old florence city map

Travels in my Shoebox – City Maps

It’s time to dig into my shoeboxes again. So far on my Travels in my Shoebox blogs I have dragged out my beer coaster collection, boarding passes and bank notes. My largest collection, however (filling up an impressive three whole shoeboxes), is my collection of city maps. Remember them? Why I say that is because you don’t really need a city map anymore. On my last couple of trips I simply used the map on my phone. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the map on my iPhone didn’t work without wi-fi and now it does. Once you hit the streets the map stopped working, but now you can follow the little blue dot as you traipse around the city. I have since navigated my way around San Francisco, Phnom Penh and Ubud without a city map.

I have to admit, though, that I did miss not having a city map. I missed getting hopelessly lost then standing at a corner with a large city map unfolded out scratching my head trying to figure out where I was. There is also something else special about a good old fashioned city map. I just have to open one of my many city maps and memories flash back of wandering aimlessly around looking for a museum, gallery or famous fountain. Many of my maps also have pen marks all over them of restaurants, shops or an entire walking tour, while some are so worn out from all the folding and unfolding (with a lot more folding as it usually took ten attempts to get it back to its original form).

So, here are a few of my favourites from my massive pile. They either are a cool design (or bad design) or simply a favourite place.

denmark city maps

I got all these Danish city maps around the same time and I love the different illustrative styles.

marrakesh city map   agadir city map

I also had a Tangier and Fez map in the same style (which I lost back in 1988!), but theses Moroccan city maps are funky!

warsaw city map   oslo city map

Come visit our great city attractions. In Warsaw it’s a very ugly building, while in Oslo it Maccas (with the Mcdonalds all prominently marked on the maps inside)

garmisch city map   cancun city map

Which way am I supposed to go in Garmisch? And that fellow is quite ‘excited’ about Cancun!

rome city map   florence city map

Simple and stylish for these two Italian cities (oh, except the fashion on the Rome map)

isbon city map  barcelona city map

Those Iberians are just as stylish. I love the two very different illustration styles.

venice city map

Thankfully, the map inside wasn’t as basic as the front!

rio city map

Of course Rio had to have a cool map.

new york city map

This one is a bit sad. I got this one back in 1989.

Do you still use good ol’ fashioned city maps?

2 replies
  1. Amanda Callahan
    Amanda Callahan says:

    Hi Brian,

    Love these! I collect all my city maps, too. I’ve also got a few from my parents from their travels in the early 70s. I still like using maps and anyway, I just get even more confused with a phone map :-)

    • bthacker
      bthacker says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Those 70s maps would be very cool. In a retro daggy way! Mine date all the way back to 1987 (I was only 5 then!).


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