San Gines chocolate and churros. | Jessika Ekman

A friend posted this in the morning “You know who is going through a lot right now? Literally everyone.”

I had to push the stop button last week after coming back from Madrid. It’s been too much for a long time. The Madrid trip was the birthday gift to my 16-year-old who loves to travel and had not left the island for 2 years. “I would love to see the capital of Spain mum, if there is any possibility it would be the best gift ever,” she said some months ago. As she was researching Prado Museum, the Retiro park and more, I thought it was a fantastic idea too. After several weeks of convincing, I even got the 12-year-old, who is terrified to fly, to agree it would be fantastic to go to Madrid for a couple of days. We still have pandemic, but people travel all the time, so why not YOLO – you only live once!

Madrid with Christmas lights was beautiful, the hotel was amazing, but the streets were packed. Even the 16-year-old said “mum it’s so packed I can’t even see my feet,” when we were walking to the most famous Churros bar, San Gines. The line to get in was very long and most of the people waiting was from the Barcelona area as I could hear from their accents. Forty-five minutes later we got through the door. The reporter from the local TV channel TeleMadrid was there having a cup of chocolate and churros and asked if they could interview me as I was the only blond person with a touristy look, so I said yes and had to agree to the reporter that the churros was really good. Once we got out, we were meet with more chaos. To avoid people gathering, the police closed off the streets and made them one way even for pedestrians. We ended up walking for hours and hours to get back to the hotel and when we finally made it came back, the kids had enough and asked for room service instead of going out to the super cool Sushi restaurant I wanted to try.

The flight back was not a dream at all, and after a very stressful rebooking via Barcelona we were all exhausted. It is not the same to travel in 2020 at all. I made a sudden decision that this was enough traveling for me this year and I decided to cancel a dream trip.

In 2019 I won a trip to Switzerland in the area of Montreux together with a team of amazing travel agents from the Nordic countries. I am not a fan of snow to be honest. I don’t even drive my kids up to Lluc when the snow starts falling in Mallorca. We were invited to enjoy a snowy hike in the Alps, visit a Swiss Christmas market, have cheese fondue at a restaurant and the highlight of the trip was to relax in one of these amazing Alp Spa hotels where you have a heated pool outdoor and can sit in hot water and see the snowy mountains in the distance. It sounded amazing and just to be able to spend time with the travel agent gang was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. The trip to Switzerland was postponed 3 times due to the pandemic. Now this week it took place.

I felt so sad when I called in my cancellation but its just too much right now. Another 4 colleagues cancelled too. One of the participants said he had got the 3 vaccines, 2 normal and a booster and he did to get to Switzerland but had to do 4 PCR tests in 7 days. It’s just crazy.

Christmas in Mallorca was better this year. We did get to celebrate Santa Lucia in the Cathedral and the bakery goods from Fika Farina was just according to the traditional recipes, lovely. Here we are still one week to go and I think we have everything we need to make this a memorable one.