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Clare
Clare

Day One: Home to Palma

This is a very spontaneous holiday, which we haven't put much planning effort into. A few weeks ago, Tim spotted some cheap flights from Birmingham to Palma in Mallorca on the Ryanair website, going out on a Friday morning and coming back on a Sunday evening, and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss :) We booked the flights on the spur of the moment, without realising that while they might have been cheap, the cost of accommodation on Mallorca was anything but! I then spent quite a long time scrolling hotel booking websites, trying to find somewhere which had an appropriate balance between not being outrageously expensive and not having dreadful reviews. I managed it in the end, but we then decided against renting a car because the cost for a couple of days seems surprisingly high; it would have cost more than the flights themselves. I intended to do some research into places we could visit on Mallorca by bus but never quite found the time to get around to it. And then, miraculously, when I checked the hire car prices again last week they had suddenly halved in price, meaning that we were able to hire a small Fiat Panda for around £100 :) 

With everything sorted for the trip, we then just had to hope that the flights didn't get cancelled and that we didn't accidentally miss them because of any security-related delays at the airport. Happily, everything seemed to go like clockwork this morning. We did have to queue for a while for security at the airport, but it was only around 20 minutes and it was quite a well-managed queuing process. The flight took off more or less on time and we were soon on our way to Mallorca :) 

First impressions when we arrived was that it was hot. Very hot; my phone suggested around 34 degrees. The airport itself seemed huge - much bigger than the sort of airport Ryanair normally flies to - and so we travelled for what felt like ages in a bus, then had quite a trek through the airport until we reached passport control. Passport control was a bit confusing, with everyone who had a UK passport being told to use the automated passport gates. I didn't think we could use those post-Brexit because we needed a passport stamp, so wondered what was going on. It soon became clear when, having got through the gates, we then had to join a second short queue which was basically like a production line of passport control officers stamping UK passports without looking at them xD Interestingly, the person managing the queue was shouting that everyone had to present a blank page to be stamped. I feel like completely blank pages in my passport are going to become a bit of a rarity in the future with all this stamping!

After we'd got through the two stages of passport control, we still had to pass through the "health control" which just involved presenting our NHS Covid passes for scanning to a member of staff. The need to do this seemed to take some people by surprise. Probably the same people who had been surprised by the requirement to wear a mask on the plane!

Once we'd got through the health control we were finally free to exit through baggage reclaim and go to the hire car desk to pick up our car. It's a little bit bigger than the tiny Fiat 500 we rented last time we were in Spain, but still pretty small which is useful for the narrow streets in this part of the world :) Having taken photos of any possible scratches on it, we set off towards the centre of Palma.

We parked in a carpark a little way outside the old town and began walking in. For such a hot place there was a surprisingly amount of vegetation, with lots of trees and flowers and even the odd cactus.

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As we walked a little bit further we soon got a glimpse of what looked like old city walls.

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We found some welcome shade under the trees alongside the walls.

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Plus some more beautiful flowers :) 

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Eventually we climbed up onto a walkway along the walls...

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...and got an initial view of the sea.

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Most excitingly, we also got our first glimpse of Palma's cathedral.

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The cathedral in Palma is absolutely enormous, one of those that it's impossible to fit all in one photo.

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There are some lovely grounds in front of it, with lots of palm trees.

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It was a really pleasant walk to get to it, even though the sun was a bit relentless at times.

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As we got closer we reached a beautiful waterfront area.

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We walked alongside it and then down and round to the opposite side of the water.

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From there we had a fantastic view of the cathedral...

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...as well as of the royal palace next to it, which was historically the summer residence of the Spanish king.

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The sun was so bright by this point that the photos look a bit faded, but it was a really lovely spot :) 

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We stopped at a restaurant alongside the water and enjoyed a spaghetti bolognaise with this as our view :) 

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After lunch we walked along by the water, back in the direction of the car park.

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There were more great views back towards the cathedral as we got further away :)

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Once we got to the car it was only a short drive to the hotel where we're staying. This is a somewhat posher hotel than we would normally choose to stay at, so we were interested to see what it would be like. First impressions weren't great when we failed to work out how to access the free carpark! We ended up having to park the car temporarily in an electric car charging space and then go into reception to ask; it turned out that you just had to press a button when you drove up to it and they'd automatically let you in. Things started looking up though when we got offered a welcome drink :D  And the room itself turned out to be nice and spacious.

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It also turned out to have a Nespresso coffee machine which I was quite excited about... until I realised that it only came with two pods and you have to pay at reception if you wanted any more :o I thought that was quite cheeky given that we'd already paid quite a lot for the room. Luckily Tim solved the problem later by walking to the local corner shop and buying a cheap box of pods himself.

The hotel is on the top of a hill, which would have been quite steep to walk up if we hadn't booked a hire car. It does mean we've got a great view of the sea from our balcony though :)

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Most importantly, the hotel has really good air-conditioning! So we settled down to relax and cool off, before heading out to explore more of the island tomorrow :) 




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