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Old 2 Aug 20, 11:53 AM  
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Rac20
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Gran Canaria July 2020

Iíve just arrived back from a week in Gran Canaria and thought some people might like som information as to what the Covid travel experience was like.

Pre-trip

DH, myself, DS14, DS11 were supposed to be heading to Orlando with a few days in Miami at the end for 24 nights. We had a couple of nights booked at Cabana Bay, a night at the Hard Rock and then a lovely villa booked at Watersong for the majority of the trip. This trip had been planned since our last in 2016 and the villa booked for the past two years. As weíd booked DIY, Iíd spent the last few months trying to get money back and cancel/re-arrange hotels.

DH was desperate for a week away. I had absolutely no desire to go away in the U.K. We went to Cornwall last year (which is beautiful) but the weather was absolutely shocking and it cost us a small fortune to sit in a mouldy, damp caravan. This was not an experience that I wanted to repeat. I was anxious about booking abroad, not because of the risk of catching Covid- I just couldnít face the stress of cancelling/re-arranging any other type of holiday after Iíd just finished sorting out the Florida one. DH has fancied travelling to Murcia (Spain) and staying in a villa as weíd been there before but that would have meant booking flights/villa separate and I wanted a package so that if it was cancelled it was all cancelled in one go. I also said that if we were going, we were going as soon as possible before things had time to change.

We found a holiday with Tui leaving on the 25th July which was just over a week away. Tui also had a really good Covid policy which I found really re-assuring. The holiday was to Gran Canaria and we paid £1400 (ish) for 2a/2c for a week staying at the Servatur Waikiki with bed and breakfast included/airport transfer/15kg hold luggage.

The week leading up to the holiday, the news were constantly reporting rises in cases in Spain. It was quite stressful. We decided not to tell youngest DS that we were going away because I couldnít face telling him that another holiday had be cancelled. On the morning of travel, we woke him up and told him that we were going away to the beach for a few days which he was happy with (even though it was raining outside). It was only when we pulled up at the NCP car park in Manchester that he realised that weíd be going on a plane. Heís a really nervous flyer so this was another reason that I delayed telling him. I didnít want him stressing about the flight for a week beforehand.

NCP Car Park
We left booking the car park until the night before and managed to get the NCP car park in Manchester for just over £40 for the week. We had absolutely no problems at all. The company drive you to the airport and collect you on return. We would use them again. Great price too.

Manchester Airport
It was extremely surreal arriving at a very quiet Manchester Airport in the height of summer.





It was a really quick check in, everyone that I saw was wearing masks and we were able to social distance.
It wasnít really necessary to get to the airport early as it was so quiet. There were no extra checks on temperature or anything as we headed through security. When we arrived at the gate, the only places open was the lounge at £20 per person or a coffee stand. No shops/duty free. It was quite a long wait.
I did spy with my little eye something that I thought you Dibbers might like though.


Not sure which 747 it was as I didnít get close enough to be able to see the name.

Tui Flight
I think that I was expecting some kind of social distancing on the plane. That did not happen and it was the first time in months that Iíve felt anxious about catching Covid. Iím a teacher and have worked throughout either in a childcare bubble or later on back in a teaching bubble and I had no PPE at all other than my little bottle of hand gel and that hasnít bothered me as much as sitting on a packed plane. I suddenly felt very claustrophobic. We were also sat on the very back row of the plane which is definitely a row to avoid as itís right by the only toilets and even though they were asked not to, people queued in the aisle. People, for the most part did wear their masks. The flight was pretty uneventful but I did get a free bottle of Prosecco from cabin crew so sitting on the back row did have one positive. It felt like a little bit of Disney magic.🥰

When we landed, the talk of the immigration queue was the fact that the government had changed their minds over travel to Spain. There were some very unhappy people in the queue who had suddenly found out they would have to quarantine when they arrived home. It brought it home to me how close we were to not going on holiday - especially when a few days later they included the Canaries in the non-essential travel and made me pleased that we hadnít told DS11.

