I drive around in Geneva a lot. In my job, I visit lots of clients at their homes in many areas in and around Geneva. I have my trusty iPhone which helps me find the addresses to a certain degree, but it’s not a full GPS system, so I end up frequently looking at the instructions and remembering the next major event (“ok, the third left should be avenue de l’Ermitage.”) and then I count streets and look at street signs. Most of the time, it works pretty well.
But, every so often, something goes a bit haywire and I end up on the wrong street. And when that happens, it’s like I’ve fallen into a black hole.
Switzerland has a reputation of being orderly and logical. But, in cases like this, I find it anything but. Or at least the places I’ve been.
When I find myself in unchartered territory, I look at the map on the iPhone and I look at the street that I’m on to get my bearings. I love maps. I have been reading maps since my Dad asked my “help” when I was barely in school. I can read a map, but there are certain things you need. Like street signs.
Inevitably, when I need to find out what street I am currently on, there is *no* street sign anywhere. I can drive up and down, look at all the cross streets, but there is no indication whatsoever. Frustrating. Infuriating.
I went to see a client the other day. I got there with little problem but the way back was a bit more difficult. The way to get back on the major road I had taken to get there was a bit different. Luckily, there was a sign when I was expecting to turn saying “Geneva” so I knew I had to follow a different path. I followed the sign and waited for the next indication. It never came. I drove on and on until I recognized where I was, but it was clearly *not* what I had in mind nor what had been implied.
I returned to that same client today and paid more attention. About 200 meters after the sign that said “Geneva”, there was a hairpin turn to the left at a light which I should have taken. There was *no* sign, no hint from either direction, nothing.
This is but one example. It happens all the time. The city really could improve the road signage here. I hope they do.
In the meantime, pay close attention and don’t rely on signs.