Castles and Cathedrals: A Day in Mallorca

Location: Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Just before we left Valencia last night, the cruise director announced that we would be sailing straight into a gale and that we should be prepared for some rough going en route to Palma. Lovely. I had my Gravol handy just in case, and the ship did rock ‘n’ roll a bit overnight, but I was fine, and the wind had died by the time we were ready to tour around today. It’s still cool, grey and pissy, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Those who know me well know that I’m a monarchy junkie and can’t get enough of palaces and castles. So when I found out Palma had one of each, I was really looking forward to this port. We started off by touring Bellver Castle, a circular stone structure perched atop a hill overlooking the city. It was the original residence of the kings of Mallorca (back when there actually WERE kings of Mallorca) and offers amazing views of the island from its battlements. Then we explored the bullring, which is modelled on the Colosseum in Rome and looks really ancient, but only dates from the 1930s. Next was a guided tour of the cathedral (we’ve seen so many cathedrals on this trip that I was beyond caring about this one) and then we saw the Almudaina Palace, an old Arab fortress that now houses visiting heads of state. The current king of Spain uses the palace for official receptions when the Spanish royal family comes to Mallorca in the summer. Very, very cool.

Having other people along on the cruise adds a whole other dimension to the experience. Yesterday, for instance, Dave went for a nap, I went to blog and Chris and Tanya played Scrabble. If it was just Chris and me, and one of us wanted to nap or whatever, the other one would kind of be stuck. Plus if it was just Chris and me, we would be far less likely to sit in the bar and have a drink, cause we can do that at home — but with Dave and Tanya along we have people to socialize with, so it’s all good.

It’s become a running joke among our group that Chris is constantly focused on food. While we were all sitting around yesterday playing board games, I happened to look at my watch. Here’s a verbatim account of what was said:
ME: Oh, wow, it’s four o’clock.
CHRIS: So we should go hit the buffet?
ME: Do you ever think about anything but food?
CHRIS: (accusingly) You brought it up!
ME: All I said was, it’s four o’clock.
I’m hoping he still fits into his tuxedo for the next formal night coming up in a couple days, but there are no guarantees.

Tonight we say adios to Spain and start the long trek across the Mediterranean to Tunisia in North Africa. It’s a long way, so tomorrow is a full day at sea. It’ll be nice not to have to rush out the door for a tour. On we go…