We are back. It is so obvious a statement that it need not be said, but when have I let that stop me. The time really did go way too quickly.
We had a most fantastic time. The villa was outstanding - we have a few suggestions for improvement, but they are mostly about it being a fairly new property on the rental market, so time will tell.
The route to the villa was "interesting". We turn off the Mallorcan equivalent of an A road on to a cinder track, which is not terrible, but had a fair few ruts. It is uphill all the way, and we were in first gear for the whole drive. We took a wrong turn on the first approach (or rather we did not take a turn we should have taken) and had to turn round in someone else's property. The final turning took us on to a track that was so wild-looking, we simply did not believe that our property could possibly be at the end. But it was, and when it appeared, it was like a mirage.
The property is in a wooded area, with the nearest property being several hundred metres away. Indeed, as we went in to the second week, we were rudely awoken by noise that sounded like a bunch of red-necks having a wild forest party, high on hooch and readying to attack us in our beds. In fact, it was simply some exuberent Germans in one of the villas near to us, making a fairly normal, if excited, amount of noise as they enjoyed their pool, and some unspecified variety of the local hooch. That was a measure of how little we had to intereact with other people, which is just as we like it.
We travelled a day early, simply to save seven-hundred pounds on the flights, and so stayed at a hotel sourced by David and Samantha. It turned out to be a converted monestry on top of the highest hill in the area (a probably modest 500m above sea level), with two massive crosses either side of it (think Rio statue size). We could see it from half an hour away, having the thought that it could not possibly be our accommodation for the night. It was though, and the journey to it was, as already said, rising 500m, on a road that is about 5km long, which means a lot, and I mean a lot, of bends. We were in second gear all the way and it was not fun for the passengers of my car. That is an under-statement.
We finally arrived at the top, checked in and got our first beer, sitting on the terrace, with a view to die for. We had several hours to kill the next day, having to checkout by 10am, and not able to get in to the villa (or so we thought) until 3pm. We we found some shade and played cards, and the men walked to the two crosses.
We visited the supermarket on the way to the villa, and arrived at the gates at 2.55pm, only to be told by the lead cleaner that we could not come in until 4pm. It seems that the email we had from Vintage Travel to say we could check in an hour early did not reach the team on the ground. We negotiated a wait on the outside seats while they finished their work. Just before 4pm, the lead lady told us it was ready, and we had a quick tour, before we were then getting our costumes on for our first swim, the first of many.
Although we could not see it from the villa, we were literally in the shadow of one of the crosses of the monestary. Indeed, we could have walked about 300m downhill from said cross to get to the boundary fence of our property.
What followed was two weeks of swimming, heat, fun, drinking, eating (oh yes, we fully embraced the Mediteranean diet), and some visiting of amazing places.
One day, we drove to Soller (north of Palma) to take an old-fashioned train to Palma, which was one of the recommendations of LO's parents. We had read some comments on the train and the advice was to do the trip in this order, to avoid the crowds. It was good advice. The train was built in 1918 and it was the same as it always was. At one point, we were in the longest tunnel, which was uphill all the way, and being taken slowly by the train. At one point, the train could not get traction on the rails, they being wet, the speed being slow, and the route being uphill. We kept having to roll back ten or twenty metres to take another run up at the troubling section of track. This was not a pleasant experience. It was topped by the jovial guard coming through the train telling us "no panico". That was the point when several of our group woke up and took notice. Anyway, after about twenty minutes, we did get moving and completed the journey to Palma. It was worth it, because the terrain was amazing and the views fantastic.
Once in Palma, we walked about a bit, got a little light lunch, and then returned to the station to take the return train, only to miss it by four minutes, leaving us with an hour and a half wait for the next one. Let me tell you, there are only so many games of I-Spy you can play before the inside of your heads starts to scream.
Once back in Soller, we took a separate tram down to Soller Port, which was beautiful. The tram itself was rammed, and such situations seems to bring the worst out of people. The port iteself was lovely, and we did some boat-spotting, more precisely we were agreeing which boat we would get with our Lottery winnings, and we had a lovely ice-cream before taking the tram back to our car.
Other days were to the beach. Many of the Mallorcan beaches are coves. Relatively small amount of sand at the back, with rocks down each side to the mouth of the cove. They are beautiful, and great fun. The one we preferred was actually one of the more built up areas, but it had the best snorkelling, and the rock jumping was great fun, with ladders able to take us back to the jump spot.
We really fell in love with Mallorca, and over several evenings were planned how we would spend our Lottery win to buy a property there. On the subject of property, it seems that Mallorca is pretty expensive, certainly for villas with pools. We estimated that the one we were staying at probably cost between 1.2 and 1.5m Euros, and to be honest, we would not want anything less than that for our own property. We just need that win.
That is probably more than enough for one blog. Let's speak again on Friday, when I can tell you all about what I have been missing at work. I know, you cannot wait.