Tag Archives: Driving

Driving in Switzerland: don’t deal with Swiss Police, they will deal with you

Adapting to drive in another country is not always easy.

One has to adapt to:

  • Different rules
  • Different signaling system
  • Different driving styles of the other drivers
  • Different police

Swiss Police

Different police

Imagine you are driving in northern Switzerland, where people pretend to speak German.

It’s after midnight, and I’m driving well below the speed limit, since I know there are many radars around.

Suddenly a car overtakes me, and – surprise – it is a police car.

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Cliffs of Moher Facts and photos

The Cliffs of Moher, IrelandThe Cliffs of Moher are a natural attraction on the Atlantic coast of Ireland.

This spectacular 5 mile-long chain of cliffs made of sedimentary rock sharply diving into the Atlantic is 700 ft high at its highest point.

The Cliffs are located in the opposite side of Ireland in respect to Dublin, in County Clare, on the western coast, right on North Atlantic ocean. They are reached by a million people every year.

The area of the Cliffs of Moher is home to a variety of birds as it is the largest seabird nesting colony in mainland Ireland.

The formation of the Cliffs started 320 million years ago. A river flew into the sea there during the Upper Carboniferous. In a warm environment, today’s sedimentary rocks were slowly formed by mud brought by the river that was dumped in layers during millennia and eventually dryed to turn into rock.

Reaching the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin

During our last holiday in Dublin we rented a car and crossed Ireland in order to visit the Cliffs.

Road to the Cliffs of Moher

Road to the Cliffs

Covering the 120 mi from Dublin to the west coast can be done quite rapidly, thanks to a freeway that doesn’t experience high volumes of traffic. Then there is an additional 40 mi route made of narrow roads flanked by dry stone walls that traverse a charming countryside.

The access to the cliffs isn’t free. You can access the site by paying €6. Parking is included in the ticket.

Carved in a hill just on the back of the central part of the cliffs is the Visitor Center, home to expositions and shops. Actually, it’s “centre”. We ignored it and went straight to the cliffs.

The place is spectacular, especially on a sunny day like the one of our visit.

To me, seeing the cost going down so abruptly into the ocean was like being on the very edge of Europe before the Atlantic. I couldn’t help thinking that this was the last sight for so many migrants looking for a new life in America (actually their ships mostly sailed a little bit more south, but allow me the picture, ok?)

Here is a series of our photos of the Cliffs. Only the last one is from Wikipedia.

The view from our very hotel room. The northern part of the Cliffs is visible

The view from our very hotel room. The northern part of the Cliffs is visible

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Canadian police cars are not easy to spot: how to avoid a traffic ticket in Canada

If you want to avoid getting a ticket from Canadian police, just don’t do what I did.

As it is true for any expat or travel-abroad experience, you should be very careful in interpreting reality from behind the glasses of your own country way of doing things.

Canadian Policeman

My mistake was basically thinking as I was driving in my country, which it is: “if you’re driving on a freeway and you don’t see any car with written ‘POLICE’ on it, then there are no police cars around.”

Simply – and tragically – wrong.

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Hand-gesture language in Italy and in the world

Hand gestures and their meaning can be so varied that in some countries represent a parallel language, used along with vocal language. Why is hand-gesturing so important to some cultures? Why it is less important to others?

Hand gesture language

 

He is honking his car’s horn with frenzy. He is really mad at me.

Trying to decide whether I should be angry or amused, I look at him. He is a middle-aged Caucasian.

Then I look at his license plate. His car has a Zurich number, like mine.

I didn’t experience many of these encounters here in Switzerland. However, I experienced plenty of them in my native country, Italy. First clue.

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How I ate for free in Finland

Reindeer meat

Being offered a free meal by the Finnish State is possible, especially when it happens by chance.

I was driving in a low-populated area at noon. I looked for the nearest restaurant in my GPS navigator’s database. According to it, there was only one within a ray of 30 miles and it was a few kilometers ahead.

Following its indication I entered a village which was mostly made of small yellow and red family houses, with a few apartment buildings. The navigator brought me into a parking in front of what seemed to be the biggest building in the village. Quite an anonymous block, with a few signs, all of them in Finnish language.
However there were people getting in and out through a small automatic door. Maybe a shopping mall sized accordingly with the village? We’ll see”, I thought.

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