Hike to Torre de Estellella

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Some people call them torres, which is Spanish for tower. Some people call them the watchtowers. But the real cool people in the know, call them atalayas. I will call them watchtowers…. even though I’m still cool. 🙂 At least I think I am and that’s half the battle, right?

A loooong time ago, Mallorca had a bit of a pirate problem. Who didn’t in the years 1200 – 1600s? Seriously. Especially with the famous Redbeard pirate (aka Hayreddin Barbarossa) hayreddin barbarossa and his brothers. In 1530 Barbarossa captured the castle of Cabrera and set up camp there to use as his base. They would storm towns in Mallorca and if you were lucky they would only steal your possessions and burn your home. Not so lucky, they were killed or taken as slaves. Due to the constant menace of pirate attacks a series of lookout and defense towers were built across the island.

There were 84 towers built in the 16th century on the island but only about 50 them still exist today. Some are in good to great condition and some are deteriorating rapidly. The majority of them were built without foundations, the towers generally had between two and four levels and can be square, rectangular or circular in shape. The entrance was several meters above land and was reached by a rope ladder.

Joan Binimelis from Manacor designed a simple communication system of smoke signals during the day and fires at night. With it, neighboring watchtowers could be alerted, and the information was passed from tower to tower to the Almudaina in Palma.

I see these watchtowers all around Mallorca and while I knew they existed to warn villagers, towns, etc of pirate attacks I love learning even more about how they worked and when they were built. You can usually check out most of them. Some you can enter but most are closed up and you can just walk around it. Kinda like the one I like to hike to in S’Estanyol. I wrote about my hike to the lighthouse here but you can extend that and hike about 20-25 minutes more and get to the Torre de Estellella. It’s a non-strenuous walk along the coastline and the end site is worth it. Think of the history! The pirates! The people watching for those silly pirates! Arrggghh.

Here is how to get there:

S’Estanyol is a small town in the southeast of Mallorca, to arrive you would follow the MA-6015 to the end (arriving at S’Estanyol) and turn right. Park at the end of the road, after the S’Estanyol Club Nautico and get ready for your hike. Walk along the beach and you can either stay on the coastline or walk on a path through the pine trees. They smell so good! Follow the FAR signs. FAR is lighthouse in Catalan (faro in spanish). Just keep following that and soon you will arrive at the rocky coast where you will find this beautiful lighthouse.

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We always like to stop here for a beer. A picnic is a wonderful idea too. To continue onto the watchtower just keep along the water walking away from S’Estanyol and towards Cala Pi. The path will curve to the right and soon you will have the watchtower in sight.

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And the view towards the sea ain’t too shabby either.

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If these walls could talk. I would love to hear the stories!

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And there you have it. If you are in my neck of the woods please stop by Torre de Estellella. We would love to see you. Don’t forget the camera and some sunscreen! See ya there.

Bring That Aston Down, Girl

Let me tell you. I am pretty damn proud of myself. No, I didn’t find a cure for cancer (i wish) and no, I didn’t figure out the answer for ridding the world of racism and terror (i really wish) BUT I did drive an amazingly kick-ass car down from Germany to Mallorca all by myself. Yep. Just lil ole me.

That car would be an Aston Martin and it costs a bit more than my old Ford Probe did (God, I loved that car – even had a sunroof). I won’t bore you too much with the drive because it can get a bit tiresome driving 8ish hours for two days straight. But I can also comment on two hotels, the ferry and some good tunes. Let’s hit the road!

First, I gotta fly to Germany. That’s Port d’Alcúdia you can see down there.

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Headed out on a rainy Saturday around 10 a.m. and took a sweet road which took me through twists and turns of a deep and dark German forest. Gosh, the forest can get dark so quick. I kept an eye out for deer that might jump in front of the car but only saw two of those majestic creatures in one of the farmland pastures: along with many cows, horses and some birds. I had to get on my phone navigation once before I hit the A44, then to the A7, then A5, then A63, then A6 and THEN A31. And then I would be getting into Dijon, France.

I made a few roadtrip CDs, a mash-up of songs that are new and old. One of my favorite new bands is Portugal. The Man. Have you heard of them? They seriously rock. Check out “Feel It Still”.

“Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now I been feeling it since 1966, now Might be over now, but I feel it still.” I rocked out man. The. Man.

The drive to Dijon was a lot of highway. And France has a lot of tolls. But you roll with it. When choosing a hotel I looked for a place that wasn’t too far off the highway and of course a good price. I wasn’t sure what time I would arrive and I definitely wasn’t going to be doing any sight seeing on this road trip. My hotel was in Arc-Sur-Tille, which is only 20 minutes from Dijon. And my hotel was L’Hotel D’Arc (naturally). It was super cute, good price of 95 euro for the night and the hotel dude was friendly and spoke English (thank you). The room with a view!

