Mallorca (Part I) – Day 1: Banoffee bienvenido back to the good life
Mallorca, the biggest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is too often mistaken for being the haunt of booze-loving Brits, in pursuit of 24/7 clubbing, imported fish and chips, and roasting themselves red in the sunshine. Sure, that horribly embarrassing stain on the island presents itself in the form of the town of Magaluf and its immediate surrounds, but being that the town is on a self-contained peninsular, it can be very easily avoided. In the meantime, the rest of the island presents some absolute gems, natural landscapes which are so stunning, colourful and gigantic in scale and spectacle that the phrase picture-perfect doesn’t quite cover it. Meanwhile, in a semi-circular bay south of the island, the Mallorcan capital of Palma is a cultural hot bed, a city of effluvious and dynamic gastronomic, artistic, architectural and historical offerings and which, for the capital of a small island which is only 59 miles across, is quite incredibly self-sufficient in state of the art transportation, contemporary accommodation, boutique shopping and served by an ample airport close by.
It was to Mallorca, and more specifically its capital, Palma, that my partner and I went this Easter, escaping the unseasonably depressing frost-bitten lows of the current UK climate, welcoming in 2013’s official summer-time with temperatures which more appropriately beckoned in the summer season, and weather which showered gold sunlight upon an already magnificent city.
Day one was more of a half day, but that’s not bad. Despite getting up later than I would otherwise drag myself out of bed for work, and after ambling along to the airport for a midday flight, we were in Mallorca at 3pm local time, stripping off the layers of winter gloom, both clothing and spiritual depression, as we emerged into the glowing sunshine.
A short bus ride (made longer by the fact that we weren’t overly sure where to hop off) took us central to our hotel, the super chic Scandinavian owned Hotel Tres, where two roof terraces and a glass-sided plunge pool forged into the side of the terrace gave us ample platform to gawp at the stunning city-centre view of the immense gothic cathedral, La Seu, and gaze in wonder at the potent blue sky.
Our welcome to Palma was affirmed by a trip to the nearby Grand Cafe Cappuccino under the sun-drenched colonnades of the Palacio March. Cappuccino, my favourite cafe chain, which emerges from Mallorca but can also be found in my beloved Marbella and Valencia, is bound to feature often in my account of Mallorca. For we intend to make a point of sampling as many of the chain’s exquisitely atmospheric branches across the island as possible, whether they be by the beach or in the city centre. For Cappuccino is a café of consistently high quality, with a soundtrack compilation by Pepe Link which is effortlessly cool, mixing cool jazz and bossa nova with trendy club vibes in the evening. The service is always smooth, and the height of efficiency and the waiting staff easy on the eyes. And above all things the coffee and the food is well worth travelling to Mallorca for.
So there it was, under the hazy sunshine of an early Spring evening, that we were served what we had long been waiting for – two glasses of white wine, a plate of super-fresh sushi (sure beats airplane food) and the ultimate in dessert indulgence – an oozing, abundant, creamy and crumbly banoffee pie, a plate of such spectacular hedonistic pleasure that in that moment, as the cool caramel, smooth banana, heady cream and buttery biscuit base hit our palates, we were welcomed back to the good life, the ultimate in Spanish sun-drenched pleasure.
Welcome to Mallorca, the sunshine island, of crystal clear waters, lush mountainous landscapes, and a hearty Spanish vibe. Many posts will surely follow as I share with you my diary account of the trip, and above all things my vast panoply of photos. I therefore hope that through The Daily Norm, you too will journey with me straight into a Mallorcan summer, taking your first virtual holiday of the Spring.
I leave you with a few more photos of our walk that first afternoon, seeing the magnificent cathedral of Palma from up close and all around, revelling in the vivid blue skies, and gazing over to Bellver castle at sunset. There is much to follow…so see you there!
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