I Crash the Hire Car into a Wall

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September 14th 2017
Published: September 15th 2017
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Issy's feeling worse than ever, and if she doesn't improve some I think we might need to go searching for a doctor.

The chemist should have finished his siesta by now, so I decide to set off before he has a chance to start his next one. Issy's Googled the Spanish versions of the drugs she's after and writes them down so I can show them to the chemist. I hope she's got them from a reputable site; her list doesn't seem to include anything that looks like "el cocaine" or "la heroin" so hopefully I'll make it back without getting arrested.

I say a cheerful "hola" to two ladies with buckets and mops who are cleaning the area outside the apartments' garages. Getting the car out and then pointing it in the right direction has never been easy, and Issy's not here today to help me. The garage door's only just wide enough, and after I get clear of that I then need to back it down a narrow alleyway and do a tight three (or more...) point turn using a small parking space off to the side. The ladies have left two of their buckets in the space, which makes turning around even more challenging than usual. They stand there watching me struggle, but it doesn't seem to have occurred to them that moving the buckets out of the way might perhaps be helpful. I hear a crunching noise behind me. Hmmm. That didn't sound good. It seems that there's a concrete wall on one side of the parking spot; it's just a fraction too low for me to be able to see in a mirror, and I think I've just backed into it. I mutter some rude words under my breath. I drive forward quickly without realising that the ladies have also opened a small pedestrian gate in front of me so that it sticks out into the alley, and I drive into that too. This is also not good. This is not even a little bit good. I remember feeling very smug when I told the man at the rental car company that I didn't want to pay extra to reduce the insurance excess to zero, but I'm not feeling too smug now. I'm not game to inspect the damage. I hope the car's got good bumpers.

I park in a large car park near the chemist. I'm not trusting myself to manoeuvre the car around any objects, whether they're moving or stationary, so I make sure to park a long way away from any bollards, fences or other cars. I take a deep breath and get out to inspect the damage. I can't see any at the front, but the back's a whole different story. Half of the wall that I backed into seems to be attached to a now very dented back panel, and it's not a pretty sight. I'm not happy. I'm not even a little bit happy. I shout lots of rude words. I use them to describe cleaning ladies, buckets, narrow Spanish alleyways, garages with narrow doors, and cars that don't have bumpers. I should be using them to describe myself, but I decide that this probably wouldn't be all that helpful. I then realise what I'm doing and look around to see if anyone's watching, or worse still listening. I haven't learnt any Spanish swear words yet; I wonder if they sound similar to their English counterparts. I don't think that getting arrested for using obscene language would do too much to improve my day.

I hand the shop assistant Issy's drug list. She doesn't look like she's about to call the police, so maybe the day's improving. I drive back to the apartment and spend the next several hours trying to regain my sense of humour.

We decide to head around the promenade to Canyelles Beach. It's sunny but cool. We buy a breadstick and a small bottle of olive oil, and set up shop on the sand. It's a bit breezy, and most of our fellow beachgoers are crowded up the sheltered end of the cove. Just about everyone here seems to be a French retiree, and most of the ladies like to walk around topless. I wonder why this only seems to be a trend amongst those of slightly more advanced years. I decide to go for a dip. I ask Issy whether the warning that everyone of our generation's parents gave them about not swimming straight after eating has yet been proven to be a myth. She says that she thinks so, which I deem to be sufficiently reassuring. The water's freezing. It's Port Phillip Bay freezing. It's probably even Port Phillip Bay in winter freezing, not that I've ever been quite silly enough to experience that first hand. I last for about a minute and then retreat to the sand to try to warm up.

I leave Issy relaxing in the sun while I head around the headland towards Almadraba. It's all very pleasant along the way - lots of small sandy coves. Almadraba Beach is long and sandy, and similar to Canyelles. It seems to be particularly popular with bocce players, and I watch on as four intense matches are played out simultaneously at the back of the sand.

The clouds roll in and the sun disappears. I get back to Canyelles to find the beach deserted and Issy wrapped in a towel next to some rocks trying to keep warm. We get back to the apartment just as the rain starts.

It's now cold, windy and drizzling. We head back down into Canyelles in search of dinner. It's too cold and windy for the beach restaurant that we ate at last night; that's now closed. We go into a bar that also serves food. Issy orders a cocktail, and then tries to pretend she didn't realise it was alcohol-laced hot chocolate served in a bucket-sized glass. On the way out we pass the couple who were sitting at the table next to us smoking in the courtyard. It seems that Issy's cocktail has taken effect. She thinks they were our waiters and thanks them for the meal. I think it might be bed time.

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