W A T C H T O W E R : : P A L M A D E M A L L O R CA
W A T C H T O W E R : : P A L M A D E M A L L O R CA
S W A N L I F E @royal palace de l’almudaina||palma de mallorca
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.
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:
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.
And finally I was home.
Saint Sebastian is Palma de Mallorca’s patron saint and is honored for a week long during the end of January with each day becoming more and more adventuresome. Tonight there will be devils, fire and torradas. Will you dare the devils or will they dare you?
Devils aren’t part of the celebration of Sant Sebastià, they are from the fiesta of Sant Antoni but the two are celebrated in Mallorca at the end of January and they have kind of merged together. Which makes for one fun party! The devils come for you as the correfoc (firerun) continues on, careful for fireworks and devils spitting fire at you.
The correfocs are my favorite.
It’s cold in Mallorca so don’t forget your warm clothes, sausages for the torrada and you might want to forego that hairspray for the night.
(Pictures above taken by me January 2011)
Ahhhhh….. still thinking about my lovely time at Hammam Palma yesterday. A massage was definitely in order and it was a darn good one! Even got my face and scalp massaged. Have you ever been to a hammam, or Turkish bath? My first experience with one was a few years ago in Marrakech where I did the whole experience – steam, warm water sloshed over me with a bucket and then the fun begins; you are lathered up with black soap and then the attendant dons a loofah glove and vigorously exfoliates you from head to toe. Your body won’t know what hit it. And then off to a massage with oils. Heaven.
Yesterday was my first time at Hammam Palma. I had been searching for places for Felix and me to get massages. And it is seriously insane out there – either the place has closed for the winter season, closed on the weekends (what?!) or booked for months in advance. It was truly frustrating. Imagine my total glee when my email that was sent the night before was answered when I checked emails in the morning. And their answer was YES! All I had to answer was how long massage we wanted, our names and a phone number and we were booked. No calling and waiting, no giving a credit card. Thank you!
We arrived at 15:00 and were given towels and swim footwear to be worn inside the hammam. They want you to relax and experience the thermal bath and sauna for about an hour before your massage. They offer 15, 30 and 60 minute massages. They also offer the whole experience – black soap, exfoliation and massage if you wanted to be completely pampered. But just remember with the thermal spa you need to add an hour to whatever experience you choose. We scheduled an hour massage and were there two and a half hours.
It was so needed to take away stress and have a place that makes it easy and comfortable to do. I will be back very soon! Maybe I will do the complete experience next time. Stay tuned!
Hammam Palma ~ Calle Costa i Llobera 20, Palma de Mallorca 971.412.860
Here it is an official holiday for Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza & Formentera. The Day of the Balearic Islands is a public holiday in Mallorca. It is celebrated every year on the 1st of March, in commemoration of the signing of the Statute of Autonomy on 1st March 1983. The festivities are varied and include a variety of traditional markets, childrens activities, and concerts.