thames path, trip report

Hiking the Thames Path: Day 2

I am hiking the Thames Path, a path that follows the Thames for 180 miles, from the Thames Barrier in London to its source, near Cirencester. 

Day Two: Vauxhall Tube to Hammersmith Bridge

So: day two!

The start was not a particularly inspirational one: In addition to smashing the screen of my phone into a million small pieces (to record the Pulitzer-worthy sight of a cyclist wearing a yellow vest), I also destroyed my earphones. After nearly being sold a pair of fake Apple earphones, I turned around and took the Tube into central London to go to the Apple store.

Really, if you are at the Apple store at 9:50 a.m. on a Monday morning, you have made a serious error/dropped something within the previous 12 hours.

And then I couldn’t avoid stopping at the Waterstone’s. And getting lunch (to pack, at least) at Eat. In short: No walking was done (in the intended direction, at least) until 11 a.m. (So much for that 7 a.m. start.)

The good news was that once I did start hiking — well, it kind of sucked. However many luxury condos are being built in yesterday’s bit of the Thames, many many times that number are being built on today’s bit.

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Crane City, if you will.

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Not my city, not my circus. But I found it sad that the river was so hard to access in these sections. I assume that all these super luxe developments will offer residents/city dwellers/river walkers better access to the actual river once they’re finished building, whenever that might be. In the meantime, it’s a mess, and a mess with many many detours. Detours that were not particularly well marked.

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Yes, but where to now? This was a frustrating day of walking.

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Indeed.

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Sigh. NO RIVER IN SIGHT. thames path

To be fair, once I finally got there, Wandsworth Park, though quite small, was very pretty. I don’t know how they grow trees like that. That’s Putney Bridge in the distance, and weirdly enough, the entire day turned around after I crossed it.

I don’t know what sort of zoning law changes at the foot of Putney Bridge, but instead of luxury condo developments, there was nothing but river, and rowing clubs.

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I rowed in college, and I find the whole thing magical. You’re also a million times closer to the river than at any point previously: It was weird to think of how removed you are from the river in the beginning: It’s so industrial; it seems like it’s accessible only by warship. But here the river was basically level with the street — there were a number of signs warning against flooding. I liked it so much that I ended up sitting on a bench and calling home (resulting in a $120 phone call that I blame on failing to read my phone contract properly.)

As it turned out, Putney was the next-to-last bridge for the day: I got as far as Hammersmith, and then tubed it to my hotel: Muse Haus Chiswick. I actually loved it, though it was still €€€ for the money. (London, argh.) Single room, shared bathroom. I honestly don’t know why shared bathrooms aren’t more of a thing. I would so much rather pay (less) for a shared bathroom than a private one — especially on a trip like this, when I’m just staying somewhere to sleep and heading out as early as possible.

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Day two: completed!

Day two information
Start: Vauxhall Tube
Finish: Hammersmith Bridge
Lunch: Nowhere I remember
Dinner: Literally bags of nuts from Boots
Accommodations: Muse Haus Chiswick
Mileage (trail): 7.6 miles (impacted by the morning trip into Soho to the Apple Store)

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