One more time .... 22-25 October 2018


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Was keeping half an eye on the weather since the beginning of the month - I ended last trip convinced that was my lot for the year, suffering from a sense of having left undone a bit of what I'd like to have been able to do if the weather had been kinder and I'd had a couple more days.

With half term came a window of opportunity where everything seemed to fall into place. Work was on hold with people away and family situation suddenly clicked unexpectedly into place also. I checked every forecast I could find and hit up skyscanner. If things were going to work out, my butt had to be on a plane the next evening. I had 600 Euros in an envelope that I'd taken out last two trips to hire a boat and never spent. Decided it was time to blow the slush fund !

Immediately started throwing out the net to see what I could still set up this late in October and at such short notice. As soon as the non-refundable flights and hotel were booked I was past the point of no return. Seemed like a mountain to climb for some reason, but I always go with my gut and it was fluttering with a glimmer of excitement which is always a good sign ! Can't believe it's going to actually happen ...

22/10 - No Monday blues for me

For once I actually got a decent night's sleep before flying out. So often stay up all night and get a morning red-eye over, but cheap hotels make cheap evening flights a no-brainer. Determined to stick to a budget I managed to leave early after a large pizza, brave the Birmingham Airparks and resist their attempts to scare me into paying £30 to get my car delivered to the terminal on my return.

TUI bag drop is now fully automated from generating your tag down to putting your own case through (where it's automatically re-weighed and scanned on the belt) so no queueing at all. Great actually ! Plus no check-in staff eyeing up your massive overweight carry-on rucksack and Bag-for-life full of start-up nosh :lol: Compulsory trip to Smiths for water restock :rolleyes: and all's set.

Think it took till I was sat on the plane looking out at the setting sun for it to sink in that I was really going back to Ibiza.

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Going out of season and landing in the evening with nowhere else to be, I was completely relaxed about waiting for the Record Go hire car bus. I booked direct, joined their "club" and got 10% off very cheap car rental and express collection line with a 2 minute wait. Picked up a Nissan Juke - apart from a smallish boot they're decent enough.

Hotel Abrat priced me out over the peak season but I've stayed there loads in the past and they all know me on the front desk. I paid for a single room and got given a spacious double one. It's really nice to go when there's capacity for them to look after you rather than having every room full and their hands tied. Small fridge and kettle tray makes all the difference too. Unpacked fully, got everything lined up for tomorrow and hit the sack. Made it :twisted: ..
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23/10 - Start as I hope to go on

I'd set my alarm for 7.15am and forced myself out of bed a little after that. It was still dark outside and on the chilly side. I'd left the balcony doors open and definitely wasn't comfortable by that time under a sheet ! Managed a cup of coffee and a hot shower and headed out for a quick warm-up run round the bay to Cotton Fitness Club. There was a glimmer of the day arriving by the time I got there.

Have to say that going there was me at my most open-minded and flexible ... I basically hate indoor gyms, especially for cardio because I always feel like I can't breathe indoors and they always feel like germ factories in the Winter. At home I've been circuit training 3-4 times a week outdoors in parks for months now without isolating equipment - I'm not interested in looking pumped so big weights aren't needed. Partnered bodyweight exercises are plenty and running with someone who (usually) weighs half as much again as you do on your shoulders is more than enough strain at my age :spank: :rolleyes:

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Still, beggars can't be choosers and took them up on their offer of 8am "bootcamp circuits" for 15 euros. In the end I was the only person who showed up (now there's a surprise :lol:) . So I basically got a personal trainer for an hour.

She did her best to put on a worthwhile session. Interestingly though, the overall logged "training effect" I got from it was 2.4/5 whereas I usually get 3.9-4.7/5 from my (rather brutal) outdoor sessions. And I was gasping for oxygen as the doors were locked and the whole place airless. So there we go. But on the plus one thing's for sure if you're going to sit on a rowing machine or run on a treadmill you can do a lot worse than do it with that view :cool: and I could have had a day membership for 20 Euros including afternoon Yoga and use of the place all day if I'd wanted, which isn't bad really.

Feeling sufficiently virtuous I headed back to the hotel for some much needed breakfast with the day well underway now.

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There's a nice view from the breakfast room at Abrat.

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Some of it looked awful but there were a few decent bits to be had and I polished off a plate of scrambled eggs, ham and bacon, along with a stack of pancakes drenched in mango and caramel syrup. With copious amounts of fruit juice and coffee !

Back to the room to shower and get set for the main event of the day ...


