Another great way to travel on less of a ‘budget’ and more of a ‘I probably have enough money if I just don’t look at my bank balance’ is to piggy back on the more financially blessed, in this case, the in-laws.
Although it wasn’t the most romantic of trips with the boyfriend, his Mum and Step-dad happening to have a spare room was a great way to get some free accommodation. And, as you’re probably aware, some hotels don’t feel too guilty about charging you more than a terms worth of student finance if they can, so in most cases this can be a huge save!
Our first venture out was a classic ‘school boy error’ moment, heading in to the small town of Llucmajor on a Sunday. Where everything is closed. Following an eerie drive around we decided that our best bet was to detour to one of the more touristy areas, in this case, Port D’andratx, and this was a great place to go for first time visitors to Mallorca. The scenery is just incredible, a beautiful flat sea framed by the surrounding rocky cliffs. I also got a glimpse of my first olive tree!
As with most of these high profile locations, the harbour is bordered with a vast number of fancy seafood restaurants. I was extremely interested…until I saw the menu prices! But don’t fear super scrimpers, all it takes is a walk around the inclining streets. After stumbling across a quaint, little church, and a cafe with a random Swordfish in a glass box outside it, we settled into a well priced, fancy enough looking restaurant, with the bonus slight view of the harbour. So this way, we dined on the cheap and my boyfriend could feel like he was treating me within his price range!
However, as lovely as Port d’andratx was, it was nothing compared to my favourite place we visited, Sollere. This mesmerising, hide-away town was quite a drive away, but it was more than worth it. So much so that I would go there and back again if I thought I had left my straighteners on. An incredible cathedral looms over the town, becoming postcard material when the spectacular towering mountains are taken in to account. So much so, you will need to take a few minutes to drink such a view in. And this can be done in a literal sense, with a scattering of Cafes looking out on to the open square where you can enjoy an ice cold coffee (my particular favourite). The surprises of Sollere don’t stop there either, for a slightly steep €5 you can take a tram through the town, then fields of lemon and lime trees, bursting on to an open sea front.
Another key thing to accomplish on your travels is to, of course, try the ‘local cuisine’, for us this was seafood paella. Unfortunately, not even the pain of splashing out €15 could have made me like that meal, but in all fairness, I am not, and never will be a fan of sea food, so still give it a go!
Something I am also an avid believer in, is the notion that to enjoy the most of a country you must try something that you’ve always wanted to do. For me, it was doing some hiking up, and abseiling down.
We booked with Experience Mallorca via mobile phone two days before our planned date, which was easy enough. But if you’re a bit of an organisation freak (like me) and you don’t have someone to tell you to calm down, you can always book it via email before your holiday. We took a two hour drive to Alcudia where we met our tour leader, the slightly sexist, extremely tanned, yet very informative, Sebastian. We started our trek at the Torrent de Pareis, again, an incredible hill to hike with a great view of the sea. After this exhausting trek, carrying all our abseiling gear up with us, we started off with a scramble down. Quite a terrifying experience, especially if you’re nervous around heights (ah-hem), but the scenery is enough of a distraction.
Now, I may not seem it from the paragraph above but, I stress that apart from the odd tantrum here and there, I am not a girly girl. Though, I wish I could have said this when I ended up upside down whilst doing our first of three abseils. After the tears from eyes and blood from a small cut on my elbow had been wiped, I carried on (let’s just concentrate on that) and 4 hours later, I was amazed by the whole adventure and surprisingly, I would do it again!
Another must, as quoted by my sister, is to venture to Magaluf to watch The Pirate Show. The acrobatics were astonishing, with flips and spins and fire and all sorts going on everywhere. Although, if I’m being really critical, the story line was a little weak and a bit too disney for me, however I can’t complain as there was an x-rated version we could have gone to. Either one you fancy going to though, I wouldn’t be too bothered about the attractive option of a ‘dinner and a show’, as you’re better off eating elsewhere prior to the performance. Being notoriously British, I am not a huge fan of having to do a buffet-like sharing of food with other tourists especially as the food itself of chicken, chips and sausages wasn’t that great tasting either.
On the last day, of course we had to visit the capital, Palma De Mallorca and the magnificent La Seu cathedral. Incredible on the outside, yes, but a bit of a disapointment on the inside. Filled with scaffolding, due to reconstruction, the magic of this ancient landmark was diminished somewhat. However, an experience is an experience, the one of many that I was fortunate enough to witness through out my great trip on this beautiful gem of an Island.