Majorca: Island of the Calm
Fresh off the heels of our family trip to Italy, with barely enough time for our bodies to recover, we jetted westward to Majorca, a Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain. Thanks to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg's birthday, we took full advantage of the national holiday by spending 80 unforgettable hours on "The Island of the Calm." The flight from Luxembourg is just under two hours from our second home of Frankfurt Hahn Airport. We ditched the chilly rain and fog for the sunny, mountainous island surrounded by neon turquoise waters.
Although Majorca is a popular holiday destination for many people in Europe due to its perfect weather and calm seas, we planned to head away from the tourist areas towards the western mountains, which are populated with bohemian artist towns frequented throughout the years by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Jimi Hendrix and Robert Graves.
Before heading west we drove southeast from the airport to check out a few narrow enclave beaches or "calas." These beaches make you sweat first to earn the payoff. They require tricky navigation and steep hikes down rocky cliffs. Looking down from above, we were entranced by crystalline blue water surrounded by rocky cliffs. We hiked down and immediately jumped in. We enjoyed climbing on the rocks, snorkeling, exploring underwater caves and just floating around in the tranquil ocean water.
After enjoying a few calas, we headed back toward the capital of Palma en route to the Tramuntana mountains and coastal towns of Valldemossa and Deia. We traced along flower-lined roads and wound along the coastal car path with epic views along the cliffs looking out to the sea. We immediately realized that our front wheel drive, 4 door Ford Fusion was a terrible rental car choice. The roomy sedan was way too wide, long and weak for the narrow, steep and slippery cobblestone streets of these towns. We had a few slides and stressful driving moments, and were glad we got the car insurance.
Arriving in Deia felt like entering a dreamworld. The town center is nestled in a valley surrounded on three sides by towering mountains dotted with olive and lemon trees and on the last side by the bright blue sea. We instantly fell in love with the nature and the centuries-old town filled with winding pedestrian streets, outdoor cafes, bohemian shops and wine bars. The buildings in Deia were constructed in the 9th Century and we noticed many architecture similarities to Fes and Ait Benhaddou from our recent Morocco trip.
We headed down through town toward the coast and took a walk through the forest to Cala Deia, a small cove surrounded by steep rocks and filled with clear blue waters. Due to a local holiday, the small stone beach was lined with tiki torches and spectators enjoying the sunset and ceviche. We climbed some craggled stairs up to Ca's Patro, a locally famous seafood restaurant with a thatch roof. We enjoyed fresh fish and sangria while a band played local music to the setting sun.
We couldn't get enough of Deia, so we woke up at sunrise the next morning to go for a swim and snorkel in the cala. It was chilly in the morning and we were the only ones willing to brave the cold morning water, but we got the payoff of snorkeling alone in the crystal cove.
For our next big adventure, we trekked down to Sa Foradada, a giant rock formation jutting out into the sea. At the tip of this rock formation is a restaurant that makes paella the traditional way with a wood fireplace. The restaurant and rock formation are only accessible via an hour-long hike or by boat, yet the restaurant is so good that it always requires reservations, despite only being open until 6 pm everyday. We rented a Vespa to give us more freedom of motion and drove along the coast to a small pull off point. From there, we wandered into a goat pasture and hopped a fence to start the hike down. We hiked through olive groves past many lazy goats, down steep switchbacks, finally making it to the towering rock formation and cove (sharing it with only a few yacht-goers). We immediately jumped in the water, as we were hot and sweaty from our hike down. The cool water felt amazing and we bouldered on the rock faces and cliff jumped to get ourselves super hungry for the paella feast to come.
The restaurant sits on a cliff above the cove. We watched the chef cook giant vats of paella over a blazing fire and we enjoyed glasses of sangria with fresh citrus while we dried off and took it all in. We downed a huge pan of seafood paella stuffed with prawns, calamari and who knows what else. Feeling a tad tipsy, we faced the impending hike back up the hill. Dave got so sweaty hiking that he put on a cape made from Erin's sarong to make the scooter ride home more pleasant for Erin - like a bohemian superman.
We took a siesta to allow the sangria to wear off and then drove to Valldemossa, the next town over. It is a gorgeous ancient Spanish town lined with olive groves planted in Roman times. We sat outside and enjoyed Spanish beer, more sangria and shared tapas while we took in the scene and watched the sunset reflect on the surrounding mountains. We headed back to Deia just in time for a holiday fireworks display, which we watched out our hotel window.
The following day we ventured to nearby Fornalutx to a boutique hotel in the mountains, about 10 minutes from the sea. We spent our last day getting lost in the town. We both left the trip saying that we want to move to Majorca. We fell in love with the combination of the crazy beautiful water, rugged mountains, scent of citrus in the air and cool, bohemian vibe. We will be back very soon, and hopefully, one day, for good.
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