I laid down my Bondi beach bag, picked a reclining sun lounger; in front of me was a sun-kissed, shimmering blue pool, reflecting the colour of a cloudless sky. Further ahead lay the vast Mediterranean, the harbour packed with a shining fleet of yachts of different shades of white, silver, grey and anything their owners cared to decorate with. Yes, I was on holiday, my heart sang, a cheerful song of contentment and bliss.
From where I sat, I could almost hear the sound of the ocean, relatively calm on a warm day. To cover the muffled traffic noise from the street below, I switched on my mini iPod and plugged in the earphones. Shuffling the songs I have recorded over the years, I reclined back on my deck chair and let my mind drift.
Here we are, in Majorca, one of the most enchanting Spanish Islands John and I have visited.
During our first trip in the summer of 2005, we stayed in Alcudia on the north of the island and hired a car to explore. I remember fondly our relaxation on the beaches of Polensa and further afield, swimming in the shallow part of the deep blue. On our drive around, we made stops at Deia, a splendidly peaceful village, where Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones had their exclusive hideout. It’s also where the English poet Robert Graves is buried. We paid a homage to his grave, as we climbed up in a cool breeze one afternoon.
On the last leg of that memorable tour, we spent a day in Majorca’s capital Palma in the south. We were blessed with fabulous sunshine and clear blue sky. As cultured and creative as we are, we visited Joan Miro’s museum located at Palma Nova. Apparently, the Barcelona-born artist got married in Majorca, spent a lot of time and drew his last breath there. No wonder, we could see his mark on many parts of the island.
This April, partly for my birthday, partly a break away from the still cold Sutton Coldfield, we headed to this Mediterranean hotspot again. An extra attraction to return to Majorca – it is one of the popular training grounds for cycling, and as some of you know, my husband John is a dedicated cyclist and outdoor enthusiast.
Every day in the last few days, he went onto his hired Focus bike, racing off to some of the prettiest villages and towns. Moi? After the full Spanish breakfast, consisting of all the usual suspects, and a few Spanish additions, such as churros, fresh fruits, sweet pastries and cakes, I threw a few essentials in my beach bag and headed to the hotel swimming pool and sun deck, overlooking the harbour. I dipped into the cool pool, to test the water, so to speak, then read for a bit and write a little when my muse descended on me. If I was feeling lazy, I chilled with my music and shut my eyes to the world, allowing my imagination to roam, in the vast space inside my head.
When John returned from his cycling expeditions, he joined me on the deck chair. After cooling himself in the pool, he opened the parasol and started his surfing with his iPad. Once in a while, he would send me a greeting via Facebook messaging – what has the world come to? We sat next to each other and we were using instant messages? Virtual is taking over!
In the late afternoons, we walked to Palma centre, stopping at various locations, for a snap here and there, be it a walk around the Bellver Castle, or a majestic church along one of the cobbled alleys. We even spotted Gaudi style architecture and enjoyed the exhibition of George Melies at the former Grand Hotel, now a museum. Our wandering often took us into the past, when we paused to admire age-old buildings and unusual artefacts.
When hunger took over, we picked one of many restaurants or cafe bars. I usually go for a Tapas Menu, trying out different Spanish gourmet food, fried squid, meatballs in tomato sauce, grilled green peppers, Majorcan soup (which is not really a soup, more like a stew), you name it.
On my birthday, after John set off to his daily ride into the Majorcan mountains and countryside, I went to the YHI spa next to our hotel pool. Having a body massage by the hydronic pool, enjoying the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi for an hour or so was relaxing, a pampering I do not often indulge in, and when I do, it’s such a treat!
Following snacks and a wee snooze in the afternoon, John and I took our usual route to Palma centre. From our hotel right across the harbour, it is a pleasant 20 minutes walk, passing the fabulous sculpture sign of Palma, surrounded by red roses and tall, green palm trees. We stopped at the beautifully preserved Cathedral, and continue our way along the cool Passeig Born, we snaked our way around the old city and found the little gem tucked away: The Arab Baths.
For over 1000 years, the Arab Baths had been there, bearing witness to the passage of time and reminding us of a time when Muslims ruled Palma, following the Romans and Byzantines. It’s the only remaining Moorish construct in Palma. With a tranquil garden, filled with lemon trees and tropical colours, it’s well worth a visit – take a hop back in history, while enjoying peace and quiet in a medieval part of a otherwise modern, buzzing city. I loved walking along the zigzag streets, lined with ancient churches and old buildings, occasionally pausing to peek through the yards of a fabulous house.
By the time my feet were sore and my belly rumbling, we went into a restaurant in the La Ljota area. John ordered Super Festival for us, with five surprises to start with, a hot pan of meats and seafood for the main, and three delicious deserts to polish off at the end, not to mention the ice cold Mojito drinks as aperitif (See John’s various reviews of Majorca on TripAdviser.)
My wonderful birthday was complete as we walked back along the harbour which was lined with beautiful yachts, and the Mediterranean simmering in the evening sunshine. As I watched the sun quietly sets in the west, I smiled at the man next to me and whispered: “Thank you for another lovely birthday!”
If you have a few minutes to spare,
Check out my video:#Majorca: Magical Spanish Island in the Mediterranean, or go to our Video Gallery for a large sample of fun clips. Enjoy!