“If you chase a man, he’ll run away from you…” That was the wisdom of the 54 year-old lady sitting next to me on the plane last week.
I was flying back from Lanzarote to London and my plane neighbour needed to vent her problems to a stranger. She had turned up (uninvited) to visit her ex-partner in the hope that they’d get back together, but struggled to listen to her own advice and stop chasing him. Something magnetic kept drawing her back, but he simply wasn’t interested and her trip ended early because of an accident on the beach.
The previous day, she had been practising her belly dancing routine on the beach and got a little too enthusiastic trying to show off her moves in front of her ex beau. She span around, waving her scarf around her head, but failed to see a dip in the sand, which made her lose her balance and fall to the ground. At the time, she was more worried about the embarrassment than the injury itself!
A few hours in a grim hospital waiting room, and the doctor revealed she had fractured her collarbone and needed to fly home ASAP. She didn’t regret dancing and having a good time though, and explained how she always lives for the moment and doesn’t care who’s watching.
It made me realise that even though we grow older, it’s our own choice whether we actually ‘grow up’. I loved her effervescence and the get-up-and-go attitude. Yes, she had incurred an awkward and painful injury, but she still had a twinkle in her eye and was already planning her future trips. She said it took her until she was in her 40s to realise life is all about the adventures and the experiences rather than living a mundane existence that’s comfortable…but not inspiring.
So what was I doing in Lanzarote? Well, after weeks of working non-stop, my body officially said: ‘give me a break’. I was feeling very tired and needed a spontaneous five day get away to recharge my batteries.
It was the perfect break, so I thought I’d share my top 6 tips for complete relaxation that worked well on this trip:
1) Trust your friends’ advice
I knew I wanted to get away and chill out, but I had no idea where to go. My only prerequisites were a European destination (I didn’t want to face jet lag on such a short trip), great weather in October, close proximity to the sea, and complete peace and quiet. My friends on Facebook provided a lot of helpful advice, popular suggestions were: Malta, Sicily, Spain, Lanzarote, Morocco, Portugal and Croatia. In the end, I decided to go for Lanzarote – the forecast was great for October and it ticked all the boxes.
2) Ask yourself what you want from the trip and find accommodation to match
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to accommodation – it depends on the style of your trip. Sometimes you might want a homely apartment where you can cook, a hostel where you can socialise or maybe you want a luxurious hotel where you can spoil yourself.
In this instance, it was all about feeling pampered and having everything I needed at my fingertips.
I found Costa Calero in Puerto Calero and it ticked all the boxes – easy to get to from the airport, several restaurants, pools, free shuttle to the beach and an on-site spa. The perfect ingredients for some much needed ‘me time’. My room was great – it had three beds, two sofas, a private patio with sun lounger and there was even a bottle of bubbly and a platter of fruit waiting for me on arrival.
The weather was divine and the boost of vitamin D really energised me. The hotel was surrounded by lush plants and flowers and there was even a banana tree growing outside my hotel room. On my final night, I picked the single yellow banana you can see on the photo below, and I have to say, with no exaggeration, it was the best banana I’ve ever tasted. I think it must have been because of the fact it ripened on the tree, so sweet and flavoursome. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if you compare the humble banana to an apple – it’s packed full of potassium, and has five times the amount of iron and vitamin A.
3) Enjoy some retail therapy
There’s nothing that relaxes a woman quite as much as a bit of retail therapy (actually – there’s chocolate, but we’ll get to that later). Puerto Calero had a beautiful Marina and twice a week there’s a market there. I picked up some gorgeous bracelets and lacey cardigans as well as some handmade Christmas table cloths for my Mum.
4) Indulge in the culinary delights
The photos say it all…
5) Pick somewhere with beautiful scenery
There were palm trees, a rainbow of flowers, banana trees, cacti, mountains and the vast Puerto Del Carmen beach was 10 minutes away. The scenery in Lanzarote was spectacular and I loved waking up every morning to views like this…
6) Relax in a spa (and book a treatment with a difference…)
I was very excited about the prospect of the hotel spa; there was a steam room, a sauna, massage floatation beds, a salt water pool and water jets to soothe tired muscles.
Just before I left, I decided to treat myself to something called chocolatherapy – and believe me, I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
Picture the scene – I walked into a dimly lit treatment room and I was handed some disposable pants and a pair of flip flops that looked like pigs’ trotters. An interesting start. After getting changed, I was instructed to lie on the therapy bed while my therapist heated up the chocolate. Naturally, being a chocolate lover, this treatment immediately intrigued me. There was more to the appeal of the chocolate than its moorish taste though – apparently chocolatherapy is great for hydration, toning and has anti-ageing properties too.
When my therapist returned with a giant bowl of chocolate and a spatula – I wasn’t sure if it was me or a cake she was about to decorate (it was me).
So what was it like to be lathered with melted chocolate? Well, it smelt good, it felt good, but all I could think about was how much I wanted to eat it! I’m not sure it was edible though, so I resisted.
My craving for chocolate increased to 100% in under 10 seconds. As soon as the chocolate covering process was complete, I was wrapped in plastic (yes, really) and then left ‘to set’ for 20 minutes. The human chocolate bar.
I was hoping to drift off into a peaceful slumber, but I must admit I felt a little twitchy. All I could smell and think about was how much I wanted a bar of Galaxy ripple. Imagine you’re really craving a steak, and have to sit there with a juicy one under your nose for an extended amount of time, but knowing you couldn’t eat it.
It was lovely and warm being wrapped in my cocoa-cocoon though and I enjoyed the novelty of being the epitome of ‘the chocoholic’.
After the 20 minutes passed, I was handed a towel and told to go and shower off the coating of chocolate. I was then back for stage 3 of the treatment; a chocolate mousse massage. More chocolate? Luckily the mousse was transparent, so I didn’t need to shower it off.
The massage was super relaxing and got rid of all my aches and pains. My craving level for chocolate by the end of the treatment was sky high, but as soon as the massage had finished, my therapist Maria left me for 10 minutes and promised she’d be back after I’d ‘rested’.
When she returned, she asked me to follow her to another area of the spa, where there was a cup of creamy HOT CHOCOLATE and a piece of chocolate waiting for me – best surprise ever! I’d never craved chocolate so much in my life and finally I realised why people say: ‘good things come to those who wait…’
So Lanzarote – thank you for this short but sweet affair. You were a joy. You boosted my levels of vitamin D, tanned my skin, fed me well and coated me in chocolate.
As for the lady on the plane, well, we spent four hours chatting about love, life and loving life, knowing nothing more than each others’ first names.
We joked about how her injury may just be a blessing in disguise and a sign. Her ex turned out to be very unsympathetic, and wouldn’t even accompany her to hospital. The old saying goes: ‘everything happens for a reason’, and maybe her ex’s indifferent attitude was what she needed to finally wave goodbye to him.
We wished each other luck and said farewell and that was it. Sometimes it’s these brief encounters that teach us the most. Be open, be kind and love should only be a battle if the other person is fighting for the same team…
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