You put your right foot in, you pull your right foot out. You put your left foot in and . . . OK, we’re not doing the hokey pokey but we have been getting tens of thousands of steps and miles in during the last few days.
Several days have been 10 miles-plus, and I expect that to continue in France. Even with the excellent transportation system (congrats TFL), there’s still a lot of walking from point to point, up winding stairs to to the top of iconic churches and other monuments, and just getting to the next destination.
Some of those came during our Walks of London tour of the changing of the guard and a visit to the top of the Methodist Central Hall near Westminster Abbey. It was not the usual standing and watching the guard parade march in front of Buckingham Palace.
We went to St. James Palace where we saw some of the guard form and begin its march toward the palace. We beat a retreat following them until cutting across St. James Park to the barracks where the band began playing and marched to Buckingham. From there it was on to the church.
When we booked the tour we knew we would probably have to do some stairs to get to the top. We were wrong. It was a LOT of stairs, nearly 200. The last 67 were a tiny winding metal staircase with narrow treads and a dizzying curve. If you didn’t have vertigo before, you were a candidate for it then. But it was worth the view overlooking Westminster Abbey, with the London skyline in magnificent array around us. We even could see the home of MI6, or James Bond’s office. We doubt he was in that day.
London is a very walkable town which we proved on several days when we walked more than 10 miles. Paris, however, seemed different. Since it was our first trip there, we had no previous experience from which to judge getting around the city. We also only had one full day there before we left on our road trip to Normandy so we didn’t get to just wander as normal.
We, of course, did the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre (Mona Lisa was too busy that day seeing thousands of visitors so we skipped her). Walking from the Louvre to the Tower gave us the chance to see some of the small neighborhoods and streets. They were, for the most part, what we expected.
We were disappointed to see the amount of graffiti that seemed omnipresent. It was the worst of any major city in which we have been. While some consider it art, it just distracted from the city’s innate beauty, and I think some of it was, shall we say, impolite.