Mallorca, preconceptions and an old camper
‘Meli and how about Mallorca island? I think it’s worth a visit.’
‘Mallorca? You must be kidding. Are we talking about the island where only rich German tourists go to and there is nothing there but expensive holiday resorts and palm trees?’
Two hours later:
‘Should I book the airplane seats too?’
Well, the observant reader can draw some inference: I have serious preconceptions. And it’s correct.
(The village of Deiá in winter looked like a ghost-town. We understood it’s obvious charm, but seeing it so empty was a bit frightening.)
Preconceptions. I was so damn proud of not having much and to be open and curious to the world. Until now.
But if you inspect yourself deeply, you might find that sometimes everybody judge a place without knowing a damn fact about it, only having heard some rumours. I’m not proud of it, but this happened to me now: I decided not to be interested in Mallorca before going there and see it for myself..
(Palma’s port at sunrise)
(Dried trees in a salt pond near Es Trec)
(in Manacor there is still some Christmas decorations hanging here and there)
And taadaaah, it turned out that Mallorca is in fact amazing. Only that an introverted-extroverted like me need to determine precisely the time of travel: winter seemed to be the perfect choice for us to avoid tourist hordes.
Also we needed to find an alternative to all the fancy resorts. Camping is always a good option, but we had to think twice as the night temperature was around 2-4 degrees. So we were about to rent a camper van and cruise around the island – I have been dreaming of a little van life for a long while.
No matter how many times I started my journeys without having any accommodation for the actual night, this time on a nice Friday in my shoot breaks I was quite worried if there would be a camper for the next day.
And there was.
And in fact, it happened to be a quite sexy one. We rented a VW T3 camper (named La Señora) that was almost the same age as myself, probably this is why we got on pretty well from the first moment.
La Señora just like any other old car had a soul and a unique personality. She didn’t even dream about power steering, hated second gear and was rarely willing to get into it, not to mention that in the cold mornings she also woke up slowly and her engine roared grumpily.
On the other hand, she simply loved beaches! We tried to park her so that she could enjoy the view as well, in exchange she provided us with a comfy living room, a useful kitchen and a cozy bedroom.
With this bus it’s impossible to rush so we just adapted to this lazy lifestyle very fast (and with pleasure). In the morning we would stretch sleepily under the warm blanket, never set the alarm. On the contrary: most of the time we were waken up by the first rays of sun rising above the sea. We gratefully noticed that even the sun is lazy in Mallorca, it never disturbed us with its brightness before 8AM.
While the water slowly warmed up in our black camping shower tank, we would compose a nice hedonist breakfast after which there was nothing better than sipping coffee on the beach gazing the waves.
In the afternoons we would visit azure ‘cala’s and steep mountains, were driving to the rhythm of reggae and arriving some nice place again in the evening, we would park the bus, sip nice Spanish red wine and play rummy with UNO cards.
We greeted 2019 with a glass of prosecco in hand, watching the fireworks on the other side of the bay and the million stars above us.
‘Dolce vita’ is merely an improper term for this way of living.
(Market day in Manacorban)
(Our very favourite overnight place at Mal Pas)
(Sunset lights at their best)
(Street art in Artá)
(Rising sun watched from the bus – amazing experience)
And what about hygiene?’ some people asked me. Well, I must say, everybody got to know when I decided to have a shower. It was kind of a chick to have a shower naked in public, but the noises raised more attention. Although the sun warmed up the water a bit, but in the spring weather and the crazy wind it felt ice-cold. So between two bloodcurdling screams, dreaming about hot water, I learned how to have a proper shower in cca. 3 liter of water in 1,5 minutes. Washing also my hair.
(Ever since I consider hot shower as a divine luxury.)
(The village of Inca sitting on the top of a hill in front of amazing landscape)
(We found a night parking for the Señora in this overcrowded place)
So how is Mallorca then? Multifaceted.
Palma is indeed rich and shiny with elite yachts and fancy restaurants, just like I imagined (we escaped the city after having spent there half a day). The East coast is furrowed with many turquoise bays, so called ‘cala’s offering a Caribbean feeling with their white sandy beaches. On the North there lay enormous mountains with drama in the nature, breathtaking serpentines and with a night temperature so cold that in the Señora (that lacked the luxury of heating) we often visualized penguins outside.
The center of the island is pretty flat, but you can see agricultural fields, donkeys and hordes of sheep everywhere. An incredible amount of sheep. Maybe this is why I so often dreamed of cozy warm woolen hoodies.
To put it in a nutshell, Mallorca is a paradise for surfers, climbers and official bon vivants.
(The dunes of Cala Mesquida in sunset lights)
And if you ask me if there was something that I didn’t like, I’d say yes. Even in winter, Mallorca is like it was some distant province of Germany, we rarely could enjoy Spanish or typical Mallorquín words.
some useful info
Flight tickets Mallorca from Vienna is like 2 hours of flying and you can find amazingly cheap prices in winter (we found ours on Skyscanner)
Transportation we hardly used public transportation on the island (given the camper), but as we saw they go frequently and according to their timetable. From the airport to Palma there is Bus no.1. for 5 euros and from there you can reach almost every part of the island, not only by bus but some places by train also. Although we didn’t try hitchhiking, it is said to be fabulously easy.
Accommodation airbnb and booking are full of offers, from the budget option to the fullest luxury. In Palma a bed in dormitory in an average hostel costs 10-15 euros per night. If you prefer van life, we rented our camper at lazy-bus.com.
Food huge olives and cheap Spanish wine are both amazing so what could possibly go wrong?! As we cooked our own food in the camper, we don’t have an overview to local cuisine, but as far as I know the typical countryside dishes are based on meat, especially on young lamb and on pork.
Book to read Peter Kerr’s collection on island life. He wrote his novels with a great sense of solid humor about a Scottish family that moved to Mallorca.
And finally an advice: whenever you visit Mallorca, don’t rush. Enjoy the sunshine, the waves and the slow life, turn off your mobile phone and please, please pack and steal for me my favorite place: the beach of Mal Pas.