You need to fill a form in online before you go to Spain and you get a QR code. You can attach your children to the form when completing it. I suggest that you donít do this and you fill out a separate form for your children as they make you do that in Spain anyway. Itís easier to do it before you travel.

When we left the airport, the Tui buses were there ready to take us to the hotel. Having travelled DIY for years and years, Iíd forgotten how easy it is being booked as a package with free transfers etc. I have to say- Tui were great. They kept us informed at every step and reassured us that we were able to complete our holiday.

Servatur Waikiki
I was unsure what to expect when we arrived at the hotel as on trip advisor it said it was closed. I think it still says it is actually. It was a great, little hotel with a decent sized pool. I imagine in the height of summer that it is rammed! It was really quiet. There was hand sanitizer everywhere! Before you get in the lift (one family at a time), 3 before you enter the restaurant, dotted around the restaurant and the bar area. You were told to wear masks everywhere apart from at the pool and when eating. I have to say, the rules were followed really well. I didnít see anyone waking around the restaurant without a mask and people would walk to their sun lounger before taking mask off and put it on again if they were going to the bar.



Now if you remember, way back at the beginning of this long report, I mentioned that we paid for bed/breakfast. Turns out that we were in an all inclusive hotel! Luckily, we worked this out the day after we arrived and not on our last day. Another little bit of Disney magic. DH and I were quite perplexed by it at first and wondered whether weíd simply been given the wrong coloured wrist band at check in. I did A LOT of people watching. Everyone was wearing the same band. I had only a few mojitos- honest.😉

The food was typical all inclusive food. All fresh bread etc. was sealed. And for everything else, the food was served to you.





We had a great time at the hotel. The entertainers worked tirelessly to keep little kids and big kids entertained. The boys took part in shooting/archery/ping pong/water polo/bingo/disco. They were great with them and now my boys are older, it was quite nice being able to relax and know they were having a great time and being safe with the entertainment staff.

We pretty much stayed at the hotel but did spend a day at Aqualand which cost just short of Ä140 for four of us. DS11 loved it there. He was so happy. It made the stress of the build up worth it. DS11 and I paid Ä12 each to return two days later. DS14 is not as keen on water parks and was quite happy to spend his time lounging on a deck chair. Aqualand has quite a few fun rides and the theming was quite good. It could do with a little TLC in terms of the flooring but it was well staffed with lifeguards. (No pics as we took the water camera that day-sorry.)

Across from Aqualand, there is a go-karting place that DS14 (the adrenaline junky) loved! It was Ä18 for an adult kart and Ä16 for a junior. You get 10 minutes. Not cheap but they loved it. We took them back a few days later.

We also spent a day at the beach where the boys enjoyed body surfing. The water had just enough waves to be thrilling but not enough to be unsafe. It was quite shallow. Thereís also amazing sand dunes just behind the beach. I enjoyed channeling my inner Rey as we walked along them and half expected BB8 to come rolling by.


On the final night, we went out to a little restaurant called El Ranchos. An early anniversary celebration as we will be in quarantine on our actual anniversary. The food was really good.

Mains averaged about Ä12. A mixed grill was Ä18. Pizza just under Ä8.


All in all (as Tim Tracker would say 😉 ), we had a great time. It felt amazing to sit in the sun on holiday and just feel happy. For a short time, you could actually forget that you are in a middle of a pandemic... and then you realise youíve ran out of Mojito and itís time to put your mask back on and it all comes flooding back.

Gran Canaria was quiet. Most hotels/bars/restaurants were closed. I feel sorry for the people who rely on the tourists. Especially, since Spain is now no longer on the list of safe places to travel. I honestly felt safer walking around Gran Canaria than I did at home. There was so much space on the beach- nothing like the photos of the packed beaches at home. Just such sad times for the people who rely on tourists.

