So day six arrived and it was finally time to say hasta luego to Madrid. Now Spain has excellent mass transportation so do I make use of it? Of course not I rented a car. The main reason is time. If I was here longer I would have not even bothered but as it turns out the car has come in handy. I did not pull my usual of picking out one of the more luxurious cars to drive this time. Instead, I picked out something that could haul luggage and people. So it was off at 9 AM to pick up the Citroen Berlingo.
It was a quick 10-minute walk up to the rental place right off the Plaza Espana. After a wait, because it was apparently a popular day to rent a car I was in the Berlingo and driving to pick up Red and the luggage. Driving in Madrid is adventurous. Not only do you have the strangely narrow lanes, multi-exit round-a-bouts, and constant pedestrians stepping out in the road, but you have them in larger quantity. Plus I had the bonus of driving in old Madrid where narrow alleyways are now roads and they constantly change the one-way direction of the street. Forcing you to turn somewhere you didn't want to go.
I made it without incident to pick up Red, and she like the trooper had already hauled down all the luggage. Down five stories... while sick with the Spanish cold... Seriously someone get that woman a medal. With the car packed and the keys returned upstairs, we were off. Now for the hard part. Getting out of Madrid.
With GPS downloaded and we started making our trek out. At one point during a confusing intersection with several lights and round-a-bouts all chained together a car with two Italian women pulled up next to me and I think they were trying to ask me directions. Boy did they pick the wrong person to ask. When I answered in English that I didn't know the older lady just threw her hands up and off they drove. That encounter made me miss a turn and I had to go a long stretch down several lights before I could make a U-Turn. Once I got back on the right turn and then on another major street I saw the Italian ladies car again. They were just as lost.
Now on the right track, I came across my only fear on the Madrid roads. The Glorieta Puerta de Toledo! If you are not familiar with this let me explain. It's a massive 4 lane, 8-way intersection round-a-bout with a secondary semi-circle round-about cutting through half of it. In the middle is the Puerta de Toledo which is a massive Neo-Roman style granite and stone gate with three arches and a cluster of sculptures on top. It was built to commemorate the arrival in Madrid of Fernando VII, 'the Desired One' and completed in 1827. It's bad enough to have this massive confusing intersection but to include this structure in the middle to distract you is almost a death trap. As you've already figured out I took the wrong turn off in it. I was not about to turn around and try it again. Instead, I let the GPS re-route. It added time going through the streets of Madrid instead of cutting over to the M-30 but I was ok with that.
Finally, we got on the A-3 to Valencia and got out of Madrid. Once in the country, I stopped at a gas station just to get snacks and calm my nerves. The drive was beautiful. The countryside is just so colorful here with all the farmland and wildflowers. As I got used to the car we started making real progress. The local highways are polite enough to inform you with plenty of time where the radar speed traps are with giant bright blue signs.
As the countryside changed and became more mountainous it just got more beautiful. We pass over several probably but I think the local ones are part of the Sierra Martés? Maybe? With making good time we got to Denia. After seeing Kevin and Susan for a little bit we headed into town to get our keys for the Airbnb and then back down the Playa de Las Marinas to our new apartment for the next five days. It's beautiful btw the apartment that is. It's one of the cleanest and nicest Airbnb's I've ever stayed in.
The trip didn't do well for Red, she was still sick face from the Spanish Influenza. So while she showered and took care of herself I walked down the road to the Farmicia and to Carmelos for the seafood pizza I've been dreaming about for a year and a half. The Farmicia they didn't speak much English so I just said, "Stop Cold" and they said "ah!". Finally, I got the right stuff from them. It really does just stop your cold. I then got the pizza for takeaway and then went to the corner market for drinks. All in the same little square about a 5 minute walk from our apartments. So convenient.
With food and medicine in our bellies we took a walk down the Mediterranean beach back to Kevin and Susans to visit and to watch the sun set behind the mountains. It was a beautiful moment for the Solstice. After some more visiting we took a midnight walk back down the beach holding hands and giggling like the young lovers we are at heart.