To start with, be prepared for a complete refusal to comply with any aspect of their equivalent of the highway code, by about a third of the population (shooting red lights, parking on the centre of roundabouts etc) and the ‘Grandes Vias’. These are old huge 6 lane roads which run through the city. Elegant, with enormous trees, ornamental gardens, fountains, cafes and bars running down their central reservation, and over-looked by blocks of highly sought after flats and ,apartments, they are ‘roads from hell’ for the unwary, faint-hearted, and the most vulnerable of all ‘the tourist in the hired car’. Everyone travels at breakneck speed (usually breaking the national speed limit, never mind the urban limit) Obligatory free arm hanging out of the window, the other hand on the wheel, but poised ready to thump the horn for anything (In warning, anger, frustration, because you’ve seen a mate, because Valencia won last night, or because it’s Tuesday…or Wednesday..or whatever…) Lanes that you are pelting down at 70+ mph simply disappear or suddenly reduce from 6 to 4. Add to which you have (even these days) unhelmeted scooter or motorbike riders protected by nothing more than a bikini or pair of shorts, weaving in and out like mad wasps or hornets….I think you probably get the picture!
But it is exhilarating and I love it!!
© Andy Daly 2010.