Most of my time in Europe I have been content to just train and hang out in my apartment. I appreciate the simple life when my job is to train. Besides, most things that I need are within walking distance. However, with my wife and now two kids living with me here I thought I should finally get a car so they can travel out of the city and see some other things.
Over the years, I’ve tried teaching my wife to drive a stick shift, especially since those are pretty much standard issue over here. She’s not too bad at it but I think she is just not that comfortable with working her way through the gears. So I asked a friend here to find me a car while I was gone this winter and he found us a 2001 Renault, and gratefully it’s an automatic.
The dealership was outside of Girona so I rode my bike to my friend’s house and had him take me there. He was ‘kindly’ negotiating with the dealer in the backseat as I was doing the test drive. The car seemed to be in good condition, I liked the ride, so I said, OK, I want it. Usually a project like this would take 10 years in Spain. My friend told the dealer that I needed to drive it back to my place that day so let’s just get the deal done right now. But the Spaniards move at their own rhythm and a mid-day siesta was in order. So we went and had lunch.
Afterward we went back to the dealer and had to wait around for quite awhile to get all the insurance and other paperwork done. I finally got out of there at about 7pm, a rather long day for me spent entirely on securing a fine set of wheels for the family. Oddly, I didn’t even have to pay right away, they just gave me their bank info and said to have my bank wire the money to their account. I appreciate that level of trust (not that I would be too hard to find).
Now I just need one more car seat for the little one and the family can get out and about a little easier, especially while I’m off doing my job: propelling my two-wheeled ride around the countryside in preparation for the 2011 season.