Posted by: jility | October 15, 2011

Magical Mallorca

Sunrise in Palma

It is hard to believe this is the last day of the cruise. Every other time we have traveled, I was glad it was over and ready to go home. Today – not so much. I do miss my family, my friends and my dogs. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I have wanted to see the Mediterranean my entire life. I was not disappointed and I want more. Having the addictive personality I do, when I find something I love, I can never get enough of it. That is how I feel about the Mediterranean. I was not happy when we were inland and north a bit but once we got to Rome and the sea, I was hooked.

The Mediterranean is romantic, beautiful, quaint, busy, tasty, warm and just plain magnificent. It is everything for which I have search my entire life. I have always felt a bit of a void in my life and now I have found that missing piece. It is here and I will leave it behind and yearn for it until I return or die. Then, if I am lucky, heaven will be the Mediterranean Region and I will be able to travel around and see all I want and need to see and experience.

Typical Mallorca village

Today the experience took us to Mallorca or Majorca as I always knew it until today. In a word? SPECTACULAR! We arrived in Palma, Mallorca at 7 this morning from Napoli and our tour left at 9. It took us to a wooden car railroad that was built in the 1920s and, except for converting to electric power shorty thereafter, has remained the same for nearly 100 years.

Antique wooden train

Palma is a city like any other city but the backdrop is incredible. Surrounded by the Mediterranean on one side and beautiful mountains on the other. It is unforgettable. The climate here is near perfect. Cool breezes from the sea keep it comfortable, even when the sun is hot. I could live on Mallorca if you twisted my arm but Amalfi is still my heart place.

The railroad took us up the mountain, past olive trees, almond trees and citrus trees. We went through tunnel after tunnel that burrowed through the mountain. One was more than 2 miles long! The old train rumbled past gardens that were terraced just as they were on the Amalfi coast. The ancient olive trees were beautifully gnarled. Some, we were told in a rare talk, were 300 or more years old!

Valldemossa

The train stopped in the upland town of Soller; population about 10,000. When we had  boarded the train, we chose the wrong seats, as our knees were crammed up our throats the entire trip. For some idiotic reason, we passed by the seats that had a bench  opposite it facing backwards so there was plenty of leg room. We sat behind Bert and Ernie, envious of their leg room, when we had a “I could have had a V8” moment. By that time it is was too late. Two vertically challenged people sat in the open seats across the aisle from Bert and Ernie and our window of opportunity vanished. It was only an hour or so ride so having our knees in our throats wouldn’t last too long. It was a bigger deal for Sir Cussalot than for me because of his very sore knee that stiffens when he has to sit in one place too long.

Our tour guide, who shall be known as Boris, said about two words the entire trip, told us if we wanted air conditioning, “Open window but watch. Sometimes they fall on arm.“ Those of you who know Sir C will get this. Those who don’t know him, well, your loss ;)). This guide had to be the worst tour guide I have ever seen. He looked and sounded like a villain from a James Bond movie, only with a Spanish accent instead of Russian. So back to Sir C and what he has to do with the guide. If you know Sir C, that is how much this guide spoke.

He would point to something and say, “Cathedral” or castle” or whatever else he was trying to show us. Some moron left his backpack on the train (we were only taking it one way) so instead of letting us shop while he took care of finding it, Boris made us wait for 15 or 20 minutes standing around with our thumbs up our collective asses doing nothing. By the time he returned, it was too late to shop. Sir C loves orange marmalade and we were in the Orange Valley. We had walked by a farmer’s market booth with homemade orange marmalade that Sir C wanted. When it became obvious that there would be no time to shop, I told him to hurry down there and buy some for himself. So he took off in that direction and, of course, as he disappeared out of sight, Boris (not his real name but he sounded just like the villain in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons) returned, said nothing, held up his group 15 sign and started walking.

Boris - the tour guide form hell

I waited behind for Sir C. Jane went ahead with instructions from Ernie to only go as far as she could still see him and Ernie would walk ahead as far as I could see him. That way, we wouldn’t get lost. It seemed like an eternity before Sir C came back up the hill but he made it and we hoofed it as fast as his bum knee would allow. Boris never looked back to see who was with him and who was not. He never counted or checked. He just walked. It was a long walk and some of those in the number 4 category (refer to yesterday’s blog for explanation please), lagged behind huffing and puffing and looking like they were goners.

See Sherri! He can too smile!

