We Hate Edith

Meet Edith

Meet Edith

We downloaded an app in Holland called NavFreeNL and it worked so great that when we got to Spain we downloaded NavFree Spain. NavFree speaks to us with a very refined female British accent so we have named her Edith after a dear friend in Northern England who is intelligent and extremely well organized. We have quickly discovered that the GPS Edith is none of these things. In fact, the GPS Edith is slow, dim witted and couldn’t find quicksand if she where buried to her neck in it.  And to make matters worse she’s a big fat liar.

Recently we were going to an intercity address in Bilbao to meet a friend of a friend. I transferred the address from my notebook into the phone and Edith led the way. Edith, being a little slow, has a tendency to point out exits just after you have passed them so working with her requires quite a few uturns, but this country has a lot of roundabouts so we have learned to compensate. We’re just like the Griswolds in European Vacation.

No matter, we have made it to Bilbao and have begun winding our way through the narrow streets in the old town. Only now the streets are getting narrower and with the height of the buildings we find ourselves in passageways that the sun never reaches. The doorways and alleys are filling up with pimps and streetwalkers. The police presence has increased.

Just a little scary.

Just a little scary.

We are clearly not in Kansas anymore and everyone is staring at us like we are foreign missionaries who have been beamed in from an alien church social. It feels as though people are slowly beginning to encircle the car. Right in the middle of this seedy decaying urban jungle our anxiety level has reached DefCom 5 when Edith proudly announces, “You have reached your destination.” Wendi, who’s a little nervous at this point, turns and says, “Bruce, get me out of here. NOW.” A few rights, a couple lefts, we burst out into the sunlight and find ourselves on a narrow passage that runs along the bank of the river. I’m not even sure it’s a road, most probably a pedestrian walkway, but we won’t be turning back at this point. Up ahead I see two well dressed men holding leather notebooks, talking with each other and pointing towards a dilapidated storefront and I think, architects or maybe developers, but clearly educated. I pull up next to them, roll down the window and say in the calmest voice I can muster, “Do you speak English?”. NO!

Undeterred I thrust my notebook at them gesturing wildly at the address written on the page. They take the notebook, study the address and begin to have a discussion about it. Two very scruffy North Africans wander over from a park bench and join the conversation. Now a nasty looking street person with some kind of psychotic disorder staggers up and stands a little off to one side keeping a close eye on the strange activities.

The four men are all passing my notebook around and talking at the same time as they gesture wildly. The whole group is doing a sort of dance now as they keep turning in complete circles clearly looking for some sort landmark or escape route perhaps. Finally, they all stop talking. One of the black men takes my notebook, leans into the car window and in absolutely perfect British School English says, “I am very sorry Sir, we don’t really know where this is, but it is not near here”. He then, very precisely, lays out a long and circuitous route that will take us across a bridge to the other, far more civilized, side of the river. Where we clearly belong.

12 thoughts on “We Hate Edith

  1. Pete

    Hah! What a bummer! These satellite guides are sometimes great and sometimes shockingly inaccurate! Sometimes, you can’t beat a good map and something like the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet!

    Parts of Spain are very poor and certain areas will reflect this in terms the run down infrastructure and somewhat desperate atmosphere. As a country it got hit hard by the recession and is still struggling. My advice is always to dress down and know a way out to open space! I loved the Guggenheim though and the town was full of character.

    Certainly your pictures suggest this is an adventure and it just goes to show , that based on the response of the last guy you spoke to, that appearances can be deceptive! All’s well that ends well! take care guys and have fun! x

  2. jeanette

    Ha ha, this totally happened to us – though we never thought to name our GPS, nicely done. Trying to find the ruins of a famous castle in southern England – took us to an empty field in the woods and announced we were at our destination.

  3. Jan de Lange

    What a nice story! Without Edith you never had this experience. Sometimes it is a good advice: “switch off your GPS “and the unknown brings some unusual.
    It is an original happening and our experience: most of the time it ends terrific.
    Waiting for new stories …
    Maybe Salzburg will have the same unexpected places, we will find out at the time

  4. Colleen

    I love, love, love reading your blog! Feel like I am there with you both and the pictures are truly amazing. Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure with us! Keep up the great work, I know how much time these things take! Cheers!

  5. Harvey Beller

    So whats the problem?… Jeez, loosen up a bit.. so a little mistake was made and you found yourself in a place that wasn’t exactly Nirvana.. .. Go and smell the roses… Try calling her Phoebe..

  6. Patty Gage

    OMG – You guys are Brave! and Edith needs to retire. Love reading all of your adventures. Stay safe and drink lots of Sangria! XOXO

  7. Leslie

    Every county has one……You know Siri is actually a room full of guys laughing their butts off when we ask these questions.

  8. Bill

    Sounds like Edith might be moonlighting from her real job at General Motors! Factory Navigation system on our 2011 Suburban is totally worthless and not to be trusted/relied upon. Have a Magellan, much cheaper, easier to use and and far more reliable on the dash next to “Edith”!


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