Surprising things you see on a walk #5: a stash of road signs

Published 29 March 2015

A collection of roadsigns stored in an old road tunnel in Norway

Finishing off the “surprising things you see on a walk” month, here is an unexpected one. A stash of road signs. We were in Norway at the time. Maybe it’s normal there.

We were on a holiday that involved travelling everywhere by public transport. This was fine except that the second part of the holiday was spent in an area with no trains and a pretty naff bus service.

On one day we decided to go on a bit of a tour. We’d take a bus/ferry/bus combo to a Nature Centre, walk up to a “troll train” which would take us up a mountain to a waterfall. After doing that we’d catch the “troll train” again, and walk back to Øvre Eidjord, where the Nature Centre was.

We got to Øvre Eidjord with two hours to kill before the bus that would take us back to the ferry, so we decided to walk to Eidfjord, another town 7km away, from where we could catch the bus from.

The path between them roughly followed the main road. Indeed, it once was the main road. As tunnelling techniques have improved over the years, many roads in the mountains of Norway have been rebuilt. The old curved roads which clung to the outside of the mountains have been replaced by new, direct tunnels. However pedestrians and cyclists aren’t allowed into these tunnels, so the old road is often repurposed as a bridleway. The one we were walking along hadn’t had much of a conversion. Most of the old road signs were still in situ, complete with speed limit signs and everything. And every now and then the bridleway had to go through old tunnels.

It was in one of those tunnels that we found the stash of signs; clearly this tunnel space was too useful for it not to be used for storage by the local municipal authorities.

The whole walk was a little odd; like walking in some sort of dystopian waste land, abandoned by man. What is the world like when the cars and people go? Head to the bridleways of Norway and you may find out.

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