Tristan has been wanting to take a hot, beach vacation for awhile. So finally on our last half term break before heading back to the US, we made a pilgrimage to Mallorca. Airbnb came through yet again with a rustic country house outside of Manacor on acres of land; with so much spaces we didn’t need to worry about neighbors being bothered by all the noises we make, as we do in our London flat.
Our only requirement when finding a house was that the house come with a pool. The house, a finca, didn’t have wifi (gasp!), and it was our gamble that the pool would make up for it. It did. The kids jumped in the pool first thing in the morning before breakfast, after coming back from our day’s excursions, and again after dinner. Happily, the finca was also home to four cats (Mama and three kittens) as surrogates for the two we left at home.
We found Mallorca to have a bit of a split personality. There were parts which were massively overdeveloped for tourism. Entire beach towns built cheek to jowl with tired looking hotels jammed next to one another. Souvenir beach shops lined up selling trinkets like these bottle openers of questionable male spirit . And then there was the Mallorca of unspoilt beauty– of pristine beaches, small villages, and a rich mixed Arab (Moorish) and Christian history. In Pollenca, we literally walked through Roman ruins dating back over two thousand years. There were no railings, no signs of, Do Not Touch. . Another oddity, I heard more German on this holiday than I did Spanish. Astounding number of German tourists!
Our favourite day was hiking five miles to visit four coves accessible only by foot or by boat. We only made it to two of them, as Cala Magraner, was so nice that we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon here. We were joined by four other pleasure boats by the time we left but it still felt like our own private beach. The water was shallow so that I could wade out nearly 100 meters and was so clear that I could see all the way to the bottom. Everything felt so calm that it didn’t seem that unusual when I stepped on an octopus by accident. Our last view of protected cove as we hiked out was a lovely one.
Contrast that with the Cala sa Nau beach which is renown for its white sands. It boasted a similar protected cove with sailboats coming and going, however this beach was commercial, with covered huts that could be rented by the hour, a snack shack, and free wifi. What! Wifi?!!!
The small size of the island made it remarkably easy to visit most of the cities along the eastern half of Majorca. Away from the beaches we explored some interior towns. Arta was thronged by visitors for its Tuesday market day. We hiked up to castle, Santuari de Sant Salvador, overlooking the town.
Like the sentries of old, we walked the ramparts of the castle. It was a bit unnerving that, several hundred years later, there were still no rails preventing the explorer from falling off the ledge.
In the end, we cut the days short so that we could come back to the finca and enjoy the pool, even if to read alongside.
A few other neat sights in Mallorca:
the Caves of Drach in Porto Cristo with its millions of stalacites and stalagmites and underwater later. We finished reading Harry Potter book 6 on this trip so this lake took on special meaning
Beautiful streets signs in Mallorca Another view through the castle in Arta of the surrounding countryside
View of the town of Capdepera from the fortress of the same name, which guarded the Mallorca coastline from invaders. Built in the year 310.
View of the Mediterranean Sea from the Cap de Formentor, the northern most point of Mallorca. Parking was a zoo. I was delighted to read that the Cap’s lighthouse has been updated with solar panels
The 14th century church in Alcudia
Crystal blue waters in the marina in the popular coastal town, Cala Rajada