Post uni summer part 3: Flying solo and sunny Spain

New media debate coming up: is the band blue or pink?


I was given the offer of a family holiday. For the first time in my life, I declined. I didn’t find the idea of a walking holiday in Ireland hugely exciting. Needless to say, when my parents came home early because they could just as easily shelter from the rain in front of the Olympics here as they could at the hotel, I knew I’d made the right choice.

Instead, I made a giant leap for Gracekind and travelled, unaccompanied, to Spain to visit my Grandad and his partner, who now live part time in Andalucia. Sadly, airports have never been my cup of tea. Like that time years ago when I went through the metal detector and it beeped – I automatically tried to run back because I thought I’d done something wrong, and might have been dog piled by a dozen security staff, were it not for my parents.

Anyway. With Mum’s help, I was fortunate enough to discover Manchester Airport and its Blue Band Scheme, created to make flying easier for those requiring extra assistance. Hence the bright blue band pictured above.

Interestingly, out of everyone in the group that I was escorted with, I was the only person who was young and not in a wheelchair. But hey, makes sense to keep everyone together. Also, our escort was very kind and friendly. Then again, I tend to be in awe of anyone who can be so chatty to strangers for so long.

I did turn down the offer of a wheelchair more than once. Actually, when I got to Spain, I had to step straight off the plane and into a special vehicle for the disabled. Ironically I had to sit in a wheelchair until it was time to get off, because there weren’t enough chairs. Haha.

Spain, as with many countries, is definitely prettier and more scenic than the midlands. I’d been before, but come on, do you ever get such a beach view in the UK? There are mountains for miles around, beaches that I thought only existed in magazines, and the summer sky is almost as blue as my “special flyer” wristband.


One thing I’d forgotten about was the heat. In the UK, the last week of August is practically autumn. In Spain, summer lasts until at least November. I’d over packed partly because I thought Grandad would be taking me on lots of walks and brought all my gym clothes, like in Switzerland and Austria. Thing is, at 40 degrees C, a 20 minute walk becomes more exhausting than a typical gym workout, and throughout the afternoon, the best you can do is sleep the hours away until your next meal.

And of course, insect bites. I’ve used insect repellent before, and it has proven to be about as effective as ketchup. I specifically invested in an extra strength version of the stuff. One day I had three bites. The next day I had about eight. By the time I got home, I had 20. So much for that. I may be the equivalent of a free pic’n’mix stand for mosquitos, but as my mum reminded me, it’s good to be popular. Yeah.

Until next week, adios!