Spending a weekend in Mallorca was meant to be a “tropical vacation,” trading the cold German November for cocktails on the beach in Spain. But nothing could be farther from the truth on Germany’s largest island—or at least it seemed that way with all the German-run hotels and bars in Mallorca.
Any trip that starts with the phrase “we took Ryanair to (insert any city)” is destined to be the start of an interesting story. This was my first time muttering those words.
At the time, I was living about 30 miles away from Hamburg, Germany and the closest Ryanair airport was a short train ride north to Luebeck. Marketing Luebeck as the Hamburg Ryanair airport was hardly the biggest misconception. Rolling up to what looked like a large canvas circus tent had me concerned.
After breezing through an attempt of a security checkpoint, we were funneled to a small waiting area. The plan was to land in Mallorca ready to party. What a better way to get started than cheap tequila fashioned with a plastic sombrero lid. Looking back, the best part about the trip was the Duty Free store.
Landing was half the battle; the other half being finding where our hotel was … and where the receptionist left our keys. Somebody in the group claimed they knew how to get there. “We’ll take this bus and it should get us pretty close.” A 45 minute bus ride later, we arrived.
The surrounding area seemed vibrant. People were out drinking and shop owners pestered to buy alcohol.
No thanks, we have our sombrero-topped tequila.
Nobody seemed to be home at Hotel Terramar. For nearly an hour we went on a scavenger hunt to find our hidden keys, which were supposed to be across the street in the mailbox at a bar. There was no bar across the street.
Lost in translation?
When all hope was lost and it looked like we were about to be sleeping in the street for the night, the trip ringleader realized the mistake. “We are at Hotel Terramar … our hotel is Hotel Tierramar.”
One letter sent us across the island on a wild goose chase. No wonder why we couldn’t find our keys.
The group split up to fit into two cabs. As per usual, I wound up behind, chatting to a group of five or six locals. They didn’t seem to know where the party was, let alone speak English that well, so my buddy Jon and I headed off to catch up with the group.
“Wait, you look like Cristiano Ronaldo,” a voice rang out from behind.
Nothing about me looked like Cristiano Ronaldo, except maybe for my fading California summer tan. I laughed. I had to let this guy know how funny he was for thinking I looked like the world’s most-hated soccer player.
“No, no, my friend. You do look like him,” he protested.
In an effort to prove it, he grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. This guy was hilarious.
Will the whole trip be filled with hilarious Spaniards?
A few quick gyrations later, he wrapped his leg around me and started humping and jumping. We were definitely too close for comfort. I politely flung him off and bid him a good night.
“Goodbye, Cristiano Ronaldo.”
One flight down what seemed to be the world’s longest staircase, Jon and I replayed the random sequence of events. “Dude, you should check your pockets,” he jokingly said.
Yeah, good id—.
Before I could finish my thought, my heart was on the floor when my hand felt where my wallet used to be.
“SON OF A BITCH!” I yelled.
I locked eyes with my dance partner. He also just found out I no longer had my wallet and took off running.
Somehow I climbed about 20 stairs in about three steps. In one swift motion, I swung off my backpack and was about to throw it down, thinking I could make up some more ground without the added weight.
Even more surprising was how I processed that leaving my backpack near the other five or six cronies would leave me with nothing. Without missing a step, I rotated my backpack around my body, back where it belonged.
The combination of athleticism, adrenaline and fear propelled me within feet of the thief. He stopped running, knowing he was screwed. The tables were turned.
“Give me my fucking wallet,” I yelled, closing in on him.
“I don’t have it,” he cowered.
“Give me my fucking wallet,” I repeated, coming within a few feet. Why I didn’t falcon punch this guy and melee his face is beyond me. Maybe I remembered the rest of his crew closely behind.
Fortunately for me, this guy was a shrimp. He was scared. I quickly caught up to him and I was pissed. He knew he fucked up.
My wallet appeared out of his pocket and was sheepishly handed over to me. Somehow again, I was able to think rationally in this situation. I checked my wallet.
There’s my credit cards, ID and 70 Euros; everything is here.
“Fuck you,” I said and walked away.
“Wait, can I have at least 5 Euros for trying?”
Are you kidding me?
This guy had the audacity to beg for money after stealing my wallet.
“Fuck you,” my dialogue with him became repetitive. “You’re lucky I don’t kick your face in.” My adrenaline skyrocketed, approaching a newfound level of bravery.
