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Days 1, 2 and 3: Corralejo

I got invited to attend my brother's birthday party last year. And my own birthday party too, even though I didn't have one. Confused? He and I share a birthday and his wife threw a surprise party for him, so I was invited to attend. And on that same night I was invited to attend something else which all my fellow members would attend; a holiday to Fuerteventura. It was presented to me as a joke, a "we're all going but we didn't invite you because we knew you'd say no so I'm just making you aware so you don't feel left out". Well, my father was correct; I haven't done a beach or resort holiday since I was a child and we max out our holiday dates every year, so there's not much spare. But there was a little voice in my head telling me that seeing my niblings on holiday could be fun, and Clare had earlier suggested that she might like to take her parents away for a week, so ...

... so I became the 19th person on the holiday, and six months later, here I am, whilst Clare is with her parents in Croatia and Montenegro. Everything so far has gone according to plan. We were 19 boarding the plane and 19 coming off it four hours later (having been, I suspect, the annoying family he stand in the aisle and swap seats a lot), and 19 boarding the coach, having successfully navigated the imaginary passport control. Issued with picnic hampers by the receptionist, the next challenge was finding our rooms in the dark and without the aid of a map. Somehow sister-in-law Shanie's homing beacon navigated us without a hitch, and soon we were all in our rooms. They're certainly a good size with a large living room:



a roomy bedroom:


and a terrace too:


Here's the view from it:



I haven't noticed any air-conditioning in the apartment, besides a fan, but it doesn't need any. In spite of the outside temperatures, the rooms are totally cool. The door to my apartment is on the side and leads to a short walkway between me and my neighbours (sister-in-law Pam's parents, Terry and Lil). It's a pleasure to walk up:


The buildings are a lovely terracotta colour:



And it's not long before the first sapphire blue of a swimming pool emerges:


There are three separate pools. One is for swimming in lanes, one is a regular pool running from shallow to deep, and the other is extremely shallow and, as I discovered, much warmer than the other two because of it:



That's where our group spent its first two afternoons. I'm being boring and getting my work done (thanks to buying a week's worth of wifi log-in for €20) but popping out for a couple of hours later in the day. It didn't feel particularly hot on the first day, except for odd ten-minute spell where the temperatures noticeably rose. The next day told the story, though; half of our party are red raw. Ouch.

It turns out that all-inclusive really does mean that you don't pay for anything. I thought it would be a qualified use of the expression, but no, there really is a large breakfast buffet from 07:30 to 10:00, lunch from 13:00 to 15:00, and dinner from 18:30 to 21:30. And the gaps are filled by more options too: from 10:00 to 18:00 the pool bar is open. Help yourselves to the drinks, including beer and wine. There's a snack bar open from 13:30 to 16:30 (get your hot dogs, burgers, ice-cream and so on) and a bar open from 18:00 to 23:00. And yes, the drinks are free there, too! It's astounding, considering that the cost of this holiday is about £80 a day ... and that's without me subtracting something to take into account the travel!

There's a programme of events which people can attend, which started with pool aerobics on our second morning (not for me, naturally) and a kids' dance session in the bar in the evening. Or you can make your own fun. We decided to head out of the resort after dinner yesterday. I could see the sea in the distance:


Nephew Alfie immediately spotted the oversized cactuses:



It wasn't long before we found an unexpected site:




And after half an hour or so's working, we found the beach:










Soon it was 21:30 and the light disappeared, so we headed back to the resort and to the bar, where I abandoned everybody after concluding that I didn't have the energy that they did. I don't know what's in store for the next day. I'm typing this 30 minutes before breakfast closes, so I'd better run and see whether I catch the others en route!

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