Archive for May, 2014

22 May 2014

Reflections In My Beer Glass

3 Comments Spain

Some great wines come from Binissalem

I am sitting in an airless room, slightly larger than a coffin. Paul is snoring gently as is someone in the apartment above. From the apartment below there is the constant and irritating scrape of metal cutlery against plates. Someone else is coughing. Outside, the streets are slick, wet from the recent rain, and the reflections of the bar and restaurant lights flicker in the black water puddles. It is cold and it is much better to be inside. We are back in Madrid. Our entire apartment is smaller than the sunny bedroom of the apartment I cohabited in Mallorca. There is no natural light — night and day are as one. Already I am pining for Mallorca.

I promised Paul I would not write about Mallorca. He wanted me to leave you with the thought Mallorca is simply all bars and senseless fun, rowdy Germans and raucous English, but I cannot.

Ignacio and Jessica

Cycling towards food

In the villages, of which there are many, everything runs at a slower pace. Cycling with friends through the narrow country roads, our nostrils are filled with the smell of straw and manure. We pass the wineries of Binissalem backdropped by the majestic Sierra Tramuntana mountains and we are at once grateful we are riding in the flat middle of the island. We pull over to allow the odd tractor to pass. For lunch we stop and eat traditional Mallorcan Pa Amb Oli’s (Ham, Cheese, bread smeared with the juice of tomatoes, hot green peppers and a type of seagrass). They are good and cheap and go well with beer.

Cala Deia

The crew making themselves uncomfortable

Lunch at the Cala Deia Chiringiti

A group of us visit the almost perfect village of Deia. We have lunch – whole grilled calamari — at the Chiringiti (beach bar) overlooking the bay. It is delicious and also goes well with beer. Afterwards we spend the afternoon on the beach. It is not comfortable. It is neither a sand nor pebble beach but large round rocks. We forgive the lack of comfort; it is such a stunning spot. The water beckons. We send Carlitos in first to check for medusas (jellyfish). They are small but they pack a powerful sting. He finds three and carefully steers them away with a stick. We venture in. It is a magical place.

On another day, on the flat sand perfect beach of Es Trenc, we sit on the beach eating stuffed berenjeñas (eggplant) that Bàrbara has prepared the day before. They go well with beer. There is a super-yacht anchored perhaps a hundred metres out. On the top deck there is a helicopter. We joke about what we would do if we had such a ridiculous amount of money and then we fall asleep in the sun.

In the village of Alaro we watch a concert under the stars. We eat wholesome organic vegetarian food. It goes well with beer. Afterwards we visit one of the local bars. We talk about how life in the villages — only a few kilometres from the centre of Palma, and only a few kilometres from dozens of glorious beaches and bays — goes on virtually unchanged. Bàrbara tells us how her great-grandmother lived her whole life in the village and never once visited the sea. We laugh at the thought and order another beer.

Our almost daily walk along the long promenade from Molinar into the centre of Palma passes several beaches. Bodies of all shapes and sizes leave their impression in the sand. We sit at the über-cool beach bar and have a beer and watch all that bare flesh in the late-afternoon sun.

Only one thought crosses my mind: Everything goes well with beer. You can even drink it on its own!

Paul leans over and throws in his two cents worth – Al, I got an idea.

Oh oh. I hate it when he thinks.

Why do biquini (bikini) manufacturers in Spain bother making the top half? No-one wears them. We should go into business making bikini bottoms. We’ll undercut the market and make a squillion.

I signal to camarero and order another beer.

Port d'Andtrax

Afternoon contemplation

Just add beer




08 May 2014

Are You Speaking English?

6 Comments Spain

Back in Spain again!!! Yes, that old chestnut. So rather than bore you with all the details, I will simply say it has been very nice. Malaga for a few days of cheap eats and silliness. We even did a cultural walking tour through the old town, Alejandro and Pedro will be pleased to know. We learned lots, including that Larios, the guy who funded the beautification of one of Malaga’s main boulevards conveniently forgot to pay his workers, hence the coppery green statue of him got its colour. The workers revolted, removed his statue and dumped it in the Mediterranean where it remained for eight years. Good old Franco saw to it that the statue was recovered. Below it now, a less greenish statue stands: a tribute to the workers who really built the street.

More deserving than a photo of Larios's statue. You dirty rat. Building in Malaga.

El Molinar revisited. The capital of Palma de Mallorca in the background.

El Molinar seafront houses

Sunset walks

And now we are in Mallorca where the sun oft shines, the days are long, the beaches are flat and the second language is German. We are staying in lovely sleepy El Molinar, but for three days (out of curiosity) we moved to El Arenal — the German quarter. It is the equivalent of Magaluf, the English resort area to the west of Palma. The beach is wonderful, however the town like Magaluf is ugly and cheap and was established for one purpose: to drink. Grown men stand on the sides of the road drinking via metre long straws from plastic buckets of spirits. Let's simply say they were three long days. Our plight was partly saved by a group of Irish and Scottish lasses who also found themselves in El Arenal by mistake and invited us up to the rooftop bar of their hotel to lounge around and chat.

Hou’s aw wi ye? a Scottish girl asked.

Yer a wee thing. Another handed me a drink: Get it up ye, she said as we toasted with our paper cups.

And I also discovered: Ye kin make hael sentences wae jist sweer wurds, and Irish girls shouldn't spend too much time in the sun.

It was bliss, there in the German part of Spain, a crowd of us native English speakers gathered, and between us we understood not a word!


El Arenal, view from the rooftop bar in the heat of the day

Lang may yer lum reek (May you live long and stay well)