Friday, 5 March 2004

Feet don't fail me now

Caught this piece about Walking to Vermont, the new book by Christopher Wren, the former New York Times foreign correspondent. (Aside: I always liked the name Christopher Wren - besides being the name of one of the great architects of all time, it always sounded like a companion to Christopher Robin of Winnie the Pooh.) Now I'm intrigued. Walking from Point A to Point B is seriously - and I'll play the "I was a travel writer" card here - the best way to see anywhere, even a place you think you know like your home country. I remember the first time I was in New York, I walked up Broadway from Canal Street, where I was staying, past a whole changing world - Union Square, Koreatown, Times Square - to 57th and then across 57th to Madison and up Madison to 96th. It was late at night walking up Madison, the grand stores were all closed but you could still make out their goods in the windows and the Upper East Side had acquired that weird quiet hush it gets - nowhere near as raucous as the rest of the city had been - and my feet were begging for mercy, but it was, indubitably, indelibly, exhilarating - an overdose of the senses, a plunge into the deep end, imbibing more of the city than any silly tour could show.

Now that's nowhere near walking to Vermont, but Wren's description of his quest has inspired me. More walkabouts, I say. And that means I need better shoes.



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