I HAVE never been so happy to walk through an airport arrivals door as I was after returning to Mallorca at the end of last month.
Travelling was certainly a different experience from pre-Covid times. What should have been a two-and-a-half-hour flight took two days and two flights!
We left Harrogate with our compulsory masks and entourage of cases – well I was taking everything because who knows when I will dare to leave the island again. The train to Kings Cross was sectioned off with people only being able to sit in alternate rows and we were the only people in our carriage. There was no refreshment trolley or food served but I’d come prepared with a healthy (not) supply of energy-boosting sweets – needed after dragging five cases along!
Kings Cross which was quiet but at least we saw people around which was encouraging. We jumped in an Uber to Heathrow because we weren’t keen on travelling by tube where there’s no hope of social distancing.
But the most startling sight of all was when we entered Heathrow airport. It felt like the world had ended and we were the only survivors seeking refuge! Never in my lifetime would I have expected to see the UK’s main airport so eerily deserted. Lounges were closed and the only shops open were Boots and WHSmith, so dinner was a packet sandwich and bag of midget gems … you’re getting a running theme when it comes to my food intake here, I eat way too many sweets for a grown woman.
After checking in and thankfully ditching the cases, we had our temperatures taken and whizzed through security in record time, a plus! On our Iberia flight passengers were spaced one seat apart and it was compulsory to wear a mask throughout the journey. If you didn’t have one you weren’t allowed to board.
We arrived in Madrid where we were asked in immigration why we were travelling to Spain and had our temperatures checked again. We were given a 14-day self-isolation Do’s and Don’ts notice before leaving the airport and headed straight to our hotel in the centre of Madrid. There was no usual hotel bar open to enjoy a welcome drink and the restaurant was shut, so the only option was the mini-bar.
Our flight to Palma was leaving at 5pm the next day so we had time to kill. We got a late check out and even though I did my usual research on what to see and do, it was clear we weren’t going to be doing or seeing anything! However, with masks and gloves on, we did venture out to buy some food before our flight. After more than two months in UK lockdown I cannot tell you how amazing it was to see shops open and people sitting in cafes eating and drinking!
We had one more hurdle to face: getting from Madrid to Palma. As we waited to board our flight, three Guardia Civil were grilling everyone boarding, asking for their Residencias, which we didn’t have as we’d only been in Mallorca for three weeks prior to lockdown and hadn’t had time to get them.
We handed over what paperwork we had, a letter from Calviá Town Hall stating we were permitted to travel and lived in Mallorca, our tenancy agreement, Paul’s Spanish work contract and our NIE numbers. When it came to our turn we were asked if we lived in Mallorca and Paul explained that he was a pilot for Jet2, based there. Then they looked at me and asked if we lived together, I could have said, ‘We’re practically conjoined twins since lockdown’ but decided on keeping it zipped and simply replied ‘si’. The GC are not people you want to joke with!
On the approach to Mallorca I craned my neck to see the island through the window and felt so happy to be back. Again at immigration the paperwork had to be shown and we were handed another 14-day isolation notice before making a dash for the exit.
We’d been away from our home in Mallorca for a whole nine weeks but I’m back and here to stay! Now, I can’t wait to be able to go out for dinner in a restaurant, wander around Palma’s shops and explore more of the island. See you all in two weeks after our quarantine’s up!