So, here I am on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The island is 98 km by 78 km, with 550 km of coastline. Typically, this is not my normal type of trip, since I prefer bigger cities, since the entire island holds a little less than a million people. Only Tenerife in the Canary Islands has a larger island population.
I am staying in Palma, the capital of both Mallorca, and the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands. Autonomous since 1983, it has become one of the hottest party playgrounds in Europe, and the world. They say the Brits and the Krauts love it down here.
The economy is based almost totally on tourism. And speaking of which, cyclists fit into the tourist category. Mallorca has a 24km cycle track, totally separate from the road. The track is mostly along the water. It is a must ride!!
As recently as 2017, over ten million tourists have invaded this small island. And the ferry system is rather robust here as well. The island is best known for its beautiful coastline, secluded coves (naked girls, Webb), limestone mountains, Spanish architecture, wineries, fresh produce farms, and stunning beaches.
On the downside, Father Junipero Serra was from Mallorca. Though he played a major role in building the El Camino Real in California, he was a rather notorious priest. A statue remains outside a church in his honor. Former major league star Curt Flood has a bar here. Rafa Nadal lives in Manacor.
On another positive note, Mallorca has over 70 different wine producers. That makes me happy, cycling, wine, and seafood!!
After a little research, Mallorca has some churches, museums, and assorted tourist sights. But it mostly appears to be “party central” for northern Europeans and some Americans.
You can count on me to give you the lowdown on this island. I may not be the partier I once was, but I can recognize a good time from almost any distance.
Palma, its capital, is said to be vibrant but laid-back, full of street side cafes, and beautiful Spanish architecture. It is also home to the large Gothic Roman church, the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, or La Seu, as the locals call it.
Though I plan to cycle, the Port de Soller wooden tram is a cute way to get around. But the party life resides in Magaluf, with famous clubs, tattoo parlors, piano bars, and the world famous BCM Planet Dance. I promise no naked photos, as this is a PG 13 rated email today.
The highlight of my trip was accidentally finding the Mallorca Mercato, about a half mile from my hotel. With a multitude of food and drink purveyors, sprinkled with many stand up and sit-down cafes, including a sushi bar, I found my happy place. The meat and seafood selections were outstanding. It made me wish I had a kitchen. Maybe not.
But among the many food items, I noticed they had both types of persimmons, which I am now in the process of drying here at home. The vegetables in particularly looked large and delicious. But what really caught my eye were the various types of jamon. After carefully circling all the shops, I settled on a shop with the best jamon. I bought two, one for us, and one for Mr. Mike.
The bike ride in the afternoon was okay. Only e bikes since the trek to the top of the hill was a bit steep. The focus was on the big castle at the top of the hill, overlooking the massive harbor. Franco converted it into a prison during his notorious tenure. But we must have visited every church on this side of the island. With so many churches, why does everyone smoke? Anyway, many of the churches charge admission. Strange!
By the way, the harbor was filled with all manner of boats, from sailboats, to fishing boats, and on to the mega yachts. It was quite impressive, but not as impressive as Marbella and Porto Banus.
The poor kid guiding us is from Argentina, about an hour north of Buenos Aires. He comes here to work for about 9 months out of the year, since most of South American is (in his words), corrupt and declining. But he does return for 2 to 3 months during the Mallorcan winter, when the island is nearly deserted of tourists. He says Chile is the only country doing well, I assume mostly for its huge lithium supply.
I decided to splurge on dinner. I went to the best place on the island, El Txoko de Martin, across the street from my hotel. I was the first customer of the day, at around 8pm. They would not let me sit at a table, instead at the bar. I almost left. Though it turned out okay, the restaurant did begin to fill up around 9pm. I noticed most of us who were casually dressed, like the golfers, were all placed at the bar. The beautiful people got the tables!
Yes, it was pretty good, not that expensive, and an interesting experience. The bartender/waiter was friendly, and so helpful with the menu. When I told him I was not very hungry, he suggested a small appetizer before my paella. It was a “hot dog ala Martin”. See the attached photo, as it was hardly a hot dog, except for the unique bun and a few sliced pickles on top. Dessert turned out to be quite good, the paella quite average. The Alberino was just okay, but when in Spain…..
So, you know how I ended up here. But would I go back? Probably not, but the selection process was fun and interesting. Safe for solo travelers. And not terrible expensive, though the locals complain that it is. Gas runs about $10 USD a gallon!
Meanwhile, back to Frankfurt, and my flight home. I had to send this after I returned home. Auf Wiedersehen!