No restaurant at the hotel so they recommended a restaurant down the street next to the supermarket – La Table d’Arc. It was okay. There were lots of French people there eating and drinking and having a good time so it must be the place to hang out. I did find a piece of plastic wrapping in my chicken caesar salad which I did not like, they didn’t speak any English (which is okay, I AM in their country) and I had to flag down the waiter for everything after ordering my food – some water, a glass of wine, the bill. So, yeah, only okay.

Alright, it’s Sunday morning I must get myself and the car to Girona. We will be taking the A6, then the A7, then A9 and then AP-7. There was MUCHO MUCHO traffico on the roads! I had a lot of traffic jams around Lyon. And I had to drive through it, but it looked like a cool city to check out someday. Interesting architecture and the Rhone river runs through it. Also on the drive were loads of vineyards, next time defo stopping at one for some wine tasting. Starting in Narbonne and on the way down to Perpignan (I love saying all the French towns with a hard French accent). Try it – Perpignan, Montpellier, Lyon, Bordeaux. Fun, no?

I didn’t stay in the heart of Girona, remember I wanted to stay right off the highway. I stayed at Hotel Costabella. This place was a bit difficult to find (for me) and the room was really crappy, the sink wouldn’t drain and the room smelled cigarette smoke – even though they said no smoking and you would be fined if you did. I asked for a different room but they were completely booked for the night. The good things – very friendly staff, the dinner was excellent (i had gazpacho and then salmon for my entree) and I enjoyed the sauna. I always enjoy a sauna. Also, a big parking area which another thing I looked for in my hotel choices with such an expensive sports car.

Alright, finally Monday and the day to get home. Yipppeeee! I miss Felix and my kitties. I drove to the port in Barcelona in about an hour and a half from Girona. Got my Trasmediterranea boarding ticket for me and for the car (I reserved online about two weeks before), headed to the car area and we had to wait about 30 minutes before they let the cars on the ferry. Parked it here:

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Then headed upstairs for the eight hour journey from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca. I didn’t have a seat or cabin reserved so it was a bit difficult to find a spot at first. But after about 20 minutes after boarding they opened the “restaurant” area and I dashed in for a seat next to the window with a table and set up camp. Got bored with that after an hour or so but enjoyed watching us pull out from the port and head into the open sea.

I read my book, cleaned up my desktop on my computer, read a little more and then ventured outside. They had this tiki bar area set up at the top so that was kinda fun but again you can only sit for so long before getting bored of that too. It overlooked other car parking and then finally we started to see Mallorca show up on the left hand side.

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And finally I was home.

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August 31, 1997

What were you doing August 31, 1997? I remember exactly where I was the day Princess Diana died. I was a bit obsessed with Diana. Guess I still am. My mom had this picture book of her in glorious outfits, meeting orphaned children and some of the princes, William and Harry. I must have looked through that book at least a hundred times.

Which is why I can picture myself exactly when I found out the news about her tragic death. I was on a vacation with my girlfriends (my Dallas roommate, Nancy and her friends) in San Diego, CA. God that was a fun trip. I remember beach and keg stands. Yeah, good times.

And then we came back to our hotel room, turned on the TV and heard the news. Princess Di killed in a high speed car crash in Paris, by the paparazzi that you knew would end her life in one way or another. And I took a picture of the TV –

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That is how the picture came out with this freaky red all around it. It thought it was kinda weird. RIP Princess Di. You are missed but never forgotten.

Travel Wishlist

There are so many places I am dying to go. Here are my top 5 places I cannot wait to travel to, where are yours?

Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko,Sunrise , vintage

JAPAN – Konnichiwa!! My first travel dream place is Japan. I picture myself walking through Japanese gardens dripping with cherry blossoms that gather at my feet, drinking rice wine and jamming out with my new Japanese friends at a karaoke in Tokyo. Did you see Lost In Translation? I had that movie on repeat for months. You will find me checking out the cool Japanese architecture, Mount Fuji and eating the freshest sushi ever.

 

iceland ICELAND – All I have seen about Iceland is how gorgeous it is. Amazing canyons, hot springs, black beaches, waterfalls and more waterfalls. And that Blue Lagoon that everyone Instagrams with clay on their face. It would be a road trip, which of course I love. In pictures it reminds me a lot of Norway. I would die to see the Northern Lights and would totally fall in love with a Puffin if I was able to find them.

