Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No, I'm not lost, I just don't know where I am

Apparently there's a saying in USA that "real men don't ask questions". As in many other ways Kaisa is the man in the family also when it comes to asking for directions - while Christoffer's always eager to go talk to any random person we meet on the road Kaisa prefers to study the map and GPS.

You could say that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses: by asking you might find your way faster, but you might also get wildly incorrect instructions or be unable to communicate at all due to lacking a common language. The GPS will guide you very accurately if you know the exact address you're going to and are willing to accept that it has its own logic that might result in choices that seem inconvenient compared to human logic.

The seemingly old-fashioned paper map is often the most reliable source of information - as long as there are accurate and sufficient road signs to inform you about where you are on the map. The only problem are bigger cities as it would be unpractical to buy city maps to all the dozens of cities we pass through on a trip like this. There are always plenty of signs leading to the center, but trying to find the right way out, especially when you have to avoid ending up on a highway, can be tricky. On this trip the nearly empty East German cities have been surprisingly easy to navigate, but we have some pretty big places ahead of us so we'll certainly end up combining all the different methods of finding the way. 

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