Four best cities for walk­ing

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

WALK­ING is the best way to see a city. And here are the cities in which to walk:

Port­land, Ore­gon (USA) I re­cently vis­ited Port­land, Ore­gon, and be­gan by tak­ing the bus to an in­ner-city dor­mant vol­cano. Start­ing out with a beau­ti­ful view of the cen­tral hub of the city in the dis­tance, the walk be­gins through a beau­ti­ful park be­fore find­ing a set of lakes. From here you hit an in­cred­i­bly long and straight road called SE Hawthorne Av­enue, to­ward the Wil­lamette river that chops the city in two. Walk­ing the full length of this road shows the di­ver­sity of Port­land cul­tur­ally with the aro­mas waft­ing out from restau­rants: South Korean, Mex­i­can, Greek, French.

Next are the many cof­fee and tea shops grind­ing their own beans to the sound of lo­cal mu­sic. This area of Port­land buzzes with di­ver­sity: the­atres, mu­sic houses, in­stru­ment shops, or­ganic farm­ers mar­kets, art shops and sec­ond-hand thrift and fur­ni­ture stores. It is a re­laxed and mel­low walk­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as you head to­ward the river. When you cross the river and beau­ti­ful bridge, you hit the high-rise hus­tle and bus­tle of down­town. Look up or you’ll miss the glitz of the mod­ern world as you head to­ward the Pearl Dis­trict where, again, the chilled na­ture of the city takes over from the core busi­ness dis­trict of down­town.

From here, you can head north­west and en­ter the en­chanted world of For­est Park. With over 70 miles (113 kilo­me­tres) of trails, the air feels cooler and health­ier to each breath you take. A walk in sub­ur­bia shows off the true di­ver­sity of a city.

Lon­don, UK Walk­ing west from Vaux­hall Bridge to­ward Bat­tersea Park on the north side of the Thames is a favourite walk of mine. I love the point when the apart­ment build­ings fade away and I am left with the view of Bat­tersea Power Sta­tion, Chelsea Bridge and the Thames as far as Worlds End. The beau­ti­ful Lon­don plane trees whose branches stretch over the Vic­to­rian rail­ings give one the feel­ing of walk­ing within the trees.

The old wa­ter works is on the right as I ap­proach Chelsea Bridge; its tower a re­minder of Lon­don’s past. I pass Chelsea Bridge along the em­bank­ment and look across to Bat­tersea Park, one of Lon­don’s great­est parks, though I feel it never gets the recog­ni­tion it de­serves.

I stroll past the Peace Pagoda and look across to the houses on the other side of the Thames and won­der if any­thing looks as Dutch as this view in Lon­don. I turn and walk to­ward the Fes­ti­val of Bri­tain foun­tains be­fore reach­ing the stun­ning Vic­to­rian band­stand – it’s per­fect for re­lax­ing and watch­ing peo­ple stroll past. If you have ar­rived on a sunny day this has the feel of one of the great­est spa­ces in Europe. Such a Parisian feel.

I con­tinue on to the sub-trop­i­cal gar­dens, the first in Eng­land, built in 1863 when the park war­den trav­elled to South Africa for horticultural in­spi­ra­tion. I carry on to the 1950s cafe and have an ice cream while sit­ting on a bench look­ing across the boat­ing lake to the Vic­to­rian rock­ery. I walk to­ward Al­bert Bridge to con­tinue my jour­ney along the Thames to­tally in­fused with the beau­ti­ful park and the joy and hap­pi­ness of all the Lon­don­ers that make this a per­fect ur­ban walk.

Is­tan­bul, Tur­key If you love Is­tan­bul, you should walk through it; if you love walk­ing, you should walk through Is­tan­bul. Start­ing from the Rumeli Cas­tle to Dolmabahçe, on the side of Bospho­rus, feel what the great dis­cov­er­ers of an­cient his­tory felt when they first saw these lands, and un­der­stand why Sul­tan Mehmet the Con­queror was so ea­ger to make it the cap­i­tal of his em­pire after 100 years of Ot­toman’s at­tempts to con­quer Con­stantino­ple.

You need to touch the an­cient stones of Ha­gia Sophia, smell the Ro­dos clay, and feel the glory of what was once the big­gest wor­ship build­ing in the world. Walk by Byzan­tine walls, touch its stones, look at the sea and feel the his­tory in your veins. And if you want to walk even ear­lier in his­tory, go to the first set­tle­ment: Khalke­don, which is now the most mod­ern and Western­ised part of Is­tan­bul. You can have some tea with lo­cals, talk about pol­i­tics and get lost in the nar­row, chaotic streets.

Go to the old set­tle­ments of Bey­olu, the back streets of the main walk­ing route Istik­lal Street and find your­self in some­thing out of Harry Pot­ter’s uni­verse. If you pre­fer some colour­ful build­ings, walk through Balat, up the hill un­til the Ar­me­nian school, and feel the di­ver­sity and free­dom. I have lived in Is­tan­bul for 16 years, and with ev­ery walk it is com­pletely dif­fer­ent, but in many ways it re­mains the same: great, gi­ant, glo­ri­ous. The cap­i­tal of two con­ti­nents and great­est em­pires.

Plov­div, Bul­garia I love to travel around Europe alone, and few things are as re­ward­ing as walk­ing through a new city for the first time. Plov­div, the sec­ond-largest city in Bul­garia and Europe’s old­est con­tin­u­ously in­hab­ited city, was a par­tic­u­lar high­light. The city cen­tre is the long­est pedes­trian zone in Europe, mak­ing it per­fect for a ram­ble. The walk takes in al­most a thou­sand years of ar­chi­tec­ture and cul­ture, as vi­brant Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian build­ings over­look the ex­ca­vated re­mains of a Ro­man the­atre op­po­site a par­tic­u­larly stylish 15th-cen­tury mosque.

Stray­ing down the back roads took me into the 21st cen­tury. Nay­den Gerov Street, tucked be­tween the main street and one of the city’s seven hills, hosted a street art fes­ti­val in 2013, which trans­formed the walls into an ex­plo­sion of colour. Op­po­site the walls, the rocks at the foot of the hill had faces of fa­mous peo­ple drawn on them. Of all the street art-heavy ar­eas I’ve seen across Europe, this was the most ex­cit­ing and imag­i­na­tive – a mod­ern twist in an an­cient city. – The Guardian

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.