Category Archives: Travel Tips

Lost in the City

It was a nightmare,  this business of getting lost in Paris that is teeming with Metro trains!

The irony of it all is that, we were relying on H’s supposedly high tech iPhone’s GPS but we could have easily avoided it had we armed ourselves with a simple printed map!

Oh well, it was a day filled Comedy of Errors but nobody – between H and myself – laughed.  It surely is an experience deserving to be thrown away to oblivion but I thought it would make a good post here, to teach everyone, even the most seasoned of travellers, a lesson on how to prevent getting lost in a city.

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Check out the tourist information office.  This is where you can get a good map and it’s usually free!  .

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A map is essential to getting around and it helps us to make the most of our sightseeing time.

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If there is no Tourist Office around or your hotel is too stingy on giving away free maps, you can buy a guide like this from a souvenir shop. If you are Chinese and cannot read any language except Mandarin, there is a guide to suit everyone’s mother tongue.

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Large illustrated maps are also posted next to train or metro stations.  They are undoubtedly the best aid to get your sense of direction, unless it is vandalized by some moron.  Above is a map of Pisa posted infront of the train station which I, as a first-timer,  found useless because someone scrubbed off the image of the leaning tower!

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Read directional signs but don’t get too close unless there’s a fire nearby.

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The best part about getting lost in a city is that you are surrounded by people who live there. Your best bet is to look for them, they might be looking at you, too,  from a window.

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If there is no soul around, roam your eyes on building walls for signs of famous landmarks.
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Even if the person doesn’t look local, there’s no harm in asking.

It’s in Vienna where I venerated the Indians like crazy because they were the only ones who were able to give me directions.. in English!  Majority of Austrians don’t speak English – or could be pretending not to, who knows?

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The police are very helpful so don’t get afraid asking them for directions.

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The beauty of asking these men in uniform is that, they are also great subjects for photo souvenirs!

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Be on the lookout for a tube station.  It is the best place to find your bearings..

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..because there are numerous maps in them that will help you get to your destination.

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Aside from tube stations, look for big landmarks.  Big cities have tall and famous buildings that are usually visible no matter where you stand.

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But if you are desperately lost, just call a taxi to take you back to your hotel.  If you don’t even remember your hotel’s name, then I’m afraid I can’t help you anymore.  Try browsing the net for other solutions!