M is for … Mallorca (and our first Airbnb)

We seem to have stumbled upon a dependable way to plan our holidays and it looks like this:

  1. Spend  22.5 hours on the Easyjet website putting together hundreds of flight options from your local airport (Bristol, in our case).  

  2. Discuss a bit, but not too much as the element of serendipity is part of the fun of this method.  

  3. Book (preferably in a state of slightly dazed recklessness).  

  4. Scrabble around for some suitable accommodation (for us, a first Airbnb) — obviously the larger your party or the more specific your needs the harder this will be.

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Mellow stone, sunshine and palm trees = holiday joy

This Easter hols we had the second week booked for a ski week but wanted to add a cheapish warmish short break for the first week.  Using the method above we booked Palma because it offered the potential sunshine and cheap flights we hoped for (Palma to Geneva clearly isn’t a popular route).  Next, a search on Airbnb revealed a gorgeous-looking, very central, Airbnb apartment.  A couple of swift emails with the incredibly efficient host and this was booked pretty quickly too, which just left the packing — for Spring sunshine, snowy mountains and all weathers in-between — to do …

Our Palma (and beyond) top 4

  1. Take the old train and tram to Soller beach

Before this holiday everybody said this was the family trip to do and I’m pleased we believed them.  Every moment of our day trip to Soller was perfect: the views of the countryside, the stop at Soller (original Miros all over the place, including at the station, on the train, in the towns…) and the tram onward to the beach, lunch at the port, the afternoon on the beach.

I love those first sunny beach days of the year  anyway, and Soller was a BIG hit.

2.  Hire a car and drive to Puerto de Pollensa

 

Mallorca is probably full of more beautiful, empty beaches, several of which were recommended to us, but Pollensa ticked our boxes for our second day trip, mainly because Google maps said it was a fairly quick trip even though it’s the other end of the island, and it turned out to be much nicer than we expected. It is developed, but, in March at least, it felt low-key and laid-back, with just the right amount of eateries / beach shops to meet our needs (sometimes you just NEED to buy a straw hat, beach ball and tie-dye top).

We ate lunch right on the beach (cliched, but we are suckers for a restaurant with its toes in the sea) and then spent a relaxed afternoon in the sand and EVEN — for some of us — sea.  You can walk / cycle all along the prom here but we kind of just flopped and soaked up the sunshine.

Fans of The Night Manager take note: the mahoosive villa the villain where spends most of his time is visible from Pollensa beach and it really is ginormous.

3. (en route to Pollensa) Breakfast at Cala Barques, one of the beaches of Cala Vicenc – and make some beach art

First beach of 2016! We spent a couple of happy hours here, exploring the woody cliffs, paddling, playing football with a small but highly adept Spanish boy, eating breakfast at the one cafe (cakes, mostly) and making a beach gallery of decorated beach pebbles.

4.  Mooch around the shops (one for the rainy or cloudy days)

 

A couple of our days were iffy weather-wise, so were forced to do some shopping, and Palma, being a capital city, really came up with the goods; with plenty of narrow eclectic shopping streets, the Imaginarium toyshop’s coolest doorway ever, the Nespresso shop for coffee devotees and … Zara, which it turns out is a Spanish invention, so of course had to be visited. For a few hours, teenager in tow….

5.  Hang out in your apartment, watch the world go by, and play Pokemon matches (another one for rainy days)

I suspect our kids are fairly normal in that when they arrive in a new room / apartment / chalet / caravan they really do just want to spend some time in it.  This was particularly noticeable on this break for some reason: each day they would have preferred to enjoy their stuff and their space.  On our last day in Palma a combo of guilt about the pace of the holiday so far, awareness that our following week would be busy, and the rain outside meant we let them just chill in the apartment — luckily this was big enough to spread out and not so smart we had to worry about breaking precious valuables.

Only on holiday, I think, would I have made the time to finally find out what ‘playing Pokemen’ actually means (a great deal of imaginary battle fighting, it turns out — not my forte).  Okay, with the collapse of all structure and routine there was more scope for arguments, especially at the beginning of the holiday when we in the getting-used-to-spending-so-much-time-together phase, but it was probably, on balance, a day well spent.

The regular list of things we wanted to do but didn’t get round to

  1. Walk, scoot or cycle along the Palma prom
  2. Go to more secluded beaches – e.g. Cala Mondrago
  3. Visit the caves at Drach

 

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