“Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s in walking distance.” Antonio Machado
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm
I love to walk and I love to talk. Consequently, my physical therapist recommended I walk the Poulsbo waterfront, to a short flight of stairs up into the downtown region of Poulsbo, and finally past all the shops downtown back to the waterfront. I walk this circular route five times totaling approximately two and a half miles, usually daily.
Poulsbo, a former fishing village, now over 100 years old resides on Liberty Bay. Since it was founded by two brothers from Paulsbo, Norway it is a uniquely Norwegian styled village, nicknamed “Little Norway.” When enough Norwegian settlers moved into town, they registered the town name with the post office, only the clerk misspelled Paulsbo, so we now live in Poulsbo. The signs at both ends of town welcoming visitors to our small village read “Velkommen til Poulsbo.” Our community is so Norwegian looking that when the Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo, arrived in town he said that “Poulsbo looks more Norwegian than Oslo.” In fact, the Poulsbo Historical Society’s motto is”Bringing the past to life.” So walking the streets of Poulsbo is a fun and unique experience especially during our Viking Fest, the weekend around May 17th, with all of the people running around wearing their Viking helmets and carrying their swords!
Now, I chuckle at my physical therapist’s sense of humor as he has me walking past all of the lovely bakeries and coffee shops. I inhale the sweet fragrance of yummy Danishes, breads, cookies and coffee. This is how I receive my aerobic conditioning as I force myself to quickly stride by the bakery windows without entering or doing a U-turn. Plus, now Poulsbo is becoming known for its art galleries, so I enjoy looking at the varieties of paintings, baskets, jewelry, antiquities, and clothing through the shop windows. As I stride by the shops I wave “hello” to the shop owners. Even the marina workers know me and shout out a “Hello Gwynn!” Now the fun part is watching out for the seagulls as I stride by the pergola on the waterfront, as just the other day a seagull tried to bean me with an oyster that he was attempting to break open. Evidently I have a bull’s eye on the top of my hard head, but fortunately the seagull missed.
Then I look for my friends with dogs. I pet and chat with… Duchess, Jumper, Molly, Dude, and many more dogs. Their owners are nice to talk with too. I even chat with the tourists in town. I keep hearing that I have a “twin sister and that she went… THAT way.” The other day a man stopped me to say “Thank you for encouraging me to get back on my bicycle and ride. You have been an inspiration to me.” Of course, then there is the other couple that jokingly said, “We see you pass the restaurant as we are eating breakfast every morning. You are making us feel guilty.” Or in the grocery store I nearly literally ran into a woman with my shopping cart as she said, “Oh, you are the woman who walks in town all of the time. I should join you.” Then when I met our Mayor, she said, “Oh, I see you walking all over town!”
My favorite part of my walk is along the waterfront. I watch the seagulls drift over my head or float in the bay. I visualize spiraling in the sky with them. The teenage seagulls caterwaul after their parents, as the parents try to get away. I love the white fluffy clouds as they drift over the bluish gray water. The boats moored at the marina softly bob up and down with the waves. At times the world seems tranquil. Other times I watch the rain squalls powerfully march down the length of the gray inlet. On clear days I can see the snow-capped mountains stand tall reflecting into the sea as I imagine the fjords in Norway appear.
My walk around town provides many gifts… exercise, beauty, entertainment, joy, serenity, and peace of mind. Come join me, the walk will do you good.