Carnet de voyage

Mallorca

A week in Mallorca - Balearic Islands.
Du 23 au 29 novembre 2019
7 jours
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23
nov

iSeñoras y señores!

After a couple of weeks in France, I am already back on the road! 😉 My new destination: Mallorca island... I bought a return ticket from Paris to Palma for €130 with the low cost company Vueling (note this is a last minute and unplanned trip, therefore all the prices are slightly higher than what I am used to paying).

The Balearic Islands (Islas Baleares in Spanish) are an archipelago of Spain located in the Mediterranean Sea. The four largest islands are: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Palma de Mallorca is the capital and largest city of the Balearic Islands.

After a 3 hour Blablacar ride, a short night next to Charles de Gaulle airport, a 30 minute bus ride, a 2 hour wait, and a 2 hour flight, I landed in Palma, yay! The cheapest way to reach the city centre from the airport is to take the bus no. 1 to Plaça Espanya. Single ticket costs €5, return costs €8. It takes 20 to 30 minutes.

1: bye bye Paris, 2: Lucie in the sky, 3: long story*, 4: hello Palma 

*My plane neighbour has a son who opened a cocktail bar (Door 13) in Palma one year ago. He is married to a woman from Singapour, who has Japanese and German background. They have a daughter who speaks fluently English, Spanish, and Chinese. Note the son in French - as well as is my plane neighbour.

• • •

I started by dropping my backpack at my hostel (located a seven minute walk from Plaça Espanya). My conversation with the receptionist was quite funny because it was a mix of English with broken Spanish (mine) and broken French (hers). Note I had a very good impression of the hostel, not only because she was nice, and it was clean, and it looked fancy, but also (particularly) because they were playing Dire Straits! 😀

[...] Time to hit the ciudad de Palma ! My first stop was the Mercat de l'Olivar, a big gastronomic market located in the heart of the city. I was not hungry yet (after my 3 breakfasts) but got impressed by all its colours. I will for sure go back there (tomorrow? 😉) to taste some tapas o bocadillos! 😀

Mercat de l'Olivar 

Hmm, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the birds were singing (or not), but it got very dark suddenly... Rain! Thunderstorm! Let's find a shelter! A church, that will do haha. It was actually the Claustre de Sant Antoniet, a baroque gem built in 1768. Not too ugly, to be fair. And dry! 😀 They even had music.

Claustre de Sant Antoniet 

Rain seemed to have calmed down, I went back outside. But, actually, it was still raining. Okay, another church, let's do this! It was the Basílica de Sant Miquel. I did not stay very long in this one, because it was too scary for me... All dark, with some dead Jesuses all around. At least, there was some heating. But then, it became worse! The street was flooding! Okay, a (free) museum, that will do. It was the Museu Fundación Juan March (whoever this muchacho is), with a lot of bullshit paintings (sorry, I do not like art).

What I have just said 

Rain and thunder, 1pm, let's have a lunch break. I walked, walked, and walked, in order to find something nice (i.e., with a lot of people but not too many, with cheap food, with good food, indoors, etc). And there I found it! The Horno Santo Cristo. I had a bocadillo de tortilla, and then a famous ensaimada mallorquina.

The ensaimada is the most famous pastry from Mallorca. Its origins that can be traced back to the 17th century, when it was made for celebrations. It is a spiral-shaped pastry made with flour, eggs, water, sugar, dough, and saim (pork lard), delicious for desayuno or merienda with a coffee. There are different variations on the basic recipe, so you can find ensaimadas filled with cabell d'angel (sweet filling made with pumpkin strings), cream, chocolate...

Horno Santo Cristo 
• • •

The rain kinda stopped after my lunch, so I went back to exploring the ciudad!

Random pictures in the streets of Palma 

I eventually made it to the Cathedral and decided to walk around it before entering inside.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu (a title also used by many other churches), is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral. Its construction began in 1229 but only finished in 1601. It overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.

Overview of the cathedral and its surroundings 

After enjoying a bit of sun, I eventually decided to go visit the cathedral. I walked three times around before finding the entrance... but it was closed! Yes, you have to be careful people, the cathedral closes at 2.15pm on Saturdays... and is not open on Sundays. Mierda ! Well, change of plans, let's visit the Banys Arabs (entrance ticket: 3 euros). But, before that, I walked (more) around the area and took a few pictures.

