Spain- Palma De Mallorca

Donde esta el bano? Agua/Cervesa por favor. De Nada. Gracias. No pasanada. No se.  This was about the extent of my Spanish I remembered/used, a long with plenty of random verbs, while in the Spanish Island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean this past weekend. These few terms pretty much could get me through most interactions with locals, about half of who could somewhat carry on a conversation in English as well. Its been a good 4 years since studying Spanish, but actually I started to pick up on the language towards the end of the trip and definitely was feeling an improvement in my Spanglish.

Myself and three others (Tom, Michelle and Carly) were able to arrange for a pretty cheap trip down to Spain this past weekend. We took a train to London on Wednesday night, stayed at a cheap hostel, took a bus to London Stansted airport (which is no where close to London, bus thus has dirt cheap flights), and hopped on a RyanAir flight down to Palma de Mallorca. Mallorca is the largest Spanish island in the Mediterranean, and Palma is its largest city.

We hired a car for the weekend, a hatchback ford focus that was super cheap, so that we could do lots of exploring around the island. We stayed in a hostel we found on hostelworld.com, which was actually just a hotel, that we had two rooms in and were only a couple blocks from the beach in the town of Playa de Palma (20 minute drive from Palma), which had an awesome beach and boardwalk area. It may seem like I just listed off a bunch of expenses, but everything was generally pretty cheap. flight-60 euros, buses/trains -30, car per person -13, 1st hostel – 8, palma hostel – 16/per night. So all in all not to shabby for a 5 day holiday in Spain.

So now for a rundown of the events. Starting off at our hostel in London, called the Greenman. It was another one thats reception doubled as a bar, which we hung out in, watched some Champions League Football, had some amazing fish n chips, played Wii, and witnessed a fight between two old ladies, pretty hilarious, but I thought someone was going to be killed.

The next morning we boarded our RyanAir flight, the airline is a joke. It is so cheap, and I actually never even got my ID looked at except for one single glance by a man at the start of security. The sky was really clear for our flight and I was able to snap some good pics of the Pyrenees Mountains and Mallorca as we were landing. When we landed, I was the first to go through customs, and the Spaniard I went to thought it would be funny to screw with me. He actually didn’t ask me any questions, but simply would shake his head and wag his finger at me, saying that the passport I showed him was not actually me. It took me a couple minutes before I realized he was screwing with me and I finally got through.

We then picked up our car and headed to our hotel. It was nothing like the 14 bed dorm room hostels I have been staying in in other places, this was actually just a hotel, but for the price of a hostel. After dropping off our stuff we took a walk down to the board walk and beach, explored the area a little bit, and then found a Spanish restaurant to eat at. I had a very Spanish meal of Papaya and red wine and we were able to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean from our seats outside at the restaurant.

Watching the sunset from our dinner table

Watching the sunset from our dinner table

Mallorca is a huge vacation spot for Germans all year around, and big for Brits during the Summer. A lot of things were closed though because its off-season, but still plenty of places/things to do and the weather was pretty good, mainly 60s and sunny while we were there.

One of the reasons we chose to go to Mallorca was that Michelle had two friends studying abroad in Palma and Tom was having his friends from high school studying abroad elsewhere come the same weekend and they stayed at our hotel.

So Thursday night, we had a few drinks in our room (I drank Absinthe for the first time, the stuff is lethal), and then took a bus to Palma to meet up with Michelle’s friends who took us to a local party at an apartment and then to a couple pubs.

The next day, Friday, we started off by driving to the Palma Cathedral. Palma is set in a bay, and is decent sized city, but the Cathedral and its Gothic towers dominate the city skyline. We took a walk around and in it  and learned about its history and what not. We then explored the city for a while, ate and then headed back to our hotel.

pic of the Cathedral from our coche

pic of the Cathedral from our coche

Next up was the beach. This was the nicest and sunniest day, and I was not about to have my first trip to the Mediterranean and Not get in! Michelle was the only other of the 4 of us to bring a swim suit, and I convinced her to build up the courage to go for a swim. The water was definitely a little to cold, and people were looking at us like we were crazy, but I’m glad I can now say I’ve been in it (I should have plenty more chances though later in the year though). After a couple hours on the beach we met up Tom’s friends and had dinner with them at a place on the board walk. We had another very traditional Spanish meal of Tapas and Sangria. Muy Bueno.

