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Travel Lesson Learned: Valencia, Spain 2012

This example of a “lesson learned” happened more recently, and although we all laugh about this event now, it was definitely not funny at the time.  When you park your rental car in a parking lot, you might want to jot down the parking lot address or take a picture of the entrance, as the parking ticket might not have any useful information on it in the event that you forget where you parked the car.

My husband, friend, son and I spent four glorious days driving back to Barcelona from Marbella. We spent one night in Valencia before returning to Barcelona. In the morning, we drove into Valencia center to eat breakfast.  My husband dropped us off at the square while he went in search of a parking space.  About half an hour later, my husband joined us at our restaurant and mentioned that he parked the car a few blocks away, “underneath a supermarket and across from a Zara store.”  We finished our breakfast, toured around, took pictures and went to find our car.

Little did we know that there are eight Zara stores in the Valencia city center area – and four of them were located in the square where my husband remembered parking the car.  We observed his parking ticket, which did NOT include the address or name of the parking lot – no phone number or identifying marks that could lead us back to our car.  There were also four parking lots that resided “underneath a supermarket and across from a Zara store” in that particular vicinity.

Yup…we had lost the rental car and had NO way of finding out where it was parked other than to search all four parking lots “underneath a supermarket and across from a Zara store.”  We asked someone in every grocery store which parking lot our ticket came from, however they couldn’t tell which parking lot was ours, either.  We searched three of the parking lots before finding our car (which took almost two hours)…and off we drove to the nearest winery/vineyard on the way back to Barcelona!
This unfortunate situation could have been avoided had my husband taken a picture of the parking lot entrance or written down the exact address/name of the parking lot.  He had no idea that there were four parking lot options with his unique identification criteria (“underneath a supermarket and across from a Zara store”).  He also wrongly assumed that his parking ticket would have a phone number, name or address on it.

Kind of a funny story (but not really) with a big lesson to be learned!

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