Palma de Mallorca - first Stop in my Tourism Career
Photo: An (almost) innocent kid in Palma de Mallorca - July 1980
Why am I in the tourism industry? Because I wanted to go to Italy when I was very young. University-entrance diploma, language school, apprenticeship, and working in steel exports - I felt ready for a change. I applied with TUI, Europe's largest tour operator, as a hotel representative. Since I spoke rather well Italian, I had hoped they would send me to Italy but no - Mallorca! In those days, this beautiful Spanish island was called "Putzfraueninsel" in Germany - the island where "the cleaning ladies went for holidays," so my enthusiasm was pretty limited. Finally, I accepted to go and started long-distance studies (which I never finished - don't tell anyone. I hoped that TUI would send me to Italy the year after (which did not happen). - I apologize in advance for the lousy quality of the images but - no digital photos in the 80s.
Photo: That`s how I welcomed the guests at the airport (please don`t comment on the white socks... and the dirty car) - Tunisia, winter 1982/83 (my last season).
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT - AND LOTS OF EXPERIENCES
I remember that I fell in love with Palma de Mallorca the very first day I saw that beautiful city. It has one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Spain. I lived in Playa de Palma, a few km away from the capital city of Mallorca. On my day off, I always went downtown to get lost in the tight alleys of the old town and to eat delightful cakes in the pastry shops. I loved to escort excursions to "Tito's Nightclub" where the guests enjoyed an international show program (many years before, Marlene Dietrich and other celebrities had performed there). On the remaining days, I worked hard. I welcomed guests at the airport, listening to their complaints in the hotels, escorting adventurous excursions such as a donkey safari (hard-core!), and writing reports for headquarters.
Photo: A very old album ... 80s style! (The lady who enters the wild wild sea so couragiously is my mum)
Learn for Life
Doing that job, you learn a lot about life. There was that poor lady who lost her glass eye in a sink, that heavy gentleman who destroyed the ladder in the pool since he was just too fat. That friendly crowd of guests always waiting for me in a shabby hostel to complain about everything (and they were right). The nice older lady who offered me money for escort services. The young couple who went on a barbecue excursion without having paid. When they returned to the bus, they were completely drunk, and I had to convince (better say force) them to sign a credit paper. Oh well! What an excellent education for a very young and spoiled guy! I was aiming at a career as a male model rather than working in tourism. However, I learned Spanish, sold 12 air excursions to Tanger/Morocco to a group of women in one week (commission!), and got prepared for life. And I decided not to listen to that stupid client who called me "Travolta for the poor" - in 1980, John Travolta was a big star. In those days, the so-called "Movida" had just started in Spain - people enjoyed life after the Franco regime's limitations. And I had lots of fun celebrating with them.
Photo: Yes, in those days people smoked in bars, clubs and restaurants (not me...)!
Going back to Palma de Mallorca
Many years later, I will now return to Palma de Mallorca (apart from a quick visit in fall 2014). I cannot wait to experience all the new chic places this city has to offer. I will stroll through the old town and climb up the hills to Bellver Castle to enjoy the superb view of the bay. I will taste excellent seafood (not the heavy Mallorquin plates with meat, of course). And - I cannot wait to see a former colleague who I have not met after 1980! A few years ago, we became friends on Facebook. Stay tuned for my blog posts about Palma de Mallorca after April 19.
Photo: My favourite activity during my breaks! Winter season in Gran Canaria - 1981/82.
(where I almost accepted a job offer), Gran Canaria, and Tunisia before deciding to go back to Germany. I guess what happened - when I had already made that decision, I got the opportunity to work a summer in Italy. It was tough to decline this offer. I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I had accepted. Who knows. Life can be so exciting.
P.S. In the meantime, I have published the article about my visit to Palma de Mallorca in 2017. Here it is.
More anecdotes from my TUI times? You will find them in this article.
Photo: This was actually in ex Yugoslavia (island of Rab), summer 1981. No idea where this colleague has gone.
Photo: Andalucia/Spain - summer 1984 (I already worked as product manager for another German tour operator)