05 May 2011

Show Me A Sign

There are enough marked walking trails in Switzerland to stretch around the Earth twice. Which means that there are a heck of a lot of markers. Great wanderkarts exist and can be found everywhere, but most of the time, all you need to do is follow the signs.
My favorite signs include the amount of time it will take to complete the trail. Not only does this allow you to look up and choose your path a la carte, but it gives you a time to beat. I’m sure not everyone sees the numbers as a challenge, but we sure do. Three hours and twenty minutes, you say? Pfft! We did it in 2:55.
Signs also give you a sort of relationship with the trail. You see a yellow fleck in the distance or the back of a clump of them, like above, and you scurry ahead to see if it says what you hope it says. Calling back to your walking partner that you’re going the right way is a great feeling.
It’s usually just when you’re thinking, “Damn, I hope we didn’t make a wrong turn” or “there hasn’t been a sign for a while,” that a marker pops up. Sometimes it’s just a sticker with a little Swiss walker on it.
Sometimes it’s a blaze painted on a tree or rock
Sometimes, a sign does more to confuse than to lead. Little walker man usually means to walk - - but he’s in a red circle, which usually means not to enter - - but there’s no red slash across the walking man. Ultimately, the huge tractor digging up the earth right beyond this sign gave the final word in the argument. Do not walk.
Like everywhere else in Europe, street signs are still terribly lacking here, but highway signs are definitely plentiful, as shown by this display at the Transportation Museum.
Little signs, big signs, yellow signs, green. They’re everywhere. Even where you’d least expect them.

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