Walking Abroad

We recently returned from nearly three weeks in Europe, and for the past few days I’ve been holed up trying to wade through three weeks’ worth of newspapers and answer accumulated email and newsgroup posts. Although I dressed to go to “the gym” yesterday, my husband returned reporting that it was unusable because of broken AC and noxious, possibly even toxic, fumes, so when I hit the street for a walk this morning, it was the first real exercise I’d gotten since our return on Tuesday.

Although I didn’t attempt anything resembling my standard 2.1-mile fitness walk while we were abroad, that’s not to say I didn’t do any walking! Since our daughter doesn’t have a car or drive in England (her husband drives their car to work), anywhere we went in their town, we went on foot. We did walk into and around town several times, and once we accompanied her on a longish trek to a nearby (in motorist terms) school to have her baby weighed.

In addition, we:

  • Thoroughly covered the ground at the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth (much of it in the rain).
  • Traipsed around Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath for several days.
  • Saw every nook and cranny of Hampton Court Palace (much of it more than once, as we kept getting lost) and some of its gardens.
  • Climbed all over Kenilworth Castle (many flights of steps).
  • Explored Cambridge and Greenwich (one day each).
  • Tramped around miscellaneous portions of London, becoming intimately familiar with the geography between St. Pancras and King’s Cross stations and the nearby hotel where we stayed before and after our day trip to Paris.
  • Climbed down the Eiffel Tower (luckily we’d gone up in the elevator).
  • Trekked through the Jardin des Tuileries from the Musée du Louvre to the Place de la Concorde and back, a distance of well over a mile (and that doesn’t even count the amount of walking we did trying to find our way out of the Louvre from our group’s meeting point in the Carrousel shopping mall). This would have been a pleasant stroll in milder weather, but as we were leaving Paris in late afternoon, we passed a bank time-temperature display showing 33° C. (91° F.), so it was a pretty sweaty walk, especially given the limited time we had available.

And of course we were mostly on our feet throughout the time we were visiting various museums (such as the Churchill Museum and Imperial War Museum in London and the Royal Naval Museum in Greenwich). The one actual walk that was planned, a tramp from the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water to the picturesque Slaughters (Upper and Lower), was rained out, and there was at least one “free day” when I didn’t budge from my daughter’s house, but we did make up for it in other ways. For example, the day we flew home, which might have been expected to be largely sedentary, met expectations between Gatwick and Atlanta, but when we arrived in Atlanta, we found that our flight to Mobile had been canceled, and the comedy of errors that ensued (rebooking, getting on standby lists) had us shuttling between two concourses several times before we settled down. By the time we finally got home, many hours later than planned, we felt like we’d had plenty of exercise!

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