Saturday, December 27, 2008
The island of Formentera was a treat for us.
It was fun to be in a place that looked to be more like the Bahamas than the Med.
...until we got back to walled cities on hilltops. Then it looked more like the Med once again.
While in Palma, Mallorca, we took a bit of a road trip around the island.
Out the window, driving back from Port de Pollenca.
Walked the walls of the walled city (I believe this was Ávila).
More driving across the island.
Little towns with their church steeples littered the countryside.
With very narrow pre-car streets.
One way only!
On Mallorca, you can be in the middle of nowhere and there will still be signs pointing you back to Palma.
Back on the boat in Palma for the sunset. Boats rocking in the water aren't terribly conducive to low light, long exposure photography, but I tried anyway.
And in the opposite direction from the boat, the Palma Cathedral of La Seu looming over the pier.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Took the little trolley train out of Port de Soller and headed back to Soller, Mallorca.
Views along the way.
Heading back into the center (you can see the spires of the cathedral) of town.
Once dropped off by the train, I spent the rest of my day exploring the streets with my cheesy little tourist map (which by the way isn't 100% accurate and by no means includes enough streets to navigate properly). I met at least one other walker with the same "where exactly are we?" questions I had.
There were loads of walking trails and roads to choose from in the Serra de Tramuntanas and surrounding areas. Mallorca attracts visitors from all over for walking tours. I secretly envied those who came in those trekking groups. I'd love to go back and do that some day.
I stopped at a little grocery store and bought myself the makings of a picnic lunch.
Carried my bag lunch through the tiny towns of Fornalutx and Biniaraix
to enjoy a picnic in the country side. It was a magical sort of day.
I wasn't prepared for a full day of hiking trails, so I hiked for a while to the distant sound of sheep bells, stopped to enjoy the view and then turned back around.
Back to the center of Soller where I sat in a cafe with my Irish coffee to watch the world go by before boarding the train headed back to Palma.
The last view of Soller before disappearing into the first of many tunnels that dotted our way home.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Once on the island of Mallorca, Spain with some time off, I took the Soller train from Palma to Soller.
Built in 1912, the train retains it's original charm.
Traveling through the mountains and tunnels, we got a spectacular view of the back country.
And had a great view of Soller as we descended into the city. I then boarded a smaller train that would take me to Port de Soller.
The train went right through town.
Competing with traffic...
Could have reached out and touched the "locals."
The train had no sides and if you leaned out too far you were likely to brush into the passing foliage. Or the walls. ...better to keep your hands and feet inside at all times, just like they tell you.
The lack of sides made for a great view once we arrived in Port de Soller.
While not quite 19 Euro a night, I found a nice cheap hostel with a baloney that offered a delightful view of the town and waterfront below.
I had intended to enjoy the beach for a while, but I was greeted by a constant drizzle. Instead of lounging on the beach, I enjoyed some wine in the eateries along the waterfront.
Eventually the rain let up and I went for a walk and found some back roads to take me through the hills.
The countryside air was filled with the distant (and not so distant) sheep's bells. I looked up at one point to realize that I was being watched.
Caught the sunset. So did some other people along the road.
Overlooking Port de Soller after sundown.
Left the following afternoon on the trolley, waving goodbye to the view.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
On our way back down the coast, we hit St. Tropez again.
It was one of those days where it was really nice to be outside.
We also hit Monaco again. Across the harbor there was a wedding being held and we watched it from the galley window and strained to hear what they were broadcasting on the loudspeaker for the guests. It was in English.
Sunset in Monaco with all of the buildings lit up like gold.
And back to Barcelona.
Once in Barcelona I went to the bus station.
And took a bus out of the city and down the coast to Tossa de Mar, Spain.
I arrived in Tossa de Mar and my first stop was the tourism office to find a place to stay. They were quite friendly and helped me secure a hostel for 19 Euro a night. I wasn't expecting too much for 19 Euro, but it was a very nice little place. And it included breakfast for the following morning.
While exploring the building, I went up to the roof and found all of the towels and placemats and napkins drying in the wind. Guess that's one way to help cut costs!
From the rooftop was a view of the old part of the city...
And in the other direction was the newer part. I spent my afternoon wandering these streets shopping. I found that Tossa de Mar had some really fun shopping even though, in the end, I didn't buy much.
The beach was just as I had remembered it from a family trip years ago. It was somewhat overcast and I practically had it all to myself. I had a crepe and some wine and just enjoyed the beach for a while.
Took a walk through the streets of the older part of town.
On the other side of the castle walls, there's a secret hidden beach.
Much to my dismay, the following morning it was sunny and everyone and their mother's brother's uncle were out on the beach. I did a small painting and was approached by a Belgian couple who wished to purchase it. I had never sold a travel sketch before, but they convinced me that it would be a perfect souvenir for them. So my painting essentially bought me lunch. Woohoo!