Mallorca, Beautiful Island

Mallorca, Beautiful Island

Palma de Mallorca, Spain – March 28, 2010

We finally made it to Palma de Mallorca with my parents!

After checking-in at Hotel Roc Illetas, all six of us walked to the public beach.  It was about 400 meters (0.25 miles) away.  Once at the Platja d’Illetes (Illetes Beach), we all sat on the beach, just trying to soak up the atmosphere.  There were quite a few people on the beach; however, it was nowhere near being packed.  The beach was at a small cove.  Just off the beach was an anchored yacht, the Pimar.  In addition to the yacht, we also saw two sailboats, each of about 35 to 40 feet.  It was a sunny afternoon with just a few high clouds.  The water was very calm.  Near the shore, it was a very brilliant blue.

On the walk from the hotel to the Platja d’Illetes (Illetes Beach), we spotted a yacht and some sailboats.
Leslie and Hillary on Platja d’Illetes.
Two boys fishing near the anchored Pimar 22 motor yacht. The yacht dates from 1996, is 21.25 meters (70 feet) long and has a beam of 5.67 meters (18.6 feet).

Tyler decided to brave the chilly water and go for a swim.  He said it was cold and exhilarating!

Tyler in a rather chilly Mediterranean Sea.
Swimming underwater.
Getting ready to dive.
The Platja d’Illetes.
Detail of the Platja d’Illetes.
A sailboat passes near Platja d’Illetes.
The view back toward the city of Palma.
Detail of the view.
Leslie watching the activity on Platja d’Illetes.

When we returned to the hotel, we had lunch.  From the hotel, we have a spectacular view of the Caló d’es Grells, a large bay.  Tyler and my parents all had ham and cheese sandwiches.  Hillary had a club sandwich.  Leslie and I both had grilled fish and chips.  They were all delicious!

Hillary at the Hotel Roc Illetas restaurant, ready for something to eat.
Tyler is not overly enthused with the menu.
Grandpa and Hillary take time for a photo at the restaurant.
Sunset from our terrace.
The sun just going down.
The evening view across Caló d’es Grells, a small cove.

The following morning, before everyone else got up, I took some time to sit on the patio of our hotel room and watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I had had a cup of coffee too.

Hillary and Tyler looking down from their hotel room on high.

After everyone else rose and showered, we all went to breakfast.  It was a breakfast buffet, almost like a Golden Corral.  This is the first buffet I have seen in Spain.

The main activity for the day was a train ride.  A friend at the embassy had told me of the Ferrocarril de Sóller (Sóller Railway) tourist train.  After breakfast, I ran down the street to an ATM so that I would have money to pay for the two taxis to the Palma-Sóller-Palma train station.  When I got back to the hotel, the two taxis were waiting.

The taxis took us to the train station in the downtown area of Palma de Mallorca.  We bought round trip tickets to Sóller.  For about 30€ (US$37.20) per person, the train would whisk us all from Palma to Sóller to Port de Sóller and back to Palma.

The train platform in Palma for the Ferrocarril de Sóller.

The electric train is made up of several wooden cars dating from 1910 to 1920.  In our case, the train was seven cars long, including the engine/first-class car.  Initially, we were unaware of the first-class car.  We boarded the fourth car from the rear, for no particular reason.  After we found seats, I got off to go to the front of the train to take a photograph.  After taking my photographs, as I was walking back to our car, I saw what looked like a first-class area in the first car.  There were plenty of seats, so I ran back to the other car and told everyone to come quickly to the first car.  The seats we left behind were hard, with a bit of padding on the back and the seat.  The seats in the first-class car were plush, upholstered seats and sofas.  The comfort was superb and the cost was no different.

One of the coach cars of the Ferrocarril de Sóller.
Two travelers ready for the journey to Port de Sóller.
All seven cars of the Ferrocarril de Sóller. The train dates from 1910-1920.
Detail of the lead car.
Four happy passengers in the upgraded 1st-class cabin on the train.

In the first-class car, we met a delightful couple from England, Ray and Val.  Ray mentioned that he had been on the show, Cash in the Attic, five times.  Cash in the Attic is a BBC show focused on antiques.  The host of the show goes through the participant’s house, looking at and valuing antiques.  The participant decides with which items they are willing to part.  Those items end up at a local auction, hoping to make at least the value estimated.  Leslie and I have watched the show many times.

The ride to the small town of Sóller took about an hour.  That included a couple of stops.  One of the stops was just before a tunnel at an overlook.  From there we were able to see the entire town of Sóller.  During the journey, the train goes through 13 tunnels. That count is courtesy of Tyler.

Passing through the countryside.
The train stops at the Mirador des Pujol d’en Banya (Banya Hill Overlook).
One of the 13 tunnels. This one is very near the Mirador des Pujol d’en Banya.
The town of Sóller as seen from the Mirador des Pujol d’en Banya.

When we arrived in Sóller, it was like stepping into an old postcard!  The town was beautiful!

The train is a hidden gem!  It was absolutely a blast!  If one ever travels to Mallorca, this is a must-do attraction.

From Sóller, we boarded a trolley bound for Port de Sóller.  It too was circa 1920.  The short trip took about 30 minutes.  When we first saw the bay and town of Port de Sóller from the trolley, we fell in love with it!  By far, these are our favorite towns; not just in Spain, but on the entire planet!

On the streetcar, going from Sóller to Port de Sóller.
Both seem to be enjoying the trip.
Two streetcars passing along the way.
Our first view of the bay at Port de Sóller.
One can see three lighthouses at the entrance to the bay at Port de Sóller.

In Port de Sóller, we walked around the town, mainly near the shops along the waterfront.  Although we did venture down a couple of side streets.  We ate lunch at a small restaurant overlooking the marina.

The very full marina at Port de Sóller.
Stopping for refreshments after the train and streetcar rides.
Tyler and Leslie relaxing. One can see we did not make it very far from the streetcar before stopping!
Walking along Carrer de la Marina, looking at the shops.
The sign for the Craft Inn.
Some very colorful ceramics for sale.
Many restaurants overlook the marina.
Another view of the marina.
Tyler striking a pose.
Everyone waiting for our taxi to take us back to Sóller to catch the train to Palma.

After lunch, instead of taking the trolley back to Soller, we opted to take taxis. It was a little more expensive, but it was much quicker.

On the train, we happened to get in “first-class” again.  And who was there, but Ray and Val?! Once again, we had a lovely trip with them.  On this return trip, another couple from Germany rode in the car with us.

The main square in Sóller with the Església Parroquial de Sant Bartomeu de Sóller (Parish Church of St. Bartholomew of Sóller).
One of the train barns at the station at Sóller.
The welcome sign at the Sóller station.
Detail of the sign. The first greeting is in Catalan, the dominant language of the area.
Leslie walking on the platform.
Train cars everywhere, waiting for a chance to return to Palma.
An engine approaches.
Val and Ray joined us again in 1st-class for the return ride to Palma!

When we arrived in Palma, we took a taxi back to our hotel.  On the way, the taxi driver drove by the Palma Marina.  There were some massive yachts moored there.

That evening we ate at the hotel restaurant and prepared for our return to Madrid the following day.

Looking across Caló d’es Grells, just below the highrise building in the center, one can see the Royal summer residence, Palacio de Marivent (Palace of Sea and Wind).
The “beach” just below our terrace.
A ship arriving in Palma.

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