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krisek Palma Nova - A travel report by Krys
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Palma Nova,  Spain - flag Spain
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krisek's travel reports

An arranged blind date on Majorca

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This is a real retrospective. It is about a trip sponsored by a television show called ‘Blind Date’ that took me, a girl I had never met before and a TV crew to Majorca for a few days. It was my first time on a commercial jet airliner.


Palma de Mallorca, Cathedral
Palma de Mallorca, Cathedral
Well, it wasn’t my idea to go on the show. A friend of mine completed an application form and with some miracle the TV wanted me. A quick trip to the Warsaw studios one hangover later. A run up of three episodes, three sets of questions, three scenarios, etc. And two months later, there it is - I randomly pick up an envelop with an all-expenses-paid holiday in the sun. It was the end of May and Majorca was hot hot hot!

Luckily I was the only one, who spoke Spanish. I quickly appointed myself the boss of the escapade. Being an explorer, I couldn’t possibly sit on the Magaluf and Palma Nova beaches all day long for five days! It just didn’t agree with my body. Although I love the sun! So, the plan was to take at least two auxiliary trips. One organised with the travel office suggested by the television, and the other I organised myself. The important factor was to make sure there was enough film material for the show.

The first trip covered Vilafranca de Bonany, Manacor and Portocristo. And included a visit to the Majorica pearl factory. The highlights of the day excursion were cliffs near Portocristo and numerous little windmills along the way. Some in a very poor condition. Delightfully, Majorca is very different anywhere outside the Bay of Palma. There are many little villages to be visited, craggy peaks, pine forested mountains, almond coves, unperturbed lakes and picturesque cliffs. The many agents on the island also offered visits to Porto de Alcudia, Soller, Deia and Pollenza. The local bus service was comprehensive, so it was easy to get around the island. There was even an old train service from Palma de Mallorca to Soller.

The trip I organised was simple and included a single destination. It was a day visit to Palma de Mallorca. The public bus, which left Magaluf, ran through the colourful holiday resorts. The resorts could also be described as a curtain of concrete hotel and shopping centres blocks. Yet, the back streets were still pleasantly animated.

Favourite spots:
Magaluf Beach, view from the hotel
Magaluf Beach, view from the hotel
It will probably be very controversial to make a statement like this, but I really liked the little cafes of Magaluf and the beach. Somehow, the blind date did not produce a good match, and one of the ways to enjoy the stay was to party on the beach all night drinking cheap sparkling wine - a local produce. Since we saved some money by not buying an organised trip to Palma, we had some funds to spend on drinks. It worked really well. Sitting on the beach sipping wine from the bottle all night long, at least until 5 o’clock in the morning, dancing on the sand and singing silly songs, was a great compensation for making a fool of myself in the front of millions of viewers. Catching up on a sleep was easy - the beach had tambonas and parasoles... The fact was that after returning to the studio to do the final shoot of the programme, I hardly needed any makeup for the cameras.

What's really great:
Palma Nova travelogue picture
The island was big enough to be able to escape from the wild night-club hungry crowds or the lazy, noisy and whining beachgoers. There were vast and empty spaces in the interior of the island. Majorca being the largest island of the Balearics appeared less packed than the other two, Ibiza and Menorca. Although the latter was not as popular as its sisters. Yet Majorca had been visited by some higher profile and more important people, like George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin) and Frederic Chopin. Unfortunately my blind date was more interested in frying her outer skin’s cells on the beach and dipping in the warm turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea than exploring the island. I had to push on, trying to visit places, to see something more than just the sand, a few adjacent bars, pubs and cafes. Well, the budget was very limited and therefore so was the room for the manoeuvre.

Sights:
Palma de Mallorca, Plaza Mayor
Palma de Mallorca, Plaza Mayor
At least we went to Palma de Mallorca. It was the very first Spanish (Balearic or Catalan) city that I saw. I loved it. The colourful facades and wooden window shutters looked exactly how I imagined. And there were so many of them. I didn’t care much for the new structures of course. I was impressed with the old town. The dark narrow alleys, particularly those spreading from the main plaza, had specific ambiance. The Plaza Mayor had its own character, too. The plain square buildings painted in various shades of red, brown, yellow and burgundy were not what I would expect exactly. Of course the most dramatic sight of Palma was its gorgeous cathedral. The cathedral and the palm trees around composed an unforgettable picture. By that time I had not seen many places, and I was bewildered with the sight. Actually, I had not seen a real palm tree before this trip!

The monastery in Valldemossa at the other end of the island is the place where Sand and Chopin stayed one winter, by the way.

