I’ve been to Mallorca (Majorca?) three times. The first at the age of 9, the second with friends at 17, and the last with Karl for my 20th birthday.
We used to go away on our family holidays with my grandparents, which meant some good quality time together, but going to the kind of places that they picked. Thus, we ended up in Palma Nova, a distinctly British area and a very package holiday style hotel. At least it meant two lovely, and super glamorous holiday reps to worship.
The Santa Lucia Hotel sits on the tiny headland between two of the beaches; Platja de Son Maties and Platja de Na Nadala. This means that rooms on both sides get a nice beach view. There were activities during the day, such as chair ball (which I totally won) and bingo or line dancing in the evening. We got stuck in to everything that was going on but took the chance to explore the island where we could.
The train from Palma to Soller was one of my favourite days. This brilliant old train looks like an old tram and has the porches between carriages so you can pop out for an uninterrupted view of the mountains. There is even a photo stop at one particularly gorgeous vista. The train was built as a way to bring the oranges and lemons of Soller to market, but now it just hosts tourists. It is about £25 but the ride takes you through lots of exciting tunnels and had Jonathan bounding up and down with glee.
The Day Trip
We also took a coach tour on one day. We visited the San Salvador Monastery that sits atop a mountain. The coach had to wind its way up a thin road that zigzagged its way up the side of the hill. The front of the coach would swing out over the abyss and my Mum would squeeze her eyes shut. I, meanwhile, was happily scribbling away on my holiday homework. I had been tasked with keeping a holiday diary, my first stab at blogging.
The tour visited a pearl factory. Here the pearls are made by man, starting with a glass ball and built up in layers of pearlescent material. It was basically just a big shop. Next was a glass factory, also a big shop, where the glass blower made me a small blue glass snail, which still lives in my ‘special stuff’ box. The whole day trip had a brilliant soundtrack, Spiceworld on my Walkman and I spent the day writing in my diary, with it on repeat.
In the summer of 2004 (or so) four friends and I went to Majorca. I was spending a week with Laura, Louise, Joe and my then boyfriend, Gaby. Louise’s Dad was working in Mallorca for the summer and so we went to crash his villa for the week. It felt like my first proper grown up holiday, no parents or teachers to supervise us (for most of the time). We were pretty tame though, I don’t think we even got drunk….!
Our friendship group was really strong and as we all lived dotted around Sussex, we all spent time at each other’s houses regularly. I wasn’t too nervous about going away with everyone. We were sharing the top floor of the vast holiday villa. It had a fridge that was very generously stocked by Louise’s Dad and we even got to have little trips in his company car which wasn’t only a convertible, but a lovely shade of lilac. The place had a pool and wasn’t far from a gorgeous little cove used by locals and residents of the very exclusive five star hotel above it.
We took a trip into Palma to eat tapas on one evening. It was a wonderful meal and we had an excellent photo shoot beforehand on the terrace of the villa. We also went out for dinner in Palma Nova which brought back some nice memories of my previous trip.
We spent most of the rest of our time lazing about in the villa, messing about in the pool and rubbing after sun on each other’s reddened, painful skin. There was an abundance of hormones flying about and only Laura knows how she put up with us all. I guess the sunshine helped. I have very fond memories of this trip, and although I have a vague recollection of an intense argument, it was a really lovely holiday. Thanks guys!
Our next cheap birthday jaunt was another £10 Ryanair special, a return to Palma. Sitting on the stairs at home on the morning we were departing, I had an uneasy feeling about the hotel I had picked. The address didn’t say the word Palma anywhere. I googled the address and it turned out to be in the next town. I panicked and quickly rebooked us (blowing my spending money budget) into a reasonably fancy hotel in the centre of Palma. I’ve looked for some photos from this trip but they all seem to be out the window of our plane, with none of Palma itself.
We spent a day mooching down the walls of the fort and along the oceanfront promenade. The sun was out and it was aiming for t-shirt weather, not too bad for a late January trip. We climbed the stairs towards the Cathedral, stopping midway to stare at a black swan, captivating our fellow tourists.
The Cathedral itself, Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (or Cathedral Le Seu) was finished about 400 years ago, after 400 years of construction, and is a grand feat of architecture. The nave reaches a whopping 44 metres. Most of the light inside comes from a great stained glass rose window that, facing South-East, catches the mornings rays and spreads them across the pews. It is one of the largest in the world. Around the edge lie numerous chapels, tombs and alters. Some are incredibly intricate, some gleaming gold and many gated off by large iron bars. Take your time wandering round them, as we did, and then emerge blinking, back into the sun.