Sunday, January 09, 2011

Driving to Leon

Day 8 – Wednesday, September 29th - 200 miles to Leon

I can now say I’ve driven in another country.

I don’t ever have to do it again.

I fretted all Tuesday night about how I was going to get that Kia back up the cliff, through the garage door, and out onto the street the next morning without bottoming out on the threshold or running over pedestrians on the sidewalk. I was pretty sure that I could toggle the accelerator, brake, and clutch well enough to keep us from rolling back down into the black hole. (Yeah, go ahead and laugh – you shoulda seen that ramp. Steve McQueen would’ve been sweatin’ it…)

At 7:30 a.m., with no breakfast in our tummies, we rode that baby up out of the bowels of hell and hit the road. There wasn’t much traffic, fortunately, but we still got lost trying to find the right highway out of town. The car rental lady had shown us two options on the little map – one route with a speed limit of 120 km/h, another with a speed limit of 100 km/h.

Huh? Of course, you have to convert that to miles per hour – 120 km/h = 75 mph, whereas 100 km/h = 62 mph.

Being the big sissy that I am, I wanted the 100 km/h highway but I think we ended up on the other one. Only once, though, did we have a semi fly by on a two-lane stretch, blowing that deafening truck horn at us and shaking his fist at us for driving too slowly.

Sheesh. Couldn’t he tell I’m just a stupid American driver? “Just you wait ‘til I meet up with you on the road back in South Carolina,” I thought to myself.

And hello? Spanish people? Would it be too much to ask that there be a McDonald’s drive-through somewhere between Logrono and Leon? I was ready to gnaw off Kathie’s arm by the time we could find anything for breakfast.

Eventually we made it to Leon. Kathie GPS’d us as far as a strange little stub of a drive that led up to the square on which the Hotel Boccalino is located. We could see the square but weren’t sure how to get through the “gate”. After backing out at least once – with bystanders watching in amusement – we decided to go for it by pushing the button on the post at the side of the drive. Voila, as Kathie would say…magically the gate opened and we entered the square.

As we parked in front of the hotel, Kathie’s daughter Jennie, who had arrived the night before, appeared on the steps, ready to conquer Leon. We checked in and got our bags unloaded, then set off straight away to get that little car back to the rental office. I wanted nothing more to do with it.

Check that one off my list.


Katharine said...

I'll put in my 2 cents. None of this is an understatement.

Pat said...

Are you saying it's an exaggeration? :)

Katharine said...

Oops! It was early in the morning. I meant to say overstatement.