Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mediterranean Getaway

Okay, I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything but this past month has been a whirlwind of crazy with my parents visiting me for 3 weeks (post coming soon) and traveling for 2 weeks straight to 6 different cities. Yeah.. my life is hard.

Anyway, the weather in Madrid has been unreasonably bipolar and although we are on the brink of MAY it feels like we've been plunged back into the cold, dark, dreariness of winter. Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but when California is experiencing 80 degree weather, I have a right to feel a bit grumpy. But, to escape from the horrid weather, instead of just sitting in my room all day, I've decided to take a little vacation via iPhoto - no long lines to check-in, no pre-flight stress, no packing nor unpacking, and BEST of all, it's free. And for those of you who are enjoying nice weather F*CK YOU ALL. jking. kind of. Whether you're basking in the golden rays of the Californian (or wherever) sun or condemned to your room thanks to razor blade frigidity (is that a word??), no one's gonna turn down an "all expenses paid" vacation to a Mediterranean paradise; even if it's only through photos.

My friends and I booked a flight to Mallorca, an island off the coast of Northeastern Spain for 30EUR rt which roughly equates to about $45. Swimming pool water, nature, hiking GALORE for $45... done and done. Without hesitation nor much research, we booked our flights and jetsetted off to paradise. Except, it wasn't tourist season so everything was basically deserted. But, nothing stops us and having the island basically to ourselves along with the locals was a nice break from the hustling and bustling madness that is Madrid.
 First order of business: FOOD. As always. As soon as we got to Cala Millor we booked it to a Chinese restaurant (yes, of all and we found.... drumroll please, a revolving sushi Chinese food place? I don't even know what to call it. but in our excitement, we binged... not a pretty sight 

 We got a little too excited. The food was mediocre at best but it did the job. 

 And personally for me, the best part of our meal. A nice little rose flavored alcoholic digestive that the kind owner gave to us. I would've drank the whole bottle but.. that probably would have been impolite.

For one of our dinner's, we wanted to try traditional Mallorcan cuisine and thanks to my friend's extensive research on Trip Advisor, we headed to Tia Jass. Bomb food and decent prices. 'Nuff said.
 Looks can be deceiving, it may not LOOK very appetizing but it was soooooo goooooood. These plump white tube-like things are Mallorcan style stuffed squids and according to the description on their English version menu: "Flavours combine so good together here: the shrimps, the squid, anglerfish, onion, garlic, and parsley, in a seafood sauce, scented by oregano and served with vegetables and potatoes". The whole "scented by oregano" really classy-fied the dish leaving me DYING to try the dish. Sarcasm fully intended. It was cute though and since I ordered it, they must've done something right to tap into the depths of my psyche. 

 My dinner date ordered the "Coca Mallorquina" and although we expected a plate of coca leaves a la ensalada, we got this lame pizza chock full of healthy spinach and goat cheese. How boring, I'd much rather munch on the leaves from which cocaine derives from, wouldn't you? The only thing that made up for my disappointment was how unbelievably delicious it was. Which makes me think, instead of this so-called "spinach", they used coca leaves. I swear, I felt so energized afterwards that I walked ALL the way to our hostel about 2 blocks down and PTFOd. Hard work.

 My other lovely dinner date ordered "Salmon in Orange Sauce"; extremely descriptive and creative name for a dish. Luckily, it tasted amazing. Creamy and rich, it was a perfect way to pack on those pounds for our bikinis. Sexxxxxy
The food at Tia Jass was so delicious we wanted to go again the next night, but unfortunately it was closed. I've never felt so dejected looking at the dark windows of the restaurant. 

 Cafe con Leche <3 on the beachfront <3333

The following photos were taken at the Mondragó Natural Park which is supposedly one of the most beautiful places in Mallorca. And although pretty much anywhere you go in Mallorca is breath-takingly beautiful, Mondragó was definitely something from a dream. With beautiful hiking courses along the Mediterranean Ocean, it's reminiscent of Big Sur in California, but.. with tropical colored waters and white sand. I call that winning. 
The one staring straight at the camera was a feisty little fellow who kept making passes at us and baaa-ing at us. So inappropriate

Bamos a la playa! In Mallorca, the language spoken is Catalan, just like in Barcelona and all of Catalunya. Spanish is also spoken of course (thank GOD), but the locals mainly speak Catalan.

 If the water didn't feel like melted icicles, I would've jumped from the cliff I was standing on, into the water and swam to that cave. Most likely I would've drowned because quite frankly, I only know how to doggie paddle. But in my fantasyland aka my head, I saw myself gliding through the waters like a mermaid into my secret cove. Don't judge me.

 Yup, no photoshop. Raw beauty at it's finest. Although it was extremely windy when we went, the water was still PERFECTION.. well in appearance. There were no swimmers, except 2 crazy men and my friend.


 The small little cove with the beach in the distance was our goal destination. It was relatively deserted and sheltered form the winds so we got in some nice tanning time.

 Tiring yet wonderful walk back to town.

It's a little tricky to get to Mondragó Natural Park because you basically need a car or be willing to pay for a ridiculously expensive cab ride (which we did because we had no other option). During tourist season it is a little better because there are more public transportation options. Also, if you are staying in one of the cities close by like Santanyí, you can either walk (for quite a bit, which we also did) or rent a bike. Again, bus transportation is available but only during high season. 

Mallorca is a beautiful little island that's relatively undeveloped and preserves it's charm. Throughout the countryside, there are lush mountains and fields where sheep graze freely and beautiful almond trees are laden with flowers and of course along the coast you have amazing stretches of beaches. If you want more of a city vibe, head towards Palma because it's a large city and will have everything you need. 

Also, Mallorca has some underground caves that are hauntingly beautiful and are a MUST when you are there. I personally recommend the Cuevas del Drach because it has one of the largest underground lakes and the way they've lighted the cave really brings out it's elegance. Also, there is a live classical concert on the lake and at the end you can choose to take a ride in one of the boats. 

Fun fact to end this post: Father Junipero Serra, founder of the 21 missions along "El Camino Real" in California, is from Mallorca. So props to us for incorporating culture into our completely extraneous vacation. 

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