Friday, 30 November 2012

Majorca part twelve - Soller & the trams.

What a gorgeous day today was. Sunshine, hot and bright, early on. We set off back through the mountains on our way to Soller. Although we'd only 'done' this road the day before, it was still massively impressive! We passed the turning to Lluc monastery - we were now in new territory! The road passed through a tunnel but, looking at those cracks, I made sure we were in and out ASAP {:-0

On the other side was a marked viewpoint, so we stopped. You can see our little car here with Sue - it did about a million miles to the gallon!

The dam that held back the reservoir.
 Looking up the reservoir with the mountains behind. The level of the res' looks quite low. According to the map, it's called 'Embassament des gorg Blau'.

Unfortunately, Majorca's highest mountain,  Puig Major (1,445 m), cannot be climbed as it belongs to the military. You can see one of their installations on top of it.
 We also saw these things, which look identical to acorns, but are not. They are a local delicacy, which when ripe, are roasted and eaten.
 This reservoir was also looking very low, lower than the first one. We walked around it in the now hot sunshine, just enjoying the lovely day before continuing our drive to Soller.

 We stopped at a small cafe, which is renowned as a good viewpoint. Here, you can see why. Although not perfect conditions, as it was a little hazy, it was still a great view over Port de Soller, below us.
 We dropped down the steep road to Soller town, from where we could catch the tram down to the port. This was another 'must do' as many people had told us the ride was lovely. We found a shady lay-by to park the car out of the sun, and walked along the tiny streets into the town. At the end of the street, the bustling market square opened up in front of us. Although it was a Thursday, it was exceptionally busy with people just passing time, sitting in the sun, chatting, or just eating and drinking.
 You can see the facade of the church (above), and the beautifully laid square floor (below).
 All at once we heard a clattering, and over our shoulder, one of the trams appeared.
 They really are lovely old fashioned things, in superb condition, polished and clean.
 The fare was five euros each way. You can go all the way to Palma city on the tram, along what is described as one of the best tram journeys in the world. We didn't have the time for the 'full monty' today, wanting to explore the port and this town.
 There were many artisan ice cream makers here, all showing off their confection in large glass displays. I don't eat a lot of ice cream, but this really tempted Sue and I.

 Now that's what I CALL an ice cream.
 "Oh - is this all I get?????"
 After our treat, we made our way across the main square and up to the tram station, stopping to admire the wonderful church, with it's wonderful stone masonry and round window.

 That floor would not look out of place in a kitchen!
 Locals, just chewing the fat and having a relaxing siesta.
 In this climate, there are incredible displays of flowers everywhere.
 The tram terminus, with 'spares' waiting in the wings.

 Here comes our ride.

A video taken from the tram. The journey only takes about 20 minutes, but the views on the way are terrific. I can see why it's a 'must do'.

 We're going to the seaside, we're going to the seaside.......

 Dropping down towards the port, with stunning mountain views along the way.

 The line runs parallel with the road in places.
 Soon, the long beach and front of Port de Soller came in to view. A lovely, hot day (about 33C), and lots of people were taking advantage, sunbathing and swimming.

A video of the seafront, taken from the tram.

 I never tire of these palms, they just look so RIGHT in these places.
 Lots of boats in the harbour. There's a few quids worth of engines alone on show here!
 Vessels ranged from fishing smacks, to expensive yachts.

 The pace here was VERY laid back. We enjoyed just people-watching and the warm sun.

 The cafes were getting busy as lunchtime approached.
 Fresh sardines and salad, with olive oil and bread - seven euros fifty -  it just HAS to be done.
 After the food and a beer, we walked the promenade.
 Some were getting a little more sun than others!
 The bay of Port de Soller.

We caught the tram back up to Soller, and had a bit of a job finding the car again! We knew roughly where it was, but the streets were SO narrow the GPS didn't work, and there is a distinct lack of signposts, so we resorted to using a compass (and it worked). We found the car, nicely shaded by a tree, and set off towards our next port of call - passing through Deia (home of Andrew Lloyd-Webber), and on to Valdemossa.

To view the final parts of this Majorca blog, please click HERE

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Majorca - part eleven, Cala Figuera and snorkeling.

After another super breakfast at the Azul hotel, we set off to drive to the car park on the road above Cala Figuera. It was quite large, considering Figuera was the only thing here, but there were very few cars there (only two, to be exact, including ours!). We set off. The walk down to it is a lot steeper and more arduous than the path down to Cala Boquer, but to us, it was worth it.

After about 20 minutes, the cove came into view. We were getting quite excited, as the sea and weather looked PERFECT.
Someone else obviously thought this place was special too, this is one of several boats that visited the cove during the day.

This cormorant sat on a rock, and would feature later on in this post.
The cove had a strange 'ridge' between the stony beach and the sea. There was a step down of about a metre. We intended to see if there were any suitable places to sit etc on those rocks at the far side.
'Suitable' was a bit of an understatement!
Welcome to paradise.
  Perfect light on a perfect view.
We sat here originally, but as the sun moved across the sky, we began to get shadow.
Nothing for it but to send Sue to scout out a better place.

Yep, this'll do nicely. You can see that step on the beach from here.
I think Sue is part mermaid, as she loves the sea, well, any water really, and can swim with consummate ease (whereas I thrash about like someone drowning).
As clear as you could ever wish for!
At this point, Sue got excited and called to me that she had seen the Cormorant hunting fish right in front of her.

Right, DIVE, DIVE, DIVE.........
This water was SUCH a lovely temperature, it was no trouble getting in, and staying in.
We saw at least 15 species of fish, many I'd seen in tropical aquariums. At one point, I was totally surrounded by a swimming mass of fry, thousands of them. It was like being in the centre of one of those huge bait balls (I just didn't want to see a whale coming at me).
All at once, the surface of the sea started 'dancing', accompanied by a sound like fizzing. Everyone there stared at the point the sound was coming from. It was the cormorant and the barracuda hunting the fry, and they (the fry) were leaving the water and jumping to try to evade getting caught. This went on for about ten minutes. If you click on the picture to enlarge, you can see it better.

It had been a long, hot, relaxing day, but the picnic clean-up brigade were here, and we were getting hungry, so we got ready to leave and make our way 'uppards' back to the car.
What a truly perfect scene to leave behind.
Some people stayed longer to enjoy the water.
Captured, mid-dive.

Right Sue - get stuck in - we've got to get back for dinner!  

After relaxing for so long, it was a 'grunt' to climb back up the hill. We had yet another great dinner at the hotel, and planned our next car trip. We wanted to see Soller (pronounced Soya), and take the famous tram down to the seafront there. 
In the evening, we did the pine walk again, with all the evening lights and buzz. It's a walk we've come to love, and REALLY settles you down and relaxes you. We went to the square and sat in a bar for a cocktail.

 The owner was a real eccentric. He wore trousers with PEGS round the bottom (???)  When a table came free, he would put this huge sign on it;

He also had a penchant for hanging signs upside down (and the clock), see the 'Guinness' sign behind us?

We met and spoke to a Scottish couple who had been coming to Majorca since 1988, and had so far been FOUR times this year!! They said it's really good out of season, I'm just surprised they hadn't bought a place there.
We walked the short distance back to the hotel. It was another balmy night, so we dawdled as we went. Tomorrow - Soller.