Ep 16: Help! I’m a tourist!

Finding our way into Marbella was a culture shock after driving all the way from Madrid practically without traffic or incident – we are suddenly in a maze of streets with multiple lanes, cars everywhere moving at high speed, unfamiliar street signs and signals that are not what we are used to. I drove all over the place for about an hour, up and down the coast trying to find any road that would take us down to the beach front, where we knew the hotel would be, but the signage was very difficult to read while you are driving and most of the roads are one-way. Eventually we found the way to a road along the beach and could see our hotel in the distance, but there was a sign saying: Only residents and official cars – it was pretty much a pedestrian way, with all the restaurants lining it and tables and chairs on the pavement. However, I reckoned we would soon be residents and took the bull by the horns, proceeding at a snail’s pace. We nearly reached the end and of course there was a knock on my window and there was the inevitable traffic cop on his bike, saying: “It is forbidden, it is forbidden.’ Duh! I know that. Can’t you see the hired car sign on the back window?! I lowered the window, looking suitably remorseful, and said: “Princesa Playa”, pointing to the hotel which was only two blocks away. He told me to turn left, turn right and we will be there, but don’t ride here again. Of course I won’t – it was all a clever ploy on my part to find a helpful policeman! That’s my story and I’m definitely sticking to it.

       Phew! At last – exhausted from the stress of not only driving in this madhouse but also by the fact that the car seemed to be running out of petrol and we couldn’t see a petrol station anywhere. We pulled up in front of the hotel and disgorged ourselves. We were told to park the car in public parking, which is the norm, and it was two blocks away. There was definitely not going to be a rest for the old folks. So off I went again, parked the car, not without some difficulty in working out the ticket machine, and trudged back to the hotel, where Dad had sorted out our check-in and we gratefully took the lift to the 6th floor.

       What bliss! A modern, well-appointed luxurious apartment all to myself for five nights, with a sea view all the way to Africa!

Mom’s diary:

       Got lost several times trying to find our way to the hotel! Pam had her work cut out to negotiate the narrow streets and all the holiday traffic as well as being lost, with the added worry of being low on diesel. At last we found the place and settled into our comfortable high-rise building. We are on the 6th Floor.

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