I blame Europe.
Bryan and I wandered around some of the greatest cities in the world in November and early December , trying to take in as much as my blistered feet would allow.
(That turned out to be a lot more once we got to London and found blister pads. God bless you London.)
We saw so much, but our time in each city was short but sweet. Three days in Paris? That can’t possibly be enough Paris. Or London. Or Berlin.
But what would be enough? On our train rides throughout Europe, I daydreamed of a life where Bryan and I could just globe-trot our way to Paris for a few months and discover every nook in that city. Or, just hang out in London for a spell. You know. Be one of those people.
Even though I had just two short weeks to take it all in, I wouldn’t trade those three days in Paris for anything. The entire trip was an incredible blessing (except for the blisters). But of course, you never get to see what the locals see. And while I’d love the chance to just hang around in Paris for months on end, I realized I could do the same right where I live, which is one of the world’s greatest, most-diverse and most-visited cities.
Why am I not traveling around Los Angeles with the same passion as I imagined I would in Europe?
Oh right. I work.
Well, it’s time to make the time.
On our President’s Day holiday, Bryan and I journeyed all of five miles from our apartment to Eagle Rock, a quiet corner of Los Angeles that honestly could make an argument for Hipster Ground Zero.
Our journey had a specific purpose. I bought a book a couple of weeks ago called “Secret Stairs: A walking guide to the historic staircases of Los Angeles” by writer Charles Fleming. I read an article about Fleming’s book some time ago and thought it sounded so interesting, but of course never did anything about it.
His book covers a time before Los Angeles became a car city. it had good public transportation; hard to believe, I know. People actually used trolleys to get around Los Angeles.
According to Fleming, “The staircases were clustered around steep hillside communities near these transit lines—especially communities that developed in the 1920s like Silver Lake, Echo Park, Mt. Washington, and El Sereno, and the elevated areas of Highland Park, Hollywood and Santa Monica. The staircase-to-trolley system was so much a part of the landscape that developers in some areas built houses that had no other access to the outside world.”
Pretty cool if you ask me.
Fleming calls it “urban hiking.” Hiking that’s not really in the wilderness? This is the hiking I can get on board with.
This walk lasted 3.8 miles and takes you up, over and down 328 steps. Fleming’s book guides you through several neighborhoods and different sets of stairs that took about an hour and a half from start to finish.
The photo at the top of this post marks our first staircase.
The neighborhoods are quiet (except for all the home construction—it’s an area making it’s way back) and pretty high up in the hills, giving you some killer views of Los Angeles down below.
Here are some of my favorite parts of the walk:
What a great way to explore my city! I hope wherever you live, you look for the fun, hidden places around town. You never know what you’ll find.