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I was pretty determined to take a boat out this trip but arranging it was a real struggle. Conditions were a little windy/choppy today but absolutely perfect the following day. However, the charter company I got a sensible price from only had one boat left in San Antoni and that was coming out of the water tomorrow. I'd literally only just made it and as far as having any choice of boat was concerned it was "take it or leave it". OK - in August you're scrabbling for a boat (and paying a fortune) due to demand and in late October you're fighting for one (and still paying quite a bit) due to supply !!

I'd guessed it was going to be a no-frills affair and decided not to take it for a whole day. Half would be enough and left time for my companions to get freed up too. Carted my wetsuit & other gear bags round the promenade to the harbour and met up with @stivi at the little chiringuito opposite Santander on the roundabout by the fountains. The agent arrived and we headed off to the last pier near Es Paradis where the RIB was moored. It was an 8-pax boat but 3 freedivers and all their gear is plenty to have comfortable space to kit up etc. as far as I'm concerned haha !!

Our companion was Tim Freytag who runs True Blue Experiences. I dived with him twice in early October at ses Margalides and Punta Galera, and have been on several other trips with him previously. He's a great guy and a great Instructor, very calming, I always have fun and learn lots with him !! We headed off round the West side of sa Conillera, the big island off Cala Conta, where the bay was super-calm.

Tim dropped an anchored 30m or so diving line from a large buoy and we spent some time doing warm up dives and a couple of deeper ones there. Stivi is an experienced scuba diver and I've been nagging him to come out freediving for ages :lol:, was really nice to finally spend some time together and have Tim there to break the freediving ice and pass on the basic do's and don'ts !!

On the way back we swung over to the other side of the island where Tim was looking for a dive site he hadn't found before. There was a strong wind and swell but we managed to anchor the boat sufficiently to find the location and have a play. My mind wasn't really on filming but I did take the gopro underwater and caught a bit of the abundant fish soup and ledges. Exploring is what I really practice freediving on a line for, to be more confident at depth and extend time underwater.

Cobbled together a little video from the clips I got. The ledges were only about 12-15m depth and I very badly kept my snorkel in my mouth during one of the clips, something I know full well not to do. PLEASE don't do this it's a potentially deadly habit and can massively increase risk of death if you have a blackout, which if it happens is mostly at shallower depths not deeper ones so you should ALWAYS take it out before diving.

Freeing the anchor involved Tim diving down a good 20m and getting it unwedged from rocks - we knew it was going to be a bit of work but in that swell anything less stable and we could easily have lost the boat. There are times when you really appreciate having experienced people with you :confused::D:lol:. All in all a fun few hours and despite getting the dreaded blocked sinuses the day after flying AGAIN, I was able to equalize enough to do some decent enough dives without breaking any PBs and only one mild nosebleed !! Great to see you again @stivi - roll on 31st and the start of your next adventures on the trails :cool:.

Tim dropped me back to the hotel with all my gear and as always I felt super-calm after freediving. It's like a switch gets flicked in my head and I start to see life without anxiety. I didn't notice it quite so much the first couple of times I went out but now it's very noticeable.

With only a high calorie flapjack for lunch behind me I was starting to feel the starvation setting in ... Too whacked to do anything more adventurous, walked down the road to Bar Benitez for a huge plate of calamari & chips. Quite edible and about 10 Euros with a drink.

More than ready for bed - still had 1/3 of my cash stash left, which was a bonus, so I'll see whether that lasts the rest of the trip !
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in the sea as soon as i can't touch the bottom in my head the jaws music starts. and if seaweed touches my leg, forget it!!
:lol: ... you need to get your face underwater in a mask - your head instantly enters a different place. Even floating face down with a snorkel will very quickly lower your heart rate and bring a sense of calm as a natural physical response if you keep going beyond any irrational first reaction. Then just imagine you're a predator and not the prey :twisted::spank::lol:


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I had simular experience.but this girl could breathe through her ears...

24/10 - Wednesday

Up before 8am just in time to see daybreak behind the hills from my balcony. Not a cloud in the sky, it was forecast to be a perfect sunny day. I'd only one thing planned today first thing and was looking forward to relaxing with the freedom to go where my mood took me in the moment.

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Shower & coffee, stuffed some things in a couple of bags and hit the road by half eight heading for Santa Eularia. Google Driving app is a godsend, it took me out a new (for me) and scenic route past Pikes & Can Rich to avoid the morning traffic jam heading for the Ronda. A far more pleasant way to start the day ! Patches of low fog/mist sat over the fields like blankets waiting to be burned off by the sun. I felt truly happy to be exactly where I was.

