Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 26 October 2015

A seven minutes’ stop light

On May 28th, the day of my arrival on Corfu Island, I met up with the tour operator’s representative, a young man called Jonas.

We had a nice chat which lasted about half an hour before him sending me off with a warm handshake and heading over to his next clients, a French speaking couple that had arrived on the same flight.

During our conversation he mentioned that there were stop lights on the island that remained red 7 up to 12 minutes. That seemed like an awful long time. And the next day I was about to find out how long that really is.

On our way into the mountains we were stopped twice … by a stop light that seemed to be stuck on red. Luckily there was a digital clock showing drivers how much time was left before the light would jump to green.

 Not a good photo (through the windscreen of the car)
showing one of the stubborn red lights.

On both occasions, Dimitris, cool as cucumber, shut down the car’s engine, pulled up the hand brake, sat back and started humming the tune of the bouzouki music that was coming from the car’s DVD player. ‘Relax and enjoy the view’ he said. ‘The road ahead is too narrow for vehicles simultaneously driving in opposite directions. So we wait …’ After five minutes or so a convoy including several huge tourist buses came creeping towards us. Two minutes after the last car had passed, the timer on the digital screen sprang to 00:00 and the light turned to green.

Part of the narrow mountain road.

Now it was our turn to creep up the mountain road towards the village of Lakones and the bakery where we were to have lunch … By the time we reached the top, a queue of cars and coaches had lined up at the stop light on the opposite side of the road … waiting for the green light to appear. Wonder what would happen if the Brussels’ traffic lights were programmed that way … Chaos, a lot of swearing and honking horns would be my best guess … What do you think?


chm said...

These stop lights are the sensible thing to have to accomodate traffic smoothly in narrow roads. In large cities like Brussels it would not be convenient. I think that's why there are one way streets in big cities.

GaynorB said...

In some ways I would prefer stop lights to be a bit longer than the usual 30 -60 seconds. That way more cars can get through and there is less stopping and starting. Just dont want to be in a London taxi with the meter running... ;o)
I guess at seven minutes it was a fairly long stretch of narrow road, and better safe than sorry!!

ladybird said...

Chm, I totally agree with you. And there are more and more traffic-free zones in Brussels. The main artery (boulevard) connecting the Northern and Southern part of the city is closed for traffic since summer. Not everybody is happy about it ...

Gaynor, It is a very long and winding stretch and very busy during tourist season. I felt safe in Dimitris' taxi but would have been rather nervous if had been at the wheel.