We decide on our next day off not to stray too far as we'll be doing more sightseeing and driving around when my parents arrive tomorrow. So we head for lunch in Santa Ponsa before a trip into Palma to see a few things we'd missed on our last visit as we were in a bit of a rush. We're still finding our way around Santa Ponsa too, so I suggest to Greg let's try somewhere new to eat, but like creatures of habit we end up in the same place we've ate lunch before. When we get into Palma, there's some kind of book festival going on and everywhere we turn there are tables and tables of books. We carry on through Plaza Mayor and follow my rather ropey sat nav for what seems like miles to reach Plaza del Toro. I had found information about the place whilst looking up something else and it looks quite cool so I thought it would be worth a visit. Its a bullring which you can visit inside on days when there are no bullfights (note – i'm dead against bullfighting but it looks a spectacular builiding and I'm curious know more about
the history). We end up in what seems to be the ghetto of Palma and yet still no sign of the bullring. But after another ten minutes we eventually stumble upon it, and it looks very closed indeed. And I mean closed in a 'has been closed for a very long time' kind of way. I'm severely confused as it has reviews on trip advisor from 2019 and it also says it is open. I google it again in case i've made a mistake but can't seem to work it out as the directions keep bringing me back to where we are. Oh well, its another mystery… Still I tell Greg we should walk all the way round in case we are missing something, but he tells me to just leave it and move on. We end up having an argument about it as I am determined it does exist, and along the way we stumble across a Chinese supermarket which is something we've been hoping to find since we arrived. And I don't mean a chino bizzare selling all the tat of the day, I mean a proper chinese food supermarket selling all things chinese-y. It helps to pacify
us and we're chuffed to stock up on chilli bean paste and sesame oil again.
We walk the rest of the way around the bullring and its most definitely not open. I'm starting to feel the afternoon is a bit of a wash out and a wasted trip. But we are also here to visit a little cafe/museum of horrors called Transylvania cafe which again I had stumbled upon online but am now dubious exists. Thankfully its nearby but Google maps decides to take us on another wild goose chase as whatever direction we point the phone, it tells us the cafe we are looking for us straight ahead. We have to rely on our instincts instead and luckily find it 2 minutes later. We walk in to a guy just staring at us before he quickly recovers and introduces himself as the owner and creator of all the figurines inside, which he is clearly passionate about. I'm not sure what I was expecting and its smaller than I had expected it to be, but its still a cool little cafe with homemade horror wax figurines such as the clown from IT, Freddy Kruger and Mike Myers from halloween.
The owner explains he also does the prosthetic make-up for theatre companies as well and has lots of pictures of his work. We have a few very reasonably-priced beers on our table made out of a coffin and soak up the atmosphere. We decide we can't be bothered to cook tonight so grab a homemade pizza base which is nice and quick and will do the trick whilst we wash it down with a few beers and a movie. Inspired by the spooky cafe, we watch nightmare on elm street as Greg has never seen it before. I forgot how scary it is!
The next morning my parents arrive so we're up early to get organised. Unfortunately we wake up to no water at all so face the dilemma of what to do. Thankfully our gym is only 5 minutes away so we opt to have a shower there rather than wait for what could be hours until a plumber comes to see what the problem is. At least we have that option otherwise we would've looked and smelled like tramps all day. Thankfully after a horrendous few days of wind, rain and clouds, the weather has picked up
Jardins del Alfabia
A bit chilly in the mountains
and it is glorious sunshine and hardly any wind at all. So much so that when my parents check in at their fancy 4 star hotel, they need to put the air conditioning on in their room. We're all confused when it starts blowing out super hot air and so ask reception what we are doing wrong. They tell us that the a.c. is not switched on in the hotel at the moment as the weather is not warm enough yet, which we argue from our point of view it is! It seems a bit of a silly system and doesn't mention anything about it on their webpage, so after a bit of a stand off (and some calm spanish words from Greg), they agree to switch it on. We go for a walk to cool off, both literally and metaphorically. We head to a little cafe just along from the beach called Jackies. As it turns out, they have gluten free bread so I'm delighted to have a chicken club sandwich and manage to wash it down with a gluten free beer (even though it is the same ones you buy in mercadona for a third of the price).
