Yesterday we left Seville and headed Southeast towards Malaga. Tom and I noticed that we haven't seen too many U.S. Citizens in any of the Cities we were visiting. Just Valerie and Kurt from Pleasanton who were staying at our same hotel in Seville, and then when we picked up our car at HERTZ that morning I saw a young man with a 49'er hat on and engaged him in conversation. He was from SF and had already visited Barcelona and Madrid as well.
I found out while planning this trip that when you want to visit Spain you need to plan your Itinerary according to where and how the trains run. Unless you want to drive, bus or fly and entire time. We like traveling by train so we had to go to Madrid after Barcelona in order to continue down to the Costa del Sol. The young man from SF had the same schedule also because of the trains.
We were given a car made in the Czech Republic called a Skoda. It was great for a few reasons. 1. It had a navigator and 2. It was an automatic. It would be the first time we had an automatic car in Europe. It took a little time to input the address of our Hotel in Torremolinos, Malaga because the navigator control panel was completely different that in the U.S. AND everything was in Spanish and difficult to decipher. (That's right Spanish control panel Czech car - but it did make sense) We got it done and off we went ready for the navigator to take us out of Seville and onto the freeway towards the Malaga province in Spain. The Navigator sprang to life and began giving instructions.......... now I cannot really tell you what we were expecting it to sound like, my Spanish was "okay" English would have been better, but I'll tell you this........... we really weren't expecting the Czech car to give navigation instructions in French. I was driving and I said "What??" "What did that just say Tom, did it say 'tourney a gauche'". (Turn left) There was no stopping it after that, it began rapid fire instructions in French BUT as you might expect there was always the "sil vous plais" in front and "Merci" after the direction.
Do you know what 80 (meters) sounds like in French? "quatre vingts". Which literally means 4 twenties. Every time I heard the word meter I had to back track my brain to see if I could pull apart the number in English and match it up with the French number. By the time my brain thought "was that a five?" "five of what" the navigator was already done with the direction and had sweetly said "Merci." Afterward I just tried to hear the "a gauche" and "a droite" (left or right) Also to jump if it said "Maintenant" (right now!!) Tom was King at listening to the directions and keeping his eyes on the moving map giving me time to negotiate on the road. Together we rocked it.So let's recap here because this was a veritable melting pot of humanity and technology. We were an American couple driving a Czech car with a Spanish control panel that was speaking French....... all together we were trying to get to Torremolinos in Malaga Spain in one piece.