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Shatnav

Posted by daveb on February 11th, 2008

Shatnav strikes again Build a mental image for me here: The Italian Job. Car chase. Small cobbled streets. Only one car, none chasing. Streets become thinner. Wing-mirrors folded-in. Cobbled street becomes cobbled steps. Downwards.

Well, grab me a chicken drumstick because that’s exactly the humiliation that we suffered in our Ford Focus hire-car whilst trying to locate our backpackers’ hostel in Granada. Due, in no small, part to what Sean Connery would call our “Shatnav” (satellite navigation). Ne’er again will this useless hunk of modern gadgetry find itself suckered onto a windscreen of mine.

Ok, I’m being a little harsh: The hostel was where the device said it was. What it didn’t think to mention however is that the ‘roads’ down which we were being directed were not actually roads, but pedestrian footpaths. The photo above doesn’t convey the situation adequately. I would have loved to have gotten a photo of the car in a much tighter spot, but alas I couldn’t actually open my door to get out and take the picture.

What you see is the car in a position just after the point of no return, from which we had to return; or face calling the car hire company to admit that I’d marooned their vehicle on a proverbial island. Fearing the road would get even thinner than we had just encountered, I pulled-over (i.e. stopped where I was) and took a wander down the street to see what lay ahead. Within 50 metres, the ‘road’ become steepish downward steps. Just prior however, and to the left, was another stretch of steps: this time wider, shallower and in an upwards direction leading to a church.

I had two choices: One, reverse 1.5km up the path that I had just driven, accepting the inevitable scrapes and smashed rear brake-light glass. Or two, drive on a little and perform a three-to-seventeen point turn on the steps to the church allowing us to exit forwards, all the while avoiding reversing/falling down the steeper steps behind.

With option two decided, I went about trying to drive a modern hatchback up a flight of steps on a footpath. I only needed to climb about three, which would give me enough of a trailing space in which to arc the car backwards. Could I get it up? Could I buggery. With tyres spinning aimlessly, clutch slipping horribly and the car smelling like only a dying car can, it was clear that I needed to try a different tack.

Thanks are due to the local builders who, unbeknown to them, donated a scaffold plank to our cause. Makeshift ramp in place; another attempt. Failed attempt at that.

“There’s no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you’ve got your hand or head stuck in something.”

(Peter Kay)

“There’s no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you’ve got your car stuck on a cobbled footpath in a Spanish city.”

(David Bartlett)

After about thirty minutes and all the neighbours had shut their windows to prevent their houses smelling like a Dunlop factory, Squiffy lost all confidence in our ability to recover the situation. Alas, she had underestimated the Bartlett stoicism and all that was required was to climb a little more slowly and, with a big Squiffy-shove from behind, we were up the steps!

The rest, as they say, is history.

Comments

Comment from Sista
Time: February 11, 2008, 7:46 pm

Wavey,

I am killing myself laughing. Thank you for a bright spot in a (so far) pretty intense work week.

Sxx

PS – do the same to my Jeep later on this year and I’ll deck you.

Comment from Sebastien Mendoza (Car hire manager)
Time: February 12, 2008, 9:00 pm

Very interesting to read of your adventure on steps of church, I shall be looking to check out the
condition of our car on it’s return!!!

Comment from Sebastien Mendoza (Car hire manager)
Time: February 12, 2008, 9:00 pm

Very interesting to read of your adventure on steps of church, I shall be looking to check out the
condition of our car on it’s return!!!

Sebastien Mendoza (carhire manager)

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