Getting Lost to be Found


At the end of August, my sister and I went on a tour of Greece with EF Tours Ultimate Break . We've both used EF Tours in our high school days -  she went with her English class to the U.K + Paris while I went to Spain with my Spanish class, so we had a feel for how EF Tours worked!

Although most days were pretty jammed packed, there was also a good portion of free time. While we were in Athens, the one thing that was at the top of my the list was to see the Olympic Stadium. At the time, I didn't know there was there was The Ancient Stadium, Panathenaic Stadium (First modern Olympic Stadium used in 1896), and the Olympic Stadium (2004). In my mind there was only The Ancient Stadium & Olympic Stadium (2004) - no middle man there.

My sister took a lot of convincing to go, she isn't as Olympic invested as I am (which I guess is how normal people react to Olympic related things) but! finally my pestering paid off. We asked our Tour Guide for the trip what stop on the metro we needed to get off at and thankfully the metro station was actually pretty easy to understand. 

When we got to our stop, I pulled out the map I was given at the start of the trip and began navigating. We both didn't have data outside, we usually had to rely on cafe's for Free WiFi, which meant Google Maps was not at our disposal. Now, I'm not even joking here, I looked the proper tourist part: Arms outstretched with a map, bag in front of me with my phone because ya girl is not about to get pick-pocketed, paired with me walking a few steps and looking up from my map every once in a while to make sure I didn't hit a tree.

Does Hawaii want its trees back?

When we asked someone to make sure we were headed in the right direction, we were directed to The National Garden - they said that if we walk straight through The National Garden then when we exit, the Stadium will be right in front of us. Now, this seemed simple enough in theory

We walked through The National Garden and all was going well for .5 seconds until the path split into two - left or right. There went the theory that this was going to be simple straight line. I looked back at my map and it didn't really go in depth with the ways of the garden, it just showed a whole lot of greenery with the label.

We maneuvered our way deeper into the maze-like garden and realized that this wasn't really just a garden. There was a zoo, bridge and, according to the pointing arrows, there was a cafe too. My sister was complaining that we were lost and that this was a waste of time if we didn't know where we were going. But I DID NOT make it this far into the Garden to turn back around because:

A. This garden was a maze and going back meant I had to actually have some idea of how to get back.

B. The birth place of the Olympic Games was so close (but actually far at the same time) and I was NOT about to abandon ship just because I had no idea which way was North.

The people we asked inside the garden were also tourists, so no luck there. I decided we were going to follow the arrows to the cafe. Where there is a cafe, there are waiters - waiters who can direct me through the maze that is this Garden. 

When we finally made it to the cafe, I pointed to my map asking how do I get there?. Not mentioning that 'there' was the stadium because I guessed that was obvious. I was holding the map right side up and the waiter hilariously said okay first, you're holding the map the wrong way. And then proceeded to tilt the map into a landscape. Turns out, walking to the cafe was the right thing to do (you can best believe I gave my sister THE LOOK like AHA I sort of knew where I was going). When the waiter tilted the map, he then pointed to the path I needed to take - a straight line. The cafe in the garden opened up to the main road, all we had to do was walk straight down and the birth place of the Olympics would be right in front. 

As I said my thank you's, the waiter then asked if I knew that what I pointed at was the Stadium and yes yes I did waiter, it's what I've been waiting to see since since I landed in Athens.

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gotta love panoramic making the sidewalk have a weird U shape

It was through this whole maze that I realized how much easier it was to read a map than to navigate with Google Maps. Granted, the map didn't show the garden in depth, but! I made it to the cafe by looking up at the trail markings. If you've used Google Maps before, you already know I would have spent a good portion of my time trying to see if I was going in the direction of the blue line.

By using a map, I was forced to absorb by surroundings, think for myself which way was East and West, and actually talk to people. When I made it to the cafe, all the waiter did was point to the map and tell me to follow a straight line. I knew where I was going because I looked at street signs, and saw that this was the same street that the waiter pointed to on the map.

Most of the time, our phones do all of the thinking for us: Make a right in 20 feet and the destination will be on your left. It's easy to just blindly follow the GPS navigation and not pay attention to what is actually around you; I do this pretty much anytime I'm in an area I don't know.

By using the map, it's almost as though part of my brain was waking up. I mentioned a while back on a post about digital clocks vs old fashioned ones that the more technology advances, the less work our brain does. And this is where I really saw it come to play. Maps are pretty easy to understand once you're holding it the right way. Sure, it's not as  ~easy~ as Google Maps and there's a lot more thinking involved because instead of the GPS telling you to make a left in 100feet/meters, it's your brain looking at the street name on the map and looking up to see where the coordinating one is in real life. A lot of the trust was placed on me rather than my smartphone, which was new. Usually, we trust our phones with our lives not ourselves.

To every Island we went to in Greece, I became known as the map person because as long as I had a map, there was a 98% chance I wasn't going to be a completely lost soul in a foreign country. To be fair, using a map made every day an adventure for me. Sure, it was a tiny bit frustrating when I ended up on several detours to get from Point A to Point B but, I can confirm that this made the days in Greece a lot more fun. Most of the time I had to make sure I wasn't holding the map the wrong way, which as I mentioned above with the waiter, happened a lot.

