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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Walking through Lower Manhattan

There are so many fabulous architectural juxtapositions. 


Wonderful Art Deco details on a government building near Federal Plaza
Thanksgiving morning was gorgeous, bright and hopeful, made of optimism and sunlight. We  walked for three hours and earned our Thanksgiving meal. We walked  from our hotel down through Chinatown and past the touts drumming up business in Little Italy. If look up you can see the history in the  tenement buildings it's easy to imagine the streets filled with handcarts, hawkers and immigrants of all kinds. Walking south towards Federal Plaza the buildings change, giving way from a residential to a more monumental style of architecture. This is the New York of immigrant detention, Federal Courts and government bureaucracy. It is strangely quiet  this  Thanksgiving morning.
Federal Court House, New York City.
Past the historic places of government, the Greek Revival fantasies and buildings evoking a European style gravitas, the surroundings have changed again - moving from governmental to commercial functions as we enter the Financial District. The  landscape of Lower Manhattan is  defined by the absence of the Twin Towers the iconic landmark lost on 9/11. Instead,  One World Trade Center (known as the "Freedom Tower")  is currently reshaping the skyline. 
The "Freedom" Tower currently  rising from the devastation of Ground Zero.
It's an enormous building, twisting and glinting in the sunshine but I can't help but be disturbed by a building that tells me of our freedom, as if we now live in a place where we have to be told we're free, rather like a Soviet Five Year Plan extolling the achievements yet to come. As if the financial offices that will move in will make us freer rather than feasting on us, profiting on predicting our fiscal demise or unintentionally creating it. It sounds like a freedom we've already experienced. Perhaps  the freedom here is not the assumed freedom from "terror" but rather the free market? 

But maybe this was all too cynical for such a pretty walk?
We cut over above Battery Park and walked north up the west side sharing the path with dogs, cyclists,  walkers, runners  and  families. Everyone was out from elderly ladies in wheelchairs with their carers, to kids on skateboards. It was a beautiful day and walking past the Irish Hunger Memorial (designed to commemorate the one million who died and the millions who fled to America to find a better life) it seemed an easy place to feel thankful.

Tip: A weekend or a public holiday is a great time to walk through this part of Manhattan. If you want to visit the 9/11 Memorial remember you'll need to secure a free ticket beforehand. 

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