Get There From Here, You Cannot

If you have ever considered taking a back roads tour of Europe, posters in this thread on the forums (who better to discuss travel) know of a tech tool that will ensure your vacation is a rousing success – a GPS device. You see, evidently even the best of the best products on the market haven’t done an exactly bang up job of mapping some of the more remote locales in the old countries. Remote locales like … Ireland, Sicily and Scotland. The friendly GPS voice of your choosing will usually get you where you want to go, but you might be enjoying the scenic route.

The GPS had us take crazy unnamed farm roads through a patchwork of fields to find our vacation rental outside Marsala. There was no normal address for this home – just GPS coordinates. The owner was surprised to see us arriving from a different direction than he expected and asked what route we’d taken. Sure enough – it was the shortest route – one only locals used. ~rodi

GPS in Ireland … managed to see a lot of one lane wide, 80km, dirt roads that were suppose to be for two cars. DW again kept us safe and for the most part in line. We did enjoy the back lanes and countryside roads and we had planned a lot of slack in the schedule we put together to get to our next overnight stop. ~DFA

Of course, for every back roads adventurer there is a practical back roads adventurer whose primary interest is getting to the destination alive and in one piece (yawn). If you fall into the latter camp, then a trip to Belgium with your handy dandy GPS might be a better choice.

I’ve had superb results using a GPS while driving small back roads in Belgium. The problem over there is that most road signs were removed to keep the occupying Germans from easily navigating. I think most of those signs have never been replaced because people who live there just know the roads. I remember seeing intersections where five roads came together. No signs on any of them, just a small stone the size of a loaf of bread on the ground between two of them, painted white with a number on it. That’s pretty typical. I would have been utterly lost without the GPS. ~braumeister

As the discussion continues, several posters reveal that the “lost continent” of Europe isn’t the only continent found lacking when it comes to GPS mapping, and some offer choosing a soothing navigator voice as a coping method to manage the stress of not having a clue as to whether or not where you are being told to go might actually lead to your untimely demise via drowning or cliff diving. The voice of Yoda at one point is recommended.

Once you start down the dark path, forever it will dominate your destiny, consume you it will. ~Yoda

Image: “Cadence’s GPS’s lost again” by Marcin Wichary. CC BY 2.0.


  1. We were attempting to find a hotel in Sicily last year. We had an excellent international GPS. Yet no matter what we programmed into it, it was determined that the hotel was offshore in the middle of water. And it resolutely navigated us to the edge of water thru villages where no one was meant to drive. It cost us two hours of aggravation before we finally found the place. We strongly urged them to update their website, or at least their signage. After all, they had heard this complaint from many before us. I haven’t checked, but here is the site:

  2. From the hotel’s website: “Our hotels are landmarks right at the very heart of the city, except for our resort, which is suitably remote.” Offshore would certainly qualify as “suitably remote” :).

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