Laura Richards talks about Mental Health Awareness Week and how important it is for employers to adopt an inclusive and supportive culture.
One of the many perks of working at Ryder is the opportunity to go on an international team trip. As an avid traveller, I love exploring new places and immersing myself in new cultures, and my first team trip was no exception, having never visited Palma before. Despite being Friday 13, the flight went without a hitch and we landed safely in Palma. And, although October, it was a beautiful 25 degrees without a cloud in the sky, a far cry from the grey and grim weather in the UK!
Once checked in, we wandered down to the nearby marina to get our bearings before casually meandering along to Bar España. Eager to try some local cuisine, I had booked a traditional tapas restaurant off the beaten path and we were not disappointed. What can only be described as a feast fit for a king followed, with seemingly endless dishes of tortilla, patatas bravas, padron peppers, croquettes and other Spanish delicacies.
Saturday morning began with a coffee (served by a particularly grumpy waiter) overlooking the marina before we ventured to the famous Palma Cathedral. A spectacular Gothic building fashioned of sandstone, (pictures don’t quite do it justice) where we spent a long time taking in the beautiful exterior before making our way inside, entering through a small museum before being bathed in the spectacular rainbow light shining through the stained glass window, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
After the cathedral, we visited the nearby baños árabes (Arab baths). Constructed from materials of Roman ruins, the 10 century baths were reminiscent of Pompeii, a once magnificent structure now abandoned (although not due to a natural disaster). The rest of the day was spent wandering the picturesque cobbled streets in the old town and eating the fantastic gelato on offer in Plaça de la Llotja.
Our last day was spent travelling to and exploring Bellver Castle, a Gothic style 14 century fortress in the west of Palma. Perched on top of a steep hill and accessible on foot via 500 stone steps, the climb up to the castle is not for the faint hearted but the fantastic views more than make up for it. Looking east, there are breath taking views across the harbour with the cathedral in the distance, whereas on turning west, you are greeted by endless rolling green hills.
Wherever you turned you were immersed in history, from the inside circular yard with a medieval (or King’s Landing, for all the Game of Thrones fans) vibe, whilst the inside of the castle houses the City History Museum which gives a history of Palma from 123BC to modern times. Definitely worth the shaky legs after the descent down those steps!
After enjoying lunch in the Plaça de la Llotja and doing more exploring of the streets and marina, we enjoyed a fantastic Mexican meal in the evening, complete with copious amounts of sombreros, tequila and the Despacito opening tune, before venturing to a local bar to watch a live band.
Despite descending into Newcastle into what looked like a post apocalyptic Mad Max world (with the orange skies courtesy of Hurricane Ophelia), the flight home was pleasant enough and we all arrived home safe and sound (but in need of a good night’s sleep). I am extremely grateful to experience a new place but also to really bond with my team. Lots of laughs were had over the weekend and stories shared that we will never tire of hearing. Thank you to Ryder for the fantastic opportunity… bring on next year’s trip!