Sunday, 20 June 2010

City Size

My three favourite cities are Vienna, Budapest and - new to the list - Barcelona. Vienna's current population is 1.7 million. Budapest's current population is 1.7 million and Barcelona's current population is 1.5 million. Is there a connection between their size and their appeal? While many other factors have to be taken into account - the beauty of the architecture in each place, the fascination of their histories, the attractiveness of their cafes and eating places - I think there is.

While each one is big enough to have all the excitement of a proper city, none has reached the stage of London, where the teeming rush of people is almost impossible to comprehend. Just how madly overrun London is became clear to me when I had to go to the Vodafone shop in Victoria Station one day last year. While I was waiting to be served, I couldn't help noticing what a lot of people were visible on the other side of the shop's glass wall, rushing to and from trains in the station's main hall. I remarked on this to the bloke behind the counter when it was my turn. 'More than a million people go past us every day,' he told me.

That is too many people for anyone to deal with. I know this instinctively, but it is also 'scientifically proven' (except that, infuriatingly, I cannot remember by whom [I read a long article about psychological research that demonstrated unequivocally that the minds of human beings are not designed to deal with registering more than a certain number of their fellows in any given day, but I cannot for the life of me remember where - presumably the human mind or at least my mind is not designed to read more than a certain amount of research data without forgetting all its relevant details {I bet someone's done a study showing that as well}]). If humans do have to live amongst too many people, things start to go haywire, apparently. Here in Barcelona, no-one seems to go haywire - just out for another meal, which is what I'm going to do now.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, but the food - do you deliver?

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  2. It's best enjoyed in situ. Dump the boys with some wild Welsh relative and jump on a train or plane would be my advice. Just think of the memories - for you and for them

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  3. Ha! But not a bad idea...

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  4. So, you're off eating again then? Tsk, tsk. I feel some brisk walks are in order.

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  5. Sorry, can't respond, Madame, mustn't speak with my mouth full

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