We spend the rest of the afternoon chilling by their pool watching the tourists getting redder and redder.
In the evening we head to Astro bar for dinner (our local stop off for a pint on a monday night) as the food always looks good and the reviews are great. Greg and I order beef stroganoff which lives up to the reviews. Four Starters, four main courses, two rounds of drinks including a cocktail, and two desserts for 82 euros is not bad going. We discuss what to do next and end up back at the cafe we went to for lunchtime for a nightcap (there's the creatures of habit in us again). Greg spotted they do mai tai cocktails which are his favourite. My mum asks what's in it and shamefully I have to Google it as I can't remember all the specific ingredients (well it has been nearly 7 years since I hung up my cocktail apron). When we get the cocktails, the only resemblance to a mai tai I've tasted before is it has LOTS of rum and pretty much nothing else. I go back to the bar to ask if he can top up with some
pineapple juice as its a bit too strong to enjoy and I hear his colleague say in Spanish "why does she want pineapple juice in it?" (note – I do know a traditional mai tai doesn't have pineapple juice in it, but more modern ones do, and quite often grenadine as well).
The next day we wake up to see it's gone cloudy and windy again which is annoying.We laugh at the fact we made such a commotion about turning the a.c. on at the hotel as it was too hot, I hope my parents aren't too cold now haha. We decide to head up to bunyola today to visit an old manor house called Jardins del Alfabia as it is next to where the train station is for the ever popular steam train. It is a really nice country mansion with pretty gardens but I also think it is quite expensive for what it is. 7.50 euros is quite steep when you don't even get any free samples of food or wine (in fact we end up paying another 3.50 each for coffees too!). Still, it's nice for a wander around and the wisteria tunnel is very
pretty. At this time of year there's not much flowers in bloom so it's not as colourful as I'm sure it is at other times of the year. After a few hours we head to the nearby train station to buy tickets for the steam train. There is a short queue in front of us but nothing major so we are confident we'll get on no problem. When the ticket booth opens, the first three lots of people in front of us get served but then the guy directly in front of us is turned away and then the ticket seller puts out a sign saying it is full and just shuts his window. Great! So that's the end of that. I'm quite upset as I really wanted to do the train and we've came all this way for what seems like nothing. Not sure why things don't seem to be in my favour this week!
I pick myself back up and we decide to drive to Soller instead (at least we have that option) and can get the tram from the centre down to the port instead. Soller is a quaint little historic town with lots of
narrow streets so parking is a complete nightmare as expected. Every car park is totally full so we drive round and round for ages until we eventually spot a disabled space (in the least accessible place on a narrow road with a brick wall on our inside but hey ho, beggars can't be choosers). We walk into the centre and manage to catch the next tram which arrives 5 minutes later. The tram is really pleasant so I don't feel so disappointed about the actual train. And I'm glad we managed to get down to the coast as well as it's really pretty, although the grey sky doesn't do it justice for what I can imagine it is like on a clear sunny day. Greg is determined not to pay the touristy lunch prices on the waterfront, so we end up walking along the back roads with a lovely view of nothing. Sometime later we stumble upon a little greasy spoon and order some sandwiches. They are cheap and edible, not exactly fine cuisine but nothing wrong with them either and it fills a hole. Greg is happy we've saved a few bucks and then he also has a brainwave
to take a taxi back up to the centre instead of the tram, as it is only 9 euros in total for a taxi as opposed to 7 euros each for the tram. We go in search of one and end up walking along the whole of the bay before realising the taxi rank is actually right at the opposite end where we started, doh.
