Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mallorca Day 3: Stodgy Spanish omelette and friends


Yesterday was beach-day, today was shopping-day. Five years ago we discovered, by accident again, our new favourite clothes shop Blanco – basically a more colourful Spanish H&M. Then, H bought a pair of red boots for ten or twenty euros, and I bought a pair of yellow ones, and here was the result. 
Stylish in 2009
The Blanco we visited five years ago was in town (before we took the detour-by-wrong-bus to Pont D'Inca), but, thanks to the hostel wifi of our smartphones' googlemaps (luxuries we didn't enjoy five years ago, ah the stone age), we found out there was a shopping centre nearer by with a Blanco in it. La Mimosa is actually quite a trek away from town, probably 20-30mins by bus, so Portopi-shopping centre 10-15mins away was a welcome choice.
Hello again Portopi!
We'd been past Portopi five years ago (note first picture was taken in front of it!:D), but didn't really realise it had a shopping centre. It was a positive surprise – a modern-looking shopping centre that was partly outside! The top floor was basically outside, and I was quite happy about it as I did suddenly feel uninspired to shop in a stuffy shopping centre with artificial lighting when we were on MALLORCA the land of AUTHENTIC lighting called THE SUN.

The outside bit
Blanco was sadly small and none of us bought anything from there, but we each found one shop (a different one each!) where we purchased at least one item of clothing that made us very happy!
Obligatory photo
The most frustrating moments were spent in Carrefour (Spain has Carrefour! I thought it was just a French thing...). I dislike Carrefours in general, MASSIVE supermarkets where it takes a few months (give or take) to walk from the fruit area to the shower gel aisle. One of our main goals was to BUY WATER. But we did not find water. We took turns striding down the different aisles filled with fruit juices, Coke, beer and wine BUT NO WATER. For a moment H-le thought she had found it... but it turned out to be fizzy water.
Definitely not water
Only after half-giving up and leaving the “obvious” water zone (ie with the drinks and fizzy waters) I discovered a huge, additional area to the supermarket with the word AGUA written in huge letters above it. An extra very large room which, lo and behold, sold 42-cent, non-bubbly AGUA :) Triumphantly I returned to H and H-le, and after having a scrumptious sample of sushi the local Japanese sushi-makers were handing out (Sushi can now officially be checked off my “to experience”-list...) we escaped one bit of the Temple of Mammon (as my dad would say).

Had a lovely Spanish-timed lunch (about half three in the afternoon) of very Spanish TAPAS :) Tapas are like starters I guess, (or, as wikipedia rather more eloquently puts it, “a wide variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine”). H and I got three to share – meatballs, potato aioli salad and Spanish omelette – think omelette but as a big slab of ….... (I cannot think of the adjective!!! Even my human dictionary ie. my mother failed me :( Best word I can think of is FOODY. What I want to say by this is very... filling, intense in a food way. If a food were intense... it would most definitely be a Spanish omelette.)
Tapas à l'Espagnole!
FOODY CAKE OMELETTE. (later EDIT: STODGY was the word I was looking for.)

H-le had an amazing pasta carbonara and I got a very fancy sugar sachet and our waiter was a lovely youngish man who happily spoke the few words of English he knew with us. :)
Spanish style
Random shops outside the shopping centre
Then back to the hostel. Our plans for tonight, our third and last night, was a “fancy dinner”. Our first evening's dinner at Cala Nova was pretty fancy so we weren't attempting to find the poshest place. 

We decided to venture into Palma itself – in a way it seems a waste to be in a city and not visit the centre itself but then, I am trying to detach myself from my forceful idea of one-must-be-active-and-do-everything-possible-at-a-holiday-location. Holidays are for fun, not for maximum amount of experiences. Well no, they are for both, but rather fun and limited amount of experiences than not fun and many experiences. :P And especially this holiday was aimed more than any other holiday on revisiting old memories and creating new ones with lovely company. :)

Anyhows, sat in the bus towards Palma till a sufficient amount of people had boarded and unboarded meaning we were somewhere popular enough for unboarding. '
Pretty fountains seem promising 
We spotted one of those cheap Asian shops that was open till late (it was getting to 10pm, we were proper on Spanish time), the lady in the shop was refreshingly friendly and smiley and we happily spent time seriously considering getting matching dresses/tops just for the fun of it, then it came to closing time and apparently she all but kicked H and H-le out of the changing rooms (and thereby saved us money as well as the difficult choice of to-buy-or-not-to-buy).

