But increasingly, the canal develops a coherent character, a bohemian feel created by the now continuous line of boats down both sides, often two deep, liveaboards, often quite quirky, and bars and câfés full of locals and visitors from land and water, sitting out, socializing and watching the boats pass.
This comes to an abrupt end at Little Venice, where one parts company with the throng. The junction where the Regents Canal turns north away from the Paddington Arm surprised me. It's a lake-like expanse with a small island in the middle. Boats moor in this pound only by prior arrangement. Pleasure boats pick up their passengers here. It's bustling and beautiful.
The approach to the Paddington Basin is crowded with boats, and with people. Businessmen and women, tourists, boaters, many in a great hurry, many simply enjoying the ambience, or drinking coffee at one of the several câfés. It's very odd to see the entrance to the Tube station just a few metres from the canal.
And then the canal turns a bend and you face a remarkable skyline that frames the basin itself.