Ya know how sometimes you need something, but you didn’t know you needed it until you have it?
That was Palma de Mallorca for me.
As I write this is 18°C (65°F) & raining. It’s getting dark at 9:30pm now. I’m slowly accepting the fact that The Long Night will once again be upon us. (Game of Thrones reference, sorry for being dramatic.) Therefore, one last weekend on a sun-shiney Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea was exactly what I needed!
I ditched Shane again (sorry hubs) and met up with my friend, Kaitlin, from grad school who was in Spain already for a wedding.
Per usual, the first day we walked, ate, drank, repeat.
We starting our Saturday with a free walking tour to learn the layout of the city center and a little history! For instance, did you know that Palma was founded by the Romans and later taken over by the Muslims before the reconquest of the Christians? Now, there is essentially no evidence of the Roman or Muslim eras on the island as, with few exceptions, the buildings were either destroyed and rebuilt, or the ruins were covered over the years.
The current city center was also surrounded by a medieval city wall – similar to Dubrovnik – but law prevented people from living outside it. What did they do? Change the law? Nope, in the early 1900s they tore down the entire thing. Makes sense…
One other unique thing, which we never would have noticed on our own, were the small faces on street corners (above the street sign, below the lamp). Each face is that of a person of importance to Palma, and is adorned with something representative of their contribution. It’s hard to see, but this guy has books on his head as he was a professor.
Another great thing about walking tours is asking your local guide where to go. We asked about food & beaches (priorities). Her suggestions lead to some interesting scenarios…
Her first suggestion was a lunch place which was a little outside of city center so off we went. Let’s be real, you always anticipate some awkward scenarios when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t really speak the language (thankfully Kaitlin speaks some Spanish), but this was a chart-topper for us both. As we walked into the restaurant we were immediately sized up by the staff as tourists (I suppose), and then promptly ignored. Finally, when we were able to catch the eye of the waiter, Kaitlin asked for a table for two (in Spanish) to which he gives an indication to come with him….or so we thought. We followed him to a table of 4 he was serving, then back to the front counter, then almost into the kitchen – all the while getting the same ‘follow me’ type of look.
After almost joining to cook staff we decided we’d reached our daily dose of awkward and that was our cue to leave.
Tour guide status: 0/1
After a quick lunch elsewhere, we stopped for a typical Mallorcan pastry, the ensaïmada, at a quite off the beaten path shop also recommended by the tour guide as one of the best in the city. You can have them plain with only powdered sugar, or stuffed with fruit/cream/chocolate – you name it.
I ordered apricot. It came right away.
Kaitlin ordered something? I don’t remember, long story short they were out. “Would you like chocolate instead?” Sure!
25 min later…. nothin. After a little reminder, her’s finally arrived.
Tour guide status: 0.5/2
Next up, the church Santa Eulalia, recommended by our guide as her favorite in the city. This, she was not wrong about as the views from the bell tower were fantastic.
Tour guide status: 1.5/3
Our final stop of the day was Bellver Castle which sits on a hill overlooking the city and took a little hiking to reach…
In case your wondering. We discovered a paved route with stairs once we got to the top (facepalm).
Anyway, the view was great, and the castle was really cool as it’s one of the only round castles in Europe.
All-in-all Saturday we walked a little over 20km (12mi) therefore we were quite ready for dinner. We ordered so much food that they actually asked us to move from a 2 person table to a 4 person table…
Seemed a little dramatic in my opinion, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Day 2 was spent at the beach!
Tour guide told us to take bus #3 to the end of the line, and we would find Illetes, a much nicer beach than the one closest to city center.
I don’t think turquoise waters will ever get old.
Tour guide status: 2.5/4
Our last meal in Palma ended up being the best one. After a day at the beach, we were hungry. 7pm, in case you’re wondering, is too early to eat dinner in Spain. As we were wandering the streets looking for an open restaurant a little google action brought us to this place called Calixto.
I think there were only three employees and only tables outside on the terrace in a smaller, quiet square. There were no menus. The waiter (and maybe owner?) offered us paella (traditional, only meat, or vegetarian) and sangria to which we immediately said YES! It did not disappoint.
Tour guide should add this place to her list of suggestions!
And that was the weekend! Way too fast, per usual, but great to meet up with another friend!
Up next, Shane’s ESEB conference and my mom & sis arrive in a week!