Published: July 23rd 2006June 29th 2006
A week in Alcudia, Mallorca, with my husband, my sister and her husband ... hmmm I was a little worried - I thought it would be high rise and tacky... I was wrong! I found the old town of Alcudia and some Roman ruins, more later... We stayed at the Soliceto Apartments which were about 900 metres from the beach. The apartment was fine, and the property had a bar and restaurant, and a small pool, residents were allowed to use the larger pool of the hotel next door. There was a supermarket nearby and some cheap and cheerful restaurants and bars. The Gool Stadium restaurant next door served lovely breakfasts! The weather was supberb - very hot. The beach was great - big and busy - the sand was fine and the sea was shallow and warm. There were a number of bars on the beach - from which Carol and I had ice creams, and David and Dave had a number of beers!!! We ate most evenings in the port/marina area which was touristy and busy, but not tacky at all. We walked up along the Marina a couple of nights and spent some time in an Italian cafe
called Cafe Milano - which was great - chic, restful, quiet and with a lovely Italian barman which always helps! We went on a half-day boat trip to Cap Formentor - which gave us a chance to see the stunning scenery and once there to swim in crystal clear water.
Some of the best bits for me where when I went off on my own exploring, either because the others were watching the football on the television (apparently there was a football world cup on!!!), or early one morning before they had all properly surfaced. On my first walk into Alcudia - it was Saturday afternoon and England were playing football. It seems in Mallorca that most sites shut from Saturday lunchtime to Tuesday, so it was pretty quiet. I walked from the Gool Stadium restaurant where everyone was settling down to watch the football on the big TV, towards Alcudia. It was hot and as the road slowly climbed I saw some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. As I neared Alcudia itself, I could clearly see the Church of St Jaume - it was built between 1870 and 1893, on the site of the original church from
the 14th century. It is in a Neo-gothic style and looked very imposing perched on the top of the hill, to me it looked a little like a big box, made of sandy coloured stone, with a stained glass round window and a turret at the front, and without many windows. Then as I got a little closer I could see some Roman columns and ruins in front of it - I got very excited! I continued into the town, and saw the medieval walls that surround it, and walked towards the Church, it was shut so I was not able to go in. So i turned away from it an I walked through the town, sometimes by the side of the old walls, down little, narrow, winding lanes/paths many not big enough for a car. It was very quaint and in some ways reminded me of a smaller version (much smaller) of Jerusalem. It was really lovely. I walked to the centre and saw the Ajuntament - which I think is probably the equivalent of a town hall. It was lovely - with a French style ornate clock tower. Just to the side of it was a little piazza
with a restaurant/cafe and umbrellas to provide shade - so European! I walked around some more, up and down the little, twisting streets to a section of the medieval wall that you could actually walk along, I clambered up the steps and saw some lovely views over to the peninsular of Formentor. I continued to walk around and saw some of the gates or towers that were set at various points along the wall. The wall is about 6metres high, and there were 26 towers. The perimiter of the walls stretches 1.5km. One set of gates had a portcullis, whilst another had a projecting parapet which apparently enabled the residents to pour boling water or drop stones on the enemy below! It was very hot but it was great to look around. I then tried to go into the Roman Amphitheatre, but it was closed until Tuesday, so I walked back to find the others dealing with England being knocked out of the football world cup!!
Then, of course, I walked back to Alcudia on Tuesday morning to see the Roman ruins. There were hardly any other visitors to the site so it was easy to wander around and
to take photos. The site contains the ruins of a Roman town called Pollentia - they were discovered in the 16th century. Apparently they found a veiled bust of Augustus (who I studied in my OU Roman history course). I didnt see the bust, I presume it is in the museum which I did not visit. The first proper excavations took place in 1923 and are ongoing, only being interupted by the Spanish civil war. The first part of the site comprises the remains of a residential area. You can clearly see the layout of the houses, and there are steps between rooms and the roadway, and there are some columns still standing too. The next section is the forum, which would have been the centre of the city. It was not so clear to see the layout of the buildings in this part of the site, but according to the information there are the remains of a temple and some 'trade' buildings. At the bottom of the site was the bit I really wanded to see - the remains of a small Roman amphitheatre. It was dug out of the rock, which is unusual for Roman amphitheatres. It was
of course a recreation and entertainment centre for the citizens. The seating area was clear to see, as was the stage area and the orchestra pit. At a later stage part of the seating area was used as a necropolis and graves were dug into the rock. I loved it - I had it all to myself and it was great fun sitting on the seating imagining plays, or fights or other sort of entertainment, or announcements taking place in the 1st century AD. I worked out how to use the timer on my camera, so had even more fun setting it, running to a seat and taking photos of myself!! I stayed there for quite a while, until a couple came and I thought I had better leave them to enjoy it to themselves!
My preconceptions were wrong, and I think that you can find some lovely, unspoilt partsof Mallorca - the north of the island seems to be the least developed and from what I can tell, from the little I saw, it is has beautiful scenery too.
There are more photos below