Friday, June 3, 2011

The Mediterranean Does it Again

Last year, as I made my treck through Europe, I discovered many beautiful locations that left me awe struck and impressed.  I found that the most picturesque of locations that I truely fell in love with were those along the Mediterranean coast, with Cinque Terre, Italy being my favorite.  Nice, Capri, the Almafi Coast, and Barcelona all had a special charm and the blue waters of the warm sea never failed.  Once again I've discovered a beautiful oasis situated out in the middle of this vast ocean and I can confidently say that it is a contender for one of the most beautiful locations I've visited thus far. 

Mallorca is a small island off the east coast of Spain that is know for it's German and English travel resorts and the infamous party island of Ibiza just south.  A friend and I ventured out on a cheap flight we managed to snatch for a long weekend of beach and sun.  Little did we expect to be blown away by the cliffside views and natural reserves we discovered.  Our hostel was situated right in the midst of the German party scene.  The pretty beach was littered with hoards of inebriated tourists and pink fleshed families.  We managed to find a spot to soak in the rays, but I couldn't help feeling how remarkably reminiscent of Myrtle Beach this was (the hectic underaged Spring Break version).  We endulged in the action for our first night, finding plenty of people to enjoy a night out with and ending up at the atrosious "Mega Park", a bastard child of the beer halls in Germany and fully equipt with shnitzle stands outside of the massive club. 

The next day, with our heads pounding and in desperate need of a change in scenery, we made our way to Las Palmas to get a taste for the city, have a real Spanish meal, and catch the match, Barcelona vs. Manchester.  The city was just as I expected, with the old city backing up to the massive port and plenty of places to duck in for a snack and a beer.  We discovered a crafty jewelry market to do a bit of browsing then popped into a local pub to see the game.  We went from being in Germany, to reentering Spain, and then to England as we entered the pub filled to the brim with English travelers.  We were among the very few happy patrons that night as Barca pulled out a win, but entering the streets we discovered that Mallorca is stuffed with supporters of the famous Spanish team.  People in their jerseys and waving their flags barreled down the streets, all heading for the central fountain to celebrate the victory.  Suddenly the town was filled with honking horns, chanting, and the colors of the team dashing by.  The festive spirit of the Spanish people never seeks to impress me.

Despite the victory festivities, we managed to make it an early morning the next day and rented a car with ease and for next to nothing.  I took the wheel and we began our ascent up into the mountains along the east coast of the island.  With each bend in the road, we became more and more awestruck by the breathtaking views dropping down dramatically from the thin windy roads I traversed.  The plentiful sun sparkled on the water as we marveled at the perfectly clear blue Mediterranean Sea.  We made our way through the first village, Validernossa, having a meal on the terrace and strolling though the quaint streets.  We stumbled over an inviting sign for Mallorca's special wine for a steal and couldn't pass it up.  This enchanting little nook was more than we bargained for with the most beautiful view out the large open window on the back terrace and the sweet, delicious red wine filled to the brim. We left content and continued up the coast, tripping over the next town, Deia, built quite literally on the side of a mountain.  It's hard for me to even capture the beauty of this tiny village in words.  Finally, we ended up by a famous port in Soller to have an ice cream, watch the sunset, and head back into town to meet an old good friend of mine before making our way once again to German town.

The next day, our final day, we dragged ourselves out of bed even earlier than the prior day to make good of the sun and our car.  We head southwest this time toward a natural reserve that was known to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. As the roads became more secluded and we twisted through country roads, I doubted the direction we were headed.  We saw signs for this apparent beach, parked the car, and walked down a short, sandy trail.  As I turned the corner, my skepticism vanished as the crystal blue water and white sand took my breath away.  Not a building in sight and very few people lying on the sand, we could hardly believe that this was the same island as the hectic German scene we've been experiencing.  We found a spot to get comfortable and laid in the warm sun for hours.  As the clouds began to roll in, we decided it was a perfect time to have a bite and a drink and strolled up to the little beach cabana for some sangria and a bocodilla.  The clouds darkened as the day grew later, so we said goodbye to our special little discovery, packed our bags, and said goodbye.

Once again I've managed to be blown away by the beauty of the sea along the Mediterranean.  The more time I spend getting to know new places, the more I feel almost instinctually drawn to the warm climate and the ocean.  How is it possible to have such beauty be so accessible?  It's so great to know that not every pretty spot has been absorbed by holiday seekers and filthy rich spenders.  Next up:  The northern coast of Spain and then the Canary Islands. 

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