We had dinner at the nice outdoor bit of a restaurant, nothing much really to say about it, very nice, we were all pretty tired. Oh! H-le had amazing tea.
Bananino <3 bananey frappé I think :)

H-le's amazing tea
Om nom
Had ice cream afterwards (Kinder Bueno, Baileys and yoghurt-flavours), decided to go home, saw our bus, ran to it and with excellent timing we jumped in, BUT the driver didn't accept our 50euro note so we had to jump back out. 

In the end, we were home an hour or two later since we decided to walk some way and visit the toilet at some funky bar with two customers and exciting savoury snacks. Also visited the playground we visited five years ago and went for a night paddle at our closest mini-beach.
Palma canal bridge
Funky chocs to go with the funky mocktail 

The local beach
And then home, a.k.a Mimosa, to pack. :(

The darkness depicts our sadness about this being our last night


PALM tree in PALMa

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Mallorca Day 2: Illetes, mistranslations and pelican-cocktails!


Today was the day for ILLETES :) Tell you about Illetes? Ok.

Mainly frequented by independent travellers, part of its charm lies in the fact that it is largely undiscovered by package tourists. Mainly populated by 4* hotels, holidays are not a cheap option here and will appeal in the main to professional couples or families who discover a resort that has been compared by travel writers to Monte Carlo.” Love from

We discovered it sort of accidentally last time, as it was at the other terminus of our bus route (NOT Pont D'Inca, see previous entry...). So, since we are a wealthy professional couple... Wait no.

Swimming pool!!
Evil finger-eating cat
After an amazing morning swim in the hostel pool and a scrumptious breakfast, we took the bus number 3 to Illetes. I do want to say that if Illetes is “largely undiscovered by package tourists” I dread to think what beaches that have been discovered by package tourists look like... It felt that every inch of the beach was covered.
The undiscovered beach
Out of the bus :)
When we last visited Illetes it was cloudy April. H-le, the braveheart, did go swimming then, but this time round all three of us happily jumped in after very nice ice creams (I had a chocolatey latte-y cone, H had an amazing looking watermelon- and kiwi-lolly, and H-le had a refreshing looking Spanish Solero-equivalent). Also, we had bought a waterproof camera from the local Chinese “Bazar”-shop which we had great fun attempting to take pics with under water. (Got the pictures a few days ago, most are fuzzy and especially the selfies are way too zoomed in to be either interesting or appropriate... But still, fun memories :D) Literally, swimming in the Mediterranean brings happiness. I've not really been such a keen swimmer after my childhood, but in these waters that keenness returned :) :)

So, quick question time now. Do you think touristy places like Mallorca have crazy humongous ridiculous mistakes in their English menus on purpose? Sometimes it just seems so hard to believe that so many English-speaking tourists go through these cafés and yet the English in their menus is... questionable!?

Let me give you a few examples from the menu from the café at Illetes beach that literally never fail to make us giggle when we see them.
Strawberries with Scum
Example Uno. 'Scum' I guess is a twist on the word 'cream'... Well I guess, add an s, take away an r and make 'ea' into 'u', voilà! Ok, understandable. (Note a level of sarcasm)
Example Dos. My personal favourite. Frozen glass of Nuts, anyone? (Upgrade to frozen bowl for 50 cents, frozen plate for a euro... OR EVEN buy your own cooler bag for an extra 5 euros so you can enjoy your Frozen glass of Nuts wherever you want...) In all seriousness, I understand this one too - hazelnut-flavoured ice cream is probably what a more native speaker would say. But 'glass' is similar to at least the Swedish word for ice cream ('en glass')... Ok, understandable.

I happen in the Salad Cheese of Goat
Example Tres. Let me spell it out for you. “Salad Cheese of Goat: Varied lettuces, cherrys, dry tomato, nuts, you happen and cheese of goat.” Despite the name of the salad being less than charming; despite the fact that, when comparing it to the other translations, you realise they mean cherry tomatoes and not just cherries, and even despite the fact that dry tomato does not sound like the most appetising of tomatoes, the biggest mistake is, like, um......  what ingredient is 'you happen'!? They also translated 'César sauce' in one of the salads as 'sauce To stop', which creates equally as many questions... (EDIT: Brainwave! I checked and my brainwave was correct: the Spanish verb 'cesar' means 'to cease, to stop' in English. But what about the you happen...? Any theories?) (More edit: Ah. Ok. 'You happen' is pronounced in correct English 'raisins'. In Spanish it is 'pasas'. And 'to happen' is 'pasar'...) (Ah I am so proud of myself I finally figured this out :) )

Oh bless you Mallorca :)

It is fair to say we had a highly amused time queueing up for our Frappé and our, hrm, Handle Smoothie (the other languages on the menu informed us that 'Handle' is the English word for 'Mango').

