A Trip to Formentor, Soller and Palma

We squeezed in a short off-season holiday to Majorca with a rough idea of the places we were going to stay. Sibs is the kind of person who generates a lot of ideas and abandons them just as quickly. If she asks me a question there’s a good chance the reply will be redundant before I’ve finished saying it. If you get the timing right, you can successfully bounce from question to question without actually being involved in the solution.

Ryan Air Safety Record

I’m getting used to Ryan Air now.  Being on their planes used to worry me ever since I landed with a flaming wing and thick black smoke billowing past my window. A woman screamed and I started calculating the odds of various survival scenarios, but other than that no-one seemed to notice it. We landed ok and I deduced that an oil pipe had burst when they started applying brakes on the runway at landing speed. It must have been spraying oil into the engine. Later I saw a maintenance enclosure wrapped around the wing and no mention of it anywhere in the airport or on the internet.

Now I’m using Ryan Air again, I felt compelled to do a bit of research which revealed that it actually has a better safety record than most of the other airlines. Elsewhere I found an unofficial opinion that ‘having permission to operate in the EU is enough proof that the airline is safe’. All the research I did pointed to Ryan Air being at least as safe as any other serving Europe, bearing in mind that Europe has much tighter restrictions more strictly applied in the world.

Emergency Exits

On this trip out I was next to the emergency exit. The male steward explained what to do to the women on the other side of the plane but assumed that I would be ok. Whilst a pack of wild-eyed feminists battered him unconscious with their handbags, I figured out that the door consists of a shielded lever that unlocks a panel you can kick out at the bottom. Once I figured that out I had the compulsion to do it immediately. I was a bit trigger happy about it and I’m fairly stable. What you don’t need is a stressed out person in this seat for sure.

Strategic Holiday Planning

Sibs is streets ahead of me when planning a holiday. In this case, the weather was going from sunny to rainy over a 4 day period and she arranged for us to be in Pollenca and Formentor for the sunshine and sea, then Soller for the Deia to Soller walk and Palma for the rainy day shopping.

Pollenca

For the sunny days, we stayed at the Daina hotel in Pollenca which was a pleasant experience in itself and made the most of the sunshine by swimming at Pollenca and taking the ferry to Formentor. Even in October, the temperature is around 27°C. 

Pollenca is generally tranquil, especially so when off-season.

In the evening we went to Sibs favourite restaurant called the Abbaco but that didn’t work out as well as it did last year. Last year we liked it a lot.

After we ordered, the waiter said the food was delayed and that we should buy something to cover the waiting time. We weren’t interested, but he didn’t give up until it got a little awkward. That made me suspect he was a bit of an oily character right there, and I began to dislike his beard, pale blue eyes and casual attitude.

The food was ok, but Sibs and all the reviewers on TripAdvisor think its great. It was also more expensive, and I ended up eating some kind of beetroot rice arrangement that they served like it was an amazing thing. I guess I’m not into pretend sophistication – it is what it is i.e. beetroot rice with a bit of chicken on top, which would have been ok if the price were lower. But we are here because Sibs liked the place last year and that was ok with me.

The coast at the far end of Formentor bay. Nearer to the ferry there are beaches and mini bays.

When we paid, Sibs said he was anticipating walking away with several pounds extra as a tip, which I hadn’t offered. We already paid a lot and it was a stupid price for a bowl of red rice in the first place. But he didn’t return so we waited. We waited for a good long time! Eventually, he recovered the bill from underneath some others on the spike, found some change and brought it back to the table. Thanks a lot, oily dude, meeting you makes me feel like a lesser person.

Personally, I’m not keen on being bullied in general, and I didn’t think much of this guy in particular. Despite what TripAdvisor says, this place is in the bin as far as we are concerned.

Soller Port & Town

After the sunshine and swimming at Pollenca, we decided to move on to Soller Port initially, but it was a bit more downbeat than Pollenca.

When we got back to the tired looking hotel room we found a massive Cockroach or Cicada in the middle of the bed looking very healthy but not very attractive. After a while, it made a dash for the window and I let it out. These things are scarily clever for their size.

Then Sibs said something about bed bugs, so we worried about cockroaches and bed bugs all night and vowed to move to Soller Town where the Deia to Soller walk ended.

Deia to Soller

After navigating from the port to the town using the tram on Sunday morning, we booked into a really nice place which cost the same as the slightly iffy one by the sea. After settling in we took a bus to the small town of Deia which was wrapped around the main road that looped around a hill.

We found the track and began the walk to Soller. The ‘Maps.me’ iPhone app saved us from getting lost at numerous points although a local had said you can’t get lost. I disagree – do take a paper map at least and using a tracker on your phone to keep you heading in the right direction will save a lot of headaches.

These seaward cliffs can be seen in the distance while on the walk. I clipped out the power lines from the photo, but those things are never far away from the best shots.

We both enjoyed this walk enormously and we recommend doing it although it does take several hours to complete. Along the route, we found a place that sells orange juice for 3 euros per glass, and later on a home cafe where we ate quiche. Goats cheese is probably the worst flavour ever discovered. The path was part sunny part shade, with trees giving welcome shade from time to time. I think we both recommend this walk.

We spent an evening in Soller Town, it was a really nice place to be, and with more going on than I expected.

During the night I was bitten in several places by mosquitoes and also lost sleep trying to kill them as they flew close by. One got me in the ear! I hadn’t really considered taking mosquito spray to Majorca before, but now I’m pretty bumpy all over and it itches a fair bit. It took about a week to recover and a bit of repellent would have made things better.

Back to Palma

We spent our last day in Palma because it was scheduled to be rainy. Soller was pretty wet but as soon as we cleared the mountains sunshine came back. 

We did get a lot of rain that day but we didn’t know that to the northeast of the island, a major flash flood had formed in Sant Llorenc. Water gushed through the town and cars piled up. Two 70-year-old holidaymakers on the way from Palma to their hotel lost their lives in a taxi that was caught in the deluge. we had no idea, it seemed like another normal day where we were.

On the Way Home

On the flight home, I was unfortunate enough to share a row with a woman who wasn’t happy to give the window seat back to me. She seemed to have made her mind up that it was hers somehow. I got the impression that being graceful wasn’t something that was on her radar.

I’m a window seat fan so when I showed her my ticket and asked her to move, she threw her belongings across the seats and made a big noisy fuss about unstrapping herself etc. Lots of sighing and banging the furniture followed as she hauled herself out of the seat. As you may have guessed, she wasn’t about to apologise in the way the people normally do in this situation. 

Finally, she ended up in the middle seat beside me and since her arms couldn’t be contained by the seat she was in, we rode a good part of the trip skin to skin on my side of the armrest.

I took these shots from the plane as we were approaching the airport. The marks in the dry fields probably indicate something about the ground which could be to do with drainage, geology or previous use. The geometric pattern in the third photo is a solar power farm.