La Puerta de Acala

La Puerta de Acala

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Circle of Life: Palma, Mallorca

So once again, I've gone a pretty long time without updating the blog, so I apologize for that. Its been a pretty busy two weeks. The week before last was spring break, where I was I split my time between Zurich and Asturias. And unfortunately I had very, very limited internet access and wasn't able to add anything then. I might add something about spring break later but we'll see. I need to catch up and now its time to talk about Mallorca!

Me and eight other kids decided to spend a weekend in Palma, Mallorca! We left Friday morning and got back Sunday night, so we had plenty of time to explore. Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands and is located on the biggest island, Mallorca. 

Let me just complain a bit. So we flew RyanAir because it was by far the cheapest option. I think the round-trip flight and the hostel for two nights cost me a little over $100. However because RyanAir charges practically nothing, they feel the need to be really obnoxious with everything else. For one, their website is a mess. They also send you like 56 emails between the time you buy your ticket and the day you leave. You can only take one bag on the plane and it has to have pretty much nothing in it. If you want to check a bag, it's an extra 60 euros. If you don't have your boarding pass printed out, its an extra 60 euros. I don't understand that fee but what really annoyed me is that the non-EU citizens had to go to the RyanAir check-in counter and have their boarding pass stamped. I thought the whole point of already having your boarding pass was to avoid the check-in counter completely but apparently not. Thank god I didn't have to do it because it just would've put me into a bad mood lol. 

If that didn't already put me in a bad mood, the weather report for the weekend definitely did. It was supposed to rain Friday and Saturday and then possibly on Sunday. So we were really looking forward to a really wet weekend. When I told my host parents what the weather was supposed to be like, told me we were dumb to go to Mallorca and that we should've picked the Canary Islands haha. Anyway, we learned that Spanish meteorologists are just as bad as the Americans! It rained for an hour or so on Friday and then didn't rain again until Sunday! 

After arriving late thanks to our wonderful friends at RyanAir and taking a couple buses from the airport, we finally checked into our hostal, the Hostal Ritzi. Although everything was a little old and there wasn't really hot water, it was an awesome place to stay. Allan and I got a pretty big room on the top floor which was awesome...except that it was on the top floor. So we had to walk up like 5 flights of steps to get to the room. Not cool lol. After settling into the hostal and using the internet for a bit, we decided to go out and explore Palma. It's actually a pretty neat town. There are ice cream shops everywhere, so its safe to say that we all spent a good amount on ice cream :) And Palma has their own Plaza (actually plaça in stupid Catalan) Mayor! Not really exciting but it was there haha. The cathedral and palace right next door was pretty awesome though. One thing I will never understand about Spain is why you have to pay to get into the churches. I love seeing all the different cathedrals in the cities I go to, but I'm not about to pay 6 euros to get in. A donation, maybe. But not an entrance fee. That's dumb. So we decided to pay 4 euros to get into the Palace of La Almudaina. Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside but it was pretty interesting. Another site that was used by Moorish and Christian kings. 

Plaza Mayor!
The palace and cathedral
Saturday was our big travel day. We brainstormed everything we could possibly do and a train ride to the western part of the city seemed like the best idea. It's called the Ferrocarril de Sóller and has been doing daily trips from Palma to Sóller since 1912. And the train definitely looks like it hasn't been remodeled since 1912! 

To and from Palma costs 17 euros and the trip took a little more than an hour. It was a little different then the trains I'm used to (with bathrooms and a cafe car) but the trip wasn't so bad. The Mallorca country side is actually really pretty and I had no idea that such a small island could have some pretty big mountains. Once we got to the Sóller, we just walked about for a bit. There are was a cool little market in the main square that we spent a little time at and then we, of course, got ice cream at the Fabrica de Helado. It was pretty fantastic. However, since there wasn't much to do in Sóller we decided to take the tram to the Port de Sóller. This was easily my favorite part of the trip. After walking up the port and looking at all the boats, we all just chilled on the beach for a few hours. It was great. Even though it was really nice, it wasn't quite warm enough (for me especially but for everyone I think) to get into the water. Not that any of use were prepared anyway but still lol. 

Sunday was a little depressing. The rain finally came unfortunately and we had to check out of our rooms by 11am. Thankfully they let us hang out as long as we wanted in the lounge and they even kept out luggage while we were out. After much discussion, we decided the best plan was to head west of the city to a town called Genova, where there are some famous caves. Getting there was quite an adventure. After pretty much waiting around the bus stop for about an hour and a half, we finally figured out which bus we had to get on. Although that time wasn't completely wasted because Crystal and I found a KFC!!!!! I was so excited. Anyway, after KFC we got on the bus but no one was sure where we had to get off. Not us, not the bus driver, not even the people who we called at the caves. All we were told was that once we saw some restaurant that we should get off. Well, apparently no one saw the restaurant because we completely missed the stop. So we had to get off a few stops down the road and walk back up the hill for about 15 minutes until finally finding the entrance. Not the most fun in the rain but hey, we got there. And it was no Luray Caverns but it was still pretty cool. The picture below is the "grand column" and the line in the middle is a huge crack caused by an earthquake 2000 years ago. Pretty cool. 

Mallorca was pretty awesome. I got to see yet another place in Spain that I hadn't been to before, I got to spend a weekend with some awesome friends and I even met new friends. I love those kind of trips. Especially when the weather was as great as it was, for the most part haha. The one thing that surprised me about Mallorca is it is. Everyone speaks Spanish, Catalan and at least either English or German because there are Germans EVERYWHERE. It was crazy. I mean even signs and stuff were in German. It was kind of weird but hey, they need a warm beach to go to too right? Anyway, I think it's safe to say I had a wonderful time and I'd love to go back. But maybe I'll try the Canary Islands first :) Haha. 

On another note; I've been getting kinda homesick lately. I'm loving it here but I'm starting to want to go home too, which I never thought would happen. I miss my family, my puppies and my awesome girlfriend Millie. Can't wait to see them all again. Less than two months!

Hasta la próxima!