A Bit of General Info
I have to admit that I’ve been selfish over the years – I love reading other’s trip reports and the community forums, but I have never contributed anything in return. Before leaving on our most recent trip to Mallorca (Majorca to the folks in the UK), Spain, I needed some good airplane reading material. I printed out the entire trip report that “ellenem” wrote on her recent travels to Venice and Florence. Thoroughly enjoying her report (so detailed!), I was inspired to post my first trip report when I returned to the States.
Our trip to Mallorca was booked far in advance (1 year) due to fact that we wanted to coordinate using our Delta Skymiles for award tickets and trading our timeshare for a resort for our weekly accommodations in Spain. This saves us a ton of money and has worked for us multiple times in the past. Since we are lone travelers (don’t use tours) we do all of own preparation and planning for our trips. After booking the plane tix and resort week, I started scouring the web for resources. To my surprise (and dismay) there was much general information about Mallorca, but very little personal (trip reports, etc) information. This is another reason I decided to put my report out there.
Some quick facts: Trip dates: May 27-June 4, 2011. We flew Delta (CHS to ATL to MAD). Delta did not have any airline partners to get us to Mallorca, so we booked separate tix on Iberia Airlines (via Travelocity) for the final leg from MAD to PMI. Rental car booked with Hasso Rent-A-Car through their website.
My wife, Melissa, and I (both mid 30’s) very much enjoy travelling – seeing and experiencing new and different cultures. We also enjoy eating and trying local specialties (like Mallorcan mayonnaise, for instance) in our travels. We are both amateur photographers – have a simple, but nice, small Canon digital camera. It’s got pretty good zoom, but is small enough to easily fit in my pocket. On previous trips we’d taken a separate video camera, but on this trip we decided to leave it home and use the video capabilities of the point and shoot camera mentioned above.
We are kid-less except for our two sweet, little furry ones (kitties). We are blessed to have very competent and loving sitters. We each enjoy keeping journals while travelling. This trip report is simply a posting of my journal. Bear with the fact that I flip between past, present, and future tenses throughout. Keeping a journal means catching up at times and looking ahead at other times – just keeping it real.
Now, on to the trip!
Friday, May 27th
Well, the day we have planned for (for over a year) has finally arrived. We’re off to Spain today!
Or so we thought….
Jessica (my sister) was supposed to pick us up at our house at 9:00am, but she got ill, so mom picked us up instead and was at our house right on time, early actually! As we were gathering our bags/luggage and heading out the front door Mel’s phone rang. It was Delta Airlines informing us that our Charleston (CHS) to Atlanta (ATL) flight had been cancelled due to airplane maintenance (but we think due to inclement weather around ATL). How disappointing. Staying positive and hopeful, we went to the airport anyway to see if we could find another way or work-around to get us to ATL. Mom dropped us off at the airport and headed on to her doctor’s appointment.
A very kind Delta representative named Robert tried his hardest for 45 minutes to find a way to get us out. Unfortunately, when Delta cancelled the CHS to ATL flight, they (assuming that we couldn’t/wouldn’t make it to ATL) also cancelled our reservation/seats on the ATL to Madrid (MAD) flight and gave them to someone else. So even if we had found a way to Atlanta, the flight to MAD was now booked solid.
We resigned the fact that we were not to leave for our long-planned vacation today. Dad picked us up from the airport and drove us home (it’s good to have lots of family in town). Once back at the homestead, we relaxed and I emailed the Club Cala Pi resort and Hasso rental car company to let them know of our delay and that we’d be checking-in a day late. We both napped and then grabbed an early dinner at Osaka, our favorite local sushi restaurant. Afterwards, we rented the movie “Gulliver’s Travels” starring Jack Black from the Redbox kiosk to watch that evening. Early to bed.
Tomorrow we’re off to Spain…..Hopefully!
