FindHotel Company Trip - 2019

Pictured: Half of FindHotel covering the other half's faces with raised hands

0. The Build Up:

Friday May 24th.
We were all going about our day, counting down the hours to Friday borrel/beers. Around noon, in a meeting of 5 people, 4 laptops’ slack made the notification sound. (Kostia keeps his laptop on mute at work like a civilized adult.)

@annemieke has invited you to join #cmp-company-trip2019.

Another ping before we all decided to mute our laptops:

@annemieke: Thursday June 13th prepare your mindset on waking up REALLY early...... like, you are not going to happy the first 3 hours of the day, early.....

Ripping off the bad news band-aid was Annemieke.

Disclaimer: The above ping by Annemieke was the low point of the trip. So, if you are a fan of conflict and conflict resolution in your story telling, you are going to be disappointed. (which might be the reader’s conflict, but let’s not get meta here)

Yes, Annemieke, Kostia, Vinicius, Vladimir and Gerrit had planned out a trip for us where the only conflict moments were “OMG, I am going to die of fun!", "OMG, How is any future trip going to live up to this!" and “OMG, Fernando (R) does not have a beer in his hand!”. More on those later.

As is the tradition of FindHotel trips, the destination is not disclosed until the last day before we fly! Does not stop us from speculating. By evening, guesses had started pouring in, both serious and sarcastic. (New Zealand for a 4 day trip seemed too optimistic. Zeeland province within Netherlands seemed too pessimistic)

Over the next 3 weeks,

  • We got our packing list; sunscreen AND beach towels? Chances of the destination being Scotland were getting bleaker to my dismay!  
  • We got our shared playlist; João created the list starting with 'Backstreet Boys - I want it that way', so what could go wrong!
  • And most importantly, we got our boarding passes for a 7:40 AM flight to...

Palma de Mallorca.

(That was my first guess all along, and I defy you to prove otherwise.)

Bags were packed, Ubers were pre-booked, FindHotel T-shirts were taken, and we tried to sleep through the excitement on Wednesday, June 12th. It was time for #fhmallorca19 (Despite my protests)

Day 1: Flying to Mallorca

Thursday, June 13th.
My 5 AM alarm rang. I checked my phone, and the nocturnal people of FindHotel had sent in amazing pictures of their bag-packing process.

Efficient bags

A quick shower, and a co-ordinated Uber ride later, 37 of us gathered at the Meeting Point at Schiphol by 6 AM. (Yes, all 37 were punctual. Yes, really.)

A sleepy flight later, I woke up to one of the best sights known to humankind. A brownie and coffee on my tray. And then I turned left to see the blue waters gleaming in the sun, while the beach welcomed us in all its glory.

~We took our parachutes, jumped out and landed on the beach.~ We landed with the plane, met with Julia (our tour organiser, and a friend of Annemieke), reached the hotel, dumped our luggage in the luggage room, and reached the beach.

While we waited for some amazing wraps as brunch and our personalized bottles of juice, DJ Joao (Or Djoao) played Despacito… on the beach… on bluetooth speakers… at full volume. We were only given death glares by 3 people on vacation, so not as bad a reaction as I expected.

The rest of the afternoon was a typical beach day. You don’t need to read about swims, beers, warming up for our beach volleyball tournament, playing in our beach volleyball tournament (BVT), losing our BVT, pretending we were anyway playing the BVT for fun and never wanted to win the BVT, welcoming the remotes who finally trickled in, watching the finale of the BVT, and giving live commentary while <winning team members> beat <runner up team members>. It was just a regular day at the beach with professional volleyball as you do.

With our appetites as high as the temperature, (Did I mention it was warm? Coz it was warm! We loved it.), we had some Paella and just hung about before heading back to the hotel.

But were we done swimming? Heck no! It was swimming pool time!

With an early morning and a tiring game of Volleyball, most of the people decided to call it an early night, and headed to their rooms by around 7 PM.

7 of us were not done yet, and took a walk to the nearby Marina, in hopes of finding some dinner.
10 minutes after we left, I got a call from Mike asking where we were as “some” more people wanted to join.
15 minutes later, 37 out of 43 FindHotel travellers had taken over a lovely Pizzeria.

No photos of late dinner found. Beautiful photo unrelated to incident. 

While some of us called it a night around 11 PM (For real this time), the drinking had just begun for some of us.