Random pictures 

The Arab Baths date back to the 10th and 12th century, and were built based on antique elements and by recycling capitals from previous periods. These 10th-century baths are virtually all that remain of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma de Mallorca).

Banys Arabs 

More walking around for me = more pictures for you! 😉 Note I walked 10.1 kms in total (this includes my walking at the airport, from a terminal to another etc). And my feet do not even hurt (almost)! 😀

Random pics 

What I like in Palma so far:

- the patios

- the food

- the people

- the sun

- the architecture

Et plus si affinités ! 😀

I am spending two nights at the Hostel Fleming. I paid €16 per night in a 6-bed dorm.


There is a very nice Polish girl in my room, Maria, with whom I talked quite a bit. I had dinner with a Colombian guy and a Brazilian guy; our conversation was a mix of English and Spanish. Fun story: an American woman cooked too much pasta and therefore shared it with us! It was absolutely perfect after my soup and before my mandarines!!! 😀



For those of you who have never stayed in a hostel / youth hostel / auberge / hostal, I took a few pictures to give you an idea of how it looks like. By now, you probably know that I love hostels, but you might not know why yet... The two main reasons are: the price, and the conviviality, friendliness, togetherness. Indeed, most people in hostels are solo travellers and therefore love to meet people! 😀 I have met people from all over the world, and I even stayed in touch with some of the people I met in hostels. My favourite spots (for chatting) are the common room and the kitchen - because people do not talk in the toilets!

Hostel overview 

More travel tips here: https://www.myatlas.com/LuLvk/travel-tips-for-globe-trotters 😀

24
nov

Who said we do not sleep well in hostels?! I slept from 9.30pm to... 10am haha. Oops! 😀 I started the day with a very good breakfast at the Tangopan Café, located right next door to my hostel (with a direct access). I will for sure go back there tomorrow morning! I then walked all the way back to the Palace, located right across the Cathedral (sadly not open on Sundays for visits. Entrance ticket: 7 euros.

The Royal Palace of La Almudaina is the alcázar (fortified palace) of Palma. The current castle, of Roman origin, is a modification of the Muslim alcázar begun in 1281. It was rebuilt in 1309 by the King Jaime II de Mallorca. It is currently the official summer residence of the Kind.

Palacio Real de La Almudaina 

It was busy and noisy when I got out of the Palace as a there was the carrera contra el cancer. I enjoyed some sun and the music from the event, as well as the nice view on the Palace and Cathedral.

Parc de la Mar 

It was already late morning by then, and I wanted to visit the Castell de Bellver - before it closed! 😉 I thus started to walk along the harbour before taking a bus for 3 or 4 stops. The castle is indeed located a few kilometres away from the city centre. Entrance ticket: 4 euros (but I somehow did not pay... sshhh).

La Lonja and around 

The Bellver Castle is a Gothic-style castle on a hill 3 km to the west of the center of Palma. It was built in the 14th century for King Jaime II of Majorca, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe. First serving as the residence of the Kings, and afterward long used as a military prison throughout the 18th to mid-20th century, it is now under civilian control, being one of the main tourist attractions of the island, as well as the seat for the city's History Museum.

Castell de Bellver 

It was a very nice (free haha) visit! 😀 A lot of walking though, as I took the "park" path, with a lot of stairs up and down. I then walked all along the harbour (I walked 8.8 kms today), and bussed back for a lazy evening.

Puerto de Palma 

It is only 8.15pm, but I almost feel ready to sleep! Netflix or book, that is the question... Buenas noches!

25
nov


I did not sleep until 10am this morning, but I still slept around 11 hours, which is not too bad... 😀 I started my day with a big breakfast at Tangopan. For 6 euros, I had: a (good) coffee, a (fresh) orange juice, 2 toasts with butter, and 2 croissants. Not bad! With all that, I was replete for a few hours - at least lol.


After checking out from my hostel, I walked towards l'Estación Intermodal; the main exchanger in Palma (and in Mallorca), with all the buses, trains, and metro. I took a TIB bus to Valldemossa for only €1,90.

Here is the website to go to for all the coaches in Mallorca. Maps, timetables, fares... in Spanish, English, but also French and German! https://www.tib.org/en/web/ctm/inici <3

Between Palma and Valldemossa 

Valldemossa is a heavenly village in the midst of a valley, with steep streets flanked by stone houses and flowerpots. A large part of the local history focusses on the Carthusian monastery, the cells of which were witness to the love of Chopin and George Sand.