Saturday, May 28th
We woke up at 6:00am, got ready, and had some good kitty-time. Our friend, Giovanni, picked us up and gave us a ride to the airport. We checked-in at the Delta desk and quickly made it through security – no pat-downs needed! We boarded the Delta MD88 airplane at 10:15am. The 50-minute flight from CHS to ATL was uneventful, except for a few loud kids a couple of rows behind us. It was nice to be on an airplane again, as it had been a while since I’d flown.
We have a 5-hour layover in Atlanta, which is fine. We’d rather have extra time between flights than be sprinting to the next terminal to catch our next flight. We ate lunch in the ATL airport at Intermezzo Café, a place that Mel was familiar with and has enjoyed due to her recent business travels. I ate a mango, avocado, and chicken wrap with fries. Mel had an avocado and almond salad with a side of broccoli salad. We killed some time looking around the airport shops for some Gas-X for Mel. It was a long flight coming up….enough said. It was more difficult to find than you would think, but we finally hit the jackpot in Concourse E!
Our next leg, CHS to MAD, leaves around 4:45pm. Looking forward to getting back on European soil!
We boarded the plane to Madrid – lots of folks on the plane – supposedly a full flight. Once on the plane, we (along with many other people) were in quick negotiations with our plane-mates to try and jockey around our seat assignments so that we could sit next to one another on the long, international flight. When Delta had re-booked the flight for the folks they had cancelled flights for the previous day, they (Delta) had thrown people in seats all over the plane like scattering seeds in a field! It was a bit chaotic. We quickly found two separate nice people who were willing to switch seats. Mel and I would be flying to Madrid sitting next to one another. Relief and joy.
The flight took 8 1/2 hours, but seemed much longer. Impossible to sleep. At least the plane was equipped with a nice entertainment system. Everyone had their own personal screen (on the seatback in front of them) with music (tons of variety and choices), movies, TV, and games. There was a young Spanish-speaking girl/child sitting behind me – she seemed to never stop jabbering the entire flight. What is it with me sitting near loud kids on planes so far???
Sunday, May 29th
We were excited to be in Madrid! It has been a few years since we’ve travelled to Europe and it was nice to be back. After claiming the luggage we asked a nice police officer at the airport where to go to check-in with Iberia Airlines for our final flight to the island of Mallorca. He told us to get on the green and blue shuttle bus outside of the terminal and head to Terminal 4 (T4). We easily found the shuttle he spoke of and after a winding drive around the outskirts of the airport we eventually made it to T4.
The last flight was with a small airline named Vueling that contracts with Iberia. We found the Vueling desk in T4 and they informed us that we needed to go to the main Iberia desk. Once at the Iberia desk, they gave us the bad news that when our flights were adjusted (cancelled) in the US by Delta, the Vueling flight did NOT get adjusted. As Delta did not have a partner airline that flew directly into Mallorca, we had booked the MAD to Mallorca flight separately through Travelocity on Iberia/Vueling Airlines. The representative that we were “working” with at the Iberia desk to explain what had happened had a pretty harsh attitude and seemed as though she could have cared less. When it was clear that the representative would not bend, we handed over the credit card to purchase two new one-way tickets to Mallorca. We really had no choice, so it was a quick decision on our part. That was an unexpected expense, but we know that life happens and you just have to roll with sometimes. We could’ve gotten all bent out of shape and angry and shown our nasty sides to the Iberia agent, but where would that have gotten us? No where. Life is too short to let a small wrinkle such as this ruin our long-planned vacation / anniversary. Lesson learned – book directly through the airline next time and not through Travelocity or another such site. I believe that Iberia would have been much more conducive to helping us if we’d booked directly through their company.
The short flight from MAD to PMI (Palma airport in Mallorca) was nicely uneventful and took less than an hour. More screaming, seat-kicking kids behind us on the plane. We were so tired by that point that we barely heard/felt it.
