I like walking around big cities, and London is no exception. You see a lot more when you are walking through neighborhoods and past buildings than you ever could from a cab window or, obviously, an underground train.
But, if you are going to walk in a world city like London, you need to work on your walking reflexes so that you can be part of the humming, delicate ballet that is a busy street scene in a huge metropolitan area. That means figuring out how to maneuver at a good pace without ending up jammed behind the elderly couple strolling casually down the block as the rest of the pedestrians flow effortlessly by in a constant stream while you are stuck in the senior citizen backwater.
If you’ve lived in a big city in recent years, you’ve probably got those essential metropolitan walking reflexes. It’s like being a fighter pilot or a NASCAR driver. You need to calculate speeds, and courses, and probabilities as you move along. Are the obvious tourists with the rollerbag up ahead going to stop at any moment to snap a picture? With people moving in three different directions, is there going to be a gap where you could realistically squeeze through as you strive to keep up the pace? And, above all, is there any oblivious texter approaching who is likely to stumble directly into your path?
I like Columbus, but walking its downtown streets simply doesn’t prepare you for the hustle and bustle of cities like London or New York.