It was Virginia Woolf who wrote about the importance of having A Room of One’s Own. The same can be said for a walking space. It’s no secret that walking in London is one of the best things I know. But it can also be one of the most tiring. Anyone who are familiar with London knows how hard it can be to find a good place for walking; a long stretch of space that allows you to walk freely, uninterrupted by traffic and indisturbed by the hordes of other people seeking a place of the city to trace their own steps.
My parents recently visited me and it was their suggestion that if the weather turned out nice we could go for a walk by Regent’s Canal and follow the canal around the park all the way down to Little Venice, in the same route that the longboats sail tourists to and from Camden Lock Market.
On the morning of our walk we woke to the promise of the kind of sunshine that would last all day, so off we went, down to Regent’s Park and through its green spaces to the other end where the canal starts to fold around it. And ooh, how I wished I had thought of doing this last year! It was such a beautiful Spring day; it was warm enough to walk with our coats unbuttoned and the birds were tweeting cheerfully in the trees that have started to sprout green little buds of leaves, ready to unfold in the sun. Is there anything more beautiful than the clear song of the blackbird in Spring?
There were other people on the walkway but the canal pavement wasn’t too crowded, so we walked in the kind of tranquil place you normally have to look long and hard for in London. Except for a few bicycles using the route as a quick bicycle lane away from cars, it seemed as if everyone slowed their steps and relaxed more than they normally do on the street.
I admit that it was a long walk and my feet were sore when we finally reached Little Venice Pier. But we didn’t have to rush or feel ourselves pushed forwards by other people and my tired legs only made it that more lovely when we sat down in the sun by the small tables at the Waterside Cafe with coffee and a piece of chocolate cake; looking at the boats sailing lazily through the calm canal waters under the bridges, before we went down to Warvick Avenue to take the tube home. After all, walking back might have been a bit too much. Even on a lovely Spring day like that. *