So with out last minute excursion all sorted, packed and ready to go all we need was a smooth run to the airport and we’d be off. Waking up, all set to go and checking our phones to see a major terrorist attack has just taken place in Belgium and at the airport no less. This changed our morning routine but not our plans. Here’s how we got on travelling on the day of the Zaventem Airport and Brussels Metro Bombing.
For us seeing the terror attacks unfold in Belgium was certainly a grim morning. The horror of such events are simply unimaginable but watching the latest casualty and then death tolls rise over the course of the morning was quite surreal on a day we had, and still did, plan to fly abroad. Our excited anticipation of finally getting away on holiday was replaced by unease and repetitive checks with live new updates from Brussels, out flight company Thomson Airways and Glasgow Airport to see what this meant for other transport hubs in Europe.
With very little information on how the incidents of the day would impact European travel other than no flights into Belgium we took the decision to head to the airport much earlier than planned. With only hand luggage we decided it was best to give two hours anyway in case of increased security. With a helpful relative dropping us off at Glasgow International Airport we didn’t need to worry to much about public transport and on drop off headed straight to the security queues. Only to find…there were no queues. None. Not a soul. So we passed straight through in two minutes flat.
This to us seemed rather odd for a midweek lunchtime as there are often many business flights just as standard but as Glasgow Airport stated on the day they maintain a high level of security checks on a daily basis and so an incident such as those that took place in Zaventem Airport would not affect they checks in place. We did however notice a large presence of police throughout the airport although I feel this was more for show and to make people feel more settled that due to any actual threat. Still, the act of sitting in an airport on such a day was a very odd feeling.
Our flight itself was fine. Though flying with Thomson Airways, which we had hoped would be a little higher standard that the budget airlines, the plane was just as cramped as Ryan Air or Easy Jet and a somewhat uncomfortable journey. Luckily, I had the window seat and so could sort of get comfy squashed against the wall while Andrew enjoyed the middle seat next to a rather larger gentleman.
Though only a three hour flight it did feel like a very long journey. On landing we made our way through Palma de Mallorca Airport but I think on arrival we were both greatly dismayed by our first experience on Mallorca!
After exiting arrivals me were on the hunt for our booked transfer service. I had used the website Hoppa for the first time after being the cheapest during my research and I also managed to get a 20% discount off transfers as well which was good. The local service was actually operated by Palma Coach Transfers but in the arrival hall we couldn’t find any of the many, many desks with either name. After checking with the information desk we were told to look for a completely different company, called World Services but we found the right people to speak to eventually.
The Hoppa/Palma Transfer/World Services team weren’t too friendly and we we’re given a vague “stand over there” instruction, which we did for around an hour before deciding to sit. Sitting was a bad idea and having moved literally a few feet away from our assigned spot meant we almost missed our transfer as staff collected several other customers and left. Luckily, I decided to check if that meant progress only to be told we called you already! We managed to catch up with the rest of our group and get our bus but not to chuffed with the service and I dread to think how much longer we’d have to wait had we missed it.
Our transfer took us for Palma de Mallorca to S’Illot on the other side of the island which we had been informed would take up to two and a half hours but to our surprise and much joy we arrived in under an hour.
The hotel we had picked, at a bargain price, was the Universal Hotel Perla, a top rated accommodation option on tripadvisor practically on the beach and complete with indoor pool just in case the March weather wasn’t too great. One thing that we did notice on tripadvisor reviews was that this hotel was mainly for Dutch and German tourists which became apparent very quickly on arrival as we were greeted in Dutch then German before we had to apologise for not speaking either. The receptionist muddled through in what little English she knew but kindly offered us something to eat which was unexpected but very nice of them especially with our late arrival. Really we were just really for bed and headed up to our room which was very nice, en suite and even had a tv which made Andrew happy even if the only things that were on were the continuing rolling news of Brussels in various languages.
We had made it to S’Illot after a long and very surreal journey but after the events of the day a good nights sleep was definitely on the cards.