Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Mallorca, part two: Riding The Sóller Flair

Majorca, Spain (Mallorca, España)
April 2016
We decided that one of our days on Mallorca had to be spent in Sóller, a town to the north of Palma. You can get there by car, but we took the old wood-panelled train.
The train line's construction began in 1911, when profits from the orange and lemon trades were peaking. The ride north passed through mostly orange orchards, and mountainous areas where no orchards could grow. 

Halfway through the journey the train halted to allow everyone to disembark for a photo op.

And what a photo op it was! With the mountain range Serra de Tramuntana in the background, it was a perfect place to stop for a selfie splurge and a stretch of the legs.

Once in Sóller, we looked around a little. Sitting in front of the cathedral, we devoured another kilo of strawberries that was becoming our customary breakfast, and watched the Tranvía de Sóller glide past. This was the tram that we would be taking shortly to reach the Port de Sóller for seaside frolicking. The main square, in front of the cathedral, was swamped by tourists eating and drinking. It seemed exactly like what an English person might imagine a Spanish square to be: a guitarist strumming classical songs, restaurants with pictures of generic pasta dishes, ice cream cones everywhere, and men and women in socks and sandals.

Wanting to get away from the tourist crowds for a while, we took to some less busy areas of the town and breathed in the fresh mountain air.

After a short jaunt via tram, we arrived in Port de Sóller, which was astoundingly even more touristy and crowded than Sóller. All along the waterfront were restaurants (that looked like they had been stamped from cookie cutters) selling one or more of the following: tapas, seafood, sangria or pizza. Interspersed with the restaurants were a few beach shops selling swimwear, jandals, inflatables and snorkels.

The area was meant to be a good place to take walks, so we selected a short hike from the website we had found the night before and started the walk up the hill to a lighthouse. Along the way we saw the cutest little baby goats! Mama goats too. A bit further, we were glared at by the daddy goat and moved quickly past. He had sharp horns and we hoped he didn't consider the road his territory.

We couldn't get right up to the lighthouse because it was guarded by a fence, but the view from the hill was beautiful and we took several photos and panoramas.
By the time we had descended into the town again, I had to use the bathroom so we thought up the genius idea to order a litre of sangria from a restaurant in order to use their bathroom. Well, that part of the plan worked and we enjoyed some tasty sangria while chilling by the waterfront for a while, but afterwards the old wood-panelled train that took us back to Palma did not have toilet facilities. So we sat there, buzzed, bellies full of sangria, and trying very hard not to think about peeing for the hour-long journey. It wasn't fun, but we made it back and used the train station facilities.
That evening we dined at Reserva Iberico, where we tried pimentos padron for the first time (tiny hot green peppers liberally sprinkled with rock salt). I also ordered patatas bravas, which were delivered to us with non-consensual shavings of jamon so I picked all the bits off. Full of good food and wine (including the sangria from not long before), we slept deeply.

Today's post was almost called: Soaking In Some Sóller Radiation