Monday, November 9, 2009

Mind the Gap!

Taking the Tube at Covent Garden, Spring Break 2000

No matter what country he is writing about, Bill Bryson has a knack for tracking down all the best place names -- the most absurd, quaint, funny, lewd, charming -- you name it! I think you will enjoy his pastoral description of riding the London Underground:

"The best part of Underground travel is that you never actually see the places above you. You have to imagine them. In other cities, station names are drearily mundane: Lexington Avenue, Potsdamer Platz, Third Street South. In London, by contrast, the names nearly always sound sylvan and beckoning: Stamford Brook, Turnham Green, Bromley-by-Bow, Maida Vale, Drayton Park. That isn't a city up there, it's a Jane Austen novel . . . a semimythic city from some golden pre-industrial age."
(from Notes From A Small Island, 41 - 42)

And you might want to try Anna Quindlen's humorously helpful map - storage system:

" . . . the maps in the glove compartment are all folded the wrong way . . . If you live in New York, the maps will generally be of New Mexico, Alabama, and downtown Houston. If you live in Seattle, the maps will be of Maine and the Florida Panhandle. In your datebook, however, will be the map you are never without, that all-important map of the London Underground."
(from "Putting Up a Good Front" Living Out Loud, 48 - 49)

All - Important Map!

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