Athens, is my mind, is huge. Going from my house to the sea is a very long trip, and so is going to the nearest mountain. In Athens I use two modes of transport, my car and my feet. So I am still struggling to understand how distances in London translate to distances in Athens (and how the perception of these distances changes is my mind). In London I only use public transport, and mostly the tube, specifically for long distances. I have used cabs, which I have to say are very slow because they always get stuck in traffic, and so do buses. Lately I also try to walk a lot, in my attempts to “conquer” the city. Still, the problem persisted. How do distances in London compare to distances in Athens? So, I measured the distances on the map and I saw that a distance that I gladly walk in London, in Athens seems so long to me, that I would sure and only use my car. The difference in that distance is that in London is just walking along two large streets within the same area. In Athens it is walking along numerous small streets, crossing large boulevards and changing about 4 different areas of the center of Athens. So, of course one would use their car.
After seeing that, I wondered how large “my” territory is. So, here, I am at the point where I have to compare maps of the same scale. So the following maps came up.
The first map is London with Athens and its suburbs (I have also included the most distant suburbs).
This map shows the maximum and minimum daily transposition in my most and very familiar areas. The light shade shows all places that I might visit in one single typical day, that is the maximum movement. The unshaded part is the minimum movement in a single day. That is, the least places I will visit or walk if I go out of the house, my daily routine. We can see that the extend of the areas is pretty much the same. The difference is that in Athens this is a very large area, and I would only use my car to go to all these places. In Greece the light shaded area covers around 10-11 neighborhoods. The London light-shaded touches (not covering all of each) 5 different neighborhoods. In Athens, the distance from my house to my university is just as far the tube station is from my house in London. Yet, when I am in Athens, this distance does not seem so short. Also, I see that the actual distance from my house in London to UCL is half as far as the furthest point on the light shaded area from my house in Athens. A distance which in Greece seems enormous to me.
This map shows my extended territory. This shows the area I feel comfortable in, and I feel I know very well. The area I have “conquered”. The London territory is just half the size of the Athens territory.
The difference is that in Athens my area covers almost half of the city. In London it covers a very small part of central London.
___this is just the beginning of my exploration of the different perceptions of space and magnitude. More posts will follow, exploring more on the same subject, and explaining the territorial and “conquering” terminology.