Most relaxing holiday ever

Parenting and life Travel & holidays

I promised I would update on the catalogue of errors that was our Thomson holiday to Protur Bonaire Aparthotel in Cala Bona, Majorca.

This is going to be fairly long but hell, even if no one reads it, it’s cathartic. And God, I need that after our Thomson holiday from Hell.

We last braved a holiday nine months before the baby was born (er, yea), when the toddler was 10.5 months, the same age as the baby is now. It was fairly restful, relatively speaking – I think I even got to read a book – and we thought we would do it again with the same formula; Balearic island, all inclusive family-friendly resort with Nanny and Grandad. Outnumbering children in a 2:1 ratio seemed like a very good idea.

This time we booked through Thomson Holidays, or TUI, or whatever they are called now.

It was an early evening flight, leaving at bed time and arriving some time after meltdown-o-clock, so the day was spent relaxing in the way only people facing impending doom can.

We re-packed several times to make sure that we had no idea what was in which suitcase and didn’t even consider the fact that we wouldn’t be able to carry everything without relying on the kindness of strangers at the car park.

Our first indication that something wasn’t right was on arrival at the airport.

They had clearly double booked our seats and moved us right to the back of the aeroplane, as far away from the toilets as we could have been, which was ideal when travelling with two small poop machines.

After an unexplained delay, we took off. The toddler was ecstatic at being allowed to play on the iPad unrestricted and was unnervingly quiet, and the baby eventually fell asleep, so things seemed to be going alright; at least until we arrived and waited an hour for our baggage and buggies, at which point there was no room left on the transfer bus. Uh oh.

Seems the double booking theory was probably right after all.

Rather than, say, switching around seats with someone with fewer overtired, unhappy children, a sour-faced rep pointed ourselves and another poor young family towards a different bus.

After a further 45 minutes of waiting, and listening to angry Spanish to-and-fro between the driver and the rep, it was confirmed that the bus would be taking us to our hotel, seemingly against the driver’s will.

Most relaxing holiday ever: Avoid Thomson Holidays and the Protur Bonaire AparthotelSomehow what I imagined I would be doing. But didn’t.

There were few seats left, so my husband and I had to take a child each on our laps for the journey.

Predictably although it was advertised as an hour, it was in fact closer to two. It was desperately uncomfortable. Added to the wait for baggage and the bus, it was around four hours between landing and arriving at the Protur Bonaire Aparthotel, where we were delighted to to find that there was no cot set up in the room, or spare sheets, or anything really, despite assurances ten minutes earlier from the staff at check in that it was all ready. So that was fun at 2am. Tears may have been shed at this point.

When we had gone on holiday previously, the toddler had just started pulling herself up on the furniture.Most relaxing holiday ever: Avoid Thomson Holidays and the Protur Bonaire Aparthotel
I recall it was a bit tricky, what with the hard flooring everywhere and distinct lack of carpets and cushioning. The baby decided that now was the perfect time to decide two legs was his preferred mode of getting around and the first thing he did when placed down – as we had no cot or other method of restraining him – was stand up, take two steps and launch himself head first into the coffee table. 

Somehow, and not without a fight, we managed to get everyone down to sleep.

The next few days passed more or less without incident. It was sunny, we did some swimming, the kids ate a dangerous amount of sugar, wouldn’t wear hats and hated having suncream applied. The baby fell over a lot. We accumulated a lot of inflatable animals left behind by other families. Against all odds we even managed a few buggy naps, even the toddler who has never ever napped in a buggy and gave up napping long ago. I had to go to the beach and get sand on my toes. Shudder. I have issues.Most relaxing holiday ever: Avoid Thomson Holidays and the Protur Bonaire Aparthotel

On the third day, we had just about recovered from the epic tiredness of night one.

It was my mum’s birthday, so when the kids were in bed we had a few drinks on the balcony and went to bed merry and in good spirits.

