Esporles and Palma
19 May 2011
|Wednesday 18th May
We are awake about 9am, and open the shutters (no curtains), it is a wonderful view from our room. Fruit and coffee for breakfast, and we potter about doing some laundry and bits and pieces. Carmelen goes out about midday, but she has made us lunch before leaving. After lunch Cynthea reads and Tony starts sorting more photos, then we walk into the village shopping centre about 1km away. We find a supermarket and buy some groceries. The prices here are much dearer, probably because it is a smaller store (sort of like a Four Square back home). Fruit in the shop is more expensive, at the market in Greece we paid EUR1 for a kilo of bananas, here they are EUR2.50 ($4.70). Oranges are EUR1.50. Beer isn’t too bad, a 330ml of Amstel is .54c ($1), less than half the price it was in Greece.
We are walking home with the groceries when Carmelen drives past, she takes the groceries and Cynthea gets in the car. Tony and Pol decide to walk, it isn’t far and Tony hasn’t had enough walking today yet. We get home and the girls are waiting at the gate, Pol has the key with him, oops. We are told we are guests here, and we are not to buy any more groceries. Cynthea wants to cook, but Carmelen says we are only having a light supper tonight, so that is fine. Breads with tomato and olive oil, cheeses, and “jam” which is a range of preserved meats that are a local delicacy, very similar to ham and bacon. We discover that “jam” is jamon, basically a generic name for the cured meat. We have three different types of meat, Jamon Serrano is a thin sliced cured pork (like bacon, uncooked), a thin sliced cured ham, and a pork sausage that was cured a few months back.
An overcast day today, so it wont be too hot. Late morning we go for a drive along the winding, narrow roads to the north coast of Mallorca, it is very mountainous at this end, and the beaches can be difficult to get to, usually at the bottom of the cliff. There are a lot of cyclists on the road today. We see the hillsides have many terraces to make use of the limited space. Through the villages we see that the houses have been built close to footpath, there is no front garden along these narrow streets.
We go to a tower at Verger, along the coast, previously used as a lookout to warn of pirate attacks. There are many along the coast so a series of signals can be sent on to the villages. It is a steep climb up the tower, and the view is great. Houses cling to the hillside, Carmelen tells us that they can no longer built here, but existing buildings may stay.
We head back towards Esporles, to Banyalbufar village where we thread our way through the narrow streets, down to the carpark above the beach. From here it is a bit of a hike to get to the beach, we go some of the way, but it is quite cool, and threatening to rain. We drive back up the road we came down, there hardly seems room for one way traffic, let alone have two way! It must be a nightmare in summer when the place is packed with tourists.
In the late afternoon we go to Palma and down to the harbour side. There is a boardwalk stretching for miles, it is very wide, there is plenty of room for pedestrians and a cycle lane for the many bikes. We walk some way along the foreshore, and then sit in the sun just watching for a while. We decide to visit the local castle, but when we get there it is about to close, so we wander around the outside and enjoy the fantastic view.
Back in the city (Palma has around 300,000), we go to a bar for tapas, and get to try a lot of different foods. It is an unusual set up here, the food is placed on plates on the top of the bar, and you choose the pieces you want. No tongs, no covers…. Each piece has a toothpick in it and at the end of the meal they count the toothpicks, and you are charged accordingly, EUR1.10 ($2) ea. Tony thinks this wont work at home because the toothpicks are too easy to hide! Pol is telling us what to say when we are introduced, and Carmelen overhears when she returns to the table. She laughs and hits him lightly, Tony smells a rat, Pol has set him up.
Around nine o’clock we head off to another bar where the local couchsurfing community meets every Thursday. Pol says though the drinks start at nine, people don’t start arriving until later, and it is 10.30 before it really gets under way. We have a wonderful time, and could quite easily have stayed longer than we did, but Eduard was there to collect us about 12.30 (no bus service at this hour, and taxis are expensive).