My dad has proclaimed by this point he is now in desperate need of a loo break so we stop off for a pit stop in soller centre and grab an ice cream (well, almond cake for Greg and I). The toilets are down a narrow staircase with a sticky out low ceiling and low and behold, my dad manages to wack his head on it. Like a magnet to steel, his head is attracted to any hard surfaces. Thankfully he's ok and will live to tell the tale, but is left with a nice scab where the ceiling has managed to take a lump of skin out. He reassures us some ice-cream will ease the pain and suffering.
We agree to reconvene at half 7 for dinner and we have decided that
Alcudia Beach hotel
tonight we will try the Italian restaurant called El Padrino right next to their hotel, as it is always busy and very reasonably priced. Plus they do gluten free pizza which is a bonus! When we arrive the place is already pretty busy and even though we had reserved a table, they don't seem to have actually reserved one for us and simply point to the first available table making us feel very special indeed. We order our starter and mains and it takes 45 mins for them just to bring out some bread and alioli for my parents. 5 minutes later Greg's starter arrives but no sign of my nachos. I wait another few minutes and then point out to the waiter I'm still waiting on mine. He ushers me away saying it is coming, so I wait some more whilst everyone else tucks in. A few more minutes pass and still no starter but I see some nachos up on the pass. The waiter points to me but then another waiter comes and takes them off him to another table that arrived after us! I've had enough now so march over and tell him I've now been waiting
short of an hour and so where are my nachos? He just shrugs unapologetically and says they are coming, so I lose my shit. I point to my table and say everyone else has finished their starter and it's not acceptable to wait an hour for a starter. The head waiter can spot my rage from the other end of the restaurant so comes over to intervene, apologising and saying he'll get them straight away, but I shake my head and say I don't want them now. He apologises sincerely and offers more drinks on the house which would be great if we were drinking alcohol but since we're working tomorrow we're only having soft drinks and I'm not really wanting another fanta! (but we still take them anyway). Thankfully we don't have to wait much longer for the mains and our pizzas arrive promptly. The waiter comes over to apologise again saying they have had some issues in the kitchen which he admits is their own fault. I can see he genuinely does mean it and I feel sorry for him but it's still not the greatest start to the meal. Now we are aware of it, we start
to watch what is going on around us and we can see it is quite chaotic and no one seems to have any kind of system going on. They only have about three waiters on for a huge restaurant, and not one of them really seems to know what they are doing. One waitress is walking around like a zombie not even looking at tables as she walks by them and carrying one plate at a time. Our original waiter seems to get distracted easily and starts doing a new thing every two seconds, forgetting what he was meant to doing a second ago. And the owner is just sauntering around doing not much at all apart from picking up an empty glass here or there. The open kitchen also looks chaotic and no one quite seems to know what they are doing. No one is calling out the orders or asking for service and dishes are coming out one at a time every few minutes. No wonder it is going wrong. About 5 more large tables walk in as we are finishing eating and one of the chefs just puts his hands up in horror as if to signal no more. We actually start to enjoy our people watching and start to laugh at the fawlty towers style service. Its so bad it is actually funny and if we didn't laugh we'd cry! The pizzas are genuinely really good though so it does make up for things somewhat. When we ask for the bill it (unsurprisingly) takes another 20 minutes before we get it and then pay. Our waiter is still getting distracted and picks up the card machine but then wanders around with it on one hand and a spoon in the other hand. I wave at him sternly and eventually he makes it back to our table. And to top it off we have been charged for the nachos!! (don't worry, we get them removed!). We have been in the restaurant for over two hours now when really we'd have thought an hour tops. Needless to say there was no tip! Ah well, at least it gives me a good story to write!
