Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A weekend on the Spanish Islands!

This past weekend, 5 of my friends and I went to Palma Mallorca! Mallorca is the largest of the Spanish Islands located east of Spain in the Mediterranean.

Our four day journey to the islands began last Thursday at 6 am. Our bus left Caceres at that time, arriving in Madrid four hours later. Before we checked in/went through security, we all ate our packed lunches that our moms made us in a deserted area of the airport since we had some time to kill. Around this time was when my roommate realized she didn't have her passport with her so unfortunately, she wasn't able to come with us. After making sure that our backpacks were able to fit in that stupid little RyanAir bin, we were on our way to the islands! 

View from our room!
Thursday night, we arrived in Palma and took a bus to our hostel. Our hostel was VERY nice. Ellyn and I were lucky enough to get a "Mediterranean Sea view"! Our hostel was located above a bar and I felt like I was living in my favorite TV show “Friends” so that was awesome. Even though it was a bar and not a café… close enough. We also got free breakfast every day and our showers were AMAZING. Or maybe they just felt amazing since I’ve gotten so used to crappy showers. After we checked in to the hostel, we walked ACROSS THE STREET to the beach and watched the sunset. It was a great way to end our long day of traveling.

Our s'more "fire"
On Friday, we walked along the boardwalk and looked at all of the little shops around where we were staying. We also walked along the beach for a little while and Clint and I did the ‘Polar Plunge’ into the freezing cold Mediterranean Sea! Then we stopped for lunch at an Italian restaurant that was selling all of their pizzas and pastas for 5 euro. I had pizza (Hawaiian to be exact) for the second time since being in Spain! It was delicious. Then we went and laid on the beach during siesta until the sun went away and we got too cold. For dinner, we all pitched in and bought bread and lunchmeat at a nearby Eroski and made sandwiches back at our hostel. This was also the night that someone had the great idea to make s’mores! Marshmallows are a little hard to come by in Spain but we found some! We used circular “galletas” as graham crackers, and we bought a package of mini candles to make our “fire.” It was quite the experience and it was a little difficult at first figuring out how to roast the marshmallows but we managed by using the matches as sticks.

La Seu
We knew that Saturday was going to be a rainy day so we picked that day to tour the city of Palma. (Our hostel was about a 20 minute bus ride to the city.) We got to the city around noon and toured La Seu, which is a Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral. After we toured the cathedral, we found a café to have lunch (where I had my third pizza.) Then we stopped for gelato where I mixed Kinder Sorpresa and Hazelnut gelato and it was the best decision of my life. Although when I ordered the Hazelnut, I said “Avellana Haselnuss” which was on the sign. “Avellana” means “hazelnut” in Spanish and “Haselnuss” means “hazelnut” in German. Let’s just say the lady gave me a weird look (since I ordered “hazelnut hazelnut”) and then one of my friends had to tell me what I did because I still didn’t understand. While I’m on the subject of German, I think there were more Germans in Mallorca than Spaniards. So many German restaurants, words translated into German, and many tourists from Germany. We never figured out why Mallorca is such a popular destination for Germans.

Anyway. After we had lunch, we were going to try and find the Bellver Castle. We wanted to tour the castle because it is one of the few European circular castles. However, there weren’t any buses that went to the castle that day except for the tourist bus which was too expensive so we thought we would walk. We walked for an hour or two towards the castle (we could see it from a distance on the hill) and then stopped and asked for directions. The man said it was still pretty far away and it closed in 2 hours. So we decided not to see the castle and we turned around. Might I add that it was raining this entire time. Even better, after we asked for directions, my umbrella decided to break. By the time we got back to the bus stop, there were three of us without umbrellas so we were soaked. We all got back to the hostel and took a much needed siesta.

Doing our "Palma dance"
Sunday was by far the best day. We spent the entire day at the beach and there wasn’t one cloud in the sky. It was wonderful! We all swam in the Mediterranean that day and it was so much fun jumping the waves! For lunch, we decided to eat at one of the German restaurants. We went back out to lie on the beach, and after we had been there for a while, a couple of guys came up to us and started speaking in German. Then they realized we weren’t German and started speaking in English. They worked for the “German newspaper” there in Mallorca and thought it was hilarious that we were “sun-bath-ing” (pronounced just like that) and wanted to take our picture for the newspaper. We thought it was a little strange but they gave us brochures on their newspaper and told us we could “cover up whatever we needed to cover up” and we could look at the picture online and if we wanted it deleted we could email them so we said sure. It was pretty funny because that whole day, we were the only ones in swimsuits, let alone in the water. Even some of the locals were still wearing winter coats! One thing I’ve really gotten used to since I’ve been in Spain is being stared at.

Monday, we had another long travel day and returned safely to Caceres around 10:30 pm. When we were at the airport in Palma, RyanAir was actually checking to see if everyone’s baggage fit in their tiny bin. A couple of my friends started freaking out and one of my friends realized what they were doing as the line was moving and she was so scared that her bag wasn’t going to fit in the bin so she quickly took out her sweatpants and putt them over her jeans to make more room in her backpack. It was hilarious. Mostly because of all of the attention she attracted and then they didn’t even end up checking her backpack.

Going to Palma ended up being a good choice and I’m glad I finally got to see the Mediterranean!   

Keely and I in the Mediterranean

This weekend the majority of our group is going to Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain. It is a huge celebration in praise of Saint Joseph. There are many monuments created and then they are eventually burnt. We begin our 7 hour bus ride to Valencia at 4 am on Saturday and stay in Valencia until 6 am on Sunday. Another weekend with no sleep.

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