Accommodations:
Palma Nova, view from the hotel
Palma Nova, view from the hotel
Majorca and the areas near Magaluf and Palma Nova didn’t suffer from the shortage of accommodation but the hotels were not necessary geared up towards budget travellers or backpackers. The majority catered for packaged tours and... packaged tours. Palma de Mallorca might’ve been better for independent globetrekkers. Between Magaluf and Palma de Mallorca there was a long string of holiday resorts, which probably just grew out of small villages or perhaps even out of nothing.

The tour agent for the Blind Date reserved a reasonable hotel along Avenida del Notari Alemany, which most certainly changed its name since. It was a large hotel at the end of the Magaluf beach. There was a mixed up and the agent didn’t reserve enough rooms. Everyone was supposed to have their own, single room. If any of the Catholic political parties found out that I had to share a room with a strange girl I’d never met, they would’ve taken the show off the air immediately. But we didn’t tell anyone.

Nightlife:
Palma de Mallorca, Cathedral
Palma de Mallorca, Cathedral
Not that we spent much time at the hotel. There were so many discos and nightclubs that it would be a grave sin not to check any of them. Of course whatever was happening at the clubs could not possibly be shown on the daytime and afternoon television, so the cameras had to stay at the hotel. The partying was indeed wild and although many might have change their names, owners and style, I can only imagine that there are now many more of them, and perhaps they even became wilder and wilder. None of the places were filling up before midnight. But this did not matter as the area was beaming with little drink bars and a myriad of pubs. The partying usually started in them, and only the heavyweights and those still barely sober continued to the discos and nightclubs. Many pubs stayed open until wee hours in the morning, so one could stay partying in them skipping the clubs altogether.

Hangouts:
Palma de Mallorca, city walls
Palma de Mallorca, city walls
The single thing that shocked me in Magaluf was the number of British-style pubs. It was amazing and stupid in the same measure. The owner of those places served British food (English breakfast was a must), beers, ales and spirits. The many tv screens broadcasted numerous British channels. And daily British newspapers were being couriered over everyday, such as The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Times... The Britons, who were holidaying on Majorca, would not go anywhere else but to those pubs. I could not understand it. The only explanation I could think of was they absolutely did not want to see any of the local culture or mix with the local people and try local produce. They just wanted to change the climate to a better one but almost without leaving their own town.

And yet, there were many other little cafes and bars in Magaluf serving San Miguel beer, Spanish and local tapas, snacks and other more substantial food!

Restaurants:
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca
In Magaluf, it was a challenge to distinguish between terribly touristy restaurants and a decent one attended by the locals. For the first two days, it seemed like an impossible task. The easiest to distinguish were the British pubs. Actually, I didn’t have to worry about food, as the Blind Date package included full board at the hotel. But I got really tired of the buffet, mass production, re-heated food. Apart from fresh fruit there is nothing to write about. Of course many ‘local’ places specialised in seafood, so I was tempted to try one of them. The only way to find out about decent local places, which offered real Balearic dishes was to befriend a local waitress or waiter (that was also a challenge in itself - the waiting staff was mainly from abroad) and ask them.

In Palma, the situation was different. Near the Plaza Mayor and Passeo de Born there were many little places serving tapas. Also the seafront looked promising and the prices there were not exorbitant.

Other recommendations:
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca
Majorca gets really busy in June/July/August. In these months getting cheap accommodation in Palma de Mallorca, Soller, Deia, Pollenza, Porto de Alcudia and Portocristo is then challenging and advance booking is advisable. Alternatively, one could avoid going to Mallorca in the summer at all. In Palma I heard that following options along calle Apuntadores near Passeo de Born being reasonable: Hostal Apuntadores, Hostal Ritzi and Hostal Pons, but I am not sure they still exist. I did not check them, obviously.

Fortunately, taking an arranged blind date to Mallorca wasn’t too bad. Although we could not agree on anything at any subject and our personalities couldn’t possibly be more incompatible, there was enough action everywhere to find an alternative company. And I did need it, indeed, I'm afraid.

Published on Saturday March 29th, 2008


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Tue, Apr 15 2008 - 06:48 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wanna tell honestly one thing ,that i run out of word for writing comments to Krys while on other hand he writes and keep on writes such great reports ...excellent work

Mon, Mar 31 2008 - 03:21 PM rating by eirekay

Krys, great report - I smiled the whole time! Nicely Written!

Sun, Mar 30 2008 - 12:41 PM rating by davidx

Excellent report with considerable amusement.

Sun, Mar 30 2008 - 11:39 AM rating by horourke

great report
very good journalistic style

Sun, Mar 30 2008 - 01:00 AM rating by rangutan

Tips, info and wonderful very personal experience. Here better than in the travellog (GLOBOblog)?

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