| Back to Barcelona?!
We were instructed to drop off the car at Madrid's northern train station, Charmatin, and to look for a sign marked "SEMAT". We got to the station with no trouble, but did a lot of circuitous driving before we found a non-descript office, more like a bus depot, in an equally obscure lot by the station. Relieved to see there was also a bathroom, I left Gregg to get a head start on the return. When I came out, he was standing in front of a pay phone with a look of disbelief. "Incredible. They're saying that we have to drive it back to Barcelona. They don´t receive car returns for TOTcar." No way, I thought, are we doing any more driving. He suggested I try French with them because communciation was poor. The young woman Gregg first talked to responded "Pocquito" when I asked if she understood French. By now, I'd had gotten better at explaining car situations in French. She understood what I said and replied that we had to get TOTcar to fax the contract (which we had a copy of in our hands) to them before they would do anything. Fine. We asked her to help us communicate with TOTcar what they needed using the pay phone. 15 min. later, the fax arrived. 30 min. later, our packs were out of the trunk and back on our shoulders.
When in Spain
All this has only reminded us supposed nomads of what is entailed with "owning" a car. Cliche, but everso true, freedom comes at a cost. On the one hand, in two days we passed through three countries—France, Andorra, and Spain—and another four "autonomous communities" in Spain. Our Ibiza took us to the beautiful snowy passes of the Pyrenees, keeping us dry in torrential rain, and back down to lush green valleys. We saw more varied terrain in Spain than we ever knew existed. On the other hand, we spent in a week what people in some countries we'll be going to don´t make in years, and certainly what would have enabled us to go much further distances in such places. Oh well, as the saying goes "When in Rome"... In Spain, we travelled as Spanairds do, and as such, saw much more of the country in a short amount of time. Spain is in fact the first and last place we'll be in which renting a car is common enough to even consider. In a week, we'll be in Morocco; camels with air-conditioner?