On Satnavs – Slovakia-Austria-Liechenstein-Germany-Luxembourg-Belgium-France-UK Trip

We decided one time to visit the little countries starting with “L” on one of our regular journeys between Slovakia and the UK.  So a satnav would be useful, we thought.  But I prefer maps any day!  I can spend hours reading an atlas of Europe, planning routes and working out where we are near, enjoying the romance of place names and finding the best or most scenic route to take.  You can’t have a relationship like that with a satnav.  So I am firmly on the side of maps, but whenever I ask my wife to navigate she goes into a blind panic and it ends up in cross words! Is there a term, like disgeographia, for this quirk? Sadly I also argue with Satnavs.  Which all goes to show that you can have some sort of relationship with the beast.

We are a family of three; myself, Tash, and our daughter Mollie (who now uses her middle name, Iona), but sometimes we are four. The fourth is Marilyn, our Satnav. She has taken through fifteen European countries with a rather varied level of success, it has to be said.  Occasionally I needed to play assertive father with my equally assertive three-year-old, but with Marilyn I am only just learning. Having worked out that I can fool her by omitting house numbers and giving road numbers as via points (Marilyn, that is, not Iona), I keep her off Swiss motorways, which cost a year’s worth of vignette, even if you’re only there for a day. It probably said all this in the manual, but real men, as the saying goes, don’t read the instructions. Mollie/Iona, who at the time was living in a totally pink world of princesses, fairies and big bad wolves, was totally convinced that Marilyn was a real person. At times family members have disagreements; Marilyn is no different, especially when she tries to send us via Switzerland and its wretched motorway fees. She bangs on about the “highlighted route”, with me shouting, “WE ARE NOT GOING TO SWITZERLAND, MARILYN!” This gives Mollie the chance to indulge in her damn-beloved “Why?” questions.
“Why is Baba cross with Marilyn? Why Marilyn her not answer me, Mama? Why Marilyn want us to go there?”
Eventually Mollie elects to support the black box, shouting at me on her behalf.
“Baba! You made Marilyn sad! Now I’m very cross with you!”
Marilyn, goes silent. For some reason there are no more voice commands until Belgium. I think Mollie may have been right about Marilyn being real. She is actually sulking! I wonder what she is wearing and how old she is? Tash, for her part, and because this musing was unfortunately vocalized, will tell you that this is all just part of a mid-life crisis. But I‘m still with Mollie when it comes to Marilyn. She is real to me.

2 thoughts on “On Satnavs – Slovakia-Austria-Liechenstein-Germany-Luxembourg-Belgium-France-UK Trip”

  1. 18th October by ttbko

    Ohmygod!!!! How much do I empathise with you on this? I bought one because it seemed like a good idea, given that it came with European maps. I get motion sick if I dont drive so any map reading (which I am extremely good at, as long as we’re stationary at the time), is done by my lovely patient partner. Last time we went to Le Mans, we used it to assist getting us to our hotel in Canterbury to overnight before the ferry crossing. Daniel (my Marylin) took us via Wimbledon!!!!! AND it was Wimbledon fortnight!!!! Why? Who knows? He was relegated to the glovebox until we got almost to Alencon and were seeking the next hotel… this time we were on autoroutes but he insisted we “take the 2nd exit off the roundabout” WHAT BLOODY ROUNDABOUT???? This went on for about 30 miles until, once again, he was filed under E for expletive!!!!! They really are not worth the money…. really, they are not!!!! Unless its entertainment you want… then its a different story….

    18th October by Sergeant_Pluck

    Firstly, let’s not kid ourselves. Women and maps don’t mix – it’s a universal truth, Pam, come on. ‘Extremely good at…’ – huh huh huh.(bangs fist on table in hilarity).

    Satnavs are brilliant – true, occasionally a road has been added or changed, but this requires only the simplest amount of common sense to overcome. I like maps too, and always have one as a backup, but my any SN (I’ve ever used) in the car has been perfect, and I don’t think one has ever stitched me up in about 10 years. There eas of course that time I lthought it’d be funny to change the voice to that or Dr. Evil, and accidentally deleted all the other voices. Dr. Evil was funny for about 20 seconds, then drove me insane for the next three months until I resurrected the lovely ‘Jane’, the default voice.

    18th October by hmoat 01

    My husband is always hinting he’d like a SATNAV but I don’t see the point as he is excellent at reading maps. So I tell him, I’ve already got a TomTom. (He’s called Tom).

    As for me, I’m hopeless at reading maps. Tom does gently point out, it helps to keep track as you go along. He would ask: Where now? – and I would have no idea where we were on the map.

    Nowadays, it’s simple. I drive. He reads the maps. (I believe women are better drivers 😉 – or at least have fewer major accidents).

    Wheatypete, the Swiss hate all the lorries driving through their country just to get to Italy or wherever. That’s probably why they have the hefty (annual) vegnette – but you’re right, it seems a bit unfair is you are only spending a couple of hours in the country!


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