Iím thankful we flew with Tui- theyíve been great throughout. They kept us informed through text, there was a rep onsite, they let us finish our holiday but offered to take us home if we wanted to. Big thumbs up to them. ( I know people will have differing experiences trying to get refunds from them for their cancelled Florida hols but for us they were great.)

We are now obviously going to quarantine for two weeks. Iím not over the moon about it. But it is what it is and itís not that I go many places but DH and I have been getting up and going for 5 mile+ walks in the beautiful countryside every day. Iím going to find that hard as it helps with my mood - plus I have a week of eating/drinking Iíd like to shift.😂

Iím sorry the report is so long! I didnít want to do a daily one. It was more for the purpose of people being able to gain some understanding of what the travel experience was like. I know many people have had their holidays cancelled and Iím so sorry for that. I feel truly blessed to have been able to have a lovely week away with my boys.

If anyone has any questions about anything I havenít mentioned or if thereís anything that you want clarification on then just let me know.

Thanks for reading! (sorry - itís long 😬 ) xx

Edited at 11:59 AM.
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Old 2 Aug 20, 11:58 AM  
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Rac20
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Here are some links to the hotel, aqualand and racing if you want more info.

servatur/en/waikiki/...iAAEgLyifD_BwE



aqualand.es/maspalomas/

racingkartmaspalomas/
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Old 2 Aug 20, 03:34 PM  
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Cutiepie
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Thanks for sharing, sounds like a lovely relaxing break
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Old 2 Aug 20, 04:03 PM  
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Cloverlady
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Thanks so much for going to the trouble of sharing your experience! I'm sure many of us on here will be grateful for your giving of a review

You had a great time! Love how you were able to enjoy and relax in the sun and forget the pandemic for a while!

We did have Rubicon Palace booked (booked it just DAYS before the current quarantine came in) and was then consequently promptly cancelled...

Not to be defeated, we are aiming to try again for a week later, the 15th August, and would consider ANYwhere sunny at this point!
We won't book until a few days before departure this time though, in true last minute style!

I've seen the hotel you went to come up on our searches so it's good to get a review, really useful!

Thanks again
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Florida - 04,05,06,08,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19, Covid cancelled 20, 21...
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Old 2 Aug 20, 04:12 PM  
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Orlando_Kings
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Sounds great - Gran Canaria was on my alternative list (our trips cancelled this year) as we've been 3 times previous in past 4 years.

Kids love Aqualand (and so do I &#128521
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Old 2 Aug 20, 05:59 PM  
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Buggles94
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Sounds like a lovely holiday Thanks so much for sharing. I have been missing TRs and it's lovely to know people are still getting away
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Old 2 Aug 20, 06:33 PM  
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Sounds like a lovely break, I am keen to book a week away for me, dh and our sons but will do a last minute trip I think.
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Old 2 Aug 20, 06:51 PM  
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Rac20
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Thanks for your replies everyone. It really was a lovely break. I feel so blessed to have been able to go away. Booking last minute definitely feels like the right way to go at the minute. Iíve never booked so last minute ever and the week before felt like forever. I hope that you all manage to get away. X
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Old 4 Aug 20, 07:10 PM  
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Thanks for sharing. Interesting to read as my 2 brothers and DS were in Gran Canaria when it locked down. They were extremely strict. My brothers were in a villa with private pool so they were ok, but DS was in an apartment. The pool and all public areas were closed and you could only go to 1 supermarket, the closest to you, once a day. DS was bored stiff as he was on his own.

A few days later they were telling them they couldn't even sit on the balcony. The police were out with loudspeakers directing them back in. DS checked out and said he was going to the airport but got a taxi to his uncles' villa and was much happier there.
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Old 6 Aug 20, 08:01 AM  
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Looks like you had a wonderful time, thank you for sharing. Great luck that it was an All Inclusive hotel, I would have been so happy with thoughts of endless cocktails 😬
Iím sorry you fell into the quarantine back home, such bad luck. I too feel so sorry for the restaurants and hotels that rely on British tourism. I hope they reverse the decision soon
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