Published: September 20th 2011September 3rd 2011
We got into Mallorca this morning. Not totally thrilled about the hotel. Its pretty far outside of town and the buses only come every 20 minutes. It works though.
When we got in, all the rooms weren’t ready yet so we decided to head to wander around and head to bellver castle while we waited for our rooms to be available. Bellver Castle
The entire city of Palma is built on a hill that leads down to the port or up into the mountains. We headed up the steep narrow roads towards the castle, taking note of all the tiny allys and beautiful flowers.
When we entered the gates of the castle’s land, I could tell the original owners probably did not have too many dinner guests. Steps upon steps upon steps.
It took us about 25-30 minutes to climb up the 500+ stairs just to enter the castle, but boy was it beautiful. Even though it was built in the 14th century, it was very well persevered.
We explored around the castle and got some great views of the island from the top before we headed back to the hotel and checked in. The Caves
After checking in we headed off to Drach’s Cave.
This was very high on my list and after telling the rest of the group about it, they seemed pretty interested as well.
I mapped out the bus routes and we headed into town to the main transit station. On our way I had a very nice man sit next to me on the bus and in between the compliments, he gave me advice on different must-sees in Mallorca and good shops to go to. My Spanish seems to really be paying off.
The bus station even in Mallorca is large and can be quite confusing. I felt like we asked every worker what bus to take, where the busses were, how to get tickets, etc ,etc. You know how with a child you have to walk them through every little step? That’s how I felt we were. Everyone was extremely helpful though and soon enough we seemed to have it figured out.
We got our bus tickets and ate a ‘quick’ lunch while we waited. In spain, a quick lunch is never possible. If you sit down, you will be taking at
least an hour. Its part of the experience of eating out. But can prove to be difficult when you’re in a hurry so we ended up getting our food to go (another no-no in Spain).
Our bus ride to the caves was quite an experience. We ended up on the ‘local’ bus, which stops in every town, is apparently the local gossip hangout, and oh yea.. and has no air conditioning. It felt like the longest 2 hours of my life. Hot, sweaty, and very loud.
We finally arrived in Porto Cristo (where the caves are) and it was absolutely beautiful. The city is only a short strip of shops on the water, with houses then behind farther inland. The bay was lined with high cliffs and a small beach in the middle.
The caves themselves are just outside of town near the edge of the cliffs. We walked down a couple flights of stairs and into another world.
The cave was absolutely enormous. Cavern after cavern as far as you could see. It had so many different forms of stalagmites and stalactites as well, making it quite a lot to take in.
From tiny ones that covered every inch of the ceiling to massive towers that twist and turn to even carved out coves inside a rock tower.
There was a well laid out path that ran about medium height through the cave. You could look up at the formations or down the slope of stalagmites and see a crystal blue river running along the side of the cave and underneath the rock walls. Nothing lives in this water (at least as we could tell) so it sat almost perfectly still. And boy was it blue.
As we continued through the cave, about 30 minute walk (yes, that big of a cave), we finally reached our destination. The giant lake.
Drach caves have the largest underground lake in all of Europe. The cavern it was in was so massive you almost forgot you were underground!
The park puts on a wonderful show in the lake as well. Once they are sure everyone who has entered is in their seats overlooking the lake, they turn off all of the lights. Pitch Black.
Then out of what seems like air, lighted boats come drifting towards you. Classical music
begins. Slowly the water is lit up, but not like before, now it has an eerie glow to it.
The drivers of the boats were extremely well skilled and weaved in and out while the violinist and pianist sat passenger and played all the while.
Yes it was live music. No CD’s.
After the show we got the opportunity to leave the cave in style, on the boats themselves! Steph and I were the only two really wanting to so we waited. It was really cool to be able to touch the water and experience the lake first hand.
The only unfortunate thing about the caves is that in their preservation, no pictures are allowed. While we snuck a few, by the lake it was nearly impossible. I bought a book that has beautiful pictures in it and the ones here are what I could find online.
After the caves we had to head back quickly to meet the rest of the group for dinner. I would have liked to spend more time in Porto Cristo; it seemed like a very nice city.
Well maybe next time!
There are more photos below