| Blue and Pink
We also learned how to read parking indicators in Spanish cities—the hard way. Driving around looking for a parking space is like bad deja-vu, only worse because you know you've been around the same ten blocks a dozen times. In Spain, it's no different than anywhere else; having a car, especially in the city comes at a price. Our third night with our Ibiza found us in beautiful San Sebastian, a city by the bay just over Spain's northwest border with France. After a very long day of driving, San Sebastian greeted us and satisfied our desire to be foot-people again. The very lovely proprietor at our pension had been sent to England by her mother to learn English, so we were able to get advice on where to park the car overnight. She showed us on a city map where it was possible to leave your car around the clock without having to move it during the day, or pay. And no parking if there are white lines. We noted the area on the map and left. After driving about half an hour around the area she suggested we look, we found a spot someone had just pulled out of. No solid white lines on the curb! We looked around for street signs—it all looked legal. That wasn't so bad! We made sure to remember the car was on PARQUE street. The irony was there and we saw what we wanted to see.
The next 2 days, we wandered around San Sebastian without a worry in our minds. Ahhhh, to be truly free again... On the day of our departure for Bilbao to see the new Guggenheim museum, we headed out early to fetch the car. Gregg was literally about to put the key into another small white car, only to realize that it was not ours! There was the evidence—pink and blue dotted lines demarcating a parking spot around the car staring up at us from the pavement. Our Ibiza had been towed, or so we hoped.
Cars and French
We figured a fast plan to head back and have our pension lady help us call the tow place. On the way, I noticed a uniformed fellow with a ticket book in his hand on the sidewalk. He looked friendly enough, so we tried in English to ask for help. He didn't understand and in return, asked if we could speak French. I carried out the rest of the conversation with him in French of poor grammar, which sufficed at least for him to confirm that our car was in the tow lot and how to get there. There is a single skyscraper-like building poking out of San Sebastian's skyline just across the river where we were standing. That was where the Ibiza awaited us.
All in all, getting the car back was a relatively painless procedure, and less costly than it would have been back home. In the remaining four days we had the car before we needed to return it in Madrid, we were extremely careful and much more wise about parking. The final task of dropping the car off would be the icing on the cake.