This blog may begin to write itself...June 24 in Spain
We needed to rent a car at the airport, and just like that, we entered the “what could wrong???” Portion of the trip.
In the great game of rental car lottery, we went from a Peugeot (which of course Europcar never had) to a bigger (but let’s face it...still not big) Audi A4. ‘Twas the third slap in the face for Martin at home...first Maria ate fried sardines without him (which has happened again since then😬), then we went to a perfect, and cheap symphony performance without him, and then...we get an Audi. Our luggage barely fits (thank goodness for the Tetris training from college). And it’s a manual transmission. All this bragging from Melinda about her ability to drive tractors and yet she’s “nervous” to get back behind the wheel of a stick shift. So Maria drove. Used to an underpowered Subaru, Maria almost gave the group whiplash entering the autopista. A small prayer for no speeding tickets and nobody to steal the Audi as we didn’t buy the extra insurance. Really, a small prayer for Melinda...Maria is driving and it’s on Melinda’s credit card😂😂😂
Another small bruise to Martin’s ego...Ian says Maria drives more smoothly than he remembers Martin driving. Poor Martin has to drive a Kia and then get Russian judged for it😂
We drove to Toledo and its a-million-degree weather, so after checking in to the apartment, we headed out for a drive...to the molinas (windmills) of Don Quixote fame. They are in a small town south of Toledo called Consuegra. We drove up the hill, visited the windmills and then began to talk about, what Maria now calls, “Things I half know.” Because it’s been years since either Melinda or Maria were at the site, it’s changed a bit...so we were convinced there were another three windmills. There are another two in a small town called Tembleque. Armed with a cursory internet search and unlimited miles, we drove on...There are two things to note: 1) Every small town around here seems to have an “Exit here!” Sign. We now think that is directed at us. And 2) If something tourist-like is hard to find on the internet...it likely is a figment of your imagination.
Here’s how it went:
We drove into town and see two windmills on the right, but town is left, so we go there. Mass is just out, so there are many stares as we drive into town. (Now obvious as to why. The church is the only attraction in town and it just closed😂.) We circle around. Take nice pictures. Decide to drive to the windmills (which, by the way, are NOTHING like Maria remembers them, but who would give up now???) On the way out, Ian sees storks nesting on the spire of an abandoned palace. We stop to take pictures.
Melinda: “Hey. Look over there. I’ll tell you what. I bet you can get a good, cheap meal there. And those old ladies...they could tell you everything about this town.”
Me: “Wanna go?”
Melinda: “Yeah, but I’m not hungry.”
Melinda again: “Oh let’s go check it out...we can at least get a cheese plate.”
We drive up and on the right are a group of elderly women and men sitting under a sign that read: “Residencia Municipal de Mayores Tembleque” (Municipal Nursing Home Tembleque)
I. Couldn’t. Breathe. Or see. I was cry laughing so hard that I couldn’t drive. Very few know of Cervantes’ follow up novel about the crazy American ladies looking for non existent windmills and finding where they really belong😂😂 Twenty Four hours later and I’m cry laughing and gasping trying to write this. Amelie doesn’t know if she should resuscitate me or commit me right now.
And, by the way, we STILL didn’t give up! Laughing and crying and doing a few U-turns, we tried for those dang windmills...clearly located on private land and clearly not named “Quixote” or “Sancho”.
It was now 10 pm, and we returned to the real windmills to see them lit at night. (We finally reached the wrong ones as the sun disappeared (as did they.) Melinda spent 20 minutes losing the light trying to attach the zoom to her iPhone while we were parked in an industrial yard and while Ian was holding my digital Olympus with zoom attached. I can only hope this place has security cameras and we make the guards’ day a little brighter as they review the weekend footage.)
On the way home, at 11 pm, we tried to find some food for dinner a la Spanish time. Consuegra seemed like a ghost town. No life in any street. Nothing near the main plaza or cathedral...and then, we turned one corner next to the river and there they were. THE ENTIRE town in pop up cafes by the river. We took the last table in the last cafe and ate bocadillos (baguette sandwiches) and papas (potatoes) until we were stuffed.
Next up: Bed by 3 am. Sightseeing by 9 am. Taking Spain by Siesta.Read more