Around 1am I woke up, and just about made it into the bathroom before vomiting. Everywhere. This continued at regular intervals throughout the night and over the next morning. I shall spare you the details, suffice to say it was a further two days before I could even look at the buffet let alone consider eating anything from it. Then the baby was hideously sick all over me in the middle of the night, and I went off it anew.

On our last day, we had a late flight. We had paid for late check out (and confirmed this on arrival, at the same time we confirmed the cot) but, predictably this hadn’t been activated and we found ourselves locked out of the room. Not a huge issue, and easily sorted, but irritating none the less.

Literally everything the Protur Bonaire Aparthotel and Thomson Holidays could have cocked up, they did. We were glad to leave to be honest.

The journey home, however, was when things really started to get interesting!

Most relaxing holiday ever: Avoid Thomson Holidays and the Protur Bonaire AparthotelToddler wearing her PJs, having puked on her clothes…

The bus was, of course, half an hour late. An hour or so into the supposed-to-be-a-hour-but-actually-two transfer, the toddler vomited. Big style. She continued to do this all the way to the airport, at which point the baton was handed to nanny and daddy. Somehow we managed to get checked in, at which point we had to race to the gate as the screens claimed boarding was already taking place. It wasn’t.

After another hour of waiting around, punctuated by regular bathroom dashes, we finally joined the queue to get on to the plane. Daddy had to make a last minute run to the toilet so we boarded without him, which we told the staff. The stewardess then started whispering to her colleagues, and words such as ‘fit to fly’ were bandied around. Finally, my poor, sweaty, husband arrived on the plane and sat down with us, much to my relief.

That relief was short lived.

We didn’t take off. A few announcements from the captain and a lot of people rushing past and having whispered conversations later, he was told by the stewardess that she had spoken to the powers-that-be and they had decided he couldn’t fly; they could not take our word it was food poisoning and had to be cautious.

I was then told, as he disembarked to be whisked off to the hospital, that I would have to identify our bags as they wouldn’t be able to travel with me. I was left wondering how the bloody hell I was going to cope with two small kids (albeit one soundly asleep, thank you nap gods, and one entirely engrossed in the iPad at this point – I knew it was worth downloading the entirety of CBeebies) and no stuff, and texting my husband to find out where the car parking ticket was whilst realising neither of us would have access to a phone charger, or pants, when they came back to tell me that the doctors had looked him over and had confirmed he had gastroenteritis, and he could fly after all.

A slightly less sweaty-looking but no less sick husband was returned to me shortly afterwards.

The plane – due to take off at 10pm – was delayed by an hour and a half.Most relaxing holiday ever: Avoid Thomson Holidays and the Protur Bonaire Aparthotel
The rest of the passengers were as happy as you’d imagine, and vocal about it. We were mortified, the kids were awake now and very tired, I was in pieces, and daddy, nanny and the toddler were all sick repeatedly on the flight. Daddy is still being sick now, two days later. I doubt we will be eating from a buffet any time soon.

Most relaxing holiday ever.

The experience brought home to me several things; firstly how much I absolutely love my children with every fibre of my being. Seeing them vomit and be poorly made me actually want to strangle whoever was responsible for their misery with my bare hands. I’ll probably settle for sending several very strongly worded emails, maybe even speaking loudly at someone on the phone if it doesn’t get resolved. But I hope they don’t test me that way. Secondly, how amazing they both are. They dealt with the whole thing a hell of a lot better than I did. The toddler didn’t cry once; even when tired and shivering and vomiting, she still wanted chips. She wants to go back on holiday.

She’s obviously a bit weird.

I have of course sent a letter of complaint to Thomson Holidays, but they declined to apologise, bunch of tossers they are. I’ve also put this blog post on Thomson Holiday’s Facebook page which they have since deleted. Do feel free to pop over to their Facebook page and leave them a lovely comment as they clearly don’t give a shit.

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