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Days 5, 6 & 7 (ish) – Port De Pollenca
No, not me in my new Speedos (far from it), but the view as we opened the doors onto the balcony....
The drive from Palma was straightforward – at least it was once we found, or should I say stumbled on the right road. Trev was driving as per usual, which suits me fine. I find it complicated enough at home without everything being arse about tit when you're on the road abroad.
Anyway, he said it was an impromptu tour of the city, but to be honest I wasn't entirely convinced!
So, where were we? Yes. Absolutely stunning. It will take a better qualifications than my O-Level in English (grade C – just) to accurately describe the beauty of this place but I'll have a go:
The hotel itself is situated roughly in the middle of what they call the 'Pine Walk' – a stretch of crazy paving lined with pine trees running around about a third of the Bay of Pollenca. To the right, the walk is lined with various hotels, restaurants, bars & shops. To our left the pine walk continues but the shops & restaurants are replaced by low level apartments and private residencies. A narrow strip of sand running the length of the walk down to the sea completes the picture. The mountains surrounding it seem to shield the bay from the more inclement weather. It really is beautiful.
It is clearly a popular place for families and the retired. You will see a number of buggies and motorised contraptions catering for both ends of the age range negotiating the paving.
Whilst contributing to a very pleasant ambience, the downside of the popularity of this place with said age groups is the distinct lack of toned & tanned torsos glistening on the beach. To be honest, its less washboard abs & proud pecs and more sagging bellies and man boobs! Still as Trev said, at least he doesn't feel out of place!
Food has been terrific. There is a wide choice at the hotel breakfast buffet, from the usual continental bread, ham & cheese, to fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt's and for the Brits, good old sausages, eggs bacon & beans! I keep on about the view but honestly it makes the breakfast taste even better.
For our evening dining, so far we've done Tex Mex, Italian, traditional British and Mallorcan. All has been good, even that most basic of meals; burger and chips has been exceptional. None of your Birds Eye Quarter Pound rubbish here – proper ground beef always with a unique salad and hand cut chips. The Tex Mex was good – only done Fajitas there this time but their menu promises Argentinian steaks so we may well be back before the week is out. It was washed down with a couple of jars of Amstell – a Dutch beer that quite frankly knocks the spots off this San Miguel stuff. The following night the pizza was good (and the cheesecake to follow was to die for) but the highlight was no doubt last nights meal. We made a conscious decision to avoid chips, and ended up in this little eatery in one of the back streets away from the strip. Melon & Serrano ham to start followed by (for me) meatballs and for Trev, beef stew. Very tasty, and very different too. (The waiter was also very 'pleasant' but that had absolutely no bearing on our decision to eat here - honest!)
There is not a late night scene here, understandable given the prevailing age groups. This is fine as neither of us are ones to stand clutching an overpriced warm beer in some trendy late night bar. Less still are you likely to catch us in an even later nightclub necking dodgy pills and sipping overpriced bottled water. Most nights after the meal and a walk, we'll grab some beer, wine, or gin and sit on the balcony of the hotel indulging in that endlessly entertaining pastime of people watching!
Day 7 – continued
Well, we slipped back into 'Brits abroad' mode somewhat this evening when we stumbled (not literally, it was too early for that, even for us) across another 'Traditional British Pub' in the shape of “The Nags Head”.
Fans of British comedy will know that this is the pub featured in the TV series “Only Fools & Horses” starring David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst. The pub was decorated in the same way as the one on the TV show but the walls were adorned with hundreds of prints of classic scenes from the show. We wolfed down a cheap & cheerful sausage, chips & peas and a couple of pints of Worthingtons that was almost as expensive as the food.
Having had the brains, and to a great extent the bodies, in Neutral more or less since we got here, we decided to fire up the Kia and explore a little of this corner of the island.
Our drive took us first to the very north-eastern tip of the island at the Formentor Peninsula which afforded us a very high cliff top view of the Mediterranean sea on one side and the bay of Pollenca, and further away, the Bay of Alcudia on the other. The drive up however was equally as dramatic as the view – a narrow steep road that winds us way around the mountain ledges made for an interesting trip.
Cycling is popular here. Not only the casual tourist but the 'lycrists' as well. I personally believe that cycling is just an excuse for wearing lycra – just take the bloody car – it's a lot less effort! (and you can still wear lycra if you wish anyway!)
On the way back we turned off to check out Formentor Beach – there is no settlement as such here, the beautiful pine lined beach serves mainly the guests of the nearby sea front hotel. Really picturesque and a wonderful place to lie and relax. At least it was until, first a bus load of school kids appeared, then the boats bringing the day trippers from Pollenca and Alcudia started arriving. Bloody tourists!
Back at Pollenca we had walk around the marina before enjoying a wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu foot massage on the beach under the shade of a pine tree this afternoon by a Japanese chap visiting Europe from Tokyo. Might be back again before the end of the week.
