It’s gonna be slow my friends. There were eight people with DLSRs (or the equivalent) taking, if we go on Marta’s count, something close to 1000 photos each. I’m going to use primarily my own stuff, but I have to say it was nice to have someone else taking some photos and thus be included in some of the shots- so there’s going to be some degree of integration. Sometimes I give my camera to Andy, and sometimes it works, but often the mere fact of him holding it seems to make my nose beaky(er), my hair oilier and all of me much more awkward. So thanks Marta for some pretty shots, and all the awesome group photos!
Day 1: They Wanted To Escape The German Grey (Palma)
I’m not sure if I told you all yet, but we headed off to Mallorca/Majorca a couple of weeks back. Our friend from work, Marta, came into my office one day and asked if Andy and I felt like sailing around an island for a week. Seeming like something we would never do by ourselves, and possibly never have an opportunity to do again, we jumped on it.
I’ll save you some google-ing. This is Mallorca:
So we had a plan- get a boat, sail around an island. We had, thanks to the organisation of people who were not us, a boat. We had a destination- which Germans joke about as being the last state of Deutschland in the same way Aussies joke about New Zealand and Americans joke about… probably everywhere. And we had 5 Polish people, a Chilean, a somewhat-Polish, somewhat-German Australian, and another Aussie, who was convinced that her somewhat-Spanish heritage would lead to Natural Adaptation and prevent any possible seasickness*.
*Spoiler Alert: It did not.
Out plane to Palma de Majorca (the capital) flew Early, with a capital E, and, due to the train schedule (the earliest was at 4 am), and all of us being too cheap to get a taxi, we arrived at the airport rather too late for comfort. Our Polish comrades had decided to ‘start the party early’, had barely slept, and almost missed the train due to Someone’s decision to take a long bath even after failing to hear the alarm and waking up half an hour late. But it seemed to work. The German holidayers were just as disorganised as us- everyone was late, so the poor airport staff had to shuffle around, call out priority groups, and managed to get everyone to their respective gate somewhat on time.
The reason that Mallorca is the German equivalent of Bali to Aussies, is that it is everything Deutschland is not. Primarily in that it it always sunny. Winter had been long my friends. We needed some sun!
It was raining.
We took a bus to the port to find our boat. It continued to rain. We wandered around the port, lost, and were told that due to a boat show in the coming week, the boat-hire company had moved to ‘somewhere else’. More rain. We searched, we got wet, our baggage got soaked. We finally decided to take refuge in a restaurant and eat some food while our Captain went forth into the world, and managed to find our boat.
Meet Marcin. Nationality: Polish. Occupation: Judge. Character: very funny!
(This photo is stolen from Marta).
We went to the boat, as the rain magically stopped and the sun contemplated emergence.
This is the Pravda, and she is beautiful.
I’ll have some better photos later on I think… but this is a taster.
After stashing our stuff, the six of us (minus the Captain and his girl), headed into Palma to do so sight seeing.
I got quite excited by the sheer number of cats on the island. Germany just doesn’t seem to have any cats- I guess it’s possible that the ones that are here just never leave the warmth of the heated apartment- but it’s also possible that there just isn’t a high enough (read any) availability of fresh fish for them here.
Anyway- check out the size of that gull relative to the size of that cat. Terrifying!
Palma is very pretty, especially in the centre where the old buildings and churches are. It’s amazing how different the architecture is from that of Berlin/Potsdam- and in fact how everything makes you aware that you ain’t in Kansas anymore.
That’s pretty much the ugliest looking bird I’ve ever seen!
The other thing that really caught our attention, especially when we travelled a bit along the coast and away from the ‘big’ city, was the plants, and the smell. I recently discussed this with a German girl at work who also just went to Spain with her Australian boyfriend, and she said that he agreed- Spain smells like home. She mentioned that the Spanish got really into Eucalypts for a while, because of how fast they grow, and now they’ve become a bit of a pest (and a problem, because they burn-baby-burn). But I drank it in: Mallorca has that Mediterranean climate, and these beautiful oily plants that perfume the air.
The old city centre of Palma has the highest density of churches I’ve ever seen. There are at least 11 within a couple of km raidus, and all are ancient and stony and magnificent looking.
Did I mention that the cherry-blossoms are out?
(I know these might not be actual cherries, but they all look like sakura to me)
And that there is beautiful, intricately detailed stonework everywhere?
We spent a good few hours wandering around- with Marta guiding us down the oldest and smallest streets she could find- checking out trees and architecture and marvelling and photographing and posing.
Time to meet two more team members. Marta, our friend from work, and Kuba, her friend from Poland.
This one you know already:
Because I was good, I was allowed icecream!
(This one stolen from Marta)
Marta had this great quality of occasionally crying ‘GRUPPENFOTO’, and we’d all rush behind Marcin (only Marcin could do it right) and try to cram into the background. All the gruppenfotos shown are from her:
(Left to Right: Marcin, Marta, Andy, Kuba, Me)
Apart from the churches, Palma also has a really high density of sculptures. These guys I found to be particularly cool:
We stepped into a small, very local bar- which seemed to be the front room of an actual house. We chose a few Bocadillos, which were very tasty, very cheap (2 euro or something), and came with a healthy amount of much-better-than-the-german-ones olives. We could work out most of the fillings, but one of the options translated on Andy’s dictionary as something like ‘Wide Openings’, we went with it to get an answer.
Tiny, pickled, very tasty fish.
We also got a couple with Calamari. I’m pretty sure that as a group we ate our way through at least 20 squid on the trip- with a large contribution by Marta, who I’m pretty sure would sell her grandma for some good calamari.
(Above photo also from Marta)
One of these churches is not like the others!
The view from the other side: looking back down to the marina.
As it became darker, we headed to meet up with Rafa, a friend of a friend from the institute. Rafa is pretty much the kindest, most generous person I’ve ever met- he joyfully agreed to meet up with a bunch of strangers and, with some of his close friends, took us on a wonderful tour of some of the best eating and drinking in Palma, not only on the first night, but also the last two days of our visit.
Here’s the group of us at Bar Espana- which has some pretty killer Tapas!
(Photo from Marta)
Some new faces! On the far left- Carmen, a friend of Rafa’s, Then Marta, Andy, myself and Kuba, and our Chilean group member, who was smart enough to take an afternoon flight: Alvaro. Rafa is on the right.
I look pensive. Probably contemplating how I can fit a whole Tapas sandwich into my mouth in one go.
I think we must’ve been terrible company, although I do remember being amazed at Marta’s ability to be lively and social after a hard night of drinking, less than two hours of sleep, a flight and a very long day, so it might have just been me who was nearly fell asleep on top of her Jamon.
So we headed back to the boat, at a time when I supposed most Mallorcans were just beginning their evening, and melted into our beds.