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I saw the sign

22 Oct Posted by in Everything's Different | Comments
I saw the sign

This is it. Everything important is stuffed into the big bag on your shoulders. Everything else is eight hours and 4,250 miles  away. You landed in Copenhagen two hours ago, and this is the biggest adventure of you’re life.

Less than two hours in Europe, and I was lost. Worse than lost. I had no idea where I was, and couldn’t even read a street sign for help. Because there weren’t any.

The ticket woman at the train metro station gave me great directions. Directions involving streets. Streets with names.

You will NOT ask for help. If you can’t find your way around a popular city in Western Europe, what will you do in Poland? In Asia?

I walked. And walked. At every intersection, I looked around carefully. The main road was labeled, but the cross streets were a total mystery. A few minutes of confusion became a quarter hour of annoyance. By the half hour mark, I began questioning my sanity. I ran through the possibilities.

  • Copenhagen’s residents have memorized the name and location of every side street, making signs obsolete.
  • It’s Yearly Sign Cleaning Day, the one day a year when all street signs are taken down and washed.

Fuck it. The Danes are friendly people, right? Go back and ask someone at the grocery store you passed two blocks ago.

And there it was, 20 feet up and attached to the side of a building. Great idea: reduce visual clutter by moving signs from lamp posts to building walls. Terrible idea: place them only on south-facing walls!

Eurolesson #1: When in doubt, look closer. And sometimes behind you.

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