Signs Of The Times

We’re home now, luggage strewn willy-nilly, heaps of socks begging to be washed, and lots of pictures and thoughts from our travels still to be shared.  So, if you don’t mind,  we’ll have a couple of wrap-up, round-up type days, before I return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

One thing that always catches my fancy when travelling is funny signs.  For example, I know that some people would go to great lengths to avoid eating andouille with its post-intestinal funk factor, but really, this sign does seem to be going a little too far.

Then there’s this adorable one, which says “dogs aren’t allowed in the church unless they’re held in your arms.”

When you consider that the church in question looks like this

and houses an original 14th century sculpture that looks like this, it’s hard to imagine that dogs would really feel at home there, even cradled in one’s arms.  But then, it’s France, where dogs like to go everywhere with their people.

Then there’s this Vietnam-era sign, which says “You’re a man, so go to Indochina to defend liberty, and you’ll become a chef.”  No, not really.  It means become a leader, but I like the chef idea better.

I love this one, which at first glance seems to mean “this is the end of boiled croissants” but actually just shows how a town with the innocent-sounding Breton name of Kroashent-Bouilhed came to be translated into something in French that makes you think of unspeakable acts commited with pastry.  Even if that’s not an exact translation.

In fact, for those of you who have never seen the Breton language, as I hadn’t before this trip, here’s a little side-by-side translation for you to contemplate, an explanation of the system of beautiful foot bridges spanning the river in Quimper.

Here’s a sign explaining how the entire Kerouac family of America, presumably including Jack Himself, has its roots right here in Huelgoät, which of course isn’t funny but is more of an “oh, wow” sort of thing.

And for a real “oh, wow” here’s a teeny, tiny sign too small to read, on an adorable little stone gnome house set right in a river.  Put on your reading glasses, get closer to the screen, and what does it say?  Toilettes.  Right, so take that, you folks who say one can never find a public toilet in France!

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4 Comments on “Signs Of The Times”

  1. Arne Says:

    No boiled croissants? Yet another reason to stay away from Bretagne!

    Glad to see another “sign” fan. I’ll share my collection with you in a couple weeks.

  2. Nico Says:

    “Stop andouilles” can also be read as “Stop you idiots”.

  3. Abra Bennett Says:

    Wow, is andouille a synonym for idiot? Can you tell me how to use it in a sentence? That could be really useful!

  4. Nico Says:

    It is not regularly used in a sentence. You could call one “Espèce d’andouille”, but use it with some moderation: it is not at all polite…


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