Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magical Mallorca! Bon Nadal!

Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful, you just want to weep with appreciation for the opportunity to be there? I have now - after a weekend in Mallorca, Spain. Mallorca is an island off the East Coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. It is widely considered a “party” beach destination and a popular vacation spot for Europeans – I get the sense not a lot of Americans know about this paradise. Well I am unleashing the secret.
Some notable connections to Mallorca: (1) My sweet, wonderful New York friend, Deya Warren, is named for the Mallorcan town of Deia – where her parents were married years ago. We were so happy to enjoy the charm of Deia and to know the city’s beauty and the tremendous beauty of Deya herself are matched. (2) The other reason you may know of Mallorca is that Spaniard Raphael Nadal, the famous tennis player, lives on Mallorca.
So we went to Mallorca, taking off 3 hours away in Dortmund, Germany. You know us, anything for a deal and the flights were half as expensive there versus Brussels! Plus, Kirk’s company provides us with a car and free gas within the country of Belgium, so why not? We awoke at 2 AM and traveled to meet our 6:30 AM flight. Connor was an angel transferring from crib to car to plane and sleeping on cue. She was so cute because when we arrived in Mallorca we didn’t change her out of her PJs until we landed and retrieved our rental car – so she made her fashionable Mallorca debut in her white fleece jamies.
We were lucky that we hit picture perfect weather the first day when we landed so we wasted no time heading toward Cap de Formentor on the Northern coast. Throughout the entire weekend we joked that we thought we had the entire island to ourselves, because clearly it is the off season in this tropical destination. But it meant lots of room for negotiation on hotels et al and was perfect because we enjoyed all the sites solo. When we were driving to the Cap de Formentor, neither of us had any idea the treat we were in for. The landscape is so unusual and spectacular with the rock formations embracing you from above and cradling you from below. Connor of course wouldn’t sit still for any photos, but she LOVED dancing along the lighthouse courtyard with “frog” as she had the entire place to herself. It was an hour I won’t ever forget – the type of experience someone should pinch you to be sure is real - the 3 of us in paradise, all alone, and Connor skipping and shrieking with laughter.
We then went to Port de Pollenca for lunch at a seaside cafĂ© and then to the Lluc monastery about an hour away towards the west. The monastery was so serene and calming. There was what I can only call a “prayer hike” that must be where the monks went to pray and meditate that looked out over the lush countryside. I could only think about Psalm 23 with the green pastures.
If you don’t feel God’s presence here, then you won’t ever – I am convinced. Connor’s favorite part of the monastery though was petting the “kitty”!!!
Mallorca is the type of place where ALL of the streets give Lombard Street in San Francisco a run for its money with all the continuous hairpin twists and turns around the mountains (note, not a place for the carsick!) You know me and my picture-taking addiction --- poor Kirk had to keep stopping mid turn on the side of the road for me to soak it in and photograph. But again, since no one else was around this worked out ok.
We then went into the lovely town of Deia and finally to our most delightful La Vila Hotel Soller in Soller. I am not sure I have ever experienced such generous and personal service – even at The Ritz. It might have something to do with only 2 of the 12 rooms being booked, but honestly the hotel was the cherry on top of our trip – right in the central square, with freshly squeezed orange juice and lots of tickles and genuine grins all around for Connor from the staff. Soller is this incredible valley town with terraced citrus farms nestled in the most gigantic mountains with a rocky exterior unlike any mountains I have ever seen. The orchards were brimming with lemons and oranges (at this time of year? who knew?!?!) and it was all I could do not to jump in and pick them.
The next 2 days we did have our share of rain and hail amidst bright sunshine. Such is island life I suppose. We saw the Torrent de Parais in San Calobra with the bluest waters I have ever seen – even in the midst of a hail storm!
And we traveled to the enchanting town of Valldemossa – enjoying their “potato cake” rolls and the streets filled with plants and custom tiles honoring Santa Catalina Thomas on each address.
We particularly enjoyed Port de Soller where we drove to the lighthouse overlooking the bay and then on the final day – in the midst of a torrential downpour – we took in the glamour of the Palma Cathedral in the island capital city.
I cannot even imagine how magnetic this island must be with sunshine as I fell head over heels in the rain! If anyone wants to visit then know you won’t have to twist our arms too much to return. Although it is hard to know how much of the attraction was the fact that we were there without a crowd. I could go on and on about Mallorca, but will have to close this entry out. Enjoy Mallorca through our eyes!
Connor’s new words and milestones: New words include “orange” and “Adios” and “Ola” She also proudly says that the rooster says “Cock do do” (close enough) and to our amazement she is starting to chime in as we count to 10 with her --- her favorite numbers being “Two” and “Eight”!
Click here for Mallorca Full Album (a warning, there are over 200 photos - sorry I just couldn't help myself, nor could I weed out any more!)

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