Fair enough, well done Illetes-beach café for having four different languages on your menus. And don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. It's all the holiday experience, and I'm sure we gained at least a few minutes of life time from laughing at your menu... And the Handle Smoothie was AMAZING, like, it was clearly not tinned Handle or anything, but proper fresh Handle made into a freshly-made, summery Handle Smoothie. OM NOM.
H-le enjoying the amazingly delicious Handle smoothie
ANYHOW. New topic. Five years ago we discovered 'The Island'. An island with a tower on it, which H-le tried bravely wading/swimming to (it's not even that deep). However, the current of April 2009 was very strong and quite dangerous, so even courageous H-le gave up. But, one day we will... we decided.

One day was today. For H-le. We even considered the idea of trying to take our stuff to the island by wading the whole trip. We watched some guys do it – it looked precarious, but they managed... H-le decided she was up for the challenge. With her kiwi-bag (Christmas present from me:)) on her head like a talented exotic woman, she joined The Island Queue (consisting completely of fit-looking young men, so we were very proud of our female addition <3) and made her way through the jagged rocks to The Island. Hurray!
H-le is the one in the middle with the hat and white bag on head
H and I decided we preferred just dressing up in the various multi-coloured clothes we had taken with us and take photos. H-le returned, so now we just needed the kiwi bag back from The Island shore. H-le swam back, and managed to successfully ask one of them young fit lads (or well, man) to bring the bag back to us (while she disappeared off to check out the tower, recommended by him, apparently twas very cool!!). He broke his flip-flop on the way. :( But what a hero!

Our hero in the sea
Then it was time to go back and hang at the hostel pool. I proudly have never thought of myself as someone who “wastes” their holiday by the pool. Well, I think I'm less narrow-minded about that now, since the pool was one of the best times there! Many jumping photos :)

And kiwi card games :)
Our evening meal was most probably “lunch” in Spanish, since we had it at about half past five. (If my Spanish housemate was anything to go by, breakfast was at 1pm, lunch at 6pm and dinner at midnightish...) We stopped at a nearby café which offered meals for under ten euros, and our choice of food hole was confirmed to be excellent when the café owner turned out to be a ridiculously adorable elderly man called Tito who keenly practised his limited English with us. His adorableness points rose even higher after he poured an entire glass of wine on me, apologised cutely and brought us a packet of M&M's as compensation.
Thank you Tito
H's Titoese carrot cake 
Future Mallorca visitors: GO HERE :) 
The evening was spent napping and then sampling our home street's cocktails. After our hostel-Sophie pointed out she couldn't make us cocktails since she didn't have limes and “her cocktails always have limes” (quickly became an inside joke of ours), we luckily found other cocktail-serving venues, most notably the place that served a Malibu Dream-cocktail with ice cream in it in a pelican glassholder. A picture will do it more justice...
Not what we were expecting...
INCREDIBLE. That was H's drink, topping all other drinks we had taste- and appearance- and accessorywise! H-le's was a good second with a massively long straw, so long that if you wanted to drink from it you had to be stood up.

Then we ended up in a cute restaurant called Indian Ocean, which would have been lovely to go to in the daytime as it was RIGHT near the sea – the big terasse area in a way was over the sea... And we made friends with the owner who told us about his business woes which was a fun random surprise (not the business woes, but the new friend.) :)
The sea is to the left
And that was Day 2! All in all a perfect day. 



Monday, 25 August 2014

The Real Spain-Holiday Sequel: Mallorca Day 1

Intoxicated and far too numerous English and German tourists fighting over who can first reserve the hotel beach loungers with their beach towels. That is Palma de Mallorca according to the most recent news article I read. On a happier note, it was also the destination for me and two of besties, H and H-le, weekend away/hen do last weekend. We'd been there already five years previously and thought it to be a fun place to go back to, as H was about to get married (to a young man she met a few months after our first Spain-trip.) (Wedding was yesterday, ah it was gorgeous. <3) H-le and I decided to plan a surprise trip for H, back to our beloved Mallorca, back to our beloved Hostal La Mimosa. We were there 16-19.8 - arrived Saturday evening and left Tuesday morning. Despite the sadly short stay, it was epic. 

