Driving me crazy



Pamela Cooper

What they didn’t tell PAMELA COOPER about hiring a car online

We booked a hire car online for our trip to Spain. If you are over 75, you cannot drive in Europe, but you can nominate a driver (me). I duly got the required international driver’s licence and Dad hired the car. At Madrid airport, we produced the credit card and driver’s licence.

But no, the credit card and the driver’s licence must have the same name, they say. But my father isn’t allowed to drive, so I am the designated driver, I say.

That is too bad, they say, turning to the next customer.

Dad digs in his bag and finds a copy of his temporary licence. It’s just a piece of paper, but they are happy to have it and say he can drive. That he’s 83 and doesn’t have an IDL is fine by them, just as long as they can swipe that card.  What would we have done if Dad hadn’t had a temporary licence on him? Who knows what the rules really are?

Keys in hand, we head off for a strong espresso to brace ourselves for our foray onto the unknown highways of Spain. We locate our hired car with a tiny boot. The back seat sags under the weight of three suitcases and assorted hand luggage. Had there had been four of us, at least one suitcase would have been left in the parking lot.

We hired a Garmin, thinking we would need it. It cost 14 euros per day, and it didn’t work at all well in Spain. Due to extensive national road works, the instructions were outdated. We went around in circles all the while being berated by the Garmin for not taking the third exit on the left when there isn’t one. We gave it back after two days and found the signage more than adequate to get us to Marbella without too much trouble.

(Mother’s diary records this interlude as follows:  The car hire place was near the luggage pick-up and, after a nice cup of coffee, we were on our way!)

Pamela Cooper
Pam is a prolific blogger, artist and proofreader, who lives in the quaint seaside village of Kommetjie on the Cape Peninsula with her family, where she enjoys observing the passing parade, but dreams of a Winnebago on distant shores. She's a night owl and does her best writing after the witching hour, when she may be found on the deck observing the night skies with a telescope and basking in the silence.