An Average Day: Part 3 of 8

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A fictional day comprised from parts of many non-fictional days while I was backpacking in Europe

Exiting the hostel, I pull a wrinkled map from my pocket. It is split at the creases since my inability to fold and unfold it has resulted in repeated use of force. I scan for graphics of big buildings or other important looking things and taking a black pen from my bag, I try circling them with the map against my knee. The pen pops through the thin glossy paper and pokes my knee, inking a dot on my jeans. When I look to it I laugh because right next to it is a blue dot from some other time I did the same thing in some other city. I don’t know when it was, which means I don’t know when I last washed my jeans; maybe never.


Having a plan of some sights to see in case I feel motivated, I go aimlessly into the street. With my thumbs in my daypack straps, I saunter around watching people, listening to accents, trying to remember words I’ve learned in the local language. I look at menus posted outside restaurants and café’s, being open to the possibility of finding a good combination of price and taste that I could come back to a later that day. I think through my options trying to figure out what I feel most motivated to do. Read, write, read, take pictures, use the internet, go see some sights, sit on a bench somewhere where I can watch people and practice card tricks? I decide on some sightseeing.

Pulling my map back out, I spot the giant church looking icon overlapping five streets and figure it might be worth a visit. Standing in an intersection, which is always a good place to make a decision because it makes back tracking less likely, I look up to the corners of the buildings for street names embedded into their walls, get my bearings, then head for the nearest metro station. The church is probably close enough to walk to, but I haven’t ridden the subway here yet and those maps are my favorite kind of maps to read.

Down in the metro I stand in front of the clean and almost life-size map of multicolored lines with little round buds marking each stop. The efficiency of its design is fun for me to analyze. Tracing my finger along routes, I memorize station and train names. I even help a few other foreigners read what to a non-map-enthusiast like me can be nearly incomprehensible.

One Thought on “An Average Day: Part 3 of 8”

  1. Katie Says:

    I love the metro.

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