Skip to main content

Different solutions, same problems.

Consider turning across traffic - left turns here, right turns in Ripon. In Ripon the cars stop in the middle of the road and wait to turn. Continuing traffic dodges by on the passenger side of the road. There are plenty of junctions like that in Spain too but a different, and very common, solution is to move the car into a sort of lay by on the passenger side of the road. This effectively takes the car off the road where it waits for a suitable gap before making the dash across traffic. It's an elegant solution and it works really well on quiet but fast country roads. The difficulty is that the lay bys only usually have space for two or three cars. Use this solution in heavy traffic and the tail back from the lay by stretches into the road and causes traffic to have to move to the driver's side of the road, sometimes into the face of oncoming traffic!

Then there're the crossroads that use a variation on this system. Imagine a roundabout with one of the major carriageways cutting across the centre of the roundabout. To make the turn across traffic you can either make the direct turn or you can cross the continuous carriageway into the half circle, do the half loop, and wait there to make your turn. There have to be traffic lights in busy areas for this system to work at all. The lights limit the space for queing. The result is cars pointing in every direction waiting for lights to change. As soon as the green shows the traffic that has been stranded and the traffic waiting their first attempt to negotiate the junction both get the opportunity to move. The ensuing meleé is a treat to drive in.

My favourite though is the on and off motorway junction. Picture a three lane motorway. Where the incoming slip road joins the motorway a fourth lane is added for a while. The fourth lane runs parallel to the motorway and ends at the off slip. So traffic moving on to the motorway fights for space on the fourth lane with traffic turning off the motorway. 120kph dodgem cars with vehicles necessarily cutting each other up in order to gain the safety of their continuing carriageway.

The endless variety of bizarre systems is a pleasure to behold.


Popular posts from this blog

Looking for a flat

Finding a house to rent in Spain is usually a pretty straightforward process. When I say house I really mean flat because, although it's not impossible to find houses in the middle of a town or city, by far the most usual style of dwelling for urban Spaniards is the flat.
I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
The internet has made it a slightly less fraught process to find an individual renter and the place that Maggie rented in Ciudad Rodrigo came that way. Even then it takes ages to sift through the various websites usually to find that nobody answers your email or phone call except for the estate agents.
The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

La vuelta al curro

Certain Spanish soft news stories do the rounds each year. Spanish summer ends on 1 September and as people return to work the news always includes little filler pieces about how difficult it is to go back. In a couple of weeks time the story will be the cost of text books as the youngsters return to school. Back to school is la vuelta al cole, la vuelta al curro is what I've just done, back to work.

In fact we both started work today. We intended to leave Culebrón yesterday evening so we could unpack but the cat sensed something and scarpered so we had to put it off till this morning. Horrid, up at 5.30 - long before dawn. It was bad enough for Maggie after two months off but pity me - eighteen months since I last had a proper job. The strain! - polished shoes, shirt with collar, new people to meet, new routines to learn.

I'm working at the Wall Street Institute in Cartagena and everyone was welcoming and friendly. The centre has a good positive feel to it and the teaching me…

Where am I?

When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link