The Joy of Travel
From a young age I knew I wanted to work in travel. The feeling of heat as you disembark a plane, the thrill of skiing down a mountain, the foods, the languages, the smell of sun cream and bougainvillea in the air. During the last 18 months I have questioned my lifelong decision, but after 18 months at home I can promise you that as soon as my foot stepped into the airport, my wanderlust senses were reawakened and I felt like I was home again.
Join me on my journey this week as I run through a day-by-day itinerary on my first FAM trip in over 2 years.
For travel to Spain you will need to fill in the Spanish Passenger Location form and have an antigen test (for unvaccinated) which we did at V1 Medical. They are so professional and gentle that it almost seemed too good to be true. Our results were in just as we reached the airport (within 30 minutes). The story of these 3 pilots who set up V1 Medical is so adorable that it will have you booking all your clients with them. They have testing centres in Dublin and Cork.
From today, you do not have to have an antigen or PCR test if you have your DCC card, your vaccination certificate, or have proof that you recovered from Covid in the past 9 months. However, if unvaccinated, you will need one, and children over certain ages will need them too (click here for the list of child ages). Again, this needs to be checked regularly as all countries in Europe have different policies and policies are changing regularly.
And a top tip from Jenny Rafter, Head of Business Development for Leisure for Aer Lingus: make sure you check the expiry date on your passport. It’s been a while since we have had them in use.
Travelling through the airport was easy. We flew Aer Lingus, so check-in was simple. Do it online if you can and then proceed to the Aer Lingus check-in area, weigh your bag (if you have one), print the tag; attach it and send it off on its merry way.
Passing through security was equally as easy. Everything was exactly the same as before. Remove shoes, belts, laptops, liquids of less than 100ml etc. The queue moved really fast and we were airside in no time.
Once you had this slip you boarded as normal. The onboard experience is slightly different from before. Naturally, everyone must wear a mask, except for when eating or drinking. All planes are now cashless, so bring the visa debit or credit-card onboard. The menu is only available online.
By this is all hardly unexpected and, frankly, it makes for safer and a more hygienic travel experience.
On landing at Malaga Airport I was terribly disappointed that the entire plane didn’t erupt in applause!
In arrivals we were greeted by very friendly security who wished us well on our trip, our bags were delivered in minutes and it was time to depart to the hotel. Oh, it was good to be back! And remember that feeling I mentioned about the heat hitting your face? – well it happened and it was wonderful!
Our hotel was the 4* Palacio Solecio located in Malaga city. It’s a beautiful hotel that marries old world with new world style and is oozing with Andalusian charm. I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to stay at a hotel. And if you are ever in Malaga city, check out this gem of a hotel.
We ended the night in the gorgeous Patio de Beatas restaurant where we dined (indoors!) and ate the first of what was to be substantial meals throughout the few days. Couple that with Spanish wine and this is the stuff of dreams. Plate after plate delivered culinary deliciousness, and when we couldn’t eat another bit, the main course arrived!
Restrictions still exist across Europe and that’s okay, it makes us all feel safer. In Malaga and its surrounds it is 12.30am closing time (moving to 1.30am in the height of the season), and 6 people to a table, masks when not at the table or when you are moving around the hotel. But never mind that, because as we sat outside in the warm balmy night watching the Euros on the TV through a window it brought back memories of old and the excitement of travel – join me tomorrow and over the next few days as I take you through my first trip back to Spain.