Friday, August 24, 2007

Hasta la Vista: Spain Solo

When Andrew went home for his family's auction, I got bored and insomniac, and Drew very generously said if I could find a cheap trip for under $500 I could go somewhere... so search for 2 hours I did and finally found a perfect trip! So for 3 days I jetted off to sunny, gorgeous Palma on the island of Mallorca off the east coast of Spain in the Mediterranean! This trip has turned out to be my second favourite, besides Australia (so far!)

I arrived very late at the hotel, which was RIGHT next to the beach but rather sketch (blood stain on the wall, very little English spoken, A/C was extra, and the lift was 2'x3' and clangy :) ) but it was cheap and I was only sleeping there, so it didn't matter. Next morning I got up and had breakfast at the affiliated hotel across the street before wandering the streets trying to find the beach (turns out my usually good sense of direction failed me miserably and I did a huge circle in the opposite direction of the beach... oh well, I finally figured it out). There is nothing like an early morning stroll next to an empty beach on the Mediterranean... Would have been better with Andrew there, but I wasn't going to complain about having my own schedule, either :) I underestimated the distance the scooter rental place I'd booked at was from the hotel, so ended up taking a scenic but very warm walk down the boardwalk. Finally found it and headed off into the blue yonder on a little Yamaha Neo and an oversized helmet.

The views were incredible, the terrain of the island was very hilly and surprisingly desert-like, lots of cacti, olive trees, I think cocoa and fig trees, and scattered cows, goats and horses in the same fields as the trees :) I drove along the south coast heading east, just followed the roads as close to the sea as I could. I found a few little towns, sleepy and very baked looking... lots of stucco and pink clay brick, huge windmills everywhere, with large rolling mountains in the distance. I didn't see anything but a few rabbits in the wild, but it could have been worse, I could have seen snakes or scorpions or other desert like creatures :S I stopped at a small town and found a rocky beach where I had to drop off the rocks into the water to go swimming, but had the place to myself except for a family a few hundred yards away. BLUE BLUE water, soooo amazingly clear, white sand, and a few schools of fish. I was too much of a chicken to go out too far (darn fear of water I can't see through for more than 10 feet when alone) but so shallow and warm... heaven!! Nothing like drying off in the sun and hopping right back on a bike and feeling a warm breeze dry your hair, hitting dizzying speeds of 75 kmh! Saw some amazing houses, and with not to many roads on the island, hit a few dead ends and did a LOT of turning around, but every detour was worth it! At one point I found an old deserted one room house that had an old leather armchair in it, and a small open room with a old clay oven. Finally rode back to the hotel dead tired and COMPLETELY sunburnt! Was worth it though! Had dinner at Burger King of all places, and then headed to the beach for a bit!! Lots of German tourists, lots of Spanish chests... very liberal beach, so made it hard not to stare into space without looking like I was staring somewhere I shouldn't! Relaxed there and added to the sunburn, then when the sun started to go down, dragged myself into bed.

Woke up the next morning very early, had breakfast, checked my mail and headed out again on the open road! This time headed across the middle of the island through more fields of windmills and wells and clay baked houses. I took one wrong turn that ended up on a bumpy gravel/dirt road, which I bravely tried to maneouver but decided against given the fact that I only have one set of teeth (and tires) to knock loose. After a few hours of rolling hills, palm trees, sand, stone cemeteries with masoleums, lonely towns with old stone churches and pale roads, I ended up on the north east corner of the island. There was a town with a long beach front, lots of touristy shops and a wide, palm treed boulevard, it was fun to just saunter through the nasty traffic. I ended up at a very Muskoka-like point of land, after going down a massive hill with the cliffs and trees meeting the sea all spread out below me. After having lunch at a very posh outdoor restaurant (leather couches on the patio with a few of the sea, all under huge coniferous trees on two converging winding streets), I drove up the steep hill and checked out the very expensive houses, and just enjoyed the view! Drove back across the island and returned the scooter, then spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach and wandering the boardwalk. Then that evening spent lazing about in the hotel lounge checking email and facebooking (of course!), trying to escape the humidity before bedtime :)