I started walking back toward the staircase where Jon waited for me, watching the entire ordeal. I half expected this guy to try to steal my wallet again as he followed no farther than 10 feet behind.
“Fuck you,” I exclaimed one final time “and I don’t look like Cristiano Ronaldo.” I got the last word.
“That was crazy!” Jon exclaimed in disbelief.
Yeah, it really was crazy. How the hell did I get back my wallet?
What a story we had for the rest of the group. This made the 45 minute cab ride back the way we came quickly pass.
Within two hours of being in Mallorca, I was introduced to the “Barcelona Handshake”. For the next two days, my over-sized wallet would be uncomfortably stuffed in my front pocket.
The hotel keys were stashed in the mailbox at the bar across the street from Hotel Terramar, as promised.
I before E, except after T in Terramar.
Adrenaline still flowing through my blood, I was brave enough to start shooting tequila. The group assembled on the beach, which seemed the obvious place to drink. The November chill that kept most people away from Mallorca in the off-season began to roll in off the water.
Time to put on a tequila jacket.
Perhaps the biggest mistake made that night wasn’t heading to the wrong hotel or even dancing with a random stranger. When everybody was caught up choosing alcohol back at Duty Free in Germany, nobody remembered to buy a chaser.
The sombrero lid was cracked off; we were committed. In a desperate scramble to find anything to make this horrible idea only slightly better, one of the girls, Britt, pulled an apple from her backpack. The last shot of tequila I will ever drink in my life was chased down with a large bite of a Gala apple.
When the tequila was near the bottom of the bottle and my stomach was near my throat, we headed to a dodgy bar. Within 10 minutes, a group of Spaniards flocked to the group of Americans. They were nice, yet so was the last random guy to come up and talk to me. Only a few hours after my last ordeal, my reservations ran high.
Drinks were drank and time was lost. Thirty minutes—maybe even two hours later—Jon left in an attempt to hook up with Britt; it was down to me and one other girl, Emily.
Shortly thereafter, the group of Spaniards became friendlier. They invited to drive us back to their “beach-side apartment”. Based on their description of the place, it sounded like porno set/murder house. I’m pretty sure this was the exact situation the study abroad people warned about in their pre-travel presentation in an attempt to keep all the students un-murdered. Already dodging one group of sketchy Spaniards, we made a move and left.
After a few drinks, my confidence challenged my common sense. “Let’s go swim in the Mediterranean,” I suggested.
Maybe this night can turn around in the end.
To my surprise, Emily was down to her underwear and in the water before I had my shirt off. I was only knee-deep in the freezing water when I saw Emily get completely wrecked by a wave.
Time to get out.
Wet, cold and salty from the sea, we headed back to the hotel—then we realized our mistake. Jon was my roommate and he had our room key. Britt was Emily’s roommate and had her key as well. Locked out of the hotel, I began searching for ways in.
Maybe I can climb up to our room; we’re only on the seventh floor. No chance.
By this time, the receptionist would be arriving in two hours. Back to the sea we headed, away from sketchy Spaniards recruiting their next victims and comfortable Americans soundly asleep in their warm beds.
I guess I will be sleeping outside tonight after all.
I awoke to a street cleaner poking my chest with his broom. I brushed off the sand, woke up Emily and staggered to the hotel. The newly-arrived receptionist found our night entertaining and handed over spare room keys.
The next day-and-a-half was hardly eventful. Maybe I was still trying to warm myself up after spending the first night shivering the night through on a sandy cement wall. I was ready to leave.
I knew I couldn’t escape Mallorca so easily. Upon arriving at the airport, we learned our flight was delayed. I put my head down and slept. Four hours later, I awoke when it was finally our turn to board.
An eternity later, we arrived at the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof; the last 30-minute leg of our odyssey home. Instead of waiting nearly an hour for the next train, we jumped on the express train, knowing our Student IDs were not valid.
Next stop: Home.
Because nothing on this trip went well for me, I wasn’t surprised when the ticket man came by. I reached in my back pocket, pulled out the “Naïve American” card and handed over my Student ID.
He proceeded to tell me my ID wasn’t valid on this service in a fury of German. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak German,” I lied.
I guess he didn’t speak English—or noticed my disheveled state and knew issuing a fine wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to me in the last 48 hours—because he returned my ID and carried on down the cabin. The same story echoed from the next two or three passengers. He eventually gave up and moved on to the next car.
I was glad to be back in Germany. I returned my wallet to my back pocket, knowing I was safe.