TRAVEL : why walking is the best way to discover a city

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FASHION, GOING PLACES, HOME, TRAVEL

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if you read our blog post from the other day about our weekend of celebration, you know we spent sunday taking the longest walk in a spring-crazy berlin. tourists on boats. tourists on bikes. tourists on segways. even a group of tourists in vintage go-karts.

that’s all well and good. but it’s not my preferred way of discovering a city. i like using my old trusted leggies. here’s why.

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on foot, you easily get a feel for the beat of the city. the pace, the speed. am i in a lazy small-town in the alps, nodding and smiling to the old folks on the curbs – or hustling and bustling with stressed-out professionals with important stuff to do ?

being on the street, with the people, you sort of feel like you’re a part of the city, the movement. instead of being a visitor just peeking in.

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another reason for you to go on foot – you’ll see things you never would have seen otherwise. what’s in between the tourist attractions ? you won’t find out on a bus in a busy street, or down in the metro. going by foot means that you stumble across areas of the city not intended for tourists. maybe dodgier, dirtier. maybe calmer and more beautiful. maybe with the best food you’ll ever taste, and the neighbourhood kids’ artwork in tiny galleries.

don’t get me wrong, touristy stuff is great ! but so is the stuff in between.
if you want to understand and get to know the city properly, put on some sneakers and use them feet of yours !

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i believe it’s in our nature to walk. humans are explorers, nomads by nature and we usually feel great when we move about. it’s comfortable and satisfying for the brain somehow to see things on foot. when me and david plan to go see something, we always try to walk at least one direction. we usually don’t fully appreciate visiting someplace in the city if we go there and back again by train / bus / car.

to be able to get a connection between where you’re going with where you’ve been, it’s like you need the movement of feet. or maybe that’s just us ?

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walking is hanging out. no matter if you do it with a partner, or by yourself – it’s a way to spend some quality time. the slowness of it means that you’re going to talk a lot with your companion, commenting on this and that, experiencing the city together. even if you’re on your own, it gives you the chance to really mull over what you’re seeing.

me and david take long walks everyday, no matter if on a trip or at home. it’s one of my favourite parts of the day, since just hanging out with no other plan or business than moving our feet, makes it possible to just chitchat about whatever. this sort of brings us back to each other. we might have had our heads filled with scrambled thoughts, and just getting those out in the open to each other, brings order to where we’re at. we’re always on the same page after a long walk. we’re levelled out, in sync.

like we’re clearing our heads. in front of each other.

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walking makes you feel good. your body i mean. trips can often mean that we’re getting out of our normal routine. eat and drink things that make us tired, sluggish. we don’t move around as much as usual. we don’t sleep as well.

i’ve decided a few years back that if i’m going on a trip, i’m going to feel good on it, darn it ! i’ve had bad experiences with not enjoying myself properly because of mistreating my body a little bit too much. so experiencing your destination on foot is a great remedy for draining all your energy on holiday-mode. moving while seeing things is such a good mood booster, that i find my trips more enjoyable.

a couple of years back, me and david went on a month long road trip through the US. first on the west coast, later on the east coast. after three weeks when we finally flew to new york, it was such relief to a be in a city made for walking in. after all those hours in the car.

all the european cities i’ve been in has been great walking cities, but nothing beats berlin. the sheer size of the city, in combination with how few people there are on the streets, means that you can go how fast you want, for as long as you want. and it’s so hella beautiful too. i know a lot of people find berlin grey and ugly. but i happen to like grey and ugly.

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have i missed anything ?

oh one important point : it’s cheap !
actually, it’s even better than cheap – it’s free. if you have a strict travel budget, walking is the way to go.

and by that, i’m out.
literally out, since it’s time for mine and david’s daily walk. happy exploring fellow travellers !

love // jenny

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wearing 5 preview cardigan*, monki sunglasses, cheap monday backpack.
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5 Comments

  1. mararet webb

    Hi Jenny & David,

    I totally agree!! Whenever my hubby and I go somewhere, we walk whenever possible -esp when travelling. Gosh if my shoes could talk!! The kms/miles we’ve put on them!! And it’s so much fun to look in shop windows and visit markets etc.
    I walk 30 mins to work and then 30 more home again most everyday from Aug/Sept until April/May – depends on the temps and in summer I ride my bicycle as it’s just way too hot to walk most days. I can stop and watch the birds/flowers etc.
    Enjoy your outdoor time :)
    XO
    Margaret

  2. I love walking too. As a pagan, it has yet another meaning for me: With my feet to the ground, I feel a literal connection to the earth and the place I’m in as a whole. I get to taste its energy, so to speak :-)
    Glad you’re enjoying Berlin!

  3. NJ, USA Theresa

    Hi Jenny, David:

    Yeah, walking is wonderful, cheap, free, until the “temptations” appear: Stores, clubs, shops, restaurants that you pass by, for example and want your money! Haha.
    I met my fiance walking, and finding this event in central park, NYC. I was with my buddies, and he was handing out fliers for a Columbia University event. We hit it off, and now I plan on transferring there to be closer to him (I’m still studying on the west coast.)
    So, you can meet the love of your life by just walking, too! And it takes away any stress I have, instantly.
    It’s the best exercise too, in my opinion.
    :-)

  4. I agree entirely that walking is the best way to discover a city and is something I would always recommend doing! It’s especially great in really tourist heavy cities, as you find those little “hidden gems” that aren’t on the radar. It also gives you such a great feeling, to be exploring the more homey streets of a city. x

    nueyork.blogspot.com

  5. My favorite ways of getting from point A to point B is definitely walking, but also cycling. I totally agree with the perks of walking that you enumerated in the post. In a way it clears your head.

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