All the ways you wander- Your GTG’s top 10 places to explore on foot
Hi again globetrotters and welcome to the latest installment of our top ten series. At the risk of stating the obvious, there are many ways to explore a place, some of which will even be unique to a particular destination. With everyone training for the latest philanthropic marathon, killing their carbs and watching their salt intake, your GTG, ever keen to remain ‘en vogue’ thought it might be an idea to do our bit for the global health kick. While it may not be the most practical recommendation in all situations (traversing multiple median strips to reach the Malaysian national mosque in Kuala Lumpur could serve as a perfect example of this), venturing out on foot in a number of places can add that something special to your trip and give you time to enjoy things at a more leisurely pace.
- Edinburgh (Scotland)- As I’ve heard a number of Aussie tourists exclaim “it’s like a fairytale”, and it would be fairly silly of me to disagree. Edinburgh’s medieval looking city centre is largely accessible to pedestrians, especially along the wide, promenades that also allow panoramic views of the city. The ten-toed advantage in this case is the chance to check out the cosy pubs, small cafes, and shops along the way, giving an insight into Edinburgh life and a hint of how things change during the festival or peak tourism season.
- Dublin (Ireland)- This dirty old town matches its grit with equal measures of classic Irish charm, offering up her blood sweat and tears with every square inch of pavement, so it seems only natural to ponder the ducks of St Stephen’s green and the pock-marked columns of the GPO, baring the scars of the 1916 uprising. A walk along the River Liffey in either direction is a solid indication of how much the city can change.
- Nara (Japan)- An ancient Japanese capital in its own right, not to walk around here would be to miss the local deer who rome wild in the open-grassed areas. More to the point, everything you want to see such as the world’s largest solid wooden structure at the entrance to Todaiji, the home of Daibutsu (the great Buddha) is approachable by foot and not so easily accessible by wheeled transport. With that in mind, there are still, hand-drawn rickshaws to get you from A to B, a nostalgic wink at Japanese feudal society.
- Barcelona (Catalunya, Spain)- To be completely honest, my first evening in Barcelona saw me fixed in place for at least half an hour gazing at Gaudi’s hauntingly illuminated Casa Batillo on Passeig de Gracia . Similar moments occurred throughout the rest of my visit, making it quite complicated to gain a sufficient view from the other side of a moving window.
- Paris (France)- Complimentary to viewing the awe-inspiring structures that give Paris it’s particular pedigree, the main purpose for a stroll here is to embrace the mindset of the ‘flaneur’, the curious on-looker, susceptive to the finer details, the local way of life without a face. Of course the designer labels and Champs Elysees come with their custom-made bragging rights for veterans.
- Seville (Andalucía, Spain)- Well, there’s no denying a horse and carriage might do, but to simply feel what it is possible to feel in Seville, and to be overcome by the impossibly persuasive Andalucian beck and call, is a thing best felt with two feet on the ground before they completely float skyward with the waves of steaming, orange blossom-scented heat.
- Kyoto (Japan)- While quite spread-out geographically, the best advice to experience the regal glory of Japan’s jewel in the imperial crown is to catch a bus to the far end of town, and explore every inch of the way back on foot. This is a surprisingly achievable task even when considering Kyoto’s size, with delicious meal breaks providing the necessary breaks in your journey. Advice would be to pick a logical route and a few major places to dedicate your time along the way. Ok so you may need a couple of connecting busses but the principle remains.
- Porto (Portugal)- Quite simply, there would scarcely be a point in visiting Porto if you had no intention of walking. Each turned corner of tiled magnificence, each hidden courtyard boasting a small selection of local eateries, each seeping of the syrupy sunset through to your retinas, each sigh that escapes your nostrils, and each window of hanging Bacalhau would all be a passing blur to a tour-bus traveller in these parts.
- Amsterdam (Holland)- The beauty here is being able to walk into town one way and home another thanks to the labyrinthine canal system. The beautiful parks, squares, party areas, gorgeous bridges, red light district, and most areas of town are all reachable by foot, provided you are in a suitable frame of mind to find your way…
- York (Yorkshire, England)- York is one a select group of places with it’s own DIY tour specifically for walking. A couple of different maps will guide you through a route encompassing the old city walls, a castle and a cathedral, amongst a range of gorgeous side streets that provided the setting for many a Harry Potter scene.
While your GTG has never walked in Memphis, or even been there in fact, It seems we as travelers can all relate to the enriched experience that can be gained from a bit of leg work. While we have only selected ten today, notable exclusions like Budapest and Galway could easily leave us with a top 50 or top 100 🙂 Your GTG is as always uber keen to hear your ideas, where would you walk? Send in your ideas on the form below. Untill next week.