaching our departure points. Additionally, navigation around sights like “The Spanish Steps”in Rome or “Sacre Couer” in Paris, dictated that we ascend steeply by foot to obtain the panoramic views that we desired. Surprisingly, public access to restrooms in museums, restaurants airports and transit stations required several floors of laborious stairway travel as well.
3. Time Travel Matters
Tourists in major European cities today can easily be enticed to take snappy, tour bus excursions to view famous destinations. Yet our insight reveals that much of the old continent today remains best accessible on foot along cobblestone lined streets, narrow, pedestrian alleyways, and statue lined open plazas. For instance, a casual tour of the ancient Forum walls in Rome or a morning wander through the exquisite gardens of Versailles Palace outside Paris provided invaluable insights of his historical interest . On our pub tour of Dublin, as well, patient meandering through the Temple Bar corridor or a lazy stroll along the river Liffey induced a proper feel of “Old Town” medieval Dublin.
4.Security Clearance Matters
On our city tours, Europe seemed to be on “high alert” for the threat of terrorism. The crowd control measures along physical barriers near the Roman Colosseum and the Twickenham Football stadium near London, for instance, made us more vigilant to check our surroundings as we walked. By thinking beforehand about where/when to walk safely, anticipated trouble could thus be largely avoided.
Walk today and then trod some more tomorrow has thus demonstrated our independent spirit as we savor its physical challenge in our latest European travels. We could now return on our reposition cruise back home to Fort Lauderdale with a more restful frame of mind. A warm whirlpool, a comfy hammock or an easy chair on deck sounded enticing for sure. We had certainly earned these luxuries.