Dined off the strip tonight, again successfully avoiding chips – Shoulder of lamb and Mallorcan beef stew were the dishes of choice this evening.
More drinks and people watching from the balcony this evening.
After the exertions of yesterday it was back to the balcony today for some serious relaxation. In truth we may have overdone the 'people watching' last night – nothing to do with the accompanying gin of course!
Have had the news on and hear about more resignations from the cabinet and the gradual implosion of the government – try and take an interest but to be honest where and what we going to eat tonight is far more important at the moment!
See the Jap chap again this afternoon for an absolutely divine shoulder and neck massage. This is taking chilled out to a new level – with no chemical assistance either! (Thinks back to Fiji)
Back to the Tex Mex tonight for another delicious meal, beers on the balcony then bed.
Our last day & night in Mallorca. Took a lunchtime drive into the quaint little town of Pollenca just a little inland from the Port settlement where we were staying. Then it was on to Port de Alcudia just in the next bay for the all important booze purchases – brandy, gin and some Scotch & Irish. Then back to the beach for some last minute sun and another massage from the Jap chap.
The last supper was somewhat disappointing. Had planned to finish in style, with the full works but ended up at a small eatery with a menu that promised little and delivered less.
Spent our last night as we have the others, quiet drinkypoos on the balcony watching the people and the sun set.
Time to pack our bags. Our flight wasn’t until late so still had a full day to do anything we wanted to do.
We decided to drive back towards Palma along the north coast. There are not many beach resorts along this coast as the mountains plunge straight into the sea. The drive though and the views were fantastic. Clearly a popular route for the ‘Lycrists’, they were overtaking the cars at some points on the downward stretches.
Our first stop was Port De Soller, a beautiful little harbour town with a horse shoe shaped bay encompassing a small beach and the inevitable marina with its more modest array of yachts and launches. We delighted to arrive here not only for it’s beauty, and to discover another possible holiday destination, but because the fuel light in the car had been on for about 20 minutes and we were getting a bit nervous!
We continued on west passing through the delightful mountain town of Deia. In fact we would have stopped here as we were both getting peckish, but as is so often the case these days, there was nowhere to park.
We considered to time and left off the western corner of the island cutting across through the hills and back towards Palma. The road itself came out just to the west of the city and we found ourselves back in Palma Nova where we wolfed down a very late lunch.
With the credit cards heaving a sigh of relief we eschewed the chance of more shopping in Palma and headed along the seafront to Palmas’ main beach, just to the east of the city. The beach stretches for approximately three miles and is very visually appealing – as are the beaches’ inhabitants! Never mind people watching, check out the bodies.
We took one of those little road trains to have a better look, but the laid back atmosphere evaporates as you head east to L’Arenal, where the promenade bars are in full swing and there is some serious drinking going on. This end is dominated, no, not by the British lager louts, but by the Germans and the Dutch. The atmosphere certainly wasn’t as pleasant and we fully expected the local bobbies to be busy later on.
It was time to head for the airport and a short while later we’d deposited the little Kia in the returns bay and made our way to the departure terminal.
I’d checked in online first thing in the morning and secured our preferred seats – the exit row as there’s much more leg room. Then it was just a matter of dropping our bags and getting a boarding card. The ‘Fast Bag Drop’ though turned out to be anything but. First, there was no-one staffing the desk, then when someone did arrive, the computer was clearly playing up. Much coming and going of bods with note-pads and screwdrivers ensued until they eventually gave up and opened up the desk next door. The chap on the desk had clearly been on the valium as it took an age to do what should have taken only a couple of minutes!
Eventually we were called for the flight. It seems B.A (hereinafter renamed Budget Airways for reasons very soon to be revealed) have been making more cutbacks as we did not have a proper gate, but we would instead be bussed to the plane (unlike on arrival).
I say plane, but to be honest, oven would have been a better description. I had spent all day on shorts but had changed into jeans and shirt at the airport to freshen up for the journey home. This was a waste of time though as soon the shirt was clinging to my back. As the doors closed the Captain came on the radio and wished us a warm welcome. The irony!
The flight was uneventful, the dodgy sandwiches putting in another appearance and we were soon landing at Gatwick.
With the usual cheery welcome (detect the sarcasm!) from the happy faces on passport control we headed to the baggage hall and awaited the arrival of the bags.
Mine turned up reasonably quickly, so we waited for Trev’s to make an appearance. And waited.
And Waited. Yes, they’d lost it! We reported it to the Baggage desk, and having re-christened B.A. to ‘Bodge It Airways’ we headed to the car park and home.
So, the baggage apart, a fabulous holiday, Mallorca is a beautiful island and offers something for everyone. If you go, don’t stick in one place – get out and about – you wont regret it – honest!
Until the next time…..
P.S. At time of writing the baggage online tracking system tells us that the bag is now on its way to Gatwick – from Dublin!