Narrow Nightmares


Cordoba, in the middle of winter. It was late (9pm) and the kids were hungry, the saving grace of an ice cream bar on the Roman Bridge having lost its charm by now. We started driving towards our hotel. As we entered the street that led to the hotel as per Sygic and Google Maps, the walls of the city started closing in on me. Narrower and narrower it went. People couldn’t slip sideways past the car on either side and froze, bewildered. A few minutes later, I couldn’t move forward – the road ahead was narrower than the car. I was stuck. I couldn’t even open the door. There was no choice but to reverse back out of this narrow road.


The next 5 minutes were the most difficult driving I had done so far. Reversing a car, in near-darkness, on a road that is barely a few inches wider than the car, where no one could step out and guide me. And just right where I stopped reversing was the door to our hotel, with valet parking included.


One would think this would be the last time one would be in this predicament.


A year later, different country, same situation. We landed in Heraklion, Crete, pretty late in the evening, and by the time we picked our rental and were on our way to Rethymnon, it was 9.30pm and dark. Hungry and tired, in no different a state than in Cordoba, the hunt for our hotel began, and Maps told us to head straight towards the old town. The road became narrower and narrower, at which point people were pressing themselves against the walls. At one point, a shadow appeared in front of the car and stopped us. She was one of the rare English speakers around and asked us to stop, reverse, and get out before a cop handed us a ticket. A similar drama unfolded, as I reversed painfully slowly for the next 5 minutes in near darkness.


Waiting for round 3 on a future trip.