Once you get used to the hairpin turns and the sheer rock shoulders, driving in Wales is — well, something to write about. For many reasons.
We’re about to have our second driving experience in North Wales. When we drove those highways in 2006, we marveled at the Welsh-first, English-second highway signs. When the painted lettering says “now,” it means right now: there’s a 360-degree turn inside a rock tunnel ahead. No time for please and thank you.
We stayed in a self-catering cottage then, and the owner told us Welsh is the first language in schools again too. Some 80 percent of North Wales residents speak Welsh as their first language. Since speaking Welsh could get you beheaded some eight hundred years ago, when Edward I invaded, the resurgence of the language now says a lot about this tiny but invincible country. Bravo!
There were quite a few unusual signs for us to get used to, though.
For instance, coming from Saskatchewan, we were used to the yellow “Deer Crossing” signs that warn motorists of potential hazards on the road. But we weren’t prepared for hazards like these. I confess, sometimes it was difficult to keep my eyes on the road.
Others seemed to suggest place names, but we couldn’t help agreeing with this one. I mean, if you’re going to put a temple and a bar in the same place, then the idea of proceeding slowly and carefully seems reasonable.
By and large, we didn’t have too much trouble understanding the signs along the highway, whatever language they used. But from time to time, we ran into a few that really impressed us.
Like this sign, for example. I have to say I think Welsh women have organized things pretty well. I wish there were more areas designated for men walking children here in Canada! The border around this sign should be green!
No one can fault the Welsh sense of humour either, on or off signs. And the friendly and helpful attitude is amply demonstrated on signs like this one:
How could you resist that smile?
Or the chance to drive through the beautiful countryside. I certainly can’t wait to go back to Wales again. Have you been to Wales — on or off the highways? Please leave a comment (on the comment bar above) about your experience.