Mallorca (Part IX) – Day 5: Picture-Perfect Pollença
What is about to follow should carry a health warning. A place which is so inexplicably stunning that photographs can barely carry the burden of the beauty that they must nurture between their two dimensions; a landscape of such paradisal similitude that words alone can barely acknowledge the almost unfathomable idyll of this earthly heaven. What is about to follow is the town and port of Pollença on Mallorca’s Northern coast.
Since first seeing a photo of the port of Pollença, its faultless panorama of distant misty mountains behind a crystal aquamarine sea, in a booklet advertising the various branches of my favourite of all cafés, Cappuccino Grand Café, I knew that I had to visit. But tucked away in a little natural marina, surrounded by vast rocky outcrops and large irregularly shaped mountains, and situated at the very Northern tip of the island, Pollença seemed to me as it looked: an almost unobtainable dream-town, far from reach, and always left to another trip. But on this triumphant return to Mallorca, I was determined to make the journey to this paradise on earth, no matter the effort it took, and in so doing feast my eyes on the town which had inspired writers like Agatha Christie, and artists like Anglada-Camarasa, while also enabling me to tick the final Cappuccino of Mallorca off my list – the last of the café’s branches in which I would unapologetically indulge.
As it turned out, Pollença wasn’t all that difficult to get to from Palma. All it took was a direct bus service from Palma’s main transport hub in the Plaça España and a journey of around 1hr 15 mins (at the cost of around 6 euros each, one way). The only downside was that the buses weren’t regular. We took a bus at around 12.30, but were restricted to taking a return bus at around 19.15 (since the only one in between would only have given us just over an hour in the port) – however this extended stay gave us time to explore the town of Pollença in addition to the port, something which I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
Now I won’t lie. When we reached the port and got out of the bus, I wasn’t sure we had arrived in the right location. Assuming the port to be something of elysium, I was surprised when we were dropped off in a busy run of the mill seaside resort, with souvenir shops and restaurants aplenty. My partner and I exchanged seriously sceptical glances – maybe we would have to take that early bus back after all. But we shouldn’t have worried. Just a short stroll eastwards out of the centre and the beach starts getting nice – really nice. The waters make you want to rip off your clothes there and then and jump in the crystal cerulean elixir, the soft golden sand tempting you to roll about in its soft embrace, feeling its tiny clean granules slink and slip their way between your toes and into every fold of your clothes.
But of course we resisted, for what we saw, looming in the distance like a heavenly mirage in a dessert was Cappuccino, in a location every bit as splendid as the photographs suggested – set in a decadent old hotel directly overlooking the waterfront, and benefitting from tables jutting out to sea on a little decked pier, a pier on which, to our great fortune, a table in the front line seemed to wait for us, beckoning us to sit and enjoy what must have been one of the most stunning views I have ever enjoyed over lunch.
And so there, listening to the tranquil jazz of Pepe Link’s Cappuccino soundtrack, back on their finest albariño white wine, and tucking into yet more samplings from their faultless kitchen, we were in such an ecstacy of pleasure that for a time, we actually went silent. How on earth can life be so beautiful? Is it truly possible to be sat in front of a earthly view of paradise, benefiting from the full strength of a glorious Spring day’s sun, when only a couple of hours away in the UK, it was snowing?!
Our disbelief at the beauty of Pollença’s Cappuccino was only augmented further when, taking the “pine walk” along the almost 180 degrees curve of the bay, we found ourselves ambling along a path dappled with sunshine as it bled through the branches of lush, hanging pines extending over the sea, contrasting in deep verdant tones against the pure paradisal blues of those waters. I have never seen sights like it.
While we could easily have stared at the port of Pollença all day, time was inevitably ticking fast, and with only 2 hours until that bus back to Palma, we thought we had better visit the town of Pollença itself. Situated around 6km inland from the port, Pollença is a small labyrinthine town which benefits from a stunning situation against a backdrop of foreboding granite mountain cliffs, rising like a volcanic explosion out of the ground behind the town. At its centre, a charming Plaça Major is full of bustling little cafes and nobbly looking trees, while all around, little narrow streets are flanked by green shutters and cosy stone houses. But undoubtedly the most stunning sight of Pollença, and something which for us was completely unexpected, is the Escalera del Calvari, a steep straight 365-step cypress-lined stairway which leads up to a simple chapel and some pretty spectacular views. The staircase is understandable the town’s most treasured landmark and makes for something of an aweinspiring sight when you turn out of the Plaça Major and see the steps looming in the distance.
Of course as soon as we saw the stairs, we knew we could not leave Pollença without reaching the top, and that is exactly what we did, bounding at first up those steps before slowing down to an agonising but thrilling climb, turning every few steps to see the view of the town, transforming from stone houses to roof tops, flanked more and more by the bigger and stunning mountains as we got higher – all the way to the top where the view, stretching all the way out to sea was just phenomenal.
And it was up there, at the top of the Calvary stairs, that I had a realisation of just how perfect this trip to Mallorca had been, each day an adventure of some new and beautiful location, a trip on which Palma had become like a home to us, and Mallorca had opened its arms to us in a gastronomic, artistic and historical embrace. And here we were, each day getting better and better until, at the very end, we climaxed at this highpoint of the trip, both physically and metaphorically, at a high point of the island, looking over the roof tops of beautiful Pollença, and with a trip of truly treasured memories now behind us.
And as for the journey down – while yes, it felt almost symbolic, forewarning of our return home to reality the following day, we were also able to stride confidently, knowing for certain that this will not be our last ascent of that stairway, nor our last adventure on this wonderful island. With so much more to explore, and such joy in the repetition of revisiting those places we have loved so much, how could we not return to the incredible island of Mallorca?
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- Mallorca (Part I) – Day 1: Banoffee bienvenido back to the good life (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part II) – Photography Focus 1: Semana Santa (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part III) – Day 2: Port d’Andratx and Es Baluard (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part V) – Day 3: Moorish Mallorca and the Sóller Ferrocarril (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part VI) – Food Focus 2: Simply Fosh (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part VII) – Day 4: Palma, city of art (daily-norm.com)
- Mallorca (Part VIII) – Photography Focus 2: Modernista Architecture (daily-norm.com)