We dodged the dog shit all along the sidewalk and street (it seems people in the Mediterranean don’t believe in picking up after the dogs) and proceeded to the bus. Boris, now realizing he had lost half of his charge, walked back down the lane to collect the dead and dying. Pretty soon, they all made it back and, wheezing like mad, struggled up the steps into the bus.

From Soller, the bus traveled back up another hill, then wound down towards the sea, stopping first in the beautiful town of Valldemossa;  population about 1,900. On the way, we went through another busy small mountain town. Tour busses were coming in either direction and the roads were very small and windy. As we started through the town, we met another large bus coming in the other direction. There were scooters, cars, bicycles and posts lining the streets so there was barely room for cars to pass each other, let alone two large busses! Once again, we had a very good driver! At first I was positive we needed our fearless Vincenzo to guide us but, after our guy, Pedro, gave the other driver what for and told him how to pass, I was a believer. They jockeyed back and forth only inches from parked vehicles and posts but, from where I was sitting, it looked like a no go to me. Finally Pedro told the other driver that we needed to pass each other on the opposite sides of the street. So, very carefully, each driver maneuvered the huge chariots to the other side and they passed each other very slowly and very carefully on their rights.

NO WAY will we fit past that other bus!

The passengers once again cheered loudly for the driver to which he responded with a “Thank you very much,” in a thick Spanish accent. We continued down the mountain towards our next stop, Valldemossa.

The quaintness of Vallsemossa

The only time Boris said more than a few words was when he was telling us about all the movie stars who stayed on the island and, particularly, in the town where the buses had passed. Tom Hanks had stayed there not too long ago, he told us and they had closed down the streets while they shot a movie. He named star after star and said  that at least one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies had been filmed there as well. He was a regular chatty Kathy when it came to his Hollywood gossip about Michael Douglas and how he got a divorce and that he and his ex split custody of the house there, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… It is understandable why Mallorca is THE place for the rich and famous. Once you have seen it, you will want to come back!

“You can follow me to the monastery or shop. Be back here at 2,” Boris muttered as he wandered up the street. Sir C asked me what I wanted to do, to which I responded, “Shop. He will only point at the monastery and say, ‘Monastery’ anyway so we might as well just look at it from here and call it good.” He agreed as did Bert and Ernie.

Off we went in search of lunch and bargains (HUH!). We took about the first place we saw to eat, ordered pasta (what else is new), wolfed it down and left to shop. It was not like that incredible pasta we had eaten in Italy! The pasta itself was fine but the sauce tasted like Chef Boyardee from a can. Later, Sir C and I passed an upscale eatery that had roasted Mediterranean veggies. Now THAT sounded awesome! No time, however, to stop again. We had last minute shopping to do.

I tried to get Sir C to buy this amazing shirt I saw there. The brand was GAW and I loved it! He grunted something about it being too much money and refused to even look at it. So then I sarcastically  suggested he buy one the whitish gauzy puffy shirts the writers and poets and all the cool men who live on Mallorca wear. Not missing a beat, he responded, “Yeah, then I will get some white pants, gold chains, unbutton my shirt to my navel and go run agility. How long do you think I will stay clean?”

Whatever. He decided on a hat. He had refused to buy a hat anyplace else because they were all high fronted hats (GOD FORBID!). This was a nice beige hat that had Mallorca written on it. It will go well with his 50 (no exaggeration) other hats. Some women love shoes, Sir C likes hats.

Known for its olive trees, Mallorca was the perfect place to buy some locally made things of olive wood. Mallorca is also known for its pearls. I bought myself a pair of small opalescent pearl earrings. I LOVE them! Now I have earrings that match for a change (well, until Frushie eats one of them which she is bound to do when she jumps up to greet me!).

We boarded the bus at 2 PM and made our way back to the port of Palma and to our ship.

All in all, this trip has been SOFA KING GOOD!!!


Responses

  1. Spent 8 days on Mallorca a few years ago. Loved it, every town is different.

  2. […] Magical Mallorca (jility.wordpress.com) […]

  3. What a shame you didn’t just fly there and rent a car and do your own thing!! Was that Mallorca the Island? Very popular with the Brits if it was. I went to the Portugal and then the north of Spain IFC a few years back. What a balst. Similar to where you are I think, but not so mountainous.

  4. I do think that Mr C needs that shirt — white and fluffy to embellish the chains. Hmmm maybe a leash for a necklace! Hoping for a great dress code in agility!
    Thanks,
    Sally


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