The next morning, after my last breakfast of birdseed, canned fruit, dinner rolls, and cold salads, I headed out for the Aquarium, where I spent most of the morning admiring the locals. After a rather boring lunch of spaghetti in their gorgeous restaurant, I headed back to the hotel to change and hit the beach one last time before heading home that evening. While checking my mail and relaxing with some water in the hotel lounge killing time, I even got picked up by a swarthy Spanish hombre who made small talk and invited me for drinks later. I told him I was flying back to my husband and didn't have time, sorry and thanks anyways ;) Oh well, nice to know I'm still pick up-able, even if they don't have a shot ;) Had a long wait at the airport, and then after a one hour plane ride or so, had to camp out in the Luton airport lobby for a few hours as I had landed after the subways had shut down for the night and I wasn't about to take a cab and train home in the middle of the night :S While there, I met a lovely middle aged lady waiting for her daughter's very late plane to land. We chatted about books for about two hours, until around 3:30am when the daughter's plan landed. At around 5 I headed for the subway which was finally running, and got home after taking subway to subway to train, at around 9am - burnt, but with lots of photos and memories!

ARRIVAL/DAY ONE:
The moon somewhere over France/Spain


The view from my balcony, complete with patio furniture from the 60's


The beach near my hotel, at around 9am


Deserted and gorgeous!


Had to take a picture of the Niagara Hotel... where are the falls??


Pretty dumb candy.


Scooby scooby doo!!


Me speeding through the countryside... always a safe time to take self portraits!


Military base just kinda plunked in the middle of nowhere... looked rather deserted but I wasn't about to go trespassing!


Scenic pit stop!


This is the view...


Bug sized helmets... always attractive... oh well, I still got waved and honked at by a few cars full of guys... clearly they don't get out much...


Lots of these around!


My own private swimming hole en route!


Yay vacay!!


This is where I jumped in... water was only about 3.5 feet deep


This is the abandoned hacienda in the middle of nowhere!


Pizza oven, anyone?


Fig tree, I think. Or olives...


Home sweet home


My trusty sidekick! Even a great colour!


Spot I stopped to have a snack and water


Mountains at sunset from my balcony


DAY TWO:
This is the scenery pretty much everywhere... Cities on hills, windmills, and green green fields


A well or reservoir on a little back road


Cemetary... very packed!


Little hut in the olive/cocoa/fig grove


View on most of the roads I was on inland


North east end of the island view


Restaurant I ate lunch at the day I went inland


View from my table


Amazing sea bass dinner (never have I though of Dumb & Dumber while eating before this!)


View from the hills


Going back inland through the mountains


Small town in the hills


Church on top of a hill in the prettiest town I've seen in awhile


Locals


Porto Cristo harbour, where I reluctantly bought a pair of knock off Crocs to replace the Old Navy flip flops that the scooter kickstand made mincemeat out of that day... (As knock offs, they had renamed them "Cracs"... go figure)


My own personal "palm tree" on the beach near my hotel (Playa de Palma)


My beach :D


Sunset on the sea


The only roof you'll really ever need here ;)


Aaaaaand another beach shot


Sundown lights


My tiiiiiny room & huge balcony


Suspicious bloodstain (def not paint), which accompanied the tiny spot I found on a sheet. Lovely.


Much more useful as a foot bath than the regular use ;)


Looking from the bathroom


That's a moray


See the two fish in this picture? Yup, they're both named Waldo


The red things with white spikes are crabs of some kind? Shrimp? Some kind of crustaceon... if I could spell that word it would help...


Box fish. Literally box shaped. And very silly looking. I laughed and pointed.


Gorgeous orchid


What you lookin' at?!


I'll call you squishy... bad squishy!


Restaurant I had lunch at


Just saying hello!


Huge rays and sharks


Porthole


Me looking tanked ah ha


These two videos are just me driving, but they give you a good shot of the scenery... And how fast (or not) I was going... And yes, I probably looked pretty silly taking them...


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