Driving tour of Madrid

Work took me back to Madrid this week. The trip didn’t get off to all that an auspicious start. I had hired a car as the customer is based some 20km out of the city centre however I had agreed to pick up one of the local team at the IBM office in town first. Unfortunately, at the airport Hertz were unable to provide me with any form of map, instead giving me the simple directions to “follow the signs for Madrid and then take the Avenida de America”.

I must have followed the wrong signs to Madrid and soon realised I was no longer heading in the right direction. It was about half an hour in to what should have been a ten minute journey that I finally worked out where, on my A4 black and white printout of Madrid and surrounding area, I was.

My next mistake was to head in to the city rather than retracing my steps around the ring road. Driving along down one of Madrid’s crowded eight lane thoroughfares when you have only a vague idea where you are going is not to be recommended. Another half an or so later I was getting close but was thwarted by a no left turn sign at the last minute and disappeared off to do another lap of the suburbs.

About an hour and a half in I finally admitted defeat, found somewhere to double park (it seems the thing to do in Madrid) and phoned my colleague. Sadly he couldn’t work out where I was. We enlisted the help of a passerby but the subsequent instructions proved to difficult to convey. Instead, this kindly sole took pity on me and got in the car to direct me. Even then we managed to make one more wrong turn as I attempted to interpret his Spanish and waving of hands. There was also an embarrassing few minutes where I pulled up outside the IBM office and couldn’t explain to him that this was where I wanted to be. Anyway, thank you, whoever you were!

One Response to “Driving tour of Madrid”

  1. Neil says:


    For the life of me I can’t decide who was being more foolish — you for giving someone you didn’t know a lift in a strange city or the person for getting in a car with a total stranger going who knows where.

    But at least it all worked out well.