Lanzarote or Lanzagrotty as I affectionately call it and is probably one of our more guilty pleasures. Karen really likes it, although I'm probably slightly less keen. Therefore Karen was looking forward to this trip more than me. I was however looking forward to the break in the hopefully warm temperatures as well as getting to spend some time with Karen who had worked every school day since we returned from Brazil.
As I start to write this on our first day, with the patio doors wide open and I am staring out to sea, what's not too like though? The apartment is very nice, Karen is already chilled, I've got a decent cup of tea and so all is good in the world. So what's my problem with Lanzarote?
Actually the problem is more with me becoming a grumpy old man and more 'snobbish' than with Lanzarote itself. There are some people holidaying here of a more dubious background who are just here for the cheap booze and food. Indeed many of the shops/bars/restaurants set themselves up to meet this need. There are many 'tat' shops, many bars offering large beers for 1.5 Euros and restaurants offering a fry up for 2.3 Euros.
However each time we come, it is evident that overall the resort of Puerto Del Carmen is making a real effort to go more upmarket. It is now starting to look and feel much 'posher' and is much the better for it. I cannot comment on the rest of the Canaries though.
The nightlife doesn't really do much for me either. Karen quite enjoys it but probably in truth enjoys the company of being with other family members more than the music bars themselves. Some of the music type bars are ok but I just don't want to do them every night. I have never been a big drinker and as I get older the impact of 'the day after feeling' means I am not convinced it is worth it the night before.
If this all does makes me a grumpy old man - then I plead guilty as charged.
Anyhow we are here again and all is good so far. It is also great to be away with other people for a change.
The trip started the day before when after having tea at home we drove down to Stansted at 6.30pm. This was rather decadent of us as we normally only travel the night before if we have a really early flight the next day. Our flight was scheduled for 10.15am so it would have been doable if we left just before 6am. However the cost of the Radisson Blu with parking was not that much more than paying for parking alone. At the time of booking we must have been feeling flush or something.
The journey down to Stansted was a caffeine free one. We stopped at Starbucks on the A11 to discover it had just closed. Karen then suggested we try Birchanger Services but arrived 5 minutes too late for that as well. So instead we parked at the Hotel, checked in and retired to our room for the night. Karen fell asleep watching TV at 9.30pm.
We had breakfast in the Hotel as it was cheaper than eating in the Wetherspoons in the terminal itself and it was a buffet style meaning we could fill ourselves up for the flight.
The Jet2 check in experience was a delight. So simple, quick and easy. Why can't other airlines be the same? The staff were all so happy and pleasant as well.
We wandered slowly passed the myriad of shops before Karen spotted Starbucks. Suddenly the pain in her knee vanished as she galloped over to it. We sat there for a while before making our way to the gate. Everything about Jet2 was good today. A smooth and easy boarding. The flight pulled back from the gate exactly on time. The service on board was efficient. We passed the time sharing AirPods with DJ Karl supplying the mega musical mix, with an eclectic choice of tunes. I also listened to a Radio Norfolk documentary called 'Canaries on the air' about the first coverage of Norwich City on the radio which was jolly interesting. The only problem was that we arrived so early at Arrecife airport that we had to wait ages for them to find steps so we could disembark.
Passport control was over in seconds although we had to wait a while for our one bag to arrive on the carousel. We caught a taxi to La Penita apartments and found Glenn & Al laying by the pool even before we had checked in.
Our apartment on the top floor overlooks the pool is large, clean and very acceptable. Karen is very pleased with it and made herself at home in no time. On the way to the local Spar to buy some essential provisions for the first day or so, we found Julie & Stuart also laying by the pool. After this we chilled back in the apartment and admired the parakeets that were landing on our balcony.
We met the others in reception at 7.30pm and ate tonight at the Universo restaurant. The meal was good and the company even better. The cost was not as cheap as we remembered but this was probably due to the relatively poor exchange rate. The others were off to a music bar afterwards but as it was our first night we went to a coffee bar called Dos Mil where we had hot drinks (and an apple dessert for Karen before returning to our apartment. We found a bottle of wine awaiting for us on the coffee table as a thank you present for being returning guests.
Lanzarote is already winning me all over again.