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