Interesting signs from Europe
Here are some interesting signs that I saw during my trip to Europe. Some of them have light humour, some are refreshing and some are…well, just interesting. They may be part and parcel of daily life for those who live abroad, but not for me. The real amusing signs were in Britain, and I think the British have a great sense of humour and are friendly too. This I found not only by reading public messages but also in my interaction with the people.
I spotted the sign below in Bangor, a small town in Wales. As you can see it’s the outside of a shoe shop. A lot of the shoes were kept on tables outside on the pavement. We know how it is in India. Shoplifters are almost never prosecuted. In fact the shopkeepers let them off with a simple warning. Why overwork the police and overcrowd the prisons!!
This sign which I saw in London may seem pretty innocuous to those who live there, but to me there was something sinister in it. I am sure the police mean what they say. In India I cannot imagine the police ever touching a cycle, however badly it is parked. But maybe this has nothing to do with being strict with all vehicles, including cycles, because this sign was in a street near Buckingham palace. A major tourist area, buzzing with crowds through the day.
The picture below was taken in Zurich, Switzerland. It shows the police taking a photograph of a wrongly parked vehicle. Evidence to confront the wrong-doer! Therefore, less arguing once the fine is imposed. In India, vehicles parked a little off the parking line are never penalised. And a photo does not brook any argument! Ask me, I always argue with the police! In India ofcourse.
The photograph below was taken near Buckingham palace in London. It’s a warning to thieves (like the first one in this post) and such signs are unlike most signs in other parts of Europe which warn the public about thieves and pick-pockets, not the thieves themselves. Just in case the image is not clear, the warning here says: CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE. THIEVES BEWARE, PLAIN CLOTHES POLICE OFFICERS ARE OPERATING IN THIS AREA.
The sign below was seen outside a pub in Bangor, Wales, and it warns teens about drinking if they are underage but it’s done in a humorous and light-hearted way. The sign says: If you are lucky enough to look under 21 you will be asked to prove that you are over 18.
Outside the same pub was this sign which tells you that making noise inside the pub is one thing, but disturbing the peace quite another. Overall I found that consideration for other people was the most in Britain. I did not see that much of it in France, and certainly not in Switzerland. But more about that later, in another post, where I will be writing about my impressions of the people in the countries I traveled to.
Self-service is a common concept in the west, but in India it is still catching on. We are used to picking up our trays and dumping the trash in the bin at Macdonalds, but self-service restaurants are very common in Europe. The next picture was taken at a self-service eatery near Lucerne, Switzerland, where one doesn’t have to just pick up one’s tray, but also pick up any crumbs from the table. The sign orders: PLEASE CLEAN THE TABLE. Inside some toilets in Switzerland I found a dispenser to clean the toilet seat after using the toilet. One had to do it manually.
In Switzerland there was no public toilet at two major railway stations – Bern and Zurich. However there was a company which called itself McClean where one had to pay 2 Swiss Francs (roughly equivalent to 2 dollars or Rs 100/-) to access their toilets, which were not that clean anyway. The strange thing was that if one accessed the “Pissoir” (Urinal) one had to pay just 1Fr, but as you might have guessed, it was for men only. The women had to go to the 2Fr one. The trains did have toilets, but these two major stations didn’t, and this was an inconvenience. However smaller rail stations in Switzerland had free public toilets.
That was just a little something I came up with. Am still a little tired from my trip and not completely back in the blogging world. Got loads of email to check! I hope to post again at the end of the week if I can manage the time.