Sunday, 10 November 2019

Mallorca Return

We are not long back from Mallorca. I’d never been there before, having been put off by its reputation for crowded holiday resorts. But late October is rather quiet, and you will encounter many more locals than tourists. And the weather is still good, with many days of clear blue skies and 25 degrees. Mallorca is a large island with a great variety of places and landscapes. True, there are still some big resorts, but we steered clear of them, staying in a small village in the southeast corner, about an hour’s drive from the airport.

Our rented house had a garden with a pine tree, a palm tree, a trellised walkway covered with pink flowers and a veranda. I opened the shutters each morning whilst T walked to the local shop to get our order of freshly-baked baguette and croissants. We then sat and scoffed them with greengage jam and coffee, with some papaya and melon on the side. It was a good way to start the day and entirely in keeping with the climate. At home, I would normally take porridge.

The village was built on cliffs. The houses seemed to be mainly retirement or holiday homes. The languages you most often heard were either Catalan (Mallorca is part of Catalonia) or German. Our house had satellite TV, but all the channels were German. When you walked about 100 yards to the end of our street you ended up amidst pine trees beyond which were sandy-coloured cliffs with the blue Mediterranean crashing about 100 feet below. Going the other way took you through the rest of the village and down to a wooded cove with a sheltered sandy beach that was great for swimming. The local markets were especially good. There were huge ones on each Saturday and Sunday in two nearby towns: Santanyi and Felanitx. We revelled in all the different foods there were to try, from the jujube (the odd-looking fruit of a tropical tree) to the amazing fruit and nut breads of the artisanal bakery.

I arrived in Mallorca still feeling groggy from the dose and coughing a good bit. But warmth and brightness are great healers, and by the end of the first week I was fine again. I’d brought my bike with me and I went on some great rides, whilst T sat and wrote or painted. Mallorca is set up for cycle-tourism as there is a network of back roads across the island that take you to every town avoiding traffic. You cycle between drystone walls, past small farms with sheep and goats, and orchards of fig, almond and olive trees to sleepy towns where the tallest building is the local church. On other days, I wrote as well, or just sat and thought.

We had remained here during the summer as T was studying and completing coursework. It was our delayed summer holiday and we are already looking forward to going back to Mallorca. But the return transition was very tough, for we came back to the leaden skies, cold and damp of winter. Leaving the airport, it was just one quarter of the temperature we had been in. What I noticed most of all was the dullness. Within a few days my solar powered watch had stopped. It was suffering from SAD too. And then I had to go for my cancer surveillance scan, something that would give anyone a chill.




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