The first morning in the city, I woke early, got dressed quickly, and sneaked out for a walk by myself. I love walking in the city in the early morning. The street was quiet, except for just a few yellow cabs. An old man was rearranging fruit – bright oranges and red apples — outside of a grocery store. Another man, wearing a red apron, was hosing down the sidewalk. On the steps of the church, two homeless men were still asleep, huddled under blankets, strategically positioned to catch the morning sunlight.
I walked down a street of brownstones, where tulips bloomed at the feet of tall trees. A young woman in a suit hurried by with a cup of coffee. A delivery boy came around the corner on a bicycle. As I walked toward the park, I could feel something brush the top of my head: pink flowers were falling from the trees overhead and into my hair.
Inside the park, I saw runners: mostly young men and women, in t-shirts and shorts, some wearing iPods, all of them moving rapidly in the morning sun. Bicyclists came down the road too, zooming along so quickly that I backed up against a tree to take photos.
I wandered the park happily, having no idea where I was. I came across a garden dedicated to flowers from Shakespeare. I found the pond (or one of them, anyhow) and pagodas of different sizes and shapes. I discovered statues and fountains and a Swedish cottage with a puppet theatre. When I reached the big museum, I walked back out onto the city streets and worked my way back to the hotel, stopping at a patisserie to buy croissants for breakfast.