 

 

portugal PORTUGAL. It is so close to me! I feel this might be the next one I actually get to visit. The others are at least a flight away while Portugal I could take the car on the ferry to mainland Spain and drive. Another road trip. I guess our family road trips from Oklahoma to Wisconsin or to Harlingen, TX drove me to love them (drove me – get it?) In Portugal I would drink port wine, explore the beautiful caves, visit a castle or two, snorkel in the Algarve and check out the forgotten temple. I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibility being there soon.

 

sa SOUTH AFRICA. My parents are planning on visiting South Africa for a month. And by golly I will be right there with them! I love traveling with my parents, we always have such a great time together. I’m not sure even a month will suffice, there is so much to see – Cape Town, a safari naturally, the amazing Blyde River Canyon, see the penguins on Boulder Beach, Victoria Falls and I’m sure soooo much more. I’m hoping this one is happening in the near future too. Maybe end of 2018?

 

 

The last one I’m struggling with because there are just way too many places I want to go! South Korea, Cuba, Hawaii, Greece, Turkey, Alaska, Australia but this one made it to number 5.

bali BALI, Indonesia – I want to live in a Bamboo house on one of their many sandy beaches and maybe just do that. But I won’t because there is just too many amazing things to see. I want to stand between the Lempuyang temple at sunset, play with the monkeys in the monkey forest, swing on the Ubud swing over the jungle, slide down the canal water slide. And so many jaw-dropping temples to gaze at for hours and hours.

 

 

 

 

A Weekend In New Orleans

SATURDAY

12:00  MEAUXBAR

You MUST hit this place for two hour unlimited mimosas (offered on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch). And I’m not talking about watered down mimosas that they bring to you. No Sireeee, you get fresh OJ and a bottle of champagne, plus some bitters, tinctures and um, shrubs (I asked about the shrubs but forgot what they said).

IMG_2162 So, you can add shrubs (whatever the heck those are), if you like greenery and want to be fancy. Ha. Okay, sorry. It was fabulous. The food is awesome too. Jeannie had the sweet potato hash and I had the petit dejeuner (the grits! the biscuit!).

The place is chic and the dinner menu looked superb as well.

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Meauxbar  –  942 N Rampart St, New Orleans   504.569.9979

2:30  We meandered around a bit in search of a cold brew coffee. And we ran into this funky camper covered in all kinds of stickers. Pretty fun. Not sure if it’s always parked on N Rampart St or it moves around. IMG_2185

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I promise, Jeannie really is happy. She’s just one cool chica.

We found our cold brew coffee! And headed back towards Bourbon St.

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3:30 Bourbon St to find the web cam

Back on Bourbon St. and it was packed with tourists with huge ass beers. Never saw one with a huge ass burger though. I couldn’t believe people were already drinking. I was only 3:30 in the afternoon! Oh, wait. Ahem.

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The day before we flew to NOLA, there was a hurricane building up and there was a chance it would hit New Orleans. Both of our airlines sent us messages about it and that we could change our flight. We decided to stick it out and thank goodness we did because it changed its path and we had no problems getting into New Orleans. BUT, I wanted ot check out the weather while here in Spain and I found this New Orleans web cam. And naturally it’s on Bourbon St. (it’s pretty entertaining to watch at all times) We were determined to find it and do a dance or something crazy. It’s on the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter. We found it, did our crazy dancing – did you see us? Go do it. Feel the web cam love.

4:00  St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, Café du Monde, some shopping on Decatur St. and finally a Bloody Mary.

Headed south on St. Peter to walk through Jackson Square on our way to Café Du Monde. A must stop for all people! Some great sites to see on the way.

The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States, built in 1718. I love cathedrals and this one is gorgeous.

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Jackson Square with of course – Mr. Jackson on a horse (not Michael). That would be Andrew Jackson, our seventh President of the United States. I wonder if this statue will be coming down? He was definitely on the side of favoring slavery and his role in Indian removal. Not what our country should idolize – even though I do understand that it is our history. So, shall it stay or shall it go? That is another blog post entirely.

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Alright, time for some chicory coffee and beignets at the famous Café du Monde. So YUM. The menu is quite simple: dark-roasted coffee with chicory (you can add milk for a café au lait), beignets, white and chocolate milk, hot chocolate, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. And the famous restaurant is open 24 -7, except for Christmas Day and when a hurricane gets too close for comfort.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

It’s a scrumdillyumptious as it looks. Now I want to go back immediately for more.

Café Du Monde    800 Decatur Street   504.525.4544

After getting extra caffeinated from our second coffee in a matter of an hourish, plus a nice sugar rush from the beignets we decided to do a little shopping on our way to get a Bloody Mary at Molly’s At The Market. Check out some of these hilarious finds. Decatur street is a fun street with stores, restaurants and for good ole people watching.

