Mallorca

I went to Mallorca for one reason and one reason only. I was desperate for warmth. Having spent two lovely months in Sweden, late September seemed a little too early for winter to set in so my friend Sara and I decided to take advantage of a last-minute and unforeseen break in our class schedules.

We didn’t spend long planning our trip. Destinations were based on budget and Mallorca seemed as good a place as any to stop between Berlin, Germany and Porto, Portugal. We weren’t disappointed.

It was 28 degrees (celsius) on arrival. I would post a picture of the temperature sign in the capital, Palma, but I was so excited by the weather that I shook my camera and the photo turned out all blurry.  It may have been overcast but it certainly was warm. And it was amazing.

Sunset!

Most people know Mallorca as a party island. I came to know it as a relatively quiet little place (at least it was when I was there) with beautiful sunsets, gorgeous laneways and one very scary train ride that turned out fantastically well.

Palma as a city is reasonably small. There is some lovely architecture (including the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and Santa Eulalia church) and it is a beautiful city to explore on foot.

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

Santa Eulalia church

While Mallorca may have been the first (and hopefully only!) place I’ve ever been conned (a story for another daywe came across lovely people everywhere we went. I highly recommend getting out and about away from the beach and seeing some of the beautiful streets this place has to offer:

After a day or two exploring the city, we heard about a fabulous train ride we could take to Soller in the North West. Not knowing what to expect, we booked our tickets (setting us back around 20 Euro) and went to take our seats on the train…. except there weren’t any. Nor was there any real standing room, or at least not any standing room that would be pleasant for an hour’s journey.

Beginning to worry, we went out the carriage door in an attempt to move between the carriages. Seeing the next carriage was just as full, we stayed put. Sort of stuck in the small gated area between the carriages. Most definitely outside the train. This was our view:

Pretty cramped down here!!

The train goes through 13 tunnels which are pitch black. Needless to say, it started out a little scary. But here’s the thing: Once we got used to it, we realised how lucky we were. Short of getting to the station in Palma very early in the morning and securing a window seat, this was a great way to travel. Unlike those squished inside the carriages, we got to see the views of the Tramuntana mountains and once we got over the fear, had an excellent time doing it as well.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Soller is a gorgeous port that makes for an excellent day trip.

However, if i were to do it again, there are perhaps a few things that I’d do differently. Want to make the journey from Palma to Soller? Here are my tips to make your journey a little easier:

1. Get to the train station early. The queue for tickets is long and just when you think you’re all sorted there’s the fight for seats on the train. If you’re at the front of the queue, there’s no issue. Judging from my experience I’d expect you need to be there at least an hour or two in advance. However, if you do manage to get a seat, be prepared for the dilemma of seeing those in need without a seat.  I don’t envy that position.

2. Failing your early arrival, get used to the idea of sitting (if you’re small) or standing outside. Once you get over the fear, it is well worth it for the space and the view.

3. Check the return timetable. There are plenty of trains from Palma to Soller. However, there are very few on the way back (from memory around 2:30 and 6pm in the afternoon). We got stuck on a bank holiday and ended up waiting 4 hours for a bus in the middle of nowhere. Learn from my mistake.

Mallorca is lovely destination particularly for those wanting to escape the winter blues! Definitely experience Palma and Soller on foot and once you’ve exhausted yourself, don’t forget to head to the beach for a bit of rest and relaxation!

Have you caught the train from Palma to Soller? What was your experience?

The Healthy Globetrotter

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