Pre-kids we loved nothing more than a European city break and enjoyed seeing the sights of Paris, Prague and Amsterdam to name a few. There’s nothing better than meandering along the cobbled streets, grabbing some local delicacies over a drink or 10 and just generally soaking up the atmosphere. On our recent summer holiday to Puerto Pollensa in the North of Mallorca, we decided to find some culture and take a day trip to Palma, the island’s capital and mecca for cruise ship liners! This would be the first experience of a European city (bar London) for the girls.
This trip (like the Pirates Dinner Night) booked through our Thomas Cook rep at a cost of 27 euro for adults and 13.50 for children. I’m sure there are cheaper options of getting to Palma, but for us the ease of knowing we would be picked up and dropped off at the hotel was worth it. You could add a tour of Palma cathedral onto the cost for another 13 euros per adult but we didn’t think the kids would be take much from this. Maybe when they are older, as it looked fantastic from the outside and was teeming with history.
The rep reminded us that if you asked at the reception the night before the restaurant would prepare a packed lunch for the day for free, so at 7.50am we waited eagerly for it to be made up. The bus was coming for us from the beach road at 8.15am so we knew it had to be speedy and it was there ready on time-each bag contained 2 rolls and sandwich stuff, a huge tomato, 2 pieces of fruit and bottle of water. We should have brought the rucksack!
It was already a gorgeous morning as we headed to the promenade where we were being picked up and lots of the cleaners and restaurant staff were hard at work swilling their terraces down for a bust days trading.
Heading to Palma
The bus arrived on time and we were greeted by our tour guide Miguel, who we jokingly referred to as Brendan (coach trip fame) all day. Miguel asked on board where everyone was from and it really was an mix-Denmark, Germany, UK (us!) Swedish and Danish were all mentioned. A lot of them also had their hotel goody bags so we weren’t alone. Impressively, he seemed to know all these languages and as the tour took us down the island he was repeating the facts in all the languages over the loud speaker. As the copious Fanta limon and Bacardis from the night before took its toll I soon nodded off and would wake up when I heard something in English. I did get the fact that nearly half of all the inhabitants of the Balearics live in Palma and the island has seen many a bloody battle including the Romans who claimed the island.
First stop on the tour was Bellver castle, a gothic style castle in the mountains above Palma – built in the 14th century it was home to many kings of Majorca. We didn’t have time to go inside and explore, so it was mainly to get some good shots of the views. Palma had in it’s port the largest ship in the Royal Caribbeans fleet ‘The Harmony of the Seas’, which we could see dwarfing all of the other ships in her vicinity. A lot of the American tourists from the boat we up at the castle and it was packed, so we headed back to the bus to make our way down into the port of Palma.
The bus dropped us off around 10am just in front of the cathedral on the water front with strict instructions to meet back at 4pm. As we had been on the bus a couple of hours we were in need of a coffee and cake fix so found a nice cafe called Cappuccino just up from the harbour-we spied a few of these around the town so must be a Spanish chain. The coffee in the hotel wasn’t great so it was lovely to have a proper cappuccino!
Heading up into the city centre we found the shops! Normally at this point the girls and Alan start moaning but for some reason they seemed quite amiable today. They headed to Kiko (i know we have one in Newcastle but still it seemed more exotic!) for sparkly lip glosses and nail polishes and our best find for the girls was a C&A.
I loved this shop when I was a kid and definitely lamented its disappearance from the UK high street-plenty of funky slogan t-shirts which Imogen is so keen on. The department store El Cortes Ingles was another lovely shop with their gorgeous designer kids section (no £3.99 tops like in C&A here) and massive perfumery.
As we meandered around I partook in another one of my favourite hobbies, for which I blame my mother for, looking in Estate Agents windows. If anyone has a few spare million euros there are some gorgeous beachfront properties for sale. Definitely out of our budget but a lass can dream!
We still were lugging around our packed lunch, complete with giant tomatoes, at this point so found a lovely park to eat them in next to a kids play area again just taking our time. The kids moaned that the play equipment was too hot to play on-something that doesn’t happen in UK but they had a good run around. Again, I was impressed just how clean and well kept this city was.
Alan was keen to try to attempt some Geocaches in Palma but this wasn’t too successful, being that the location instructions were unsurprisingly in Spanish. However, he managed a few and it lead us down to the harbour up to the historic windmills and along the bay checking out some yachts to fit in with the imaginary millionaires lifestyle.
The weather was HOT in Palma so we popped into a bar for fanta oranges before we hopped back on the bus.
The bus was away at 3.50pm so we definitely had a very timely bunch of passengers and we were back at the hotel in the pool by 5.30pm. This had been my longest time without a drink so I made up for it with Cava and poolside cocktails of Love on the Beach (definitely not Sex on the Beach). Another great day in Mallorca.