In the streets of Valldemossa 

At first, I was just wandering around the small streets of the city, with no particular goal - and my backpack to carry. I noticed a "point of view" on my map, and therefore started to walk towards it... with no regret! 😀

While walking towards the point of view 

The fun started when I made it to the viewpoint. Let me tell you the story! 😀 There was a guy taking pictures of his girlfriend in front of the landscape. I asked them whether they could take one of me - to which they said "of course". After a couple of shots, they asked me where I was from ("France"), whether I was traveling alone ("yes"), and whether I had a car ("no"). I learnt they were a married Swiss couple, both originally coming from Afghanistan. Within less than 5 minutes, they told me they were going to Deiá (where I had planned to go as well), and they offered me to go with them - as they had a car. I said "why not"! 😉

Viewpoint and Mini Cooper! 

We met around noon and stayed together until... 6.30pm. FYI, we will meet again tomorrow! 😉 Our first stop was (back) in the village of Valldemossa, for a little walk, a few pictures, and a nice coffee in the sun.

Valldemossa 

My initial plan was to take the coach from Valldemossa to Deiá, and later on from Deiá to Sóller. However, the number of coaches per day is limited, and even more in Winter. I was therefore very happy to be with Khati and Sully, who had the same plans (Valldemossa, Deiá, Sóller), who had a car, and who were very nice!

Cala Deiá 


It was already around 3.30 or 4pm when we left Deiá, and we were all pretty hungry. We drove to Sóller, stopped at the first car park, and entered the first café/restaurant; which happened to be fairly cheap, nice, and friendly and with good food! 😀


Set in a lush valley of orange groves between the mountains and the sea, Sóller has been popular with day trippers for some time. They tend to arrive on the vintage train from Palma and seem to do little but sit outside the cafés in Plaça Constitució soaking up the atmosphere.

Sóller 

We ended up our nice day with a real chocolate caliente, which was either the dessert of our late lunch, our afternoon snack, our dinner, or maybe everything at the same time... 😉 Ciao amigos, hasta mañana!

I am spending the night at the Hostel Soller. I paid €20 for a 6-bed dorm, but we are only 3!

Overview of my hostel 
26
nov

Oopsy, I am a bit late with my writing... I was too lazy last night! And it is already almost 9pm, so I will be short... After a nice (and fat) breakfast at Horno Santo Cristo (with ensaimada and coca de patata), I took the old tramway (7 euros) to go to Port de Sóller, a picturesque little village located a few kilometres away from Sóller. The ride lasted about 20 minutes, with pretty landscapes on the countryside. Once there, I walked around the harbour, enjoyed the sun, had a good fresh orange juice, and walked along the beach.

Port de Sóller 

Around noon (yesterday), I took the bus from Port de Sóller to Palma, for €2,95. I only have one picture for the rest of that day (my sandwich), but a lot of stories... 😉 I might be too lazy to write everything down tonight, sorry! Basically, Khati and Suli met me there, and we then drove all the way to Manacor... where there was absolutely nothing to do/see/visit. I checked-in at my shitty hotel there - note I only booked a night there because I was supposed to do a balloon flight early morning of next day - and learnt my flight was cancelled because of the wind. We ended up driving to Porto Cristo, where everything was closed at 5pm... A ghost town! Epic fail. BUT, I am happy to let you know that today things went a lot better! Stories and pics coming in the post... probably tomorrow, if I am not too lazy! 😉

Not much choice left for places to sleep in Manacor. No hostels, and no Airbnb, thus I spent the night at the really crappy 2-star Hotel Can Guixa. I paid €50 for the night (!!!).

27
nov

I checked out of my shitty hotel with no regret, and had breakfast in a little café. I walked a bit around the city centre of Manacor, but there is not much to see there... The only nice place: a cloister.

Claustro de Sant Vincenç Ferrer 

After that, I took the bus from Manacor to Porto Cristo for €2. There, I visited the Cuevas del Drach. The visit lasts about an hour, with a walk in the caves, a little concert, and a mini boat tour.

The Caves of Drach are four great caves extending to a depth of 25 m and reaching approximately 4 km in length. The four caves are connected to each other. They have been formed by water being forced through the entrance from the Mediterranean Sea.

