I went to Palma de Mallorca for my 29th birthday. It was an impulsive decision made on account of the cheap plane tickets. But as soon as my boyfriend and I looked at hotel prices we understood that this 3 day trip was going to be anything other than cheap. As budget travellers we always try to find a balance between cheap and convenient (I am over hostels and shared bathrooms), but this wasn’t going to be possible in Palma in the middle of the tourist season. But hey, I can’t move my birthday. So we booked the hotel at 160 euro a night and we told ourselves this isn’t something you do every day.
Together with the cheap tickets came the fact that our flight was at 5:30 am, so there was no possible way to make it to the airport without an expensive taxi…which didn’t arrive…so we had to take another, more expensive taxi.
With two hours of sleep and a short nap on the plane, interrupted by loud and obnoxious party guys (at 6 am! Who tf is drunk at 6 am?) we arrived on the Spanish island, where it was already sauna weather outside. On the first day we wanted to take a free walking tour, which is always useful for orientation and context. We had to hurry to make it on time and the humid heat was quickly turning up. We made it to the tour and I was doing my best to pay attention, but my brain was slowly getting alarmed by the fact that I wasn’t cooling down. Finally I sat down in front of the majestic cathedral, in the shade, and I realised nothing was helping and there was no escape from this heat, so we left the tour and slowly went on a search of a cooler place. Walking along the brown, stone walls we reached the sea breeze and sat on a stone bench underneath some palm trees. The wind was strong and refreshing and I slowly fell asleep there, my head on my boyfriend’s leg, my face burning up and my skin cheering the breeze.
A short (homeless style) nap later I was feeling refreshed and energised and it was already time to go to our hotel where we honoured our host country with a long, air conditioned siesta. In the evening we went out again, to walk around the (still hot) city and to take a beer and cider to the beach where we could dip our legs in the dark water and enjoy the calm of the sea.
The next day was a beach day and I finally tested my new swimming skills in salt water for the first time. The water was crystal clear and warm and I struggled to understand why I had been so afraid of the water and learning to swim for all those years until this summer when I finally faced it and realised, hey, this is kind of fun actually.
The third day we started by going up to Bellver castle, continued by going to the aquarium and then the beach for the last time before finally making our way to the airport where almost all flights were delayed. So by the time we got home it was so late that there was no way to make it back home, except to take a very expensive taxi.
Still, I love the way travel takes you out of your routine and makes you rethink the whole of your life, giving you new perspectives. It’s a very fitting activity for a 29th birthday.