“Avoiding the People Plague in Palma”
by Andrea Bacorn
Reprinted from Guidepost, 17 February 1977
There’s nothing like a weekend in Mallorca to escape your cold Castillian apartment walls. Just think, you won’t even have to wear a coat, only a sweater. It is such a warming way to get away from it all. No more freezing mornings, no more frost on the windows, because in Mallorca you can leave your window open at night. The sound of the sea, not the cars, will put you to sleep.
At this time of the year in Mallorca, it’s not warm enough to go swimming. You won’t go back to Madrid with a suntan because the water is still chilly and there are days when the sky is overcast. Nevertheless, you will return refreshed and relaxed after your stay. The smell of palm trees and the sound of the sea will do wonders for your weathered soul.
It is said that living in Palma can be rather expensive. But for the tourist it doesn’t seem to be more costly than Madrid. Package accommodation is offered, charter flights are organized, and the first-class bars and restaurants can be easily avoided. During winter season, because of lack of tourism, prices are lowered in hope of capturing the eye of the prospective visitor. On the wall of the tourist agencies you’ll see, ‘Forget your worries for a while. Put behind you the problems of everyday life. Relax, be comfortable and enjoy yourself in Mallorca.’
The tourist in Mallorca is treated royally. He is spoken to in his native language, be it French, German or English, and he can eat his own native food if he just so desires. . If you are English-speaking, you don’t have to know Spanish in order to get around. . . Everybody speaks English, even the cleaning women in the hotels. It’s true when Spaniards say that Mallorca has a [flourishing] tourist industry. Everyone caters to the tourist. The hotels offer their guests all kinds of activities and entertainment. . . The tourists are either sightseeing, shopping, or having a drink in the bar of the hotel.
In the evenings, the hotels also offer live entertainment. . . The band, along with a few glasses of Spanish wine, seem to lift the spirit and move the feet of the vacationing tourist.
. . .Thus, Mallorca serves as a get-a-way place. It’s a paradise where the young continue to be young and the old are suddenly rejuvenated.
Seeing the Mediterranean daily also aids in making the tourist’s stay pleasant. From almost every hotel terrace in Palma and in the neighboring towns, you’re able to have a wonderful view of the sea. The water is so calm and serene and the waves small and delicate, almost non-existent. During the day, if you take a walk on the beach, you’ll see the seagulls. . . famous for sitting on the water. I found that fascinating. They sit for hours on the water in large groups about a quarter of a mile from the shore.
As for typical foods, Mallorca is known for its outstanding pastries. The most famous pastry is called the ensaimada [which] goes especially well with coffee in the morning. . . Apart from the ensaimadas, the Mallorquines specialize in leather [goods], artificial pearls, and wooden objects. . l. Leather coats are around half the price of those sold in Madrid.
Something else which dominates the view of the visitor [apart from] Palma’s Bay is Palma’s beautiful Gothic cathedral. It’s over four centuries old and is the second largest cathedral in Spain. Its interior is breathtaking with its tall stained-glass windows. . . In comparison to Madrid, Palma is a much quieter city. First of all, there are fewer cars, no Metro and fewer people in the city during the off season. You’re able to avoid high prices and travelling about is done very easily. . . The winter season is the ideal time to visit.
As a first impression, I found Mallorca charming. . . I expected it to be very modern and somewhat overrun by tourism. But to my surprise, it was peaceful, very hilly, and filled with interesting little surprises.
At first glance, Palma is a very modern city. Its huge hotels and restaurants can be seen at any distance. Yet that’s not what dominates it. Palma still maintains its own identity as a lovely old city. It has old neighbourhoods which are located high above the main highway and curious little bars and shops which are hidden from the eyes of the average tourist. Personally I found Mallorca surprisingly enchanting. Perhaps it was because of the beach or the old fisherman or even because of the seagulls. All I know is that I didn’t want to leave. I regretted having to join Madrid rat race once again.
Ed’s note: For a recent article on Palma in GUIDEPOST please click here.
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