MJE has returned from Espana. I know my legions of fans are relieved that I am back in one piece, as am I. I would have filed posts from abroad but the OB&C was so paralyzed with paranoia that Verizon was going to drain our meager savings, seize our house and leave us penniless that had I needed an ambulance he’d have let me bleed to death on the sidewalk rather than turn his roaming on.
If you want to hear about the glorious food, wine, scenery, etc. then damned well go to Spain yourself, you won’t get that from MJE. I try to convey the desperation that lurks just beneath the surface of every traveler in a foreign land and concentrate on the events of the trip that are indelibly seared into your pre-frontal cortex for their high crap factor. One of our more memorable days in that regard involved renting a car and driving through the mountains. We had a detailed map which the OB&C demanded we consult before we dared inch out of the lot. The map was apparently self-inflating and so huge that it literally filled the entire car. I had to muster my most skillful jiu jitsu moves just to beat it into the back seat. Good luck ever folding that thing again. As navigational backup we also rented a GPS dumb dumb but never quite figured out how to use it. All it would tell us was how to get to where the last renter wanted to go.
Our plan was to visit the white villages en route to our destination. We had heard how great Ronda (help me Ronda, help help me Ronda) was, perched above a very picturesque gorge, so we decided to stop there for lunch. Unaware of what lay ahead, we wandered blithely down one charming ankle-breaking cobblestoned street after another, finally ending up in some farmer’s pasture, at the bottom of the aforementioned gorge about 1000 vertical feet below the town. Herein lies the question, who is the bigger fool, he who leads or she who follows? Nevermind, I know the answer already. But not to worry, opined the OB&C, look! here lies a steep, muddy goat herder’s trail which will take us right back up to town! But as luck would have it, I had neglected to pack my crampons in anticipation of such a situation. As I stumbled through the underbrush clinging to whatever would keep me upright I hit a slick patch, down which I slalomed until I made a full frontal landing and became a dry cleaner’s wet dream. Needless to say, by the time I finally dragged myself onto the end of the very last of the charming cobblestoned streets in town I was fully prepared to throw the OB&C over the ever-so-quaint bridge into the abyss.
Oh, and in Seville, the OB&C mixed up east and north on the map. We walked halfway across Spain in the wrong direction in an effort to find one of the most famous landmarks of the city. But really, he or she who hasn’t made that mistake on occasion cast the first stone. FYI, I have one in my hand right now.
Finally, we rented an apartment in Madrid at the end of the trip. Despite having just 48 hours before boarding our flight home and survived very well without a washing machine, the OB&C decided that since one was provided we sure as shootin’ ought to use it. Let me tell you, a NASA engineer could not have figured this thing out. We finally mashed enough buttons and got it to start, but without water. The end result was a cube of clothes that looked like those cars that get smushed in a wrecking yard. Good news is that it fit perfectly in the overhead.