Day 11: Car Troubles

There are risks associated with renting a car. Even if you’re the best driver on the planet, you can’t always guarantee everyone else will be.

These tiny streets begin and end out of no where. Last night, we saw a cyclist nearly get hit by a big van that came barreling around the corner. She had to jump off her bike to avoid a collision.

Car accidents aren’t the only thing you need to worry about either. We’ve seen vandelism (particularly graffiti) all over Spain and France. Some of the graffiti is nice, I’ll admit, but a lot of it is amateur. Even in Sagrada Familia we saw that people had carved their names in the stairwell coming down from the tower. It’s a real problem.

This picture is stolen from the internet because I hadn’t thought to take any photos of this until now. It’s what many of the bridges in Madrid and Barcelona look like

Even vandalism isn’t the end of rental risks, unfortunately. Sometimes the renters can get confused by language differences, and their french-speaking wives don’t catch their mistakes in time.

Which one would you think is Gasoline?

That’s how we ended up with a tank full of diesel, and a vehicle that wouldn’t run properly. Luckily it was a simple fix (just had to drain the vehicle of the diesel), but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressed out.

If you’re paying close attention you will notice that Gazole is labeled as Diesel, but if you’re filling up at 10pm in a strange city at a 24 hour self-serve gas station, you might have the same problem we did.

In Dave’s defence, Gazole is a brand of DIESEL in Europe, which is very confusing for someone who doesn’t speak French, but knows that there it shares a lot of similarities with English.

Dave filling our tank with GAS this morning

So, if you find yourself in Toulouse, with a rental car, I’m here to warn you that you that the french word for gasoline is NOT Gazole. And … If you are unfortunate enough to end up with a tank full of diesel, contact St. Simon Automobile. They are not only crazy nice, but they didn’t rip us off and even went so far as to keep our costs as low as possible.

The man who runs St. Simon speaks good English too! And he was patient with my attempts with my very rusty French!
He even had an employee help tow our car so that we didn’t have to fork over extra money for a tow truck. I wanted to hug him. Such a nice guy!!!
He only charged us 70€ for something we were sure was going to cost 200-300€

It’s funny how things can turn out. We honestly had a bit of a crummy time in Toulouse. We found most people to be pretty rude and we ended up settling for dinner at McDonald’s because even at 7pm, no one was serving dinner yet.

Dave got the blue cheese burger. It cost 12€, and he wishes he’d ordered the 6€ Big Mac

Yet, our crappy car circumstances somehow changed our entire perspective on the city. Without the recommendation of this mechanic from our air BNB host, and without the kindness of this man, we would have left Toulouse with a sour taste. Sometimes difficult situations can really turn things around for the best, apparently!!

Our moods were lifted and we continued onto Montpellier today!

You can reach St. Simon here:

Saint Simon Automobile 8 Rue Antoine Bayes, 31100 Toulouse, France

+33 5 61 86 79 36

3 thoughts on “Day 11: Car Troubles”

  1. Hello.

    I just wonder this sentence, which You wrote: “It seems like all of Europe is vandalised.” Okay, have You been in Finland? Finland is part of Europe! So, I just wonder, because we are not!. If You do not have any idea how Finland is, then look at my:

    About me

    Happy and safe travels!

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