I May not Know German, but I Certainly Understand

*WARNINGThis post contains some images that I think are inappropriate for minors.  There is nothing in this post that you can’t see somewhere in most any town, but I wanted to let you know before you proceeded.*

While in Vienna I’ve seen lots of signs.  I look at many of them, but most of them escape my attention because the words just look like jumbled cryptograms to me.  Every now and then, some signs come to life, and it’s like I can see language popping off of canvas.

This happens, of course, when I see English words on signs, but it also happens when I see French or Spanish.  Although I only took a year of French, those words come to life for me as I pass by.  I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see pommes frites on a menu.

Just today, I was so excited as I walked past a cafe.  It occurred to me a moment after I passed that I had read the entire menu.  I stopped and backtracked to look at the menu again.  To my surprise, the entire thing was in Spanish.  I honestly thought the words had popped out to me because they were in English.  This isn’t an attempt to laud my Spanish skills, because I am very rusty.

I just think it’s fascinating what the human brain can do.  While I’m in an environment where I cannot read what is going on around me, it seems my brain is able to make sense out of the smallest bits of data.

Sometimes my brain even makes sense out of German (and pictures) for me.  There are some signs that I pass, that I know exactly what they mean without having to know German.

For example, this sign for a doggie hitching post isn’t just cute; it’s understandable.


Then there is this sign for the $1 and under store.  Who doesn’t love a dollar store?


And of course free wi-fi.  Enough said.


The other day, however, I literally found myself on the wrong side of the tracks.


Yes.  These tracks.


The ones right here.


While on this side of town I also saw signs that I understood perfectly, but they were advertising different sorts of things.

Some people do not appreciate their friendly neighborhood police officers.


While other people appreciate entertainment that US police officers might try to shut down.


Of course, for the American crowd who needs their entertainment options spelled out more clearly, there was this sign.


And under the sign was this.


Be glad I didn’t photograph the other signs that were in the window.

So trust your brain to get you where you going.  Humans are pretty amazing.

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