A Spanish Birthday Celebration - On the Road in Spain (Day 5.0)

September 3rd, 2015

We knew today was going to be an early day.  The thing we had been looking forward to/freaking out over was finally happening.

We were going to drive in Spain.


Ok, so one of us was excited. The other...completely freaked out.  You'll soon be able to figure out who belongs in which camp.

But we had to get to this moment.  First, we had to deal with the day.  And the day began as they all do.  The alarm rang, but neither one of us had any interest in getting out of bed.  This is the normal morning for both of us.

Last night, we had to spend some time repacking our luggage.  This is something we knew we would have to do eventually.  And as we went along on our journey, it would get harder and harder to do.  We hate this part.  This never gets better.  

Our taxi was coming early.  Because we had a new hotel to ultimately get to.  Honestly, we could have lingered.  But for many reasons, we wanted to get there as early as possible.  We had breakfast at La Rollerie the last few mornings, but we couldn't get this done today because of the time.  So we walked to a little cafeteria down the street.  This was a place to get a small pastry and a drink.  Nothing much.

Here's the problem.  I only had a €50.  When your breakfast comes to €5, you're a bit of an a-hole paying with a €50.  But the cashier tried.  Then she tried to get someone to make change.  Then she told me to do something.  Something in Spanish that I didn't entirely understand.  It was either, "Don't worry about this, I'll take care of you." Or "Hold on while I help these people and I'll get your change in a few minutes."  I thought she was telling me the second thing.  So I waited.  

A few minutes later, another guy from behind the counter came to help.  I tried to tell him I needed change.  Mostly in English, but with a bit of Interpretive Dance mixed in for good measure.  He took my money and walked away.  Then, the cashier came by me again, asking basically, "What are you still doing here??"  Her co-worker chose that time to come back.  We made change and I went to eat my breakfast.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were itching to get on the road.  It was time and the cab came to take us back to the airport.  

Fun Fact.  We booked a car to take us to the hotel when we first got into town.  €40 for the ride.  On the way back to the airport, we had our hotel call us a cab.  It was a flat fee for €30.  I don't know if the ride from the airport in a cab would have been €30 as well, but it's something to look into before you go to Madrid.

Adele accidentally booked a rental car on a random evening.  There may have been a bottle of wine involved.  She had some frequent flyer miles sitting around and looked to see how many it would take.  She texted me a few minutes later with the message about accidentally booking the car.  Luckily, she booked the right days and had booked a car with an automatic transmission.  So, I guess we were good to go.

Dragging our luggage through Terminal 4, we found the Avis counter pretty quickly.  We had scoped it out as we left the airport a few days earlier.  Our rental agent was beyond friendly.  He walked us through the insurance (€17-ish per day), the extra driver fee (€10 per day) and the GPS fee (€10 or 14 per day, but we used it for long enough that it was a flat €100 fee).  Because we didn't pay for the car (in the traditional sense), the fees weren't ones we were too worried about.  We had actually budgeted spending more.  

My first BMW.
Avis sent us to our car (which in hindsight, we never did name), a white BMW with a small scratch on the side.  They knew about that scratch, but with out insurance, we could have set the car on fire and walked away without paying anything extra.  There was a bit of a Tetris situation to figure out how to get three pieces of rolling luggage in the car.  While Adele figured out the car, I worked on the GPS.  Jane was the voice we eventually chose.  She was the Female voice from the UK.  Her voice was soothing enough.  But most of her story will come in the coming days.

The luggage was in.  The seats were in place.  The GPS was set.  Well...Jane was not entirely getting us to the right place.  That should have been our omen.  Jane was getting us to the city center of Elciego.  We were going to a very specific hotel and we knew we would find it from afar.  We'll find it no problem.  Right??

Let's do this!!

Driving out of the airport, we kept saying, "Look at us!!  We're driving!!"  We ate our Nun Cookies and figured out road signs.  The roads were smooth and surprisingly easy to get around.  Cockiness ensued.  We were Rock Stars in our ability to drive around in Europe!!

Someone is paying attention to the road. 
And let's be 100% honest here.  I was no Rock Star.  I was a passenger in a car.  Adele was thrilled to be driving and I was thrilled to be a passenger.  I maintain that I would have been thrilled to be a permanent passenger.  But my time would come as a driver.  Eventually.

Our cockiness was short-lived as Jane, our GPS, was not necessarily driving us in the direction we wanted to go.  Not that she was taking us away from our eventual destination, but she was taking us in different directions than we expected to go.  Remember though, Jane couldn't find our hotel.  Never mind that the hotel we're traveling to is just about the only thing in this small town.  Jane couldn't find the hotel.  So at a certain point, Adele had Google Maps up on the phone, I had a hard core Road Atlas map on my lap.  I had Jane in my hand, and Adele had grabbed her grandpa's Spain road map from 50 years ago.  We had many ways to figure out where the hell we were going.


Did I mention that the 50 year old road map was also in German??  I didn't??  Huh.  Weird.

We were on the right road.  And our hotel would announce itself soon enough, right??

It would.  We turned off on a small road.  Both Jane and Google Maps said it was the right direction.  And off to the right, we saw our hotel.  And it was everything we wanted it to be.  But that is a story for another day.

The US isn't the only place with wind farms.


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