Once Monday rolls around for our next day off we try to figure out where is best to go, as we have our work night out tonight and need to be there by 5.30pm (!) so we can't stray too far. On the recommendation of one of our colleagues, we head to Randa where there is an old monastry on top of a big hill which is meant to have beautiful views (as well as nice cake!). My sat nav tells me it will take about 30 minutes to get there which isn't too bad, but once we reach the town of Randa, it then informs me it will be another 20 minutes to the top of the hill which I hadn't really thought about. It is up quite a narrow, windy road, and there are cyclists everywhere which means we can't get above about 20kmph. I can see poor Greg is just about losing the plot as he isn't the biggest fan of cyclists at the best of times. But it is worth it when we do finally make it to the top as the views are indeed gorgeous. Unfortunately the sun has hidden behind some big clouds, but it's still pleasant enough. We stop for coffee and some almond cake, and well, it doesn't disappoint – the cake is lovely and moist and flavoursome. We do some people (bike) watching, amazed at the age (and size) of some of the cyclists around us. Its an eclectic group and all different nationalities.
We then head into Palma which takes longer than I had thought, so we don't make it there until about 2pm. We wander around the cathderal which my parents are very impressed by and then meander up into the streets behind, into the maze of little shopping alleys. We stop at one of the first eating places we come to as time is ticking on. We all order a coke each, and what arrives is like a 2l glass of coke each! I can already tell that its going to be expensive. Greg and I both order a salad and are quite disappointed when they come out with half a tomato, about a third of a chicken breast and pretty much nothing else but lettuce. No dressing or anything. And we're less amused when the bill comes and we've been charged 20 euros for 4 cokes!!! Well, at least we are finding out where NOT to eat in Mallorca lol. Another quick wander and then we need to head home to get ready for our work night out which is being held at Pirates in Magaluf. I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't seen the show before. It doesn't disappoint and i'm feeling quite merry after drinking 3 jugs of sangria to myself!
Thankfully the next morning isn't too much of a right off and i'm feeling well enough to do some more exploring. But first of all I need some breakfast as its the day before shopping day and that means we have practically zero food left in the house. So we head up to a little bar called Dutchie's and have a full english at a very reasonable price. Feeling fed and watered, we try to decide where to go this afternoon. I suggest to Greg perhaps the Rafa Nadal museum but he shoots me down saying my mum and dad won't want to spend their last day inside. So instead we opt to take a trip up to Alcudia as it's where we used to go on holiday when I was little, and I haven't been there for nearly 25 years now. We manage to find our old hotel and it is looking exactly the way that I remember it. When we walk in reception we get a few funny looks and then the receptionist explains they aren't open until the next day. We ask if we can have a little wander around which she is quite happy for us to do so we get to see the pool and snack area. Again it hasn't changed much and it gives me a nice warm feeling of happy memories of days gone by. We walk along the beach and then stop off for some ice-cream. My dad is ecstatic that he finally gets to have some strawberries with his ice-cream as he's been hankering after it all week. Then we stroll along the main strip trying to suss out where a few restaurants we used to go to are and the arcades, and then head back home. Along the way my mum spots an advert for the Rafa Nadal museul and she proclaims “ooh, that looks good, i'd like to visit that sometime” and Greg and I just look at each other and laugh. I stop off to get my feet eaten by little fishes as they help to take off the rough skin from your feet and seeing as i'll be spending more time in flip flops I could definitely do with it. My mum decides to give it a go too, and at 5 euros for 10 minutes, its pretty good value. It's such a weird feeling, not unpleasant but a bit tickly. And my feet do feel lovely afterwards.
Tonight's dinner choice is italian again to see if we can redeem things from our last italian disaster. We opt for a place called Gusto Divino as I have heard they do gluten free pizzas as well, which they confirm they do. Everyone is trying to decide what they want to eat until we see a few pizzas being brought out to other tables and our decision is pretty much made for us as we drool at them going by. My gluten free pizza is really tasty, and their homemeade chilli oil is just the right level of spice for me too. And the panacotta for dessert finishes the meal off perfectly. We stop off for one final drink before having to say good bye once more 😞 Now to wait for the next round of visitors next week!
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