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Half an hour later and plenty of space in the free car park at Siesta opposite the Insotel Fenicia. Impossible not to smile on the short walk to the beach along the river from here - and no stench in evidence !!

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Time for a 'proper' session. I met Neil Beechey off a recommendation on Ibiza Winter Residents last trip.

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He's a former Royal Marine commando who does a load of personal training in the Summer but also runs twice weekly morning beach circuits in Sta Eularia during the off-season from the start of October. 10 Euros a class with minimal equipment. Highly recommended.

There were 8 of us there, the other 7 being 'foreign locals' who were all a really great laugh. A whole happy world away from the gasping graft of Cotton Fitness yesterday. Impossible not to feel motivated to get moving when you've got a location like this, and happily the sunbeds were gone this time so no running round them :rolleyes::lol:!!! >>

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Endorphines are well and truly flowing by half ten and finally get something to eat back at the car. Map's out mentally combing the coastline thinking where I really want to go. Not feeling the immediate urge for a long trek, it's obvious really .... there are some places you know you're going to be happy and when they're about 15 minutes down the road ...

I've burned enough energy to still be starving and pull up at a Spar on the way to get a bocadillo made up. Don't even make it back onto the road before It's been polished off. Could likely have managed 2 !

There's still a fair few cars at Aigues Blanques car park considering how late in October it is and that it's midweek ... really don't actually grudge them their 3 euros.

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It's looking as amazingly beautiful as ever, this is one of those places I feel completely comfortable

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Brilliant as always.. we were so close but still so far away on alot of levels.. :) was good to talk though..:cool:
Ps. I will give my own little review about serious things most will be interested in and not our Smack My Bitch Up shenanigans of last week. We did meet friends we've known for years who have had a terrible season this year,one couple have a little bar/ restaurant here 12 years and they didn't even open this season...:(
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So nice not to be trussed up in a wetsuit when the sun's out and there's still heat in it. Yesterday was definitely the better day to spend under water.

The wind is right down today and the water's about 24C. It's hot enough, very peaceful and I'm happy as larry making one of the rare flat smooth rocks my base for a few hours, nipping in and out of the water and playing castaway. People rarely venture this far along unless they swim it. The route round gets a bit hairy in places so the only companions are an occasional snorkeller popping up.

Last time I was here there was almost no beach and 1.5m surf crashing to shore, it's nice to see the place so calm again.

Spotted this rather ... er ... unusual looking leathery sea creature clamped to the underside of a rock, just had to take a pic .. definitely a permanent resident of the naturist zone :lol:

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I'm ready for a change by mid-afternoon and head back to the car to work out where to go next with a load of plastic bottles the storms had blown in and I'd picked up during my scrambles. I try nowadays to never leave a beach without taking abandoned rubbish away with me. It was a toss-up between Salinas, Cala Tarida satellite beaches, Cala Conta or even Cala Jondal which I haven't been back to this year. Briefly flicked facebook open on my phone and right in front of me was a post from Cala Escondida about their closing at the weekend. I thought they'd be closed already !! It somehow seemed the perfect choice and at least I could get some more FOOD !!

Took me nearly 45 minutes to drive right across the island to Cala Conta. Again courtesy of Google driving app, the route was absolutely stunning in places, looked and felt like Spring

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Thought I saw a wildfire at one point along the way - when I drove past there were agricultural vehicles nearby and in retrospect maybe they were just burning waste.

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then back to more familiar territory

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The car park at Cala Conta was absolutely rammed and took me a while to find anywhere left to park. It was quite a contrast to the peace of Aigues Blanques. There's recycling bins there and managed to ditch all the rubbish I'd collected from the North. Sometimes seems so futile but it really isn't - if we all think like that it will only keep building up.

Shoved a warm top in a rucksack as I figured I was likely to be here 'till sunset. I do love it round here. The island in the second photo is Illa d'es Bosc, and behind that lies sa Conillera which is where we were diving yesterday. I'd come full circle in 24 hours.

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Brilliant as always.. we were so close but still so far away on alot of levels.. :) was good to talk though..:cool:
Ps. I will give my own little review about serious things most will be interested in and not our Smack My Bitch Up shenanigans of last week. We did meet friends we've known for years who have had a terrible season this year,one couple have a little bar/ restaurant here 12 years and they didn't even open this season...:(
Indeed ! Cool - look forward to that :D .. yeah, I think of Ibiza as a bit like the Matrix it's not about physical location so much as what level you happen to be on whilst there at a particular time !! It's been a tough year for a lot of people I think !


