The rules of the art of ‘following’ are simple: choose a stranger and secretly copy their route – you’ll see the city in a new light
T wo days after I arrive in Belgrade, I’m being shown the outskirts of the city by a man in pink trousers. I think he must be a local: he knows exactly where he’s going, striding confidently down narrow alleys and across wide roads, showing me parts of the Serbian capital far from the beaten track.
Sometimes I have to break into a little run to keep up. But I don’t get too close, because he doesn’t know he’s acting as my guide to the parts of Belgrade that are off the tourist route – and the last thing I want is for him to find out he’s being followed.
As cities around the world close central streets to cars to mark World Car-Free Day, Guardian Cities is looking at the joys and trials of urban walking.
The US humourist and writer David Sedaris tells us about walking in cities from Raleigh to Reykjavik. Will Self explains what he learns from perambulations in London, there’s Fran Lebowitz in New York, Helen Garner in Melbourne, “natural navigator” Tristan Gooley in Portsmouth, and writers on Delhi and Newcastle, Cairo and Wellington.