August 2, 2013

The Paris Week: A Wrap

I’m running a week behind in reporting on the Grand Tour because I forgot to pack my computer cord. I’m writing now as we come to the end of our UK week in Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, and London.

Upon reflection, I experienced two important personal revelations in Paris:

I learned to walk again!
Taking long walks had always been a joy, especially after Parkinson’s-related balance problems forced me to give up my cherished biking. But for the past two years, I’ve been experiencing lower back pain. A doctor who treated me two years ago advised “just walk through the pain.” I didn’t do it. I took pain pills instead and rarely walked more than a couple blocks at a time.

Earlier this year, I went back to the physical therapist I’d used for my Parkinson’s BIG exercise program for exercises to strengthen my core muscles. I did these new exercises almost every day because I sensed they were helping. But I still wasn’t getting out and walking much, and the typical sultry summers in Washington didn’t encourage me to leave my air-conditioned comfort at home.

But travel disrupts my routines and encourages me to try new things. On our second day in Paris, I was astounded to find myself spending five hours on a walking tour of the Marais neighborhood. It involved as much sitting and resting as walking, but so what? Since then, I’ve enjoyed long walks on most days. The more I walk, the less pain I experience.

I learned to read books again!
That’s an exaggeration. I’ve always enjoyed reading books, but recently I’ve been spending much more time staring at the computer, and reading my morning Washington Post and the various magazines and newsletters I subscribe to. Again, travel disrupts old patterns and introduces new possibilities. 

Reading John Baxter’s The Most Beautiful Walk in the World really enhanced my enjoyment of Paris. And I just finished reading Craig Taylor’s Londoners. I brought these books along in paperback, my preferred format. But now I’m going to power up my Kindle for the rest of the trip . . . assuming I brought the power cord.

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