Arriving at the Palma Airport around 12:30pm, we grabbed our luggage and headed outside to bright, blue-skied Mallorca. We felt instantly rejuvenated as we soaked up the sun. Thanks to the great directions from their website, we easily found the Hasso Rental Car shuttle bus. The young female driver could not find us on her list arriving clients, but as we started to explain that we were a day later than we should have been, she said “no problem – jump in.” We took the short ride, listening to loud techno-music on the radio, to the Hasso Rental Car office in town not too far from the airport. Because they do not have an office based right at the airport, they are able to offer lower/better rates than many competitors. While researching rental car companies I came across Hasso and searched for reviews online from forums such as Fodors. All seemed positive so we went with Hasso.
The nice ladies at the Hasso office made quick work of the paperwork and handed over our keys to a nice, new(er) black Citroen C4. It was sporty looking. Much nicer than the Ford Fiesta I assumed we’d be driving. I only stalled the car one time (it was a manual transmission and I drive an automatic at home) while trying to pull the car out of the tight parking space in the very tight lot. It was like riding a bike - my brain and feet remembered the routine of using a clutch (after several years) and off we went!
Quickly out of the city of Palma and on the highway headed to our resort in Cala Pi in the southeastern area of the island. Cala Pi is in a very remote and rural part of the island – set away from any businesses or busyness for that matter – nice! After 30 minutes of driving we arrived at the resort. Parking at the resort was a real pain as there is a popular beach/cliff right there where many go to soak up the sun while enjoying the breath-taking views. I finally found a spot after much driving around making loop after loop of the resort area looking for a parking space. This could be a problem if it’s like this everyday.
Easy check-in at the resort reception – very nice folks. We were given Apartment/Condo #210 for our week-long stay. It is a nice 2-bedroom place with wonderful views of the Mediterranean and of the aqua-blue water cove that the resort sits above. The décor is stuck in the 70’s, but that’s no biggie. The windows were immediately opened - the breezes quite nice and refreshing. It has a pretty, tiled balcony with a table and chairs for dining alfresco that overlooks the cove. And being that it’s on the top floor of the building it has an extra amenity – a great rooftop terrace with another table and chairs, sink, and large, built-in grill. The views from up there were even more amazing! What a wonderful place to have as our home-base for the week.
We both showered after many, many hours of travelling. That really gave us our second wind! With clean bodies/clothing and excited minds, we headed out the door to a local café to get a bite to eat. Sitting outside under an umbrella-ed table, we enjoyed some “fizzy” water (carbonated), some local white wine, a plate of calamari, and a tomato/mozzarella salad.
We had passed a grocery store on the ride in – maybe 10 minutes away – so we went to check it out. We planned to eat our breakfasts in the condo each day – both for simplicity and to keep meal costs down. Plus, as Mel tries to eat gluten-free as much as possible (eating wheat makes her very tired), it’d be easier for her to buy what she wanted from the grocery store. As it was Sunday, the store was closed. We browsed a few restaurants in a nearby shopping center just down from the grocery store. Nothing looked too exciting but our options were limited. Deciding on one, we ordered a couple of burgers – Mel’s without the bread. After ordering, Mel remembered that some people mix bread into their burgers when making the patties. She asked the server if this was the case, the server checked with the chef, and unfortunately this was the case. She asked the server for other options and all she could come up with was a salad with extra cheese and ham. Mel opted for the salad. Picking at the salad, Mel got really worried (sad) that she’d be eating salads for every meal on our Spanish vacation. I tried comforting her and prayed to God that he would open up the gluten-free options where ever we chose to eat in the coming week.
After driving back to the resort, we stopped a small convenience-type store next to the reception area. We bought some bottled water (fizzy, of course), a bottle of white wine (for later), and a bottle of local red wine (for tonight). An enjoyable evening – enjoyed the wine and walked down the long, steep steps to the beach at the cove. Such a beautiful area!
Finally made it to bed – hopefully for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we check out Palma, the large capital city of the island!
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Back to Spain…..To the Birthplace of Mayonnaise!
A Bit of General Info