How long has it been since you used a map? Do you prefer using an actual map or Google Maps?

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I will be putting a whole post together of the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium because it was actually magical - I didn't want to leave but I ran out of water and the sun was shinning pretty high up in the sky.

I will have a new video up on my channel Running Diary: Ep 2 which will include a few clips of me running on the FIRST modern Olympic Stadium used in 1896 (!!!!!) & some scenery as well! If you'd like to subscribe: SUBSCRIBE HERE



16 comments:

  1. I dont think I've ever used a map. I usually ask someone else for directions

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    1. That certainly makes days entertaining if you're in an area you don't know and what's great is that there's always someone that's happy to help anywhere you go!

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  2. I’m glad you found the Stadium in the end! I agree, old fashioned map reading is a lot more exciting than Google Maps, you go on more of an adventure and discover new places. Greece is such a beautiful place, my favourite holiday destination. Can’t wait to read the whole post on the Stadium! Thank you for sharing Sahara, glad you had a lovely time! <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. I was honestly so happy to finally see the stadium in sight, it took a lot of maneuvering around the Garden to get to it but so worth it! Greece is such a beautiful place to visit, I can honestly say that everywhere I looked looked like something I'd see on a postcard, it's definitely somewhere I'd visit again if I got the chance to! Thank you so much for reading Bexa and for your nice comment! The post about the Olympic Stadium will be up on Tuesday, hopefully!! :)

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  3. Okay, so I can never manage to read a map. I always feel dumb, but unless I already kind of know where I am, I'm hopeless. I'm glad you made your way to the stadium in the end even if it did turn into a little adventure x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. I'm the same way with maps! It took me a few tries to actually read the map properly, and hold it as landscape occasionally rather than right side up! It was an interesting adventure but so worth it to see the Stadium in the end :) Thank you so much for reading Sophie!

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  4. I love Greece but have never traveled through a tour company before. This whole tip sounds so great, fun and interesting at the same time. I'm so glad you got to experience the Olympic Stadium, I'm not the biggest fan but would still love to be able to see it!

    Soph - https://sophhearts.com x

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    1. That's amazing that you've visited Greece on your own, my sister and I used a tour company because we wanted to go with a group rather than traveling alone - much safer that way :)

      It was really such an amazing trip, I would love to go back to Greece on my own to explore some more! If you ever go back to Greece, I'd definitely recommend you check out the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium, even if you aren't a huge fan of the Olympics it's definitely a place to check out! Thank you so much for reading Sophie!

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  5. I don't think I've ever used a map in my life haha! Apart from in Disneyland! Looks and sounds like you had a great trip :) I'm not a huge Olympics fan but I think it'd still be an experience to see the stadium!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. This was the longest time I went without using Google Maps so using a regular map was an experience in it of itself hahaha. It was an amazing trip, definitely wish I stayed a bit longer to explore some more! It was such an amazing Stadium, I'll have a post up this week on it, if you have Greece on your bucket list of places to visit, I would definitely add the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium near the top of places to see there :)

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  6. I am old enough that I grew up with maps and I still like them. That doesn't mean I haven't gotten lost with them, but then I also am the kind of person who can get lost at Google Maps, so I just am talented.

    So happy you got to go to Greece and see your stadium! Greece definitely is on my bucket list!

    Happy travels!

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    1. Maps are a lot easier to use than I thought, that's for sure! But they do come with their detours of trying to get from Point A to Point B; Google Maps also has me in circles more than a handful of times trying to figure out if I'm headed in the right direction or not as well!

      Greece is such a beautiful country, you'll love it there when you get the chance to go!

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  7. I remember using a map when I was at university, trust me I've never felt more lost in my entire life, haha! (Plus, your name is lovely!) <3
    https://octoberslallu.blogspot.com/

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    1. University maps usually had me going in the opposite direction I needed to be going for classes so I know that struggle hahaha that's so sweet of you to say, thank you!!

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  8. hahahahaha I lost it at "bag infront of me" I see people do this all the time, including my family and I just think "tourist"!! Tbh, when I go Japan I will probably do the same..you know..just incase and who cares what people think! When I went to Tenerife, we used a map and looked at signs the majority of the time. But planning the trip and looking at locations, it was alllll google maps. I bloody love Google Maps, it is actually brilliant, not as exciting as reading a proper map though, and you don't feel like an explorer, but it is just so much easier! Currently planning a trip to Japan and I just know I am going to use good ole google so much! I enjoyed reading this, made me laugh(sorry you getting lost made me laugh)..it is because I can relate!! Great post xx
    https://lifeofshar.co.uk/

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    1. HAHAHA it's like the immediate indicator that someone is a tourist when they have their bag in front of them protectively, and to be fair you never know if you're going to get pick-pocketed, it's better to be safe than sorry!!

      AH yes! Google Maps is a life saver when planning your trip so you can see how far everything is from the hotel you're at and how easy it is to get to get to restaurants & a cute walking area! I definitely agree that with a map you feel like more of an explorer (and there's a lot of "it's this way" before realizing "it's the other this way!") but! Google Maps is easier to get from point A to point B - no random detours!

      I'm literally so excited to read about your trip to Japan when you go, I'll just live through your instagram photos hahaha!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :)

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