Palma, Mallorca: A Totally Charming Spanish City
I’ve spent the past week staying in a hotel on the harbor in Palma, Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands of Spain. I’ve had a wonderful time here and I have a new appreciation for the country of Spain and especially this friendly, navigable capital city of ancient Mallorca, whose history stretches far, far back to the Phoenicians.
There is so much to say about the city, its history as a crucial spot right in the middle of the Mediterranean trade routes, the superyachts docked at the vast marina, but mostly, it’s the friendly locals who make every interaction pleasant and the way things are laid out making it easy to get around.
I’ve become used to taking cabs where ever I need to go, and there is no Uber on the island. But the hotels have a great system where they call a cab and give you a number and they just show up in minutes.
Staying in a hotel for seven nights is something I truly enjoy, from the old school breakfast buffet to the nice room clean-up, it’s very comfortable and the Melia Palma Marina hotel is smack dab in the center of it all. The room is spacious and the view is killer.
I’ve enjoyed many, many walks along the harborfront, and spent a good amount of time peering through the wall of the huge STP Shipyard Palma, where the biggest boats are repaired and docked. One particularly beautiful 400-footer with a blue hull really stood out. I wonder who owns that one?
On our first day in Palma, I joined John Henderson on a city tour of the city. It was a four-hour tour that really gave a good perspective and took in the most key historic sights, like the giant Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca and the oldest steps in the city, Roman-built, at city hall.
This city has been sacked and defended and sacked again and again, and the impressive ancient walls show how they kept it safe.
In the Cathedral, which was finished in 1601, that sits right on the waterfront, there is a hanging display designed by Spain’s legendary Antoni Gaudi, made of paper mache, built in 1912. Another modern art exhibit by famous Spanish artist Miro is an oceanscape, that seems out of place in the old church but is quite beautiful.
In front of the cathedral, our guide Matteo said that it all used to be a highway, and cement, instead of the graceful water moat and green park that is there today.
One day I set out for a long ramble in and among the narrow streets and found the city Mercado, which was full of local people enjoying lunch and glasses of wine or beer. I found a neat little place about 10 feet wide that offered some excellent Mexican food and in particular a tuna tostada, with seared tuna and grilled leeks, for about $6.
I found most of the food in Palma to be pretty affordable, including a ‘Plata del dia” or lunch of the day–chicken, potatoes, a glass of wine, bread and coffee for around $11. The fun part was being able to watch as the customers streamed in, some playing video poker, others downing big glasses of Johnny Walker, and others enjoying the same lunch as me with the newspaper.
Hanging around with little to do except enjoy the food made this afternoon a special one, and it is kind of the neat part about Palma. You can do this all over.
My reason for being here was Traverse21, a travel blogger’s meeting that brings together content creators from all over Europe to these fun and engaging meetings. The meetings took place over the weekend after we had all enjoyed five days worth of Palma.
One enjoyable outing I made was to an olive oil and carob farm about twenty minutes north of Palma. I learned that the island has been suffering a tremendous drought, so the rain that fell nearly every day that I was here was very welcomed, and has filled up the reservoirs, thanks to God.