Here’s a mind game. You’re on a train, staring out of the window. All you see are the passing fields, rivers and forests. No man-made buildings or structures are to be seen. You suffer from amnesia and don’t remember a thing about boarding the train. In fact, you could be in anywhere in the world. So, can you tell where you are? What makes the countryside outside the train window look particular to a particular country? Can you even tell the difference between French and English countryside?
In fact, playing this game is not so easy in reality. But when you start to look out of the train window there is usually some indication of man’s hand upon the landscape, shaping it, adding to it, destroying it or adorning it. You notice the little wooden hut for the cowherd, the ring of stones for the shepherd, the tumbling wall, the rotting fence, the telegraph wires, the country lane. And where there is evidence of man fashioning his environment we can start to have ideas about the country we are in. A railway signal box flashes by and the train glides beside a road and across a rail crossing. Then we cross a bridge, and a few houses are passed. Ah yes! Evidentally we are in France – or England, Germany, Spain, America… or Egypt?
So – here”s the test: English or French countrysides in the photos below?
You can check you answers here: ‘English countryside‘
or here: ‘French countryside’.