Thursday 7 May 2015

House Hunting in Mallorca – A Dollop of Destiny

Destiny; do you believe in it?

After a crack of dawn flight, a total of seven hours travelling, I arrived at my air bnb in Mallorca to find no one to greet me with the keys and the owner not answering their phone. My husband was flying in later that evening, so I was alone, the first to set foot on this island we hoped to soon call home.

48 hours previously we'd cleared out our London rental flat. You don't know how much stuff you've got until you move. It had been a race against time packing up and cleaning the flat and I hadn't slept properly in three days. I was knackered, hungry and bursting for the loo. I just wanted to get inside the apartment and put my suitcase down.

I rang the owner again. No answer.

Welcome to Spain, I thought, feeling sorry for myself.

When the owner finally did call back, half an hour later, it was to tell me I would have to get a taxi to pick up the keys since she was currently away from the island. It was 2pm. I had left my parents' house in London at 5.30am that morning and I had already been in a car, a train, a plane and two buses. Since I wasn't trying to set a record for how many modes of transport I could take in a day, I certainly did not want to now catch a taxi.

“What do you want me to do?” she said sulkily. “If you get the taxi then you can get on with enjoying your holidays.”

I told myself that this was just a little obstacle and I wasn't going to let this rude woman dampen my enthusiasm for my new life. So I rolled my suitcase down the hill to a better area to hail a cab and waited for her to send me an address for the pick up. The address didn't come.

“I'm trying to solve the problem,” she said, when I called her again. “Go back and wait outside the apartment.”

So I wheeled my case back up the hill, hid in the shade outside the block of flats and tried to forget my aching bladder. And I waited...

And waited...

And waited...

40 minutes later, still no one had appeared with the keys as promised.

“Oh, my colleague can't come now,” the owner said when I called again. “Can you get a taxi?”

I lost my temper. Fat lot of good it did too.

She said it wasn't far. The taxi driver said it was very far. Guess who was right?

By the time the taxi metre had hit 20 euros I had told him my life story. How we had spontaneously decided to pack up our lives in busy London in favour of the climate and lifestyle of Mallorca. He sighed wearily and told me I had come at the worst time, that flat prices would be exorbitant and that living in Palma was una mierda because of the noise.

This is where the destiny bit comes in. The taxi driver then gave me the number of his friend, Pedro, who had a flat to rent.

Pedro's flat was classic A Place in The Sun material. In the right location outside of the city, a good size, a great price but with the décor favoured by Spanish Abuelas in the 1950s. You know, garish tiles all over and ornaments you want to bury in the ground. Still, we considered it as we wandered down the road, not knowing quite where we were going. A few minutes later we stumbled upon an estate agent, an estate agent we wouldn't have come across if we hadn't visited Pedro's flat, which we wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for the taxi driver which... well, you get the idea. 

 We went inside.

“No I don't have anything,” the lady said, when we told her what we were looking for. But then she sat down at her desk as if she'd suddenly remembered something. “Actually... there is one.”

Five minutes later she had driven us to it.

“It's a good life for a car,” she said, referring to the car park which had an incredible view of the ocean.

In we stepped into a polished flat with the terrace of my dreams. I was drawn to it, completely and utterly distracted by how perfect it was. Large, covered and with a sea view. I imagined myself writing out there, working long hours without feeling like I was working at all. My heart swelled with excitement. Looking over the terrace, the elegant, communal swimming pool glittered below, perfect for a quick break from my word count.

We went back to visit the flat that very afternoon for another look and made up our minds there and then that it was the one.

We've been told to tell people that Mallorca is horrible so we won't be inundated with visitors all year around. I think I'm going to struggle to be convincing though. If you don't like sea, blue sky, friendly people, delicious food, it really is hell on earth.

As for me, if all goes well, I'll be moving into the flat next week. I'm beyond excited.  


Anne Booth said...

That's really exciting, and as an avid viewer of 'A Place in the Sun' I think this is a brilliant thing to do and I wish you lots and lots of luck x It was lovely going to your blogging workshop and I hope your writing goes from strength to strength.

Lindsay said...

Hope it works out - especially after such a horrid beginning - but as you say - things often do work out for a reason!

Emily Benet said...

Thank you so much Anne! I met someone who had been on A Place in the Sun at a self publishing conference this weekend! It feels like the right thing to do :)

Thanks Lindsay, so glad it worked out! Looking forward to turning the flat into a home!

Unknown said...

What a great post Emily! You got there in the end :-) xxx

Emily Benet said...

Thank you Pippa! So lovely how encouraging you've been! I'm going back on Thursday and moving straight in. :)

Unknown said...

I love hearing all about your new adventure Emily! I'm looking forward to lots more posts? I'd love you to do some kind of diary blog xxxx

Elton Rousseau said...

Oh my, you did it! You got something close to the flat of your dreams, and you got it through serendipity. It's quite a moment for your life, being in a terrace and seeing the glorious view of the water and the sky. It’s going to be hard to convince people not to go there, especially with all the sights and sounds to behold. But if it’s the locals’ wishes, then it would be best to give it your best. After all, that leaves more of it for you guys to enjoy, right?

Elton Rousseau @ Hancock Lettings and Estate Agents

Doyle Hunt said...

Well, there you go: it looks like things turned out for the best. From my experience, AirBnB has never really worked out; there's always some snag, or the homeowner doesn't even bother to show up to hand over the keys or leave them where they said they would (as was the case in your situation). I guess the moral of the story is to forgo Air BnB and opt for local agents and house hunters. Good look with your new life in Mallorca. I envy you. Suerte!

Doyle Hunt @ Real East Van