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Published: August 24th 2019
Today’s destination is the town of Soller which is about an hour’s drive south west of Cala Sant Vicenc on the island’s rugged west coast.
It was getting almost impossible to see through the dirt on the windscreen on the way out to Cap de Formentor yesterday morning, and our hire car came without any water in the washer. I stopped to buy a bottle of water, but after fifteen unsuccessful minutes spent trying to work out how to open the bonnet I gave up and poured the water directly onto the windscreen instead. I tell Issy that if she gets the bonnet open quickly this morning I’m going to return my two engineering degrees. I now need to work out where to send them.
The road to Soller takes us through the rugged Serra de Tramuntana mountain range which runs the full length of Majorca’s west coast. The scenery of the sheer granite cliffs and towering peaks is spectacular. The road is very steep and windy, and as was the case with the steep and windy road out to Cap de Formentor yesterday, it is crawling with cyclists grinding their way up the hills. To say that they
don’t look particularly happy would be a major understatement, and cycling uphill here looks like a particularly cruel and unusual form of torture. Cycling seems be a very serious business in Majorca. These aren’t your casual weekend riders; these guys are all decked out in lycra and ride very serious and expensive looking road bikes. The Google machine tells us that Majorca is now one of the most popular cycling destinations in the world. Teams that compete in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia often come here to train, so Majorca is one of the few places on the planet where semi-serious riders can share the road with the real pros. Serra de Tramuntana gets a special mention as a prime training route.
We stop for lunch at the coastal resort town of Port de Soller. Its well protected harbour is fringed with apartments and hotels behind a nice sandy beach. We climb on board the apparently famous tram, the Tranvia de Soller, which takes us five kilometres up the valley to Soller itself. The tram is apparently one of only two surviving original tramways in Spain (the other one’s in Barcelona), and it’s been operating since 1913.
Soller is a very cute traditional looking Spanish village. The town square, the Placa Constitucio, is surrounded by street cafes, and the 13th century Church of Sant Bartomeu towers over one side of it.
We drive back to Cala Sant Vicenc via the longer but very much quicker route which takes us through a long tunnel under the mountains. Cyclists aren’t allowed in the tunnel; they have to take the much longer, steeper and more tortuous road up over the mountains. I think that cyclists must really enjoy torture.
We eat at a restaurant over the road from the hotel, where most of the clientele seem to be British. I overindulge on sangria. The restaurant’s playlist sounds like it could have been designed specifically for me, and I can’t resist singing along. The owner comes out and shakes my hand as I belt out a rendition of Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet“ in accompaniment to the music. He says that it is a beautiful song, which I think might be code for “it was a beautiful song until you started singing it.” I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Ashes Tests which are in progress in
England at the moment. England was all out today for 67, which was their lowest score in an Ashes Test since 1948. I’m feeling very happy. The temptation to stand up and tell all the English people in the restaurant that their cricketers are a bunch of hopeless losers is almost irresistible. Almost irresistible. Issy then reminds me that the Brits outnumber us two Aussies here by about twenty to one, so I go back to singing instead. I’m not sure I’m going to feel all that healthy in the morning.
Tot: 0.421s; Tpl: 0.029s; cc: 47; qc: 167; dbt: 0.0429s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.8mb