My First Solo Travel Experience, August 2014
This holiday was hugely significant for me because it was the first time I’d been abroad on my own, and I’m pleased to say it was a big success; I loved every minute!
I chose Majorca as my first ‘solo’ destination because I’ve been to the island quite a few times before (albeit with my parents when I was little) and I can speak a bit of Spanish. I did cheat a bit though, booking a half-board package through Thomson Gold!
I flew with TUI and I would definitely recommend them; the staff were efficient and helpful, the take-off and landing near-perfect and the little monitors throughout the cabin streamed useful information throughout the whole flight. The only negative was that almost everything was written/spoken in German. From the safety video to the menus; all in German!
Once I’d arrived at Palma Airport, collected my suitcase and made my way to the right transfer coach, I actually started to relax and enjoy myself. Part of me couldn’t believe I’d made it that far on my own, and without anything going wrong. Apart from nearly losing my luggage tag that is. It survived two sets of airport baggage handlers but fell foul at the hands of the coach driver. Unbelievable.
The transfer took just over an hour (official Thomson transfer time: 40mins) and at 5pm, local time, I arrived at the Grupotel Playa Camp de Mar. And it was beautiful. Stunning, in fact. As I walked through the doors, I couldn’t believe I was going to be stopping in such an amazing hotel!
First impressions of my room was that it was small. Very small. And that the view wasn’t particularly good. But how much time do you spend in your room on holiday? And to be honest, once I’d unpacked and made the place a bit more homely, I was more than happy in there.
The bathroom was gorgeous; newly refurbished with marble and glass. Little bottles of shampoo, shower gel and body lotion sat atop a glass shelf, along with a cute box containing a sewing kit, cotton wool and a few other bits and pieces. The wardrobe had ample space with plenty of hangers and shelves, and also contained a safe (which was €15 a week plus a €5 refundable deposit). And the TV had BBC One and Two and ITV 1, 2 and 3. So overall, the room was very acceptable.
Dinner wasn’t my favourite part of the day, and I did find myself eating as quickly as possible before making a sharp exit. My aversion wasn’t down to the food though; it was more about atmosphere and the sheer enormity of the dining room. I think this was amplified because I was on my own- it was really the only part of the day when I felt a bit lonely. The food however, was beautiful. I would have liked more continental food (tapas, a variety of paellas, spaghetti bolognese etc) rather than endless amounts of traditional British meat, fish, veg and chips! But it was all very fresh, tasty, and well-cooked. Breakfast was a little better as the atmosphere was more relaxed. The food was amazing with such a huge selection that I was spoilt for choice every morning.
Travelling Around the Island
Before arriving in Majorca, I had decided to do a bit of travelling whilst I was there. I’d done some research as to where the best markets would be, and also looked into the best modes of transport. So at the welcome meeting I made sure I grabbed a bus timetable and checked which days the markets were on.
Travelling by bus in Majorca was an absolute pleasure (and that’s coming from someone who refuses to step foot on a bus in the UK!) They ran frequently, were immaculately clean and had friendly drivers who did their best to speak English (whilst I was doing my best to speak Spanish.) I hopped on the bus most days, visiting nearby towns/resorts and local markets. Then halfway through the week, feeling like I’d mastered the local buses, I took a bus to Palma (which took approximately 40 minutes) then got a train to Inca which is slightly north-west from the centre of the island and north-east from Palma.
It was my intention to go to Inca market and spend most of the day there as I’d heard it was one of the best on the island. I ended up only stopping for about an hour as I didn’t think it was as good as Andtrax (pronounced ‘Andratch’) which I’d been to a couple of days before. But for me I had achieved what I’d set out to; catching a train and visiting a different part of the island.
Overall, I had a fantastic holiday and didn’t feel ready to come home. Ideally I’d have liked another week there, but on a different part of the island. But for a first attempt I think I did well!