Clocking Up Steps in London: I AM CALGARY’S Summer of 2019

Our vacations see us doing substantially more walking than we ever do during our non-vacation routines.  Europe, somehow, fostered a desire to walk even more than any of our other vacation destinations.

As a continuation to our Europe 2019 vacation blog series about different modes of transport that we used, it seemed appropriate for us to report some of our most memorable walking excursions as a category of transport in a dedicated two-part blog of its own. This follows on from the fun and popular sensational swimming experiences that we also published recently.

But first, the data …

Being the Engineer and data freak that I am, I figured we’d record our Apple health stats as a measure of our daily activity.  While I acknowledge that these stats may not be ultra-reliable, when averaged over a longer period of time they would be a good indicator of our efforts.

So, looking at our stats for the 31-days of our travels, here is a summary:

  • Christa: 379,280 steps | 230km | 453 flights of steps
  • Derek: 352,800 steps | 239km | 505 flights of steps

It’s a bit odd. We practically went everywhere together, so the difference of 26,000 steps is hopefully because my stride is longer than hers and not because I was lazy! Despite my fewer steps I still succeeded in walking 9km further. Go figure? None the less, we’re pretty proud of the 460+ kilometres that we covered between us.

For my analytical readers, here’s a pictorial summary of our day-to-day stats.

With that in mind, here is a list, in chronological order of our trip, of our most memorable and significant walks, walking tours and excursions.

👣 🇬🇧 Walking the streets of London

One can never tire of the variety, charm, history and bustle of the streets, circus’ and squares of London. I think that most of the world have visited London, while those that haven’t want to.

The Queen’s Walk, the Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Bridge

As familiar and iconic as those red double decker London buses or tube stations might be, the truth is that the best of London just has to be experienced on foot. With few or no places that are inaccessible to the average tourist, whether on foot or even wheelchair, London begs to be explored at street level.

Admittedly, we did elect to buy a 48-hour hop-on hop-off tour bus ticket during our recent visit here, as mentioned in Part 2 of our recent “Planes, Trains, Automobiles and More” blog. This turned out to be a poor use of our time and money. We would have done better to have hoofed it on foot everywhere. That way we would actually have seen more, albeit that we’d have been more tired by the end of the day.

No thanks to the crazy summer traffic and the heaving hoards of tourists – not unlike us – who were trying to capture their best glimpses of the London sights, getting anywhere seemed to happen at a snails pace. Our best bet, in hindsight, would have been to formulate a sightseeing plan in the morning prior to stepping out of the house door (weather-dependent), mark out a route to see what we wanted to see, and then execute the plan. That’s easier said than done. The likelihood of getting it done on foot was a whole lot better than waiting for a delayed sightseeing bus!

Having said all of this, attempting to enjoy and absorb the atmosphere on Oxford Street on a late July afternoon, as exciting as that sounds, is impossible. Trying not to lose your spouse to the madding crowds while figuring out where you’re heading and what you’re trying to see while suppressing a mild bout of claustrophobia is more likely the scenario you’d be facing. So, is walking London the way to go? I’d still have to answer with a resounding “yes!”. However, the disclaimer to that would be: moderate your expectations of how much you’ll realistically get to see or, better still, visit London during a quieter season, if you can.

Here’s a sampler of random sights we got to enjoy during our foot patrols.

👣 But wait, there’s more …

Explore our next walking destination as we wander through the woodlands of the vast grounds of Windsor Great Park.

Discover the ruggedness of England’s southwest coast path.

Detour with us through the maze of streets and alleyways on the Island of Guernsey’s historic and quaint St. Peter Port.

Become bewildered by the allure of the Channel Island gem of Herm.

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