Before going on holiday to Malaga I downloaded an app on my phone with an offline city map. I have all the necessary information, but you never know. When I arrive at the airport I have to take the bus to the city of Malaga. There I have to take a second bus to my apartment. Also, I can check everything at the information desk at the airport. At the time of downloading, I didn’t know the app would save my life.
The information desk and shops at the airport are closed as I arrive at 7.30 PM. I didn’t know they close so early. I feel relieved that I have searched for some information upfront otherwise I might have had a problem. The bus station is a little walk in front of the exit, so I can’t miss it.
The bus ride
After a 45 minutes ride, I arrive at a big bus station (Estación de Autobuses de Málaga), and all the passengers exit the bus. This is not feeling right. What is going on? It is clearly not where I have to be. I actually have no idea where I am, because I don’t remember seeing this station on the bus route. I ask the bus driver and as I expected he doesn’t speak English. But he makes sure I have to exit here.
Offline city map
With a travel bag, hand luggage, and a small purse I walk around not understanding what is going on. I don’t think for a moment that there might be a bus from here to my apartment because I am programmed to go downtown and take the second bus from there. Also, I am afraid of taking any bus here, because I might go in the wrong direction or even to another city since it is hard to find someone who speaks English. I decide to walk in the direction of the downtown and this is the point where my offline city map gets useful. Not all the street names are there but I try to use it as much as I can. I ask around but people can’t speak English, so they can’t really help out.
It is getting darker and I don’t want to waste time searching for downtown, so I decide to trust on my offline city map and walk to my apartment. It doesn’t look far away, so it can’t be that bad. I walk the Avenida de Andalucía with my entire luggage behind me. Different buses pass by and I hesitate. Should I take the bus? Which one would go the right way? I’m afraid to get on one of them because I might not know at which bus station I have to exit. Especially now because it is getting darker and I can’t ask the bus driver, so I’d rather just walk.
I continue my way and I realize the street getting steeper and steeper and my luggage getting heavier and heavier. My temperature is rising, my t-shirt is sticky and I’m very thirsty, but I have to focus on the way. I can do this! I don’t want to sleep on the street tonight! Don’t ask me where I’m getting my energy from to continue and stay strong, but I’m asking God to help me out.
I arrive at a big square, the Plaza de Manuel Azaña, and here is where my map doesn’t give me any information on all the streets around. There are literally ten streets I can enter through this square. The street I’m coming from is not even included. This is where I have to follow my guts and instinct and just walk as I think I should according to the map even though the street names are not showing. Surprise, surprise I arrive at the Residencia Micampus San Carlos around 10 PM. Finally! I’m exhausted and sweaty but most importantly, I am here. Imagining the shower and the bed makes me relax and breathe deeply.
Sleeping on the street
The door of the building is closed and there is no one at the reception. No lights are on and there is no one to be found. I knock on the door, but nothing comes to life. Why are they closed? I look at my booking and clearly, it says check-in from 4 PM till 7 PM. Oh my God! How could I have missed this information? I had to send them a message to let them know what time I would arrive, but I obviously forgot. What am I going to do? I ask myself while I’m sitting on the stairs in front of the building and next to my luggage. The street is empty; I can’t even ask anyone about anything. I am far away from downtown, so I can’t just go to a hotel.
I start to imagine myself lying on the ground with my head on my luggage just to get rid of this night. Suddenly I wake up from my imagination when two guys walk out of the building and ask if I need any help. Thank God they have the number of the girl who works at the reception. Almost 15 minutes later she arrives and gives me the keys to my apartment. If it wasn’t for my offline city map, my will to continue, my instinct, these two guys, and this receptionist I might have slept on the street in Malaga tonight.
What I have learned
I have learned a lot from this experience and I would definitely recommend downloading an offline city map of the city you are traveling to, especially if you are on your own. Nowadays you can use your internet if you live in Europe and travel inside this continent (not all countries have the same rule; you can check this upfront). That makes it easier to use Google Maps. If you are traveling to a country where you can’t use your internet, an offline city map can help you through difficult times. And second, don’t forget to check the information about your stay and to send them a message to let them know at what time you will arrive.
Do you have a number 1 app while traveling? Which one is it? Tell me all about it in the comments below.