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Cala Escondida was in full swing and packed out. I added my name to the waiting list and sat down on the rocks with a vitamin boosting carrot, peach and something or other freshly pressed juice. Didn't really care how long I was going to wait at least I was in line and the food would be great. Needless to say I'm starving again :rolleyes::lol:

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In the end it wasn't long before I got a little table, and even if it was near the toilet I was happy just to be there.

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I don't need to look at the menu, it's a chicken tagine as usual :twisted: As Sunset approaches the musicians arrive and it's a very Spanish affair

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... taster here - I think they've been coming all Summer !

Finishing up my meal was the point at which I picked up on messages from Craigster that he was on a solo mission to Golden Buddha .. I wasn't going to manage that imminently !!

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But I didn't hang around too long as they had a lot of people waiting for tables by this point. Headed up to the cliffside for the last few minutes before the sun went down.

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Warm top went straight on as the temperature plunged and I sped back to the car to get out before the roadblock began in earnest. Still took me 10 minutes to get out of there ! Gave a hitch-hiker a lift back to San An bus station because it was on my way back, Dutch guy who admitted he was claiming State aid whilst working for cash and gallivanting round Cape Town and doing Ibiza late closings on his cash savings. I guess some people are just adept at getting things for nothing in life !

Showered off back at the hotel and must have been pushing 9 by now. Craig's solo adventures had been rumbled by his Mrs. Room was strewn with clothes, diving gear, various equipment and cables and I'd just been overcome with a desire to sit down quietly with a cup of tea and finish the Morello Cherry tart from Waitrose I'd brought out with me ... and decide how the hell I was going to fit it all back in the luggage ready for tomorrow. Was due to check out at midday with a 7pm flight so figured I'd probably just bundle it all into the car and sort it out later anyway.

Old fart marks out of ten = ? :lol:

Hoping for a later start tomorrow I popped in the earphones, cleared a load of emails and didn't do much about anything. Then round 11.30pm I got a message I really didn't want to get. Had been thwarted paddleboarding last trip and finally managed to arrange it in the North tomorrow morning. I'd been due to meet at Cala Xaracca at 10am and join up with Herman (SUP Ibiza) and a retreat group he was taking out for the last tour of the Season. They'd just canceled on him because "they thought it would be too cold to go out at 10am" and now wanted to go out later. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: .. I knew it was his Dad's birthday and he'd scheduled it so as to be able to get back in time for a surprise birthday lunch at 1.30pm. He felt absolutely awful and so did I.

I'd juggled everything else I did this trip round it and he's a good friend. We agreed that he'd lend me an inflatable board instead together with a car compressor, paddle, extra pump etc. and I'd go up there on my own instead. We'd meet at his shop by the BP near Ibiza Town at 10am instead. Of course that meant I wouldn't have space in the car for my stuff as well and would lose a lot of time taking it back :mad: so I had to get organized before I went out tomorrow. Reception were amazing and agreed to a 4pm checkout without charge. Abrat came through yet again.

I was just too knackered to do much more and my hopes of a bit of a lie in were dashed. Thought f*ck it, set an early alarm and went to bed !


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25/10 - Last day

Tired body and overslept a bit but still got up before 8. Which was just as well because packing up to be as ready to 'lift and go' as I could took an age. Really didn't think I'd even have time for breakfast but ran downstairs and put away some cooked and a stack of pancakes in about 10 minutes before racing back for my day bag and screeching out of the underground car park.

Worst behind me, I made it to the SUP shop next to the BP just 2 minutes late. Board was already getting test inflated to make sure it was absolutely sound when I pulled up.

Can't say enough good things about Herman. I met him some years ago and have been on numerous trips with him. He's a fairly young guy with his head screwed on exactly the right way business-wise. So many others in his field put business behind fun the world over but he's absolutely professional and runs a thriving operation all Summer. If the weather holds he runs up to 2 trips a day in high Season and goes to different locations depending on the wind and swell. The shop sells boards and equipment.

I tried hard to persuade him to take some kind of payment, but he was having none of it and insisted on giving me a free t-shirt from the shop instead !! We chatted about boards and business for a bit as I wanted to pick his brains about compressors and stuff for my own equipment at home then I loaded this lot into the car to head up North :twisted:

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Stopped by San Rafael on the way to pick up a bocadillo and try to get some more timed release Mucosan capsules from the pharmacy to bring home. Apparently taking them for a few days before flying might help me next time with my sinuses if I start early enough !! No stock of course, so another job hanging over to fit in on the way to the airport :rolleyes::mad::mad:

Enough fannying around, I can feel the hot sun blazing down now and desperate to see just how nice it is up at Xaracca. Tunes on and a half hour later there's plenty of space to park right beside the closed beach restaurant as there's almost no cars. It's as idyllic as I hoped it would be :D Handful of people on the rocks who'd arrived by eBike and that was it :

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Should mention just how many bikes there were around on the roads. I know there was a duathlon the weekend before and other events around, so maybe it was people staying on after for a few days of cycling or something.

