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16.4.11

Lanzarote.....Part One!!

I was quite surprised when a conversation starting with me asking my husband what he'd like to do for our wedding anniversary this year then resulted in us looking for [very] last minute holiday deals on the internet.
He'd mentioned before that he'd like to just book a holiday and go, but we decided that due to my pregnancy, and with a £700 bedroom furniture bill to pay, as well as a double pushchair to buy etc that it wasn't possible really and the idea left us.
Yet there we were, Tuesday morning, sat in the Thomas Cook office in town handing over our bank card and planning on heading off to Lanzarote at 7am on the Thursday! Not really a last minute bargain at £780 but still, the apartments sounded lovely.
We popped for a coffee and quickly planned what we needed to buy, headed off to buy the items and then went straight home to start packing. I'd sent a text to my best friend to cancel our meeting on Thursday, told her about the holiday and she, bored at work, Googled the apartments "wow, fab reviews. But make sure you get a safe, theres been break ins recently"
Straight away I felt a bit sick. Straight away my anxiety set in big time. Once home I searched reviews myself, a lot of mixed ones, some saying best holiday ever, some saying worst holiday ever. We decided to forget about it because our Thomson Cruise we went on three years ago had some bad reviews as does Center Parks, and we've always been happy with both!

So with two nights of horrid anxiety...from thinking the plane would crash to picturing us being involved in a machete attack (yes, my anxiety is that bad) we headed off at 12.30am Thursday morning towards Birmingham airport.
Charles didn't want to sleep in the car, he was too excited about seeing the "pranes". He probably dozed off for around an hour if not less and when he woke, again asked where the planes were.
Arriving at the airport in darkness was strange, check-in was relatively easy, although we now had an overexcited and overtired toddler who wanted to walk and run around everywhere...sadly neither of us had the patience to deal with it although I did try to distract him.

Onto the plane we were cramped and I worried about my feet and ankles swelling. Charles was still very excited and as we took off his head dropped and he was asleep. Lovely! We were shocked at how airlines have now changed, and whereas before, free headphones were on offer along with episodes of Mr Bean and Only Fools and Horses, we were now expected to pay £7.50 EACH to hire a Playstation 4 for the journey.
A friend of mine had offered us her Portable DVD player for the holiday but with the reviews of breakins I thought it best not to risk it so declined. Once Charles woke up though the one thing we needed was a DVD player and Postman Pat. We tried hard to keep him entertained. Played with his cars, coloured in pictures in his colouring book but nothing was keeping his attention for long enough.
A very kind family sat behind us tapped us on the shoulder and handed over their Portable dvd player and Peppa Pig dvds. Phew. For half an hour at least Charles was kept satisfied.
The flight did seem to go on forever, and we were delighted when we caught sight of Lanzarote during our descent.
Again getting through the airport was easy, our luggage was one of the first off which was fab so off we went to our hotel. Passing the other hotels we were anxious as to what our one would be like.
On arrival it looked ok, although we then realised we were on the second floor....with a pushchair, 2 big suitcases, one smaller suitcase, one pregnant lady with now VERY swollen feet and ankles, 2 bags of hand luggage....and NO LIFTS! My husband was a star and didn't complain about any of it.
We entered the room.......it smelt. Musty and a kind of sewage smell. The room needed slight updating, there was some paint peeling from the walls. The floors were tiled and there were 2 steps leading from the hallway to the lounge, which we weren't overally happy with re Charles. But we had no choice and it would just mean he needed extra supervision.
The sofa in the lounge was old, had stains on them and just looked dirty. the bath was dirty. And to top it off there was hair, everywhere. Head hair and......pubic hair. In every room.
Charles walked over to the cupboard, opened it and the door fell off, perfect!
After putting my feet up for 5 minutes I decided I wanted to just check out our beds. We had twin beds in a small room, which was fine, except we then had to somehow fit in a travel cot bed (wheneever they were going to deliver it!) or another guest bed...we wouldn't of had room to move.
Peeling back the top cover I thought I was going to be sick, how could this room get any worse, not only were the sheets dirty but there were hairs in the bed too.
We immediately went down to reception to complain, the man was very polite and said if we went for lunch they would clean the room and change the bedding.
Well, lunch was inedible. I already felt sick due to the state of the room and to find no food really that I wanted to eat, or that my husband or Charles wanted to eat, we didn't quite know what to do.
We headed back to the room which had been cleaned.....apparently. Same problems with hair and the bedding was just as bad. I went down to reception once more and was offered another room. "Check it out and if you want it you can have it" the man said. In the meantime the cleaner would once again, clean our room and change the bedding.
So we headed in, the smell was better but the other problems remained. And with this new room there was a cm gap in the window, which could easily have been broken into, so I felt even more unsafe here.

My husband immediately started to look at flights home, without my knowing, we were all tired, hungry, and hot. And just wanted to lay down somewhere comfortable and clean.
I looked at our paperwork sat on the side and saw a number for the Lanzarote Thomas Cook office. Grabbing his phone I called them. After explaining everything I asked if we could be moved hotels or if they could help us arrange flights home.
The lady was so helpful and said she would give me a call back as soon as she could, it was busy at the resort at the moment so accomodation was unlikely but she would see what our options were.
We headed into town, stopped off at an English pub so my husband could have a well deserved pint of cold beer. We spoke to some people there about the problems we were having, they were staying at the same place as us and were yet to check out their beddding (this is something I thought everyone did on arrival!)
We then decided to go and find some bottled water and sunglasses for me as I'd stupidly left mine in the car.
Sunglasses, armbands, summer hats for me and my husband and flip flops for my husband and grapes for Charles were bought and we just walked trying to find things to do so we didnt have to go back to the apartment. Then my husbands phone rang. "We've found you a room, you can go and see it before you give us an answer but you'll probably want to get a taxi. There will be additional payment as it is essentially an upgrade" We decided not to go by taxi to see it but to take them up on their offer of faxing info and photos to the hotel we were currently in.
Stopping off at the English Pub again we Googled the new hotel to check out reviews....again mixed reviews.
I didn't know what to do. My husband at this point was happy to buy bed sheets somewhere and cleaning products. But it wasn't good enough for me.

At 6 o clock Thomas Cook phoned again, giving us the extra price for the new hotel. 380 Euros. It was out of our budget. I asked if it was possible for them to look at a completely different resort then as we weren't too bothered if we were in Costa Teguise or Playa Blanca etc. She went to speak to her manager.
When she came back on the phone she offered us a much better price and we accepted. We had to head to the hotel in an hour once payment had been processed and forms had been completed. Within 30 minutes we'd had enough of this hell hotel, grabbed a taxi and off we went.........

 What happened next?....read part two