Coves de Drach 

I then walked along the coast, along the harbour, and read my book on the beach... 😀

Porto Cristo 

Afterwards, I met Axel, my (very friendly) Airbnb host, and his two dogs: Luchi and Coco. If you need a nice place to stay around Manacor / Porto Cristo, do not hesitate a second, this is your place! 😀

I spent the night in a Airbnb room in Porto Cristo. I paid €20 for the night - instead of €35 because I had a €15 coupon to spend, thanks to Victor and our stay in Ubud! 😉

28
nov

Last day in Mallorca already! Qué triste... 😥 I believe I mentioned previously that I had planned to do a balloon flight. It had been cancelled because of weather conditions, but postponed to this morning. Extremely luckily for me, my host Axel works in Palma, and thus drives from Porto Cristo to Palma every morning... that is to say, via the Balloon Airport, exactly at the time where I was supposed to be there! 😀 He thus dropped me off, which I am really grateful for, because there are absolutely no public transport.

If you want to book a flight with Mallorca Balloons, follow this link!

So, I arrived at the airport around 7am, met Ricardo (the hombre of the place), as well as a Spanish speaking family who were going to fly with me. We drove a few kilometres away with the nacelle, but Ricardo looked doubtful. He explained us that there were crossed winds, and that we had to wait for the sunrise to be completed to decide whether we could fly or not. After a few minutes, the winds seemed to have stopped, we thus started to prepare the balloon. We really all believed it was fine for our flight...

Balloon preparation 

But, after that, Ricardo and his compañero told us there was too much wind to fly safely! 😦 We thus had to stop the preparation, put everything back in the truck, and head back to airport... Qué pena... The nice thing though is that, during the preparation, I talked with the family which was with me. Funnily enough, it took me a bit of time to understand who was who and how they were related! 😀 Basically, the "centre" is a Colombian man, who has been living in Mallorca for a few years. He is married to a lady from here, and they have a little kid, Sergi. Sergi turned 7 years old today, and the balloon trip was his birthday present. Then, there was: the mother of the lady from Mallorca (so, the grandmother of Sergi). There were also: the Columbian sister of Sergi's dad, as well as her Cuban wife and the mother of the Cuban wife, the three of them were visiting from America. Did you follow? I managed to understand all that, in Spanish! 😀 As we talked, I asked them whether they were, by chance, going back to Manacor or to Palma - as I did not have any mean of transport. My plan being to head back to Manacor (no idea how), and then to take a bus to Palma. They discussed and offered to drop me at Santa María del Camí, where I could take a train to Palma. I had absolutely no idea where this was, but I said yes, of course! 😀 Before the ride, they took me for a brunch in the best restaurant of the island (or maybe of the whole country), Es Cruce, in Vilafranca. I got to practice my Spanish, which was great, and had a really good time with the whole family. I even got to try one of the specialties of Mallorca which I did not know yet... the carajillo, to wake me up! 😉



A carajillo is a Spanish hot coffee to which a hard liquor is added, ofter brandy, whisky, or anisette. Its origins date to the times when Cuba was a Spanish province: the troops used to combine coffee with rum to give them courage (coraje in Spanish, which became carajillo).




So, after that, I took the train from Santa María to Palma, for less than 2 euros. I left my backpack at Mallorca Lockers, next to Plaça d'Espanya, and walked to the cathedral. I did manage to visit it, this time! 😉 The entrance costs 8 euros. An audioguide can be rented for an extra 4 euros. Business is business...

La Seu 

For the anecdote, there was a little basket with quotes, saying: pick one and keep it. I got: you are the light of the world (sois la luz del mundo). It is quite funny, when your name is Lucie (coming from lux in Latin).

• • •

After another brunch (:O), I picked up my backpack and took the city bus to Can Pastilla, a district of Palma, right next to the airport. I checked in my hotel and reached the beach, to enjoy my last rays of sunshine and to finish my book (a magnificent crime novel by Olivier Norek called Surtensions).

Can Pastilla 

End of the day: 10 minutes of fish spa, a bath, and catching up with my emails, my blog, and Netflix! 😉

I am spending the night at the Hotel Balear, located five kilometres away from the airport - perfect for tomorrow's early flight! I paid €35 for a single room, breakfast included.

Hasta la vista!