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Once Upon A Time In Madrid

Tue Sept. 17th 2019

I have a story to tell you. 

I woke at 6.30am this morning as I had to be at Avis rental car depot at Atocha railways station at 8am.

I was driving to Segovia to meet a guide at 9.30am for a 3 hour walking tour, before then driving onto Salamanca for the night.

Easy ?!

I was little nervous about driving out of Madrid – but at 8am they are all still asleep.

Challenge #1

Taxi drops me at Atocha – I walk in with 2 wheelie bags.  Such a beautiful railway station.

I slide down the travelator with my bags – no Avis depot...

I ask a policeman (bullet proof vest and guns) – scusi (yes Italian) where is Avis – of course the Spanish don’t really say V – I should have said Awis.

Anyway other building.

Challenge #2

Back up the travelator – there are 8 rows of taxis between me and the other building and barricades to boot. So I walk through a car park – and with a few dodgy man-oeuvres I’m in the other building. Now 08.20

Challenge #3

Checking in at rental car depots is always problematic. Take a number to queue, wait and wait and wait.

I get irate when a man walks in without a number and gets served – HAH not for long = got him thrown out – well I pressured the Spanish speaking man next to me to speak up with ‘how did he do that?!’ written all over my face   : )

Then when you get to the front, they take so long to process everything.

Finally I have the paperwork.

Challenge # 4

Then you have to walk to where the shuttle bus takes you to get the car – it’s now 09.00.

I throw myself at the shuttle just as he is about the leave – so he stops and adds me and my luggage to the van.

Off we go!

Get to the actual place where the cars are.

ONE man on

He gives me the keys…

Challenge # 5

I need the GPS in English – Si?

He tells me to try myself as he is the only one there.

I try and try and try.

I have a very cool car– but no Inglesa.

So I go back – stressed now as supposed to be in Segovia about now!!

He looks at me like stupido.

He can’t do it either.

He goes to get the girl that has finally arrived as she knows more.

She comes out.

Challenge # 6

She gets English – but can’t find the address in Segovia I am supposed to be driving to...

She goes in to look it up on the computer. She never comes back – not her fault – 2 people on and 10 people waiting.

I finally find it and…

Off I go.

Challenge # 7

Hear a sound and hissing and alarm goes off in the car – less than a minute from departure – flat tyre.

I stop and look – yes flat.

I do a u turn – yes trying to remember what side of the road I am supposed to be on.

Only received one toot – and no abuse.

Drive back.

A little shaky and angry and upset.

I park in a crazy place and storm in.

Girls looks at me like her worst nightmare has returned.

She looks at the tyre and can’t believe it.

She goes back inside and …. She never comes back.

At this stage I have had enough – its nearly 10am – I have basically missed the morning.

I ring Made for Spain and Portugal who did an amazing job at putting this wee itinerary together and said…

Can you please find a driver for me and he can take me – I can’t drive!

She says sure give me half an hour.

I go back to the counter – drop the keys and say Olvidalo (well I don’t say that as I have just googled it) I say forget it – take your car and…

I am close to tears – and so is she.

Then she finds me another car.

Oh heck what do I do...

Challenge # 8

I eat humble pie – cancel my driver – who hasn’t been found yet anyway.

Get in the car.

Cancel Segovia – put Salamanca in the GPS.

Take all the right turns and…

Here I am in this amazing city!

The roads were amazing, the GPS perfect. It’s now nearly midnight and I am collapsing into bed.

Buenas Noches