Some funny stuff found during our scouring of the stores.

Finally got to Molly’s at the Market for a Bloody Mary.

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7:00  Dinner at Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Time for some fried pickles and oysters. And don’t forget the Purple Haze.

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Usually there is a line to get in but it moves pretty fast. And there is not a single bad thing on the menu. My mouth is watering now for an oyster po-boy sandwich.

Felix’s Restaurant & Bar  

10:00   Taxi to Frenchmen St.

There is much more than just Bourbon St. for nightlife in NOLA. Frenchmen St. is pretty happening with lots of bars, music venues, buskers, etc. and here is where you will find the locals. Its more popular section is the two-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Our favorite stops where Maison, a live music venue where there is always a good band playing and a busker where you could yell out a word and he word make up a rap to it. We were dying to be chosen and our word for him was going to be …… PLATYPUS. I think he could’ve come up with something good.

I also was almost killed by these women on this portable swing thing. What in the world?

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Busker dude, doin’ his thing. Platypus!!!!

And The Maison. Good tunes.

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SUNDAY

11:30   Brunch at Red Dog Diner

Nothing like hair of the dog to get your day started. And this was a good one. It’s like a salad with your drink.

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My reuben sandwich was really good (but I think the normal rye bread choice would have been better then their choice of focaccia, jeannnie warned me) but Jeannie’s dish was the best – Huevos Rancheros with a side of grits. I stole some of everything when she wasn’t looking.

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Red Dog Diner    3122 Magazine St.   504.934.3333

1:00 Shopping along Magazine St.

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This six-mile-long stretch from the Garden District to Uptown is full of antique stores, boutique shops, art galleries and craft shops. We had probably a bit too much fun in one antique shop where everything we found somewhat scary (think anything with clowns, dolls, and general weirdness) we would hand it to each other saying, “this is for you…” in a creepy voice. It was quite a large store and we found the jackpot near the end. An extremely freaky wicker thing with a baby face coming out of it. Hard to explain and I wouldn’t let Jeannie take a picture for fear it would haunt us forever.

Lots of hip boutiques and the coffee shop across from the Red Dog Diner had great cold brew coffee and free wi-fi.

3:00 Check out a cemetery.

Whether it’s the famous St. Louis Cemetery (voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is buried here plus many other famous New Orleans peeps) or just one you happen to walk by, there are many around, go do a walk around. There will most likely always be someone wanting to give you a tour, your choice, but I think either way I think it’s something to see when in NOLA.

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The above ground tombs are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” Burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is very high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float. And nobody wants a floating casket.

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4:30 Garden District

Since we were already down by Magazine St. and had just checked out Lafayette Cemetery we decided to head up to St. Charles Ave and look at all the beautiful homes in the Garden District. You could make this into as long as you want, there are so many gorgeous places. I pretty much wanted to move into every house we saw. I loved the light blue upstairs patio ceiling on this one.

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7:00 Ghost Tour

You know there are ghosts in New Orleans. It’s one of the things they advertise! Ghosts, voodoo, fortune tellers and all that. And I love it all. I might have had to twist Jeannie’s arm to do a ghost tour because I guess it can be a bit cheesy but we did it. And it was so much fun. Plus we had a few ghost encounters on the tour. Are you a believer? Check out my blog post here for the whole scoop on the tour. But here was the place I found the creepiest of all. The Ursuline Convent. Oooohhhhooooooooghheeheh.

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9:30   Dinner at Coop’s Place

Back to Decatur St. for the best fried chicken in NOLA. I love the Zagat’s Guide description “Where the not-so-elite meet to eat”. It’s true. It’s a fun place with wooden bar tables and snarky waiters and a lot of fun and helluva good fried chicken.

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Coop’s Place  1109 Decatur St.

11:30   Fritzel’s European Jazz Club

Okay you guys, this place CANNOT be missed. They have amazing jazz bands here every night playing their heart out. I love listening to the trumpet, the bass, whatever instrument you want to play I am ready to listen. This was our perfect last stop for our fun-filled weekend. It’s the coolest place on Bourbon St. Want to hear the man sing? Click here. Man he is good!

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Fritzel’s   733 Bourbon St.    504.586.4800

Monday morning we hung out at the pool at our hotel – The Roosevelt (nice place! ask for a room higher than the 10th floor for some sort of view). We grabbed a taxi to get a Muffuletta from Central Grocery which is another must during your NOLA trip. You can thank me later. And then sadly our NOLA trip was over and we had to head to the airport.

New Orleans has so much energy and so many things to see and do and drink. Until next trip my friends! I hope you enjoyed the post and places to see as much as I did. xo