Leaving work for a long holiday is always madness, but thankfully, this time round, it aint. Already packed last night - overpacked as usual - and seems like the to do list for work is under control - well, enough for me to make a hasty exit, waving goodbye to the poor folk still slaving away at their computers. Oh well, can't be helped - there's a party island waiting in southern Spain and someone has to do it!
Luton airport is a tit to get to, takes forever on the train, and then that little pissy bus from the station is so annoying - too excited for all this fluffing about. More fluffing about ensues though - after checking in, passport control, popcorn from Pret, the departures board tries to sneak past the fact that the flight is now delayed by 90 minutes. Ten thirty departure. I do the quick maths for our arrival in Ibiza and come up on the wrong side of midnight.
Flight is fine though, once we get on board, nothing too bumpy, but it's a long un - 2 1/2 hours. Kath got the exit seats using her Speedy Boarding privileges and I'm happy for that. Original plans of going out tonight in Eivissa Town have been scuppered, but not to worry - plenty of good times ahead.
Mona, the agent who looks after the villa we are staying at, is waiting for us at Ibiza airport to lead us to our abode. It's 1 am but she is still very cheerful. Car rental chick less so, obviously well past her siesta. We have our own issues though - prospect of driving on wrong side of the road in the middle of the night is a bit daunting, but I'm up for it - car's an automatic, ordered online, so no problems there.
Jump in the driver's seat of the hire car and wonder what the hell is that thing sticking out between the seats. Ah. It's the gear stick. Manual; not automatic. Great. Last time I drove a stick was in Scotland, 2004. Kath's last time was in Norway last NY, drove in snow and sleet and slippery roads. Kath - you're up.
We follow Mona and her husband along a speedy freeway that cuts through the lower part of the island, then onto smaller roads, then into the hills, weaving in and out of dense forest. Traffic is minimal which helps; driving on the right (wrong) side of the road in a manual doesn't. Kath does very well. I try and take note of the lefts and rights that we negotiate so I can navigate our way out tomorrow, but lose track when we hit the Nascar section of the island - chicanes, hard rights, easy lefts - and the thick darkness around us makes spotting landmarks for reference purposes impossible.
A rev up a steep incline disguising itself as a driveway and we arrive at the villa - a three bedroom house set into the side of a hill overlooking Cala San Vincente - a nice little beach with only a few high rise hotels to spoil the view. A map found in the hire car tells us we are at the furthest north east point of the island.
Mona shows us the ins and outs of our Spanish Palace; throws in a baguette, some ham and cheese for tomorrow's breakfast at the crescendo. We wave her goodbye, adios, and gracias and take stock. The place is empty at the moment, with the other inhabitants arriving over the next few days, so before bed, we enjoy the exclusivity of the pad, sitting in cane chairs on the outside terrace, sipping hot drinks and staring out into the star filled sky, thinking - we've finally made it!!!
Bed time: 3 am.