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Walking on Bridges and Promenades

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for September 2005

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People-watching and watching boats and harbor workers are both things I enjoy; here's a fun way to combine them.

From San Francisco to Duluth to Brooklyn to San Antonio to Key West, many cities have a waterfront promenade: a boardwalk or concrete path that borders a lake, river, ocean, or bay. The ships and their related gear are a given--but interestingly enough, these walks have become fashionable. They go through the toniest neighborhoods, lined with fancy cafes, laughing tourists and earnest local couples all dressed up and out to impress each other. Many have other special features. Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco has its dolphins, Key 'West its fire-eaters and talented street musicians, Brooklyn its magnificent view of the Manhattan skyline, impromptu shrines to 911 victims, and Brooklyn Bridge on the near side, and the crazy carnival of Coney Island on the other end of the borough. Chicago has its Navy Pier, another collection of amusement rides and nightlife along the shores of Lake Michigan. Some places have historic boats you can walk around on.

Small-town harbors offer different kinds of fun. Seek out little fishing villages and watch the fishing crews haggling over the price of their catch. Watch the captains of small sailboats dance with the wind as they bring their craft in and out. Splurge an hour and a few bucks on a narrated harbor cruise.

In Europe, this is a doubly fun activity. Many European cities simply would not have existed without their waterfronts, and they still make up the heartbeat of the city. Amsterdam, Stockholm, and of course Venice are built around networks of canals and natural waterways. Houseboats, freight barges, massive container ships, and cruise ships share the crowded waters.

And beyond the walkways along the harbor, don't forget about bridges. Many have pedestrian walkways, which can give you a very different view of the boats passing underneath, and what really goes on.

For more ideas on waterfront recreation, see "The Port Salute" section of Shel's e-book, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook. 280 pages of powerful frugal fun tips for a mere $8.50.

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Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
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