A Trip to Formentor, Soller and Palma
We squeezed in a short off-season holiday to Majorca with a rough idea of the places we were going to stay. Sibs is the kind of person who generates a lot of ideas and abandons them just as quickly. If she asks me a question there’s a good chance the reply will be redundant before I’ve finished saying it. If I get the timing right, I can bounce from question to question without actually being involved in the solution.
Ryan Air Safety Record
I’m getting used to Ryan Air now. Being on their planes used to worry me ever since I landed with a flaming wing and thick black smoke billowing past my window. A woman screamed and I started calculating the odds of various survival scenarios, but other than that no-one seemed to notice it. We landed ok and I later deduced that a hydraulic pipe had burst when they started applying brakes on the runway at landing speed. It must have been spraying oil into the engine. As I was leaving I saw a maintenance enclosure wrapped around the wing and found no mention of it anywhere in the airport or on the internet.
Now I’m using Ryan Air again, I felt compelled to do a bit of research which revealed that it actually has a better safety record than most of the other airlines. Elsewhere I found an unofficial professional opinion that ‘having permission to operate in the EU is enough proof that the airline is safe’. All the research I did pointed to Ryan Air being at least as safe as any other serving Europe, bearing in mind that Europe has very tight restrictions that are strictly applied.
On this trip out I was next to the emergency exit. The male steward explained what to do to the women sitting on the other side of the plane but assumed that I would be ok. In actual fact I’d rather be told. Whilst a pack of wild-eyed feminists battered him unconscious with their handbags, I figured out that the door consists of a shielded lever that unlocks a panel that you can kick out at the bottom. Once I figured that out I had the compulsion to do it immediately. I was a bit trigger happy about it and I’m fairly stable… what you don’t need is a stressed out person in this seat for sure.
Strategic Holiday Planning
Sibs is streets ahead of me when planning a holiday. In this case, the weather was going from sunny to rainy over a 4 day period and she arranged for us to be in Pollenca and Formentor for the sunshine and sea, then Soller for the Deia to Soller walk and Palma for the rainy day shopping.
For the sunny days, we stayed at the Daina hotel in Pollenca which was a pleasant experience in itself and we made the most of the sunshine by swimming at Pollenca and taking the ferry to Formentor. Even in October, the temperature is around 27°C.
In the evening we went to Sibs favourite restaurant but that didn’t work out as well as it did last year. Last year we liked it a lot. After we ordered, the waiter said the food was delayed and that we should buy something while we waited. We weren’t interested. He didn’t give up until it got awkward. That made me suspect he was a bit of an oily character right there, and I began to dislike his beard, pale blue eyes and casual attitude.
The food was ok, but all the reviewers on TripAdvisor thought it was great. It was also more expensive than the other places, and I ended up eating some kind of beetroot rice arrangement that they served as if it was amazing. I guess I’m not into pretend sophistication about a bowl of red rice with chicken on top.
When we paid, the waiter seemed to be anticipating keeping several pounds extra as a tip we hadn’t offered. We had already paid a lot for not much and it was a stupid price for a bowl of red rice in the first place. Sure enough, he didn’t return with our change, so we waited. We waited for a good long time! Eventually, he got the message, recovered the bill from underneath some others on a spike, found some change and brought it back to the table. Thanks a lot, oily dude, being around you makes me feel a bad.
Personally, I’m not keen on being bullied in general, and I didn’t think much of this guy in particular. Despite what TripAdvisor says, this place is in the bin as far as we are concerned.
Soller Port & Town
After the sunshine and swimming at Pollenca, we decided to move on to Soller Port initially, but it was a bit more downbeat than Pollenca.
When we got to the tired looking hotel room we found a massive Cockroach or Cicada in the middle of the bed looking very healthy but not very attractive. After a while, it made a dash for the window and I let it out. These things are scarily clever for their size.
Then Sibs said something about bed bugs, so we worried about cockroaches and bed bugs all night and vowed to move to Soller Town where the Deia to Soller walk ended.
(Note: to be fair, there isn’t a problem, the bug probably flew in by mistake, it didn’t live there. The bed bugs issue didn’t exist, but it’s one of those things you can’t un-think. It was kind of amusing at the time but don’t let it put you off – you are unlikely to encounter any issues like this).
Deia to Soller
After navigating from the port to the town using the tram on Sunday morning, we booked into a really nice place which cost the same as the slightly iffy one by the sea. After settling in we took a bus to the small town of Deia which was wrapped around the main road that looped around a hill.
We found the track and began the walk to Soller. The ‘Maps.me’ iPhone app saved us from getting lost at numerous points although a local had said you can’t get lost. I disagree – do take a paper map at least and using a tracker on your phone to keep you heading in the right direction will save a lot of headaches. The Maps.me app doesn’t need an internet connection to work, just your GPS position so its ideal for getting around like this.
We both enjoyed this walk enormously and we recommend doing it although it does take several hours to complete. Along the route, we found a place that sells orange juice for 3 euros per glass, and later on a home café where we ate quiche. Goats cheese is probably the worst flavour ever discovered. The path was part sunny part shade, with trees giving welcome shade from time to time. I think we both recommend this walk.
We spent an evening in Soller Town, it was a really nice place to be, and with a lot more going on than I expected.
During the night I was bitten in several places by mosquitoes and also lost sleep trying to kill them as they flew close by. One got me in the ear! I hadn’t really considered taking mosquito spray to Majorca before, but now I’m pretty bumpy all over and it itches a fair bit. It took about a week to recover and a bit of repellent would have made things better.
Note: this mosquito bite was inside my ear and turned into a big issue later on, causing problems for months. It’s definitely worth doing something to protect yourself from these critters. Sibs was bite free as usual.
Back to Palma
We spent our last day in Palma because it was scheduled to be rainy. Soller was pretty wet but as soon as we cleared the mountains the sunshine came back and it was a good day. However, to the North East of the island, a flash flood had formed in Sant Llorenc and cars piled up in the streets. It was a serious situation, and a couple on holiday just like us drowned in a taxi on the way to the airport. We had no idea it was happening.
On the Way Home
On the flight home I shared a row with a woman who wasn’t happy to give my window seat back to me. I got the impression that being graceful wasn’t on her radar. When I asked her to move, she threw her belongings across the seats and made a big noisy fuss about unstrapping herself with lots of sighing and banging the furniture. Since she couldn’t keep her arms in her own space, we ended up skin-to-skin on my side of the armrest for the entire trip back.
There are things about travelling that I’m not so keen on. She was one of them; the waiter was the other. The actual place was good to visit though.
This article has been getting a lot of attention lately, for reasons that aren’t clear. I have reworded some of it to safeguard against any unintended consequences of my comments. Majorca is a great place to visit and I will be going again. The situations mentioned here could occur in some shape or form anywhere you go.