October 2, 2014.
This was the day we were picking up our rental car in Madrid and heading off to visit a friend in Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain.
I hadn’t bothered getting a map of Madrid and the surrounding area as I had supposed the GPS would easily lead us on our way.
But it didn’t pick up the satellite signal inside the parking garage, leaving us hoping that it would start up once we were out on the street.
Fortunately, when we exited the parking garage we could only turn one way, and the next corner we came to was right turn only.
In the meantime I was hastily unfolding the map I had brought along with me only to confirm that it was strictly of Northern Spain, and had absolutely no indication of which highway we needed to get there.
I then checked my Back Roads Spain book, and found a tiny map in the back that indicated that the A6 was the main highway to get to Santiago.
Just as I was reading this I spotted a road sign flashing by that read ‘A Coruña A6’.
What luck! We were on the right road completely by accident. But the GPS still wasn’t picking up a signal so I was frantically scanning the street for more highway signs.
At the next stoplight I noticed a police car in the lane beside us.
“Highway A6?” I shouted out the window at them. Confused looks. Oops, that was English. I changed it to “Carretera A6?”
They shouted back in Spanish, something that seemed to mean “Follow us!”
So we followed the police car with both policemen cheerily waving out their respective windows and pointing the way.
And that’s how we got out of Madrid.