Well I have just returned from the nicest break away that I could have ever hoped for. It really was just what the doctor ordered and great for not only my physical health but mental health too. One week basking in the warmth of sunny Spain has done wonders for me. It has been years since I had a holiday away and to be honest I was feeling quite apprehensive about it but I am delighted it all worked out well. Not only does my body feel energised but my confidence has truly blossomed. I was nervous booking the holiday as I did not know how I would be feeling and if I would be up for it. Don’t get me wrong it had its challenges but it really proved to me just how strong and determined I really am. My desire to live and get better burns even deeper. I am so very proud of what I achieved. I even took Kev by surprise. I truly relished every single moment even the bad ones as they made the good ones that bit extra special.
We only booked the holiday a good six weeks before we were due to travel as I wanted to check in with my consultant first and arrange to have a break from the antibiotics. I know if I had been on the antibiotics I would have been miserable so I was delighted to get the go ahead to come off them for a few weeks. The compromise was to take antivirals instead to at least tackle some of the underlying infections. Thank good I have been tolerating the antivirals reasonably well. We knew we wanted it to be a relaxing holiday in a nice quiet hotel with a nice pool so spent a good few days researching online before making a decision. The Costa Del Sol is one location that you are nearly guaranteed good weather especially this time of the year so the first thing we did was book flights to Malaga as they were quite reasonably priced. This gave us options location wise as there are quite a few resorts located a short distance from the airport. The last thing we wanted was to spend hours getting from the airport to the hotel.
As we are undertaking the lovely task of saving for a mortgage, we had to set ourselves a firm budget to stick by. We were quite impressed to discover that the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Fuengirola was within our price range and matched a lot of our requirements. The hotel reviews also seemed positive so we happily booked ourselves in for a weeks stay. The hotel is actually located up on the side of a hill in between Fuengirola and Benalmadena. It is a bit out-of-the-way but in a safe location and had a selection of restaurants on site. To be honest even in the whole of my health I am gone way past those party type holidays. Yes I am feeling old. Give me a peaceful, relaxing environment with a nice view and I am happy out. It was also located a handy 15 minute drive from Malaga airport and a 10 minute drive from the resorts of Fuengirola and Benalmadena so we had plenty of assessable options in the evenings.
The hotel complex was very nice. It was clean, modern, nicely laid out and the staff were very friendly. There was a choice of three pools to use, myself and Kev are fishes so we were in our element. My physio will be so proud of the exercises I did in the pool. I just love being in the water even if it is just to float on my back. I find it so incredibly relaxing. I am definitely going to try go swimming over here to help loosen up my joints and build up my stamina. We were also incredibly lucky to find an amazing restaurant located right next door to the hotel called Arara bistro bar. It was fun, colourful and relaxing with incredibly tasty food. The chef who runs it also runs the Michelin star restaurant located next door. The food was just so fresh, wholesome and nurturing and consistently good. We loved it so much that we spent three evenings dining there.
We also ventured down to the beach and sampled some nice fresh fish although it was much more expensive to eat down there as opposed to the hotel. Although it was nice to see somewhere different we both liked the hotel pools a lot better than the beach. I also felt overwhelmed as there was just so many people and a lot of noise going on so I couldn’t fully relax. There was just too much going on and it was on a big stretch of beach. I don’t know why but I was craving prawns every single day of the holidays and found myself opting for them in most restaurants. The uncomplicated pil pil prawn dish is simply delicious. Kev is like me in the sense that his appetite decreases in the heat. We both tended to just eat a light brunch and dinner each day. We also ventured into Benalmadena pueblo which is the original (old) town located on the side of the hill overlooking the newer coastal town. It is just stunning, very traditional with white wash buildings on narrow windy streets. Each house decked out with beautiful potted plants or budding flowers. The older generation sit outside their houses on the balmy summer nights welcoming those who pass by with a big smile. The town, the people, the atmosphere was just beautiful. We ate in two lovely restaurants, one Italian and the other Spanish. Both restaurants bustling with a mixture of locals and tourists. We enjoyed some vino in a small tapas bar run by a local family and found ourselves returning to the town two nights in a row. We also discovered a beautiful bar called La Cupla Lounge on the second evening that overlooked the sparkling lights of Benalmadena below. The bar had a wonderful relaxed seating area, with a Moroccan feel where you could just relax, sip on some wine all whilst taking in the beautiful view. It was truly breathtaking and a true hidden gem.
It is now back to reality with a bang. Although we both really enjoyed ourselves we were ready to come home. I think a week is just the perfect amount of time. We had planned our flights so we got pretty much a full seven days out of it. I achieved so much and got a real taste of what normality feels like. I had to pace myself and rest often whilst making some clever decisions to conserve my energy. These briefly consisted of tying up my hair after I washed it to let it air dry and going barefaced as it was either having the energy to get dressed or to put on makeup but not both. I had to make some firm decisions but it’s just what I have to do to balance things at the minute. Plus it was so warm over there at nighttime that any makeup would have simply evaporated off my face. I did manage a little mascara and lippy in the evenings to make me feel a bit glam. I also lived in my slides and light material clothing to minimise overheating. The hotel room also came equipped with air conditioning which was essential to get some sleep. I also had cold showers at night-time to keep my body temperature down. Thank god the shower itself was nice. I also kept the suncream and aftersun lotion in the mini fridge to soothe warm skin.
Overall the entire holiday was great and just what we both needed. We both relaxed and unwound and most importantly spent quality time together. We laughed, chatted and looked after one another. I found the airports the most stressful and exhausting part of the journey. Not only physically but mentally draining. There is just so much going on and a lot of movement involved. My legs just about got me on the plane back to Dublin. The flights were very pleasant with only a slight delay on one end. The only annoying thing being the far distance to walk when you fly with Ryanair in Dublin airport. I know the next week or weeks will be spent recovering but I am delighted with what I achieved. I know it might not seem like much to some but it was the equivalent of me running multiple marathons. It was the most I have moved and experienced in over two years so for me it was a big step in the right direction.