California Day 6: The Benefits of Walking: Views and Plants


Walking in San Diego on Memorial Day.

I am not sure if I have lost any weight on this West Coast adventure. Hearty restaurant meals and afternoon ice cream or other treats are on one side of the ledger—balanced against 6 or more miles of walking each day.

But I have enjoyed the walks. I’m not a fast walker, and usually lag behind, but I do walk and can cover some distance. We returned Tuesday to San Francisco from San Diego. The weather was breezier in the bay city, and the ground undulates a lot more here—a lot more. Still, California has been kind—I’ve been following all the stories of storms in the Midwest, and I hope the pattern there dries out soon.

Anyway, I’m fonder of bike riding—the pace is so much faster than walking, you cover more ground, and get to enjoy the same sense of being outside and experiencing the birds and bees and flowers and trees. Still, there is something to be said for walks, too. For one thing, conversation is much easier and more effective. On bike rides, I often find myself projecting my voice strongly to try to be heard, or straining to catch another riders’ remarks, often failing to hear what was said.

Walking promotes chatting.

And plants. We flew back to San Francisco Tuesday morning. Our daughter-in-law had to spend the afternoon working. Our son had a work meeting via computer, too, but it did not take long, and soon we took a Lyft to an older neighborhood for lunch and an afternoon stroll.

We purchased sandwiches at “Say Cheese” on Cole Street, and if you want excellent lunch sandwiches in San Francisco, I recommend it highly. We walked to a nearby park—San Francisco is graced with many small neighborhood parks—and enjoyed our meal.

Than we strolled up to Tank Hill, a bit of a climb, but I guess that makes the walk more effective as exercise. We enjoyed the views there.

And then walked off to find ice cream. Because, you know, vacation. The intended shop was closed, and the next almost a mile away, but since we were headed towards treats, we decided to go ahead and do the walk. We passed through the Panhandle on our way. We were in an older part of town, and there was some comfort in seeing all the Victorian townhouses—it felt very San Francisco.

On the sidewalk outside of one, someone had set a small table with several succulent plants. “Free to a good home,” the sign read. The plants were rooted in carboard cartons, and because our son keeps some house plants, we decided his was a good home. So we picked up what my wife first called “baby,” but which I said was “Audrey III,” and carried on.

We got our ice cream and walked to Alamo Square. It was a nice day, and the side of the square facing the famous “painted ladies,” as those colorful Victorian houses are known, was busy with tourists making images.


Park where we ate lunch. And climbed a hill. There were several hills on our San Francisco walk.


Tank Hill, great views of the city.

I’m not sure exactly how far we walked. Most days, we have gone 6 miles or so—this was probably a shorter stroll, but a few miles anyway.

Once we get home, I know that I’ll try to get as many biking miles in as I can. Still, it would be good to make some time for a daily constitutional, too. A walk on a fine day if good for the body and soul.


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