H, me and H-le young and fresh-faced in 2009! 
Five years ago we had just turned 18 and were embarking on our first self-planned holiday to a foreign country. We flew to Barcelona and took a night ship (rather a tragic journey including around 0 minutes of sleep and 1 lost passport) to Palma de Mallorca.

16.08.2014 This time round, we flew straight to Mallorca. We started our hen do/bachelorette party-day in Helsinki (Finland), where both H and H-le live. After a fun photo-hunt with H's cuddly toy polar bear as the star, including a picnic with croissants and a brunch cocktail called Mimosa, we found ourselves at the Starbucks airport where the Starbucks girls handed H her reservation for a flight to Mallorca leaving in three hours. H-le and I were so happy but also so surprised that the trip had managed to stay a secret – she hadn't suspected a thing... I will spare the details since I am desperately trying to keep this blog on track with the sole theme of TRAVELS. :P
Brekkie time!
The famous Jääkarhu ('Polar Bear') enjoying his Starbucks in one of the photo-hunt pics
Helsinki-Palma was a nice flight which we excitingly shared with a “celebrity” couple (she is famous for being a playboy model ten/twenty years ago whilst he is famous for being seventeen years younger than her). At Palma airport, after being greeted by a very lovely palm tree-edged road leading from the airport, we managed to clamber onto bus number 1, which seemed to be the aim for most people at Palma airport (ie. it was quite crowded). Luckily I managed to, just, avoid Death By Bus Door (DBBD) - I was pressed up against it when the driver decided to randomly open it.
Entering Palma - it's not just about the beach, there's mountains too!
Welcome to Palma!
We changed buses in the town centre, witnessed a massive cockroach create havoc at the bus stop before some brave German tourist (man) kicked it onto the road. Then a bus drove over it... but I guess Spanish cockroaches are like daddy long legses and Voldemort... (nearly) IMMORTAL. Also apparently they can fly. Or at least tried to.
Our beloved bus route number 3, have been from the first to the last stop! 
After the cockroach, we surprisingly successfully managed to change buses (Last time we did this five years ago, we only realised we had taken the bus in the wrong direction when our driver started shouting at us in angry Spanish until we realised we had reached the terminus, and not even the terminus near our hostel, but the one in the OPPOSITE direction... And it was 11pm and the spooky Pont d'Inca was very dodgy at that hour...) 

Um, back to 2014, we even managed to get out the bus at the right stop, Hotel Maricel, although this time it was H-le's turn to nearly experience DBBD as she tried to keep the bus doors open for me who was lagging behind with two big bags, an open folder full of important papers and passport about to fall out and a half-eaten nectarine (I really did not expect the stop to be so soon...).

We found our way to our beloved hostal Mimosa, and were greeted by brisk young Sophie, British by voice but very un-British by her blunt speech void of any British niceties I have always been so used to. Well, efficient enough I guess.

We settled in in our lovely room 108, happily surprised by the fact it was three-bed instead of the booked five-bed, with a lovely view of the pool. :))
No roommates yay! 
Even the pool is working this time round!
The friendly German owner of the hostel recommended a posh restaurant called Cala Nova nearby which we promised to check out. We weren't looking for anything fancy, but Cala Nova's prices seemed very reasonable so we tiptoed in.

Cala Nova was full of posh young male waiters with slick dark hair and posh suits - quite typically Spanish on the whole, including the fact that waiters are usually men, unlike, say, in Finland. Anyways, we were led to a lovely outside table surrounded by Palma harbour boats and posh groups of posh adults fine dining.
Blending into the fine dining

We were brought olives and bread for starters, and especially when I was asked to taste the wine before accepting it, I felt equally posh as I did out of place. (I now realise I forgot to swish it before trying it... how embarrassing.) A lovely dinner – H-le and I shared a Country Paella which was vegetabley rice with a few large clumps of bone with meat attached to it. (I don't think I'll pursue a career in food-blogging... I don't think I managed to express the fact that it was actually SCRUMPTIOUS bordering on HEAVENLY.) 

The famous and absolutely delicious paella!
The 'Eyebrow Cat' kept us company and was rewarded by many tasty treats
Followed by a “Mixed Dessert”, which was chocolate brownie, lemon meringue and special Majorcan almond (?) cake. We all agreed the lemon meringue was the tastiest.

Best dessert :)
Luckily they were most definitely not needed :)

Cala Nova provided a very lovely first impression of Palma! And then back home, a.k.a. Mimosa. :) 

Day 2 tomorrow! Or soon :)

Emmzzzzzy :)