Friday, 9 October 2009

Getting lost.

I always prided myself on my orientation abilities bordering with geniality. I wouldn't get lost nearly anywhere, be it a city or a forest, with the notable exception of Venice, which is understandable, and Stockholm, namely downtown Stockholm, where I actually had problems finding myself for most of my previous stay.. and the first thing I did was that I went somewhere and supposed to be going in the opposite direction.

There's something elusive about Stockholm. Many years ago, I remember having read a detective story that happened there, with all the neighbourhood names like Solna or Nacka sounding like a strange incantation and I remember my surprise on finding out that Södermalm is actually an island. And the street plan just puzzles me somehow.

Florence has a twisted street plan, too. Literally.
Florentia was located as a Roman colony, the colonies had a grid but the main axis followed some local logical line, in this case, the Arno. Only later on, the actual town was located, this time on the grid that followed the north-south and east-west axes. As a result, most of Florentine streets follow a grid but it is not immediately apparent that there are two grids. To add a bit of confusion, the fifth line of city walls formed a polygon, now there go the grandi viali and the neighbourhood streets are parallel or perpendicular to the adjacent viale so going from the center towards the edge, one may feel that they go straight ahead or at least moreless so... to find themselves lost.
I needed to read a treatise on urbanism of Florence and stare in the maps for quite a while but since then, I always knew where I was and where to go. Apparently, I need a book on urbanism of Stockholm.

I ventured out - I wonder whether it's really a social phobia or something or whether I'm lazy but I have problems dragging myself out to wander into unknown. It's not that bad as dominocat describes (I really like that blog), I usually manage somehow, it just feels very very uneasy. At least I manage to make myself comfortable with a place by simply walking it up and down... which doesn't work too well when the blistery thing on my heel is still oozing something.


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