(Day 2 shall be covered by guest correspondent Sasha Sivova)

Day 2: Talking and Walking... but like a lot of it.

Friday, June 14th.
Day 2 started with an amazing breakfast! Well, with beach-side crossfit for some high-energy souls, but breakfast for the rest of us. Taking some food from breakfast with us (sshh! It wasn’t allowed) and quickly packing, we were ready to head off for a hike, along cliffs AND the sea! 2 topographical features not meant to be this close, and yet!

So blissful in our ignorance of what was to come

Thanks to Fernando we now know some dry facts about our hike:
we walked for 3.5 hours, covered 8km, going up the hills on 257 m with max speed of 12km (I’d guess Fernando tried to run from us at some point). And apparently, I lost all my well-acquired breakfast with burning over 800 cal, will miss you, pal.
The crossfit team was excited though. More exercising! For people like me it was more like: “Omg, we did such a great job, so fit, we’re sure it’s close to the end” and the reality is like “Check this out, we ALREADY walked a quarter of the trail” (shocked face in here).

Yes, Omer was wearing slippers for the "easy" trail

The trail itself was amazing: challenging and really beautiful! Walking ups and downs, squatting to get under the fallen trees, climbing stiff roads - that was the best setting to help each other out and support your friends melting mentally. To make our trip even more bounding, Annemieke prepared cards of truth for us: we could’ve got to know each other with the help of questions. For example, my group knows that the last time I cried on public was when saying goodbye to the guys on our last year’s trip.

Another great part of the trail was when different smaller groups got lost. The only rule on the trail was not to lose a person in front of you, otherwise you’ll get lost. Buuut when you just leave the forest and behold the sea from the height of the huge hill, you already don’t see the one in front of you. Thankfully Annemieke was always in the back, saving people from “inevitable death”.

Long story short, our amazing trip ended up on an edge of the hill with the waves splashing the cliff eating super delicious dinner! We covered in blankets as it was getting colder and it was so cosy I didn’t want this day to end.

When we came back to the hotel, we had some drinks, and a small group of FindHotel people stayed the late night to show the most embarrassing pictures from their adulthood. How you can get even closer to the team if not with that? For the sake of confidentiality, we won’t show you here the pictures, but you can always find us on Facebook.

Day 3: A pirate’s life for me

Saturday, June 15th.
Just when you thought the trip could not get any better, we were allowed to sleep in until 10 on Saturday! Some of us were too excited to waste time sleeping though, and went for round 2 of crossfit by the beach, or as Bruno described it: “The worst thing I have done in my life”.

200m away, Kostia, our in-house Yoga master made some of us realize we have not been breathing right all our lives. To think I have not mastered the only thing I have been practicing literally all my life!

<Insert montage of returning tired from yoga/crossfit, getting ready, breakfast, getting on the bus and reaching the harbour to admire our pirate boat>

Right, now to the tricky part of this blog post. Trying to articulate how amazing it was to crash into the waves, dance to some amazing music.
(If it helps, imagine another montage based on ABBA’s Dancing Queen...You can dance...You can jive...Having the time of your life)

Unfortunately, some (38/43) of us got slightly sea-sick. (Oooh, there was a conflict I forgot about! The adventure passes your high standards!) This was soon to be solved though when we anchored. Did you know, the best medicine to sea-sickness is jumping into the sea? (Only works on a stationary ship. Do not jump off a moving one. Or do. Your lyf, your rulezzz)

Some kayaking, swinging, flippering and diving from the high-sails later, we came back on board for some fish.

Probably the most relaxing afternoon later, we headed back to shore. But the day was far from over.

We were in Palma de Mallorca city, and decided to split ways into multiple groups to not overwhelm the city. The pictures below hopefully give you an indication of how we painted the town red (and FindHotel blue and white and some more colours while we were at it)

Yes, imagine ANOTHER montage with scenes inter-cut from the different adventures.

At the end of the night, most of us took the “easy” way out and took the bus/cab home.

Ines, Joao, Omer and Svetoslava had other ideas though. They decided a 10km return walk is the perfect way to end the day(night?) at 3 AM.

Day 4: We’re back!

Sunday, 16th June
The final day. The early breakfast. The farewells to the remotes. The handling our hangovers before reaching the airport. The last chance to capture people in embarrassing poses to add to our sticker/slack emoji selection. The end to an experience.

We took off. We landed, but the trip high remains well into July as we type this.

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