The island of Mallorca is located in Mediterranean Sea, and is part of the Balearic Islands, and Jesse and I booked our flights and airbnb about a month before. We planned to celebrate the New Year in the city of Palma. We had planned to take public transport to visit a few places on the island outside of Palma, but had to specific places in mind. Then a friend told us (at breakfast on the day we were leaving) that renting a car was a very good idea, and also inexpensive, so after breakfast we booked (hired is what they say here in Spain) a rental car and picked it up when we arrived at the airport. We parked next to the Marina, a stone’s throw away from our airbnb.
The car was really key to exploring and enjoying the whole island. You can see by the above map, all the places we were able to visit on the island, which would have been impossible by public transport. The city of Palma was nice, no doubt, but felt like other cities we had visited. To me, it felt a bit like Santiago de Compostela in Galacia, in which there were many old buildings and narrow streets where it was easy to get lost, and also many, many tourists. We heard more German spoken than we heard Spanish, it was quite the change from Gijón and our travels in Asturias.
Our airbnb faced the the Llotja de Palma, a 15th century medieval guild hall connected to a chapel, which had very high, gothic, ceilings and stone columns which were built to look like huge pieces of rope. It was cool to look out our windows every morning to see the courtyard between the hall and chapel; what was less cool were the chapel bells, that began ringing every morning at 8 am, then once on the quarter hour, twice on the half hour, and three times on the quarter until the next hour. We did not need to set an alarm.
Upon arrival at 9pm we were hungry, though it being a Wednesday night in December, not many places were open, but after wandering the city for awhile, we found a place that served big beers and had a plate of mixed tapas, much of which we had tried before, but had never seen it piled high on one plate. It was truly impressive; toritlla, patatas fritas, calamari, ensalada rusia, albóndigas, and two new types of tapas, one a mushroom dish and the other a spice filled intestines and that was the star of the show; in a regular sized skillet plate.
After that we walked the city, passed through the (underwhelming) Plaza Mayor, and also took in the holiday lights which illuminated the city, as well as the massive Christmas tree across from the Catedral.
The next day we woke up, I chose a spot of the map, and off we went. We did not have anywhere specific we wanted to visit, but since very corner of the island was only an hour drive from Palma it was easy to check the map app, pick a cool overlook (mirador) or cove (Cala) and take the drive through the pretty countryside, with small mountains, some covered in green forest, others more sparse and desert-like (which reminded up of the mountains in Palm Springs, California).
Our first stop was the in the southwest part of the island, Cala del Toro, which provided spectacular views on a bright, sunny day, and had a stair rock path that led down the to the sea. We walked about halfway, saw no beach at the bottom, took pictures and then went to have some desayuno in a nearby town.
We drove back to Palma, where we parked our car across from the Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca. We stopped for a drink directly across the fountain from it, enjoying the sunny sky and cool breeze in front of the impressively large Catedral.
We next prepared for our lunch at the Michelin star restaurant El Txolco de Martin, where we dined on tartar, croquetas, lobster rolls and the best sauteed red peppers I have ever eaten. We spent the rest of the evening walking through the town, through the main shopping district, back through the Plaza Mayor, before settling in for a relaxing evening, knowing that New Years Eve was coming the next day.
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