For my first post-pandemic holiday I’m going to Fuerteventura, for the 700th time
The Summer issue of IMAGE is on shelves now. Here, from the issue, read Esther O’Moore Donohoe's ode to eating ready salted crisps by the pool on her first holiday abroad in two years.
If things have gone according to plan, by the time you read this, I will be lying by a water-spouting concrete dolphin, poolside in the Canaries. In addition, I will be conveyor-belting crinkle cut, ready salted crisps, aka Holiday Crisps, into my mouth for approximately 12 hours a day. It will be the first time I have left Ireland in over two years, and I am fizzing with delight.
Of course, returning to the exact same holiday apartment I have visited for over ten years was not on the list of dream destinations I have been making mentally since everything went skew-ways. Unsure of when, if ever, we’d be allowed to take to the skies again, I reflected on all the places I had always planned to visit but had never gotten around to. I pictured myself reclining against whitewashed walls on a Greek island. I imagined myself eating pasta in a restaurant just off St Mark’s Square in Venice. And during an intense lockdown bird period, I dreamt of visiting the Irish Raptor Research Centre outside Ballymote in Sligo, home to Ireland’s largest sanctuary for raptors and owls.
Fast forward two summers of holidaying at home and we were finally given the green light to gather our collection of tiny toiletries and head to the airports. But when it came to it, it all seemed like a bit too much faff. I mean, what if you got Covid while you were away? You’d have to then quarantine in a hotel room overlooking an industrial estate and have paninis flung into your room three times a day. No.
In these moments, I tell myself that I am now the type of woman who will make stock from scratch and add pasta water to my sauce instead of tipping it all down the sink.
Better to stay put looking at the same four walls we’d stared at for 24 months than to risk it.
But then… things changed. It seemed back to normal-ish again and I could wait no longer. And in an instant, my fantasy list went straight out the window. I knew healing could only begin in one place. A place I knew like the back of my pasty white hand. A place, my father informed me, had just gotten a brand new massive Lidl. And just like that, I was going to Fuerteventura, for the 700th time.
I could have chosen somewhere new and exotic for my first holiday in two years but crucially, that would require effort. There would be an expectation that I would have to walk around a museum at least once or shower daily. I’d have to “do things” and possibly paddleboard. To which I said, no. For my maiden late pandemic voyage, I wanted to lie still and snack every 12 minutes. I wanted to read books and fall asleep listening to podcasts as I sipped glass bottles of Coke like a thirsty bee. The last two years have been stressful enough without figuring out how the shower works in a new hotel.
My daily routine whilst in Fuerteventura is low and slow. All alarms are switched off and I will not be jostled to move a moment before I want to. Then, in my own good time, I gently stroll around to the shop for breakfast bread and morning crisps. Upon my return, I spritz myself in Factor 5000 and off to the pool I go until lunchtime. Every so often, I’ll declare out loud, “I think I’ll get in for a swim today”, which I never do because the pool is always freezing and I’m not Wim Hof.
By week two, however, when I have slothed to the absolute maximum, I invite some gentle adventure into my routine. This doesn’t mean windsurfing or ATV-ing. It means getting the bus to The Big Zara, half an hour away. The Big Zara is exactly like a normal Zara but with everything about €4 cheaper. There I wander around, picking things up and saying, “This is about €4 cheaper than at home!” It is true culture.
Alas, it won’t all be exotic crisps and sun damage for this particular break, as it’s also my first holiday as a freelancer. That means I’ll still be working throughout, but at least I can open my laptop poolside, eating chips with every meal. Next stop, Ballymote.
Other highlights in the issue include:
- Daytripping: Discover a dreamy wild flower and food-focused oasis in Wicklow
- Discovering your money blocks – Katie Byrne digs deep into the dysfunctional financial psychology holding too many women back
- Not sure if you want kids? Join the club writes Sarah Macken
- Author Aingeala Flannery on finally finding her groove
- High drama: Meet songstress of the moment LYRA
- EXCLUSIVE: Take a tour of designer Zoë Jordan’s home in Palma
- Shore thing: four fabulous Irish retreats where you’ll find reprieve by the water
- Take me to the island: A languid, long weekend in Paphos
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