Does anyone else always get a particular earworm stuck in their head whenever they hear Ibiza mentioned?
For me, it’s the Vengaboys ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’. I don’t even like the bloody song! But ever since we booked our trip to go ‘back to the Island’, it’s been stuck in my head…on repeat!
Last month it was time to get my travel shoes back on and head to an airport for the first time since I came back from India in January 2020.
We all know what happened in the 18 months that followed, but for a while, I didn’t know if or when I would feel comfortable travelling again.
Thankfully, I soon got over this feeling, and as we entered 2022, I knew it was almost time to go abroad again.
Booking our holiday should’ve been straightforward. However, being part of a mixed-race couple makes travel slightly challenging. Finding somewhere we would both feel comfortable was at the top of our ‘wish list’. It’s sad that we have to consider this, but there are so many places in Europe that we wouldn’t dream of going to together for fear of discrimination.
Having been to Ibiza myself a few years ago, I was confident that it was somewhere we would both be able to relax and have a good time.
And thankfully, I wasn’t wrong.
I don’t know if it’s a worldwide, European, or British issue, but we seem to be in the middle of airport hell at the moment. Flights have been cancelled or delayed left, right, and centre and the airports are something else.
I hadn’t flown from Stanstead for a long time, but it seemed to be the ‘London’ airport with the cheapest flights.
I’m not entirely sure how it gets away with being a ‘London’ airport, but we’ll leave that one for another day. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get to Stanstead from South-West London, but I can tell you now, we won’t be doing it again 🤣🙈
Our travel options to get to the airport were limited – something we probably should’ve checked before opting for the ‘cheaper’ flight option.
We could get the train which would take us around 2 hours. If we chose this option, we would need to get the train into London and navigate the underground to get to Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale, where we could catch the Stanstead Express.
We could drive, but this would also take around 2 hours, and we would need to pay £80+ for parking.
In the end, we chose to get an Uber. Jumping in an Uber would take around 2 hours, but we wouldn’t need to pay for parking. However, we hadn’t factored in how much it would cost to get there and back 🙈
I also hadn’t factored in how bad a back-seat passenger I am now. I spent the entire 2-hour journey stuffing my face with Haribo as I tried to stop myself from feeling travel sick.
We arrived at Stanstead in plenty of time as we were prepared for long queues. We were surprised to get through baggage, check-in and security relatively quickly.
Arriving in the Departure Lounge, however, was a different story. Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who had decided to arrive early for our flight. It was carnage. People everywhere. No free seats. Massive queues to get food. And to make matters worse, our flight had been delayed by 2 hours.
We vowed there and then never to fly from Stanstead again.
Once we eventually boarded and were airborne, we had a comfortable flight to Ibiza with Jet2. The only wobbly bit was the landing, but we think that’s due to a short runway in Ibiza (the runway is right next to the sea!).
Amidst the airport chaos, I had forgotten that our delayed flight would impact our transfer to the hotel. After making several phone calls and walking many laps of the arrivals lounge, we finally located our taxi driver. It was nearing 11 pm Ibiza time, but we were finally on our way to Es Canar.
As soon as we laid eyes on our hotel, I think we both knew we could start to relax. It was beautiful. We had booked an All-Inclusive four-night stay in the Adults Only Hotel, AluaSoul Ibiza.
Everything about the hotel, from the reception to our rooms to the dining room, was just what we wanted. Fresh, clean, and with a hint of luxury.
Our first full day in Ibiza was all about unwinding after a hectic start to the year for us.
We devoured the buffet breakfast, spent some time chilling in our room and then headed to the gym for a pre-lunch workout.
I have to say it was a close call between our favourite meals of the day. There was so much to choose from for breakfast, from pastries, cakes and Spanish omelette to an English-style fry-up to plates of cold meats and cheeses. One of the chefs was always on hand to cook up a traditional omelette to wow the breakfast crowds.
The all-inclusive lunch options changed daily, but generally, there was a lovely selection of salad, cold meats, cheeses, pasta, burgers, fries and a selection of ice creams and desserts for those with a sweet tooth.
You’re probably wondering why we would want to use the gym on holiday, but actually, it’s something we both really enjoy. My boyfriend likes to keep fit, so it’s a natural place for him to disappear too. I don’t use a gym at home, mostly because I struggle to find the time and the justification for the cost. But when I’m away and having some downtime, you will always find me heading into the gym for a quick workout.
After lunch, it was time to head to the pool-side sun loungers, where we stayed until it was time to shower and get ready for dinner.
After dinner, we took a little walk around Es Canar. We hadn’t planned to leave the hotel much during our short stay in Ibiza because we wanted the holiday to force us to stop and relax, but it was nice to have a look around to see what else Es Canar had to offer.
My one compromise to having a relaxed holiday was visiting the world-famous Es Canar Hippy Market. My parents had been a few years ago, and they made it sound magical, so I knew it was the one place I wanted us to go while we were there.
The Happy Market is a 15-20 minute walk from AluaSoul Ibiza. The market, which is in the grounds of the Punta Arabi hotel complex, opens at 10 am every Wednesday during the summer season and is the largest and oldest of its kind in Ibiza.
It’s free to get in, although there is a small fee for parking if you travel in from outside Es Canar.
It was nice to have a little mooch around the stalls, although our highlight was listening to the hippy music we stumbled across.
There are plenty of places to get food and drink, although we didn’t eat there ourselves.
It’s worth a visit if you haven’t been before, and I would definitely head back if I wanted a break from the pool.
Once we left the hippy market, we returned to our hotel for lunch before walking to the beach and dipping our toes in the Mediterranean sea.
We walked along the beach after dinner that evening and were treated to one of Ibiza’s incredible sunsets.
We also checked out the hotel’s entertainment when we arrived back at the hotel. I liked that they had set the stage up outside by the pool, so we could sit outside sipping our drinks whilst listening to a Bruno Mars Tribute Act.
As it was our last full day, we wanted a chilled one. However, they were offering glass-bottomed boat rides from the beach outside our hotel, so it would’ve been rude not to right?.
After hunting down a cash point (the boat ride was the only place we visited that didn’t take cards), we hopped on the glass-bottomed boat, only to find it wasn’t glass-bottomed. We took our place on the boat and headed out across the bay. Towards the front of the boat, there was a small tank. If you looked into the tank, you could see the ocean floor below. Once again, I found myself feeling travel sick. I was ok when the boat was moving, but when we stopped to view the sea life below, my good friend nausea returned.
Whilst we felt the trip was a bit of a con, and the guy leading the trip was more excited to show us the nearby beaches than the sea life below our feet, it was nice to see some of the Island from a different perspective.
Once our feet were firmly back on solid ground, it was time to head back to the hotel pool for a final dip before we started to get ready for our return journey.
Thankfully our flight home was on time, so we didn’t have to hang around at the airport for too long. After a dodgy landing back at Stanstead thanks to a gust of wind that appeared out of nowhere, and a 3-hour journey back to Kingston in an Uber, we made it home.
It was our first trip abroad together, and I think we both would agree it was a success. We both felt at home in Ibiza and soon adjusted to Island life.
There were hardly any Covid restrictions going or coming back. At both airports, wearing a mask was optional. It was also up to us whether we wore one on the plane.
On entering Ibiza, we had to show proof of our covid vaccinations, including our booster, but otherwise, that was it.
Everything was super relaxed in Ibiza itself.
No trip abroad comes without its problems, but overall, we had a lovely break, loved being in each other’s company, and arrived back home feeling relaxed and refreshed.