I was working in London this week. The weather was sunny with highs in the teens each day and each morning as I walked from my hotel, just off Trafalgar Square, a short way down The Mall and up the stairs to my client’s office, I promised myself that this would be the day I’d go out for a long walk at lunchtime. But, as anyone in the consulting business knows, when you are working out of town, your time is not your own. Lunch was always another meeting, and then dinner, too. So the walks just never happened.
My flight home was on Good Friday and at 6:30 on Thursday evening as I was packing up to leave the office, I realized that the evening was all mine. I grabbed a salad (and a really good pretzel) on my way to the hotel and ate quickly in my room. Then I changed into the closest thing I had to walking clothes and headed out. I aimed loosely for King’s Cross, about 5 km away, stopping from time to time to verify with my map that I was still going in the right direction. At times, the pubs’ patrons, standing at the door with their pints, forced me into the street. The sidewalks were teeming with people. I cut through squares and parks so I could gain a little speed.
After reaching King’s Cross, I found I was enjoying the fresh air and didn’t want to go back to the hotel. I kept up a brisk pace and walked across the city to St. Paul’s Cathedral. By now it was dark but I still didn’t want to go indoors, so I walked down Fleet St. to the Strand, passing beautiful young people meeting their friends for a night out. By the time I got back to my hotel, I felt like I’d had a little holiday, walking probably about 12 km., and really seeing the city.