Friday, April 26, 2013

The Other Mallorca -- Part III

Today William the Donkey Groomer has decided that we'll explore the region of Serra de Tramuntana, which was named a World Heritage Site in 2011. We cover a lot of ground too--dozens of miles even. You see, we have a hiking method called "Hiking on Four Wheels," which we employ on days after very long, strenuous hikes (when we've thrown our backs out or find it difficult to walk down stairs or even get out of bed, that sort of thing). There are thousands of cyclists on the road. Some bikers look pooped and panting before they even start up one of the many World Heritage site mountains.Goodness. Good luck to them.

"They are going to die. They are not even dressed right for cycling," William says, as if the right sports attire could save one from a heart attack.

We might be overlooking the obvious: that people who decide to drive through these mountains rather than bike or hike are probably the people in danger of heart attack.

Do you remember our failed attempts at reaching the cove "just beyond that mountain" from Part I of this story? Well, William has decided to surprise me (and then of course he tells me about his surprise, ruining said surprise) by driving to the cove that we couldn't be bothered to reach on foot.

"We can't drive directly to it. We'll have to walk a bit."

I'm excited. I'm conjuring romantic postcardworthy visions of a secluded, pristine paradise that can only be reached by "a bit" of walking. Yesterday's walk really did my back in, so I'll be walking a bit like an elderly man with osteoporosis.

We snake through the mountains, dodging cyclists and hikers. We argue. I'm trying to take pictures by hanging out the window; and William, whipping around curves at 90 mph, is not facilitating this at all. I could get better pictures if I were driving and hanging out the window with the camera. All the good shots are on his side.

"Let me drive." I try to climb over on his side of the car.

OK, I don't do this. Yes, yes: safety is more important than a great photograph. Here are a few of the bad ones I took from the passenger seat of the car with all the good stuff on the driver's side:

The cove? What a let down. It's called Cala Tuent, and pretty sure Tuent means Snoresville. It was pretty, but I'm glad we didn't hike six hours to reach it. I guess, though, it would appeal to a lot of tourists who are trying to get away from the commercialized side of Mallorca. There's a shabby little house near the water and not much of anything else here. The water is reported to be of excellent quality. And to our surprise, we were able to drive right up to the water's edge.

Did you know that Europeans brought the concept, or I suppose the habit, of sunbathing to the island of Mallorca? The people living on the island would never have lain in the sun on a beach. They used to beaches for picnics but started sunbathing only after the Europeans started spending their vacations there in the 1950s. I might have a bit of native Mallorcan in me. I hate lying in the sun.

Cala Tuent, Mallorca

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Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type, the story of a man struggling with expectations. Available from Amazon Anything.