May 9, 2012
Tourists and tapas.
Two things in this world which I am not a big fan of. Why then, would I go to Mallorca? The infamous Spanish tourist trap of an island, overrun by chubby European expats from the 1960′s and forward. Cardboard hotels, hoards of purple-haired 65 years old suburban working class wives smoking in the dirty hotel pools, “pig parties” with sangria, fake latin music and roasted pork fat galore into the early hours was how you went on a “real holiday” back then.
Then, in the mid-1990′s cheap plane tickets began to offer even more exotic destinations and the Mallorca service industry suddenly woke up to another reality of empty hallways and resort ghost towns.
Since then the little island in the Balearic/Mediterranean Sea north of Africa has demolished several amounts of hotels and run down pool areas — and rebuilt new urban areas and parks from the ground up.
And well, I went here because everyone told me that this place was the hottest shit again and that I’d love it. Which turned out to be true.
It’s still a very touristy island, but mostly in certain Southern parts. Big hotels with people who spend a whole week between the pool and the bar.
But that’s mostly in those isolated resort places. The rest of the island has an abundance of other stuff to offer for the more… er… curious visitor. It’s a sun-kissed, lush piece of rock — filled with orange groves, small beautiful inlets and fjords filled with aquamarine blue waters and white sand beaches. Olive trees, sheep herds, tall mountains and almond bushes. Even Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró fell in love with this place and lived here for a large part of their lives.
I spent 6 days in the capital of Palma de Mallorca, and the food was a big surprise. I usually don’t like tapas. Oil-soaked little nasty sausages, boring and cold pieces of paté made from an unknown kind of worn out old animal, stiff dry slices jamón…
Thanks, I’ll pass. But in Mallorca it was different — the tapas were fresh, interesting, varied and CHEAP! The rest of the food scene as well. I don’t think I’ve ever had that many delicious cortados in such little time.
Here’s a little sum up of what we had and where we had it:
Breakfast: Almost every day we went down to this cute little restaurant with an all organic breakfast buffet. Each thing cost 1 Euro ($ 1.30) CHEAP!
Ensaimada: traditional Mallorcian breakfast pastry. And home baked bread with fresh ham and mild cheese. Cortado on the side.
Nice Spanish interiors with open ceiling and iron coloumns. Love the rustic plants on each table instead of silly roses in a small vase etc.
Lunch at the weekly market in the little town of Sineu in the middle of the island. Lots of crap, lots of tourists.
But also great traditional Spanish lunch plates with pickles, vegetables, ham and cheese on bread.
Meringue, and other cakes.
Harbour cruise. With rum & coke and some weird, morning pee-looking licorice tasting Spanish liquor.
The marine harbour — fish nets laying out to dry.
Evening snack at the top tapas place in Palma: La Boveda. View to the waterfront. This is where hustlers and beggars gather to sell silly hats and blinking souvenirs (because this restaurant is a hot pick in the guide books and therefore draws a tourist crowd). Well, the food was the bomb despite the many annoyances.
Mussles in garlic lemon boullion. Behind that, you can sort of see the dates wrapped in bacon (best bites of the whole trip!!)
Big market hall in Palma — mostly for locals. Nice to see so many normal (not wealthy) people buying fresh produce and meat here instead of the supermarket.
At another supermarket we rain into the Tienda Del Jamon booth which featured a live human cutting up dead animals using machines and tools. This girl sliced off big pieces of these hams. It looked very cool and people seem to line up with joy and purchase her slicings.
Or maybe all the men just thought it was nice to look at.
Lemon and orange trees are everywhere. Imagine just reaching your hand out the kitchen window and grabbing a fresh lemon for the fish.
Hand made and painted jug by Pablo Picasso. Freshly squeezed orange juice. Both at the Train Station/museum in the village of Soller.
Port de soller — paradise harbour.
My first taste of seafood paella — with quite the view.
It was a short pasta paella with squid, peas, mussels and fish. Slightly burned and full of taste — with freshly squeezed lemon on top.
After such a dish I needed something sweet. But not too sweet since it was hot and sunny. We sat down at another seaside dessert cafe.
Freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. WOW!!!!!!!!!!
This was truly amazing. I instantly fell in love with this simple dessert. Sweet, sour and refreshing. Perfect on a hot day. Will make this next time I have guests over for a barbecue.
Seaside walk with fig palm trees and view towards Africa.
The ancient cathedral and seaside park next to the old city wall.
Big plaza in the centre of Palma. So beautiful it’s like being on the set of a European Woody Allen movie.
French sweets store La Cure Gourmande. Kinda touristy but as a Dane used to very simple and cleanly designed stores, I can’t help wandering around looking at the lack of taste and kind of liking it. Sort of being in Disneyland.
Two kinds of chocolate-covered almonds called “olives”.
Totally tasted like M&M’s. Meh.
Spinach & cheese pizza at the seaside village Portochristo.
Roasted fish with herbs, fries and vegetables.
A cortado at the Miró Museum. Notice how early in the season we are — no other tourists!
This was his studio for the last 30 years of his life until he passed away in 1983. Stonewall, bright light, raw tile floor, African art collections and lots of rustic paintings.
Love love love.
View from outside his studio across the Palma bay. Sailing straight forward from here will make you end up in Algier.
Lunch at the local tapas place just two meters from the lovely little apartment we rented.
Bread, blended fresh tomatoes, local olives, fried spinach and überdelicious, spicy, roasted chicken wings. All home made.
The beer you can not trust.
A few days later: back at this place for those chicken wings. Damn they’re good.
Final munch: Mojito ice cream! Welcome to Spain!!
Now, go book your ticket. You won’t regret it.