Mallorca, the largest of the Ballearic Islands, can be seen from one end to the other as the plane comes in to land. Rugged mountains fall away into the sea on the west coast, more mountains encircle two large bays to the north; a hill or two rise in the south east corner, and the rest of the island is a patchwork of tiny fields dotted with farmhouses, windmills and villages, all interlinked by a web of roads.
We’re here to catch up with friends, eat, drink and be merry! This requires tucking into a hearty slow roast shoulder of lamb (I went for rabbit) up in the hills outside of Soller, sharing paella on the waterfront at St Elm, arguing about the politics and crisis in Spain (the very busy high end stores suggest there’s money in Mallorca), driving to different spots on the island (what – you drove 50km today!) and climbing Puig Galazo.
The Ballearic Islands are a major holiday destination for Europeans seeking a week or two in the sun. English and German tourists predominate, and enjoy all-inclusive package deals provided by massive resorts that dot the coastline. They arrive in their thousands in August. In Mallorca Airport hundreds of check-in counters sit closed for now. Just like the resorts which shut down around the end of October and don’t reopen until Easter. The massive all-inclusive resorts which overwhelmed little fishing villages that once dotted the coastline are empty; and, just like the nearby restaurants and bars, everything is roller shuttered awaiting the next summer season.