Day one of a new job in Mallorca

Starting a new job can be stressful. Starting a new job in a foreign country can be a whole new deal. Anna Mason describes day one of her seasonal job as a Spa Therapist at Hotel La Residencia.

When I drove off the ferry at Palma port on a heavenly sunny day in April after a grueling two-day journey from the north of England, I found I had no idea which way to go. After all the commotion of the last few weeks, preparing to leave to live in another country, I’d overlooked the fact that my journey did not end once I’d disembarked. I still had to get to the village of Deia, tucked high up in the Serra de Tramuntana.

Poorly equipped with a tourist map, the sort that shows clearly the location of water parks and shoe factories, but with a total lack of minor roads, I set off blindly along the busy four-lane ring road alongside the bay.

Having slept a little on the overnight crossing, I was refreshed enough to notice the glistening sea and appreciate the warm air coming through the open window. There was, however, a creeping sense of panic. I was supposed to arrive a day earlier in time to start my new job this very day, but had missed my ferry in Barcelona and had to wait 24 hours for the next crossing. Thus, I had just over an hour to make it to the hotel in time to begin training.

There’s nothing like a ticking clock to compound the despair of being lost in on your own on foreign roads. After several U-turns in anonymous Palma suburbs I finally got on track and began to wind up the mountain road to the village of Deia. It was a road I would travel countless times in the future, and I would fall in love with the lush, dramatic scenery, stunning sea views at every turn. For now though, I was fraught and focused on just getting there.

Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Claudia Schiffer, Leonardo Di Caprio, Princess Diana, Kate Moss and many more, they had all travelled this same route in their sleek transportation. I puffed along in my little Honda, through the gorgeousness of Valldemossa, Chopin’s town of choice, up and up some more until with enormous relief I peeped Deia around a few more bends.

The ordeal was not over yet. Parking in Deia is terrifically difficult. I maneuvered into a steep side street next to the hotel, shunting into a large plant pot in the process. After taking five minutes to compose myself, tidy my hair and apply a little make up, I went in through the front gate, hoping I looked vaguely ok, about 20 minutes late. Not good on the first day of a new job, but not bad under the circumstances. I was as tightly wound as a spring. I breathed in the scent of the lavender bushes lining the path and tried not to cry from stress and exhaustion.

“Hola” smiled a gardener, stooped over, sweeping. He had a friendly, sweet, crumpled face and an awkward posture that added to his endearment. They would turn out to be one of the best things about working at La Residencia: the Mallorcan staff. Several “Holas” and dozens of stone steps later – the spa could not have been located at a higher point – I was there.

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