25 May 2007

Weird and Wacky Signs: European Edition

Signs that have made us laugh or scratch our heads in puzzlement...

As many people know, fahren means "to drive." When the verb is conjugated, it is commonly shown as fahrt. Which is pronounced like "fart." This makes many English-speakers laugh. GLH and I still snigger when we see a sign that says ausfahrt (off-ramp) or abfahrt (on-ramp), but this one really made us laugh!

While driving through Austria we encountered a bit of road construction, but the Austrians have a fun way of telling you how much road construction is remaining.

I actually wished for more road construction because I missed getting a picture of the first two signs. The first sign was a large frown. The second sign showed the mouth as a straight line across the face.

This is a sign we see all over the place. As you are driving along, it will tell you how fast you are driving.

Sure would be nice if they would also mention what the speed limit is! In this case I believe it is 50 kph as that is the default within city limits. But nowhere on this road is the speed limit actually posted.

And speaking of speed limits. Frequently there is one speed for cars and another speed for trucks. In this area of Germany, they also had a posted speed limit for tanks!

One town in Germany had a unique way of asking you to be quiet around the hospital...

Sister says "shush!"

We saw the following sign in Salzburg, Austria.

Does it indicate where to find the nearest singles bar? Where it is appropriate to argue with your mate? We never did figure out what this sign was attempting to tell us.

You see these all over Switzerland. Selbstbedienung means "self-service." You pick out your flowers, total it yourself and put the money in a small box. You also occasionally see this for produce stands at small farms.

This one recently appeared near our friends' apartment.

It explains that you may not drive on this road on Sundays and holidays. Yep, for no apparent reason their community decided to shut down a main thoroughfare used by many on Sundays and holidays. The small sign below states that "feeder service allowed." What does that mean?

Everyone seems to be ignoring it at this stage. I expect it's just a matter of time before the Kantonal Polizei set up a sting operation and hand out steep fines.

And finally, I had to include this apron found in a shop window in Innsbruck, Austria...

Where do you find a six-pack like that? I generally only see beer bellys framed by lederhosen!


Angela said...

Maybe it was suggesting appropriate attire? No nudists allowed here!!

Kirk said...

I am intensely jealous that you got a picture of the tank sign in Germany...for three years I was desperate to get a picture of one, but every time I saw one there either wasn't a shoulder to pull over or there was too much traffic, etc. Nicely done!

Global Librarian said...

Didn't think of that, Angela. Bravo for a good one!

And Kirk, seeing as how you tried so hard, go ahead - right click on the photo and select "copy to my computer."

And in the future remeber these wise words. Photographer sits in passenger seat with camera ready in lap and window open. Non-photographer slows down when photographer squeals "there's another one!" Hang out window and click.

Beejum said...

Ok what does it mean, the sign with the up and down arrows, then a single up arrow on the other side of the T mean on the truck/tank sign?

You've explained it is a speed limit sign, but is it saying you can go faster and slower than 90kmph in certain conditions, and faster than 90 in other conditions?

That one's very puzzling to me, I have no clue!

Global Librarian said...

Beejum - took us a while to figure it out too.

In some places the road narrows so that it can be difficult for two cars to pass one another. The two arrows means that if a vehicle is approaching from the other direction, the speed limit is lower.

In this section of road, the pavement is wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass one another without danger. Even if one of those vehicles is as large as a tank.

Marcy said...

Yeah, I was also confused at first about the speed limits. It seems there's simply "default" limits for in city and highway driving, and whenever you see a sign with the previous posted limit within a circle and a line crossing it out, that means the default comes into action. But they're never actually posted themselves... which is somewhat disconcerting, as the fines for speeding are so high!!

The Big Finn said...

The "feeder service" sign actually means that "delivery service" is permitted. A lot of neighborhoods in Basel are set up this way to reduce traffic.
I was once stopped by a police officer in a friend's neighborhood that is for "residents/delivery service only", and I got out of a ticket by telling him that I was delivering a box of wine that was sitting on my passenger seat. He actually questioned me about the name and address of my friend.
In reality, I was using the neighborhood as a shortcut...so I lied. I saw the officer watching me as I pulled away, so I then had to actually stop at my friend's house to make it look like that was what I was really doing.
So much for the shortcut...

Expat Traveler said...

Oh I absolutely love this post! I'm so fascinated by signs in Europe in General. I like that they are bi-lingual and always keep you guessing!

Martin said...

Dear Librarian,
as much as I hate to spoil this for your, but the "tank sign" is certainly not about speed limits, but weight limits instead. It is posted in front of bridges, typically, and indicates how heavy a truck or tank may be, and still be able to cross the bridge safely.
Greetings from north-west Germany,