January 2022 - Lanzarote - Travel Day
When you try your best, but you don’t succeed…
This probably sums up me trying to keep the house clean and tidy whilst Karen is at work. Whatever I do never seems to be right or good enough. Things are much better when we are away as I apparently can’t mess things up as much.
So, it was a 5am alarm call for a 6am departure to Stansted. Karen likes to have an hour to get herself sorted. I could probably manage with 30 minutes but then I don’t have to worry about doing my hair etc.
It was 6.03am as we pulled out of the drive. The roads were erringly deserted, and no other car passed us until we almost got to the A11. The drive was straightforward, and we were soon parked on the ‘Green’ Short Stay Multi Story car park at Stansted.
The check in at Jet2 was quite quick and easy, especially as all our Covid paperwork was in order and correct. Their staff are a joy. We got wished ‘Have a lovely holiday’ so many times. The queue at Security was short and as usual Karen got pulled aside for additional checks. This time not for her bags but instead as her knee brace showed up on the machine.
We decided to go the full holiday experience and headed for Wetherspoons. Despite being the cheapest option to sit down and eat, it was still 3 times the cost of eating at a normal Wetherspoons outside of an airport. Even worse was that they had taken Eggs Benedict’s off the menu and replaced it with Breakfast Muffins. Very similar to MacDonald’s but with eggs that looked like eggs.
As soon as the gate was called, Karen was itching to get to it, so we headed off. We were in boarding group B so found a seat to wait, but to our surprise were called first to board. Cunningly I think group B was everyone in the middle of the plane which actually makes logical sense as nobody was in our way getting to the seats. We had a window and middle seat and hoped no one had the aisle seat. Sadly, they did, but as the flight was only 75% full, he was able to move once everyone had boarded, giving us loads of room between us.
The flight passed quickly as I read the latest John Grisham novel which was very good.
Once we had arrived getting off the plane was interesting. The Jet2 approach is now to do it row by row. Basically, you stay seated until the attendant opens the locker above you. It was surprisingly simple and effective.
Lanzarote Airport has now moved with the times and have the automatic passport gates which were all working, and we breezed through. Then we came to lots of Covid Marshalls who had to scan our Spanish Covid QR codes. This took us less than a minute to get through. At least they were being checked which is more than what happened when we returned to the UK in November.
Our one checked in bag was soon on the carousel and we wandered around to sort out the paperwork for our hire car. We had debated whether to hire one or not. Karen is still not keen on using Taxis which finally made our mind up. We kind of figured that we would get our money’s worth if we just used it to and from the airport and perhaps one day trip. It would also allow us to go to Lidl on the way to the apartment without worrying about walking and carrying too much.
The car was a white Ayro and was fine. At home I switch between driving my car which is an automatic and Karen’s which is still a manual with no issue. Here the problem is not so much it being a manual but the fact the gear stick is on the wrong side of me. I find it difficult to get my brain to compute the clutch with the gears being all in the wrong place. I had real difficulty trying to remember to change gears alone then actually finding them.
Despite this and with the added difficulty of Karen navigating me from my phone, we made it to Lidl. At home after shopping in either Aldi or Lidl you gradually get used to their own labels and what the products actually are. Here the labels are different and unsurprisingly in Spanish. Eventually we worked out and found everything we needed and probably more.
Then it was off to La Penita and the apartment. Pleasingly we easily found a car park space and after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing we found ourselves in apartment 153. A different block to normal but identical in every other respect.
We soon settled in with a nice cuppa on the balcony overlooking the sea in the late afternoon sun. Bliss.
At 7pm we decided to head out for dinner. We turned right out of La Penita and headed in the direction of Pinocchio’s, an old favourite.
The Island Covid restrictions stated that masks should be worn in all outdoor spaces. As soon as we hit the promenade, we saw that virtually nobody was complying. I had no problem with that as the paths were not crowded and I have always felt relative safe whilst outside. We took our masks off as we walked.
There had been some changes that we noticed since our last visit 2 years ago but probably no more than the constant change that seems to take place here. Some old places had shut, some new ones had opened. There were some new buildings being completed. Some of the existing restaurants/cafes had expanded onto what were parking bays outside of their buildings. This was obviously to accommodate more people outside and many had installed heaters around these tables. This did actually improve the look of many of them.
One thing that hadn’t changed as we walked along was the standard of many other visitors that seemed to be in this part of Puerto Del Carmen. We do firmly put ourselves into the snob category for thinking this. Probably 80% of the people here now are like us retired and in the grey-haired brigade (Karen excepted – that is refusing to retire but definitely grey haired!), which is fine. However, I reckon though 50% of people we saw were smoking and probably all the same ones were covered in tattoos and not nice discrete ones at that. Controversially I suggested that there is probably an inverse link between number of tattoos and IQ. I still don’t get why you would allow someone to draw something on you that is then going to be there for the rest of your life. At least if you do something to your hair, eventually it will grow out.
These people all seem to be drawn to the same places as well, where large beers are advertised at 1.50 Euros and have horrible plastic seats. Many also seemed loud and leery and gave British people a bad name. We decided to only try and go to places that had tablecloths but made an exception for Pinocchio’s when we realised that it didn’t. The clientele already seated didn’t seem to match my general stereotyping of the other people I had been describing.
The host at Pinocchio's remembered us from previous visits and warmly greeted us. We secured an outside table and ordered some sangria to go with Steak and Chips for both of us. The food was very welcoming and good value. Karen then finished with an Irish Coffee that she had waited 2 years for and was as hot and strong as she wanted.
By now we were tired after our 5am alarm and so we wandered slowly back to the apartment pausing occasionally to listen to some woeful singers at various bars that we passed. Honestly one of them should have been arrested for the damage he was doing to the song Roxanne. The funniest one was an old guy in a place called Goofyburger who had attracted quite a crowd both sides of the road with his almost in tune and sometimes in time versions of Amarillo and Sweet Caroline.
Back in Apartment 153, we made a cuppa before retiring at the unearthly holiday hour of 10.30pm.