We continue to have difficulties with the newer technologies of the Garmin and iPhone. Now I confess that Ginger is the operator of the Garmin and owner of the iPhone, but I doubt I would do any better. Neither of us have had much time to play with them! Our Garmin asks first for the street we want, and then searches for every street in Europe by that name. We then scroll through thousands of hits for the one in the city that we want. Strange. It also tends to turn itself off somewhere in the middle of the drive; the little lady inside goes to sleep for some reason. The last episode was a real disaster. I bought an adapter for the car that pushes into the auxiliary power hole; then the Garmin taps into that with a USB connector. So using it into Jerez, it kept telling us to turn right when we knew that was wrong (wrong input address?) so we ignored it and got to where we wanted. Then on the way to Sevilla (same day) it was working great, until we got to the outskirts of Sevilla when it died from lack of power – while plugged into the car battery! Not sure if the problem is the car or the auxiliary power adapter or some combination (I bet the new adapter). Anyway, just when we needed it the most, it was useless. Ginger has an iPhone (Google Maps), but the previous day it went into a non-working “no service” mode. And did I say we didn’t have a map of Sevilla? Our Michelin map didn’t show a city blow up. And did I say that our hotel was in the barrio of Sevilla with medieval tiny winding streets, all of them seemingly one-way the wrong way? I had written street-by-street instructions to the hotel on a small piece of paper (not trusting the Garmin completely yet), but it turns out the street names are not on many corners, the names change over short distances, and Ginger can’t always read my writing. So getting on the major loop around Sevilla, (I’m the driver, Ginger is the navigator) Ginger says we’re looking for exit 813 (earlier we had seen a sign for 803) but after driving awhile we couldn’t find anything remotely close to 813. When I stop to look at the notes, I notice that we’re NOT looking for exit 813, my handwriting says exit 8B; that misleading 803 number that we had seen was a road name, not exit number. Well, then things really got bad when we hit the barrio. One-way streets are everywhere. And worse, they’re one-way for a reason! We’re talking medieval here, designed for horses. Skinny poorly fed horses at that. Heck, in some spots two horses couldn’t pass. Maybe if they inhaled hard. My notes take me through horrendously tortuous and narrow streets (I’m sweating bullets; this is a rented car, and my mirrors are inches away from scratches, and there are right angle turns that look impossible); and then we’re nowhere known, and by mistake I drive over a plaza where there is no street (no one seems to care, his must happen a lot), and we’re totally lost but no worry, there are no options, only one-way streets. Travel on. Finally we come to an intersection – a busy one, 4 lanes! – and lo, we are back on the street we had started from, some roundabouts earlier. And did I tell you that on the regular streets there are roundabouts with 4 lanes going into 3 lanes on the roundabout and then 2 lanes on the out-road with cars jockeying for position along with motor cycles buzzing in and out while we’re looking for street names? Nothing is easy. So back into the barrio we go; same problem, so I called the hotel (the operator doesn’t speak English well) and we are told to take this street and that (the last one we can’t find). So we loop again, and call again, and after answering, our operator lifeline puts us on hold. Well, I’m in a one-way street with a foot on each side of me between stone houses, and cars piling up behind me, so waiting is not a good option! So I turn into a (wrong) street, blocking it but nobody behind me, and ask directions. Bingo! I’m a street away, and just need to make a left (actually, that’s squeeze a left) and I’m there.
Above are two pictures of the road to the hotel. Don’t think this is the worst of the streets! Many are this small at some point. The pictures show the road and a sidewalk on each side. Both the roads and the sidewalks vary in width – small and smaller. On the smaller ones like this, when a car comes (which they do often), one has to duck into a shop’s doorway.
Learning: do not book a hotel in the barrio.
We parked our car in a separate tiny tiny garage under a house, holding about 5 cars. After going down a ramp and turning 90 degrees right, one could only back into the allotted space. Getting out, however, seemed much harder. Did I tell you the cement ramp was like 60 degrees up? Seriously. Attached to the wall on one side and totally open on the other. So one had to negotiate that 90 degree left turn, turning hard so as to not hit the right rear view mirror on the wall, goose the engine like crazy to get up the ramp (standard shift, clutch), while sweating bullets that the left rear tire would not fall off the ramp edge as you made the turn. That would be bad. Then up the ramp one could not make the turn into the one-way street, so you had to go the wrong way to a nearby y-intersection and see-saw back and forth until the car could turn around, again risking mirrors against walls. Tough!
Learning: Public transportation is looking better and better!