Running into the Med

Running into the Med

That night we had a mini-part in one of our rooms and drank some cervesas, pino and more absinthe. This led to an example of our hostel being a hotel instead, for we got warned for noise a few times. A German guy across the hall really didn’t like us (the walls/doors were paper thin, we should of complained about hearing his snoring from our beds) and he was the one complaining about us. As we left our place to go to the pubs, he actually came out in his underwear and yelled at us, and proceeded to tell us if he got woken up again he would pull his knife out on us. Crazy Germans. Don’t worry, we were then careful and warned reception of a possible stabbing later that night.

Once we got down to Palma that night, we spent a while walking around trying to find a Discotecca party at, but after a long walk ended up settling for an Irish pub. This worked out well because they ended up giving us some free stuff. I got 3 Guinness scarfs, a bunch of posters and a stocking cap.

On Saturday, we started off by going to the Castle overlooking Palma, Castle de Bellver. The Mallorca Museum was also located inside it, so we learned a lot of really cool history about the city, island and castle, and also got some really good pics of the Palma bay and city. After that we went to a market in Palma for food and to haggle for some crappy merch that none of us ended up buying.

View from the Castle of Palma and the harbour

View from the Castle of Palma and the harbour

Next, we took the car for a little exhibition through the back streets and mountains of Mallorca. I was really excited to hike and climb some cliffs and what not, but our car ended up being a piece of crap and couldn’t quite get as far up the terribly small and steep mountain roads, so I had to settle for a smaller scale hike and exploration. We also were able to check out a couple of the small towns in the middle of no where that were definitely not meant for tourists, much less 4 Americans who knew very minimal Spanish, but it was a good time.

Hiking through a wine vineyard

Hiking through a wine vineyard

Everybody was pretty worn out by this point and wanted to go back for a nap. I let them, but I don’t believe in naps, especially when on holiday, so I used up the last couple of hours of sunlight by exploring the side of Playa de Palma I hadn’t seen and the towns next to it along the beach. I was also searching for a pub that was showing the 6 nations rugby, but I could only find ones showing German football and they were all filled with the Duetschlanders. I made it probably 4 miles down the beach before I arrived at a pier, and went and hung out with some people on the end of it fishing, before I headed back to meet up with the rest of my lame friends who take naps on holiday.

After dinner, we headed to Palma to meet up with Michelle’s friends, who took us to another part at some Germans apartment. Randomess (yeah just made up a word) thing happened here. I ended up knowing a girl at this party. One of my good guy friends from Iowa City and who lived with me for a summer 2 years agos girlfriend is studying abroad in Cork and she was at this party. So random. I haven’t talked to her at all since I’ve been here, just knew she was in Cork. But she happened to pick the same totally random place to go, on the same weekend, and was at the same party. So weird, but cool and we had a nice chat.

After the party, we headed to a discotecca with a big group of people. We got there, and it was really busy and we had to wait in line for a little bit, but it was totally worth it. Right when you walk in to the place, Titos, they escort you to an elevator and you go to the top floor of this building that overlooks the bay and it was absolutelycrazy inside. They also basically had strippers dancing in cages and poles, once again photos that aren’t fit for facebook or this blog, so ask if you want to see those, haha. The discoteccas stay open until 6am, we made it to 430 after our very long day, and knew we had a long day of traveling the next day.

So on Sunday morning we went back to Palma to check out the harbour. Tons of sailboats and ginormous yachts everywhere. Then after lunch it was time to leave the beautiful island of Mallorca and head back to the rainy UK.

A very fun, adventurous and a nice break from the constant overcast and 40 degree weather of the UK. But it was a great weekend, and very glad I went. I definitely can’t wait until I can get back to the Mediterranean during my spring break and also in May/June when it will be much hotter and beachy weather. This was also my first real test in having to deal with people in another language, at least partially. It was never that hard though, but is a little bit scary though seeing how I actually knew some of the language here, but I’ll be backpacking by myself through places that speak languages that I know nothing of, such as Italian, German, Czech, Polish, Greek and French to name a few. I’ll just have to create a cheat sheet of the important terms I started this post off with though and I’ll be set.

My Nation count is now up to 7 here in 2009 (Wales, England, Scotland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and now Spain.) This coming weekend was going to be a week off, but now its looking like a trip to Dublin is in store. I really have been wanting to get to Ireland, especially Dub.

Adios Amigos!

Playa de Palma

Playa de Palma

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