I love a day trip. Not to the sea side or a stately home. I love getting on a plane and going to a different country, just for the day. Back when my best mate turned 30, a group of us went to Dublin for the day. A couple of years ago, I took Mr P to Paris for the day on his birthday. Recently, I flew to Edinburgh to visit my mum for the day. It’s such a brilliant way to spend a few hours in a fab city, perhaps see some faraway friends or family, and then be back in time for bed. No expensive hotels, no need to take more days off work. Win win, right?
Last week, I discovered a new day trip destination: Palma. I know, I can hear you say “Palma? As in Majorca?” but stick with me. It’s a totally overlooked city break destination. Before last week, I’d only ever thought of it as the airport you fly into when you’re going to a beach holiday elsewhere on the island. But it’s a really beautiful city worth visiting. Even for the day…
Which is lucky because Thomson invited me and a group of bloggers and journalists to Palma for lunch. We flew out there on a 787 Dreamliner (which, I admit, I’d never heard of before the trip. Mr P, however, was very excited when he heard which plane we’d be flying on) and even better, the plane was flown by the MD of Thomson Airlines, Captain John Murphy. Before we took off, they filled us in on some company news – things that if I’m totally honest changed my view of Thomson and First Choice. I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a holiday with them, and I’m not really a fan of a standard package holiday, but after listening to the team and hearing about how they operate, I was left very impressed.
It was the attention to detail like the airline crew having iPads which they use to help you do anything from book a brilliant restaurant local to your hotel, to telling you what the weather will be for the next few days, to the football results of your favourite team. They’re also trying to move away from the welcome meeting when you arrive at your hotel, shifting all of that information to the flight and your in-seat TV. And I loved the sound of the family booth style seating planned for future planes. They just seem to genuinely care about the customer’s experience and starting your holiday off in the best possible way.
After a gorgeous Spanish breakfast onboard the plane and an ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the Dreamliner lightshow (a feature designed especially for the company – nicknamed the TUI Wave) we landed in Palma to glorious sunshine – which was just amazing after leaving a very wet and stormy London.
My travel buddies were Katie from Mummy Daddy and Me Makes Three, Poppy from Poppy Loves and photographer Xanthe Berkley. Along with other bloggers and journos, we hopped on a bus to the Palma marina and had a beautiful lunch at Ca n’eduardo (steak and chips for me… mmmm) before we had an hour or so to wander around the city. Katie and I walked along the harbourside with bloggers Joelle and Daisy in the beautiful 26C heat.
It’s a shame we didn’t have time to properly explore Palma… but then, if we have done that, there wouldn’t have been as much time to eat delicious food and drink the lovely Spanish wine, so hey, I’ll live with that. AND it gives me an excellent excuse to go back to Palma. Maybe for a cheeky child-free weekend?
On the flight back, we were thoroughly spoiled, being served our favourite drink (pre-ordered at lunchtime… I went for white wine but was a bit jealous when I saw others with cava!) followed by hot chocolate with marshmallows and a warm cookie. PLUS we each had a duvet to snuggle up with (check out Katie with hers, below).
So what are the things I would have done in Palma, if I’d had a few more hours? Here are the top five things on my hitlist for when I return…
1. Palma Cathedral – this will be my first stop next time we visit Palma. Mainly because I’ve discovered that Antoni Gaudi designed some of the interior. After my trip to Barcelona last month, and a good few hours in the Segrada Familia, I’d love to see more of his amazing work.
2. Hire a bike and cycle to the beach- everyone along the seafront seemed to be either on a bike or rollerblades. They have dedicated cycle paths and it feels like a really healthy, outdoorsy city.
3. Wander around the Santa Catalina shops and market. This looks like a fab place to pick up nick nacks or fresh fish and fruit.
4. Eat tapas. I was utterly amazed by the quality of the tapas we ate in Barcelona (made me realise the er, lack of really great tapas here in the UK) so I’d love to check out tapas in Palma. I’m reliably informed that Bar España on Calle Can Escursac is a safe bet.
5. Go to Palma Aquarium – they’ve got sharks! If you’ve got a diving license, you can dive with them. Hmm shame I don’t have one…
Thanks SO MUCH to Thomson and First Choice for opening my eyes, not only to the brilliant stuff they’re doing for family travel, but also to Palma. I’ll be back.