Wasted no time inflating the board, just as a jeep safari arrived and spilled a tonne of people out onto the beach. They didn't get to stay long before being whisked off somewhere else - can't really see the point in that :rolleyes:

Finally, I'm all set to go, been looking forward to this all trip :

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I headed off West, the cliffs here sheltering the bay from the SW winds. It was windy out beyond Punta de Llevant and there were some fairly strong currents in places too despite the deceptively calm conditions, so I decided to stick this side of it rather than work my way round to Es Canaret. It was all good because the area near Illa de sa Mesquita, the island in the bay just North West of Cala Xaracca, is one of my absolute favourite places in Ibiza. Went by boat in August last year or the year before and found no-one there. I was getting to go back to a location I often think about when off the island and one I'd longed to return to all year.

Further North of that island there is another truly special place you need a kayak or paddleboard to really appreciate because extensive shallow rocks are bad news for boats. There's not even a cliff path above these parts, I think it cuts inland up to the caves at Cova d'en Jaumet, so it's about as natural as it gets.

The water in this whole area is crystal clear to the sea floor.

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There were a load of jellyfish around but they were mainly in pockets and in one location had become trapped en masse in a huge jellyfish soup in between some rocks. Easy to avoid especially swimming with a board.

Even round the first point after the last fishermans' huts of Cala Xaracca things get serene

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Just can't help it and immediately got naked and took a dip off the board - there's something about this area it always feels like the obvious thing to do :rolleyes: Can say with conviction that paddleboarding au naturel in such a stunning location is a rare privilege I can highly recommend to anyone lucky enough to get the chance. One thing is for sure, this whole outing wouldn't have been the same with a group of people on day release from Retreat in the wings and I now realize how fate worked to give me something extra special :twisted::lol:


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I sat on the board and ate my lunch floating happily in the middle of the bay before heading out to explore a bit more of the coast. I have a camera full of amazing pics from this trip. Picked out just a few to give an idea :

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... and possibly my favourite

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Sunlight danced round the cave walls and sat re-evaluating life in unparalleled tranquility

Could have happily stayed all afternoon but eventually put some clothes back on and paddled back round the point to head home :lol:

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Deflated the board and washed as much of the poseidonia and sand as I could with a litre bottle of water before bundling everything in the car. Took a final look around the bay and at the crazy villa, and left about 3pm with my soul lifted, as completely calm and happy as I get these days.

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I've done pretty much everything I wanted to do, spent a little time with some people I wanted to see again before the year was out and importantly I'm leaving with my head a great deal straighter than when I arrived.

Returning the SUP gear was a case of asking the BP counter people to unlock their store room door and leaving it back in there :confused: Obviously the shop was closed while Herman was busy partying :lol::lol: By the time I'd also filled up the car at the BP and got back to the hotel it was bang on 4pm. Raced back up to the room and managed a shower / pack up before checking out and hot-footing it off towards the airport. Thank f*ck I got everything just about ready to go this morning. I'd used the hotel underground parking throughout the stay but they only charged me for 1 day at 6 euros which I really can't moan about.

Still on a mission for Mucosan, I couldn't remember where there were pharmacies with easy parking in San An so decided to try the big one in Jesus opposite the clinic on the way to the airport. Thankfully October traffic wasn't nearly as bad as Summer and success - one box left :twisted: Last job done and Record Go car return was a breeze. Car was still on maximum fuel level by the time I got there despite my little detour to San An & back !! 2 minute wait for the shuttle bus, 10 minute wait at check-in and it was a wrap.

I've had an awful experience with Ryanair leaving my case in Ibiza and taking 3 trips to Birmingham airport to try to get it back in the past. Decided to put all my fears aside and trust in good karma right now. It was their last flight of the year on that route so crossed everything my stuff made it home !

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It did. Even standing for 25 minutes waiting for an Airparks bus failed to wind me up.

As it all sank in driving home, I think I arrived back feeling the calmest and most at peace I've felt in years. In 3 short days, the whole trip completely restored me. It took a bit of effort, and a few compromises, but the rewards were undeniably vast. All the right things at exactly the right time !

Don't think I'll ever be "ready" for a British Winter but I'm as close as I've ever been to handling it with a smile on my face !

Gracias Eivissa, hasta pronto.