When everything that can go wrong, does go wrong

Have you ever had the feeling that the world is conspiring against you? All you want is a nice easy time and yet at every turn there seems to be a huge challenge? You do your best to try and straighten things out, but you turn your back for one second and something else seems to have turned into a big pile of steaming… well you get the picture.

So just to get things into perspective, I’m writing this blog post on my iPad, out side a villa, in the centre of Mallorca, watching the sun set, enjoying a small (large) glass of Cava mixed with orange juice. I’m listening to the sound of the birds getting ready to settle down for the night, the occasional ee-aw from some local donkey and in the distance I can hear the jangling of bells around the necks of a flock of sheep. The view is stunning and I’m feeling very lucky.

Welcome to the holiday (vacation for those in the USA) that almost never was.

So here’s an explanation on how circumstances conspired to almost ruin our holiday and stop it from happening altogether!

Three days before we were due to leave, one of our beloved cats threw up. Nothing unusual about that Eddie (short for Edina, yes the character from Ab Fab) normally throws up a couple of fur balls a week. Thank goodness for wooden, wipe clean flooring! However this time there appeared to be several lumps of blood. We were worried; very worried. The following day Peter took Eddie to the vet, who took some blood for tests and gave us various medications. That afternoon we checked out travel insurance and apparently we were covered if a pet was ill, so we could cancel our holiday and claim – if necessary.

That night, while keeping a close eye on Eddie, worrying ourselves sick over what could be wrong,we caught her eating some flowers, small bright red, some may say blood red flowers…. Panic over, the holiday was back on.

So we’re off! Up at the hideous time of 3:45am to pack and catch our train at 4:35am. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. Tickets, money, passport, check! Off we trek glad to put the false alarm behind us and look forward to relaxing in the sun. Upon arrival at the train station it seems the 4:35am train was changed to a 4:20, so we missed that one. Still, no panic there is another at 5:05am that should still give us plenty of time. Two hours for check-in is always excessive. The train seemed to be going really slowly and stopping at several places we weren’t expecting it to. (We were on the right train, weren’t we? Ah an announcement, yes we were!) Finally we arrive at the airport, locate our check-in area with a queue (line for the folks from the USA) that seemed to take up half the airport. Almost an hour later we are checked in! Our boarding time on our ticket seems to say boarding started five minutes ago. Our route to the security gates is diverted to some back room that looks like something they only use for the really cheap flights, well I guess that’s fair enough… Through security, no embarrassing body search, yay! Finally something went right.

A quick march off to the gate, which seems to be well over a 20 minute walk! The passengers are already boarding, we join the queue and are finally on board – after another five minute walk! This really was the furthest plane from our arrival at the airport! But we made it!

The plane journey was blissfully uneventful, although I was feeling a little stressed still from the sick cat, slow train, and check-in from hell. Nevertheless we arrived safely at Palma airport in Mallorca. We split up, I get the car rental sorted and Pete waits for the luggage. By the time I’m done refusing an infinite number of upgrades and duplicate over insurance, Pete has just picked up the suitcases, another win!

Off we go to the car park to find our car, it’s quite a big car park and it seems to confuse us, so we end up walking backwards and forwards either way about three times before we finally track down the world’s smallest hire car. Still, no problem, we manage to squeeze in the two suitcases and bags. Set up the GPS and start to program in the villa. OK, can’t find the villa, so we try the road. Can’t find the road, so the town. Nope, still no luck. We resort to the written instructions provided by the holiday company. They seem decent enough, and we are finally on the road.

But the GPS continues to freak out, by not having most of the roads listed in its map and reporting disk errors and it suddenly decides it’s night and turns the screen ultra dark. GPS now pronounced DOA (dead on arrival). The directions were great up to about 10 minutes before our destination. At this point they seemed to have different road names and vague descriptions of the final turning and location of or villa. We arrive and what seems, rather worryingly, a rather clapped out old villa. The gate is locked and we can’t find the key box anywhere. Pete attempts to climb over the brick wall, almost pulling it down in his effort for scale it. Still unable to find the key box he returns to the car as someone else drives past and toots their horn at us. Pete speaks to the lady, who only speaks Spanish and he only speaks pointing and smiling. Pete works out that our villa is further up the road.

We arrive at our beautiful villa, in large grounds and behind a large wrought iron and padlocked gate. With no key box in sight. Maybe we are just early, check-in is meant to be around 4pm and it’s still only about 12:30pm. As we head off again in search of a supermarket to buy provisions we decided to call the representative and ask for advice, just in case the gate shouldn’t be locked and we needed her to come out and unlock it. She was very friendly and said she should be there within the hour.

We continue on to get our supplies, not quite sure how we will fit everything in the tiny car as it’s pretty much full already with our luggage. Just as we finish squeezing the last of our shopping in to the back seat of the car, the rep calls to tell us that the padlock wasn’t actually locked so we could have just lifted it off ourselves. Oh, the shame.

Two days into our unwinding, we decide to go for a little drive out and see what we can see. Within about 30mins I have what can be only described as the closest thing to a major collision. So close in fact that the front number plate was dislodged and you can actually see the tyre marks along the front of the car. Just a few inches farther forward and the impact could have been so much worse it simply defies thinking about.

So the moral of my tale is simple: despite everything that almost went wrong, we did everything we could to deal with each issue as it arose. We supported each other when we struggled. Most importantly, we didn’t give up. Here I am now, several drinks later (so goodness only knows how this will read!) and having a wonderful relaxing time. This will go down as one of the toughest holidays I’ve ever had, but dammit, it’s my holiday and I am determined to enjoy it!