Today I leave Bilbao for the road trip portion of my Spain journey. I take the airport bus back to the airport to pick up my reserved rental car. This is my first rental car experience in a foreign country in 12 years. Last time I at least had companions to navigate or share the driving; but not this time, this time I am on my own.
I am talked into upgrading my car. I can only can drive automatic (I blame my mom who had no patience while I stalled her manual car) so I am limited in choices. In Europe automatic cars are rented at a premium and are often bigger than the manual transmission cars (which is a big disadvantage on tight narrow streets).
It is big car or big fancy car with navigation system. I agree to the upgrade with a navigation system and it was the best decision I could have made. I had no co-pilot, how was I ever going to read a map while I was driving?
The car must have come from France because only French locations were programmed in and it took me 20 minutes to get it to Spain mode.
The navigation was a great idea however navigation system missed telling me about an exit at some point? Didn’t notice until I stopped for a soda and snack. Luckily I get back on track.
I am heading to Logroño today for my visit to the Rioja region. Things go smoothly until I casually miss another turn.
The GPS reroutes me up a mountain route through an old town with a road that keeps get getting narrower and narrower until it gets to the point where really only one car can fit on it. I feel like I am on a bike trail. I also feel like the car will fall off the road at some points if I have to yield to a car coming in opposite direction.
The drive causes a little anxiety for me because I am a little scared I am going the wrong way but eventually I stop to appreciate the pretty sunflowers and small towns I see. It is a rural view I would not have gotten if I didn’t take the wrong turn.
I go up a mountain and down a mountain. Luckily the car can handle it all.
I get a beautiful view of valley and the wine country
I eventually pass La Guardia small town. I want to stop but I really want to get to my lodging and relax. Why did I only schedule one day in this region? I know better than that.
I am happy when I finally arrive and find a great spot to park my car overnight in an underground garage. It is not clear how to pay yet but hopefully my car will be there when I leave the next day 🙂