Playing in Palma

Trip Start Sep 01, 2013
Trip End Dec 20, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hostel Atlanta
What I did
Cathedral (Le Seu) Palma
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Spain  , Balearic Islands,
Sunday, September 29, 2013

This weekend saw me off to one of the coolest destinations in the world (from what I know). The Balearic Islands are situated off the east cost of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. After only an hour on the plane (from Madrid to Palma de Mallorca), I looked out the window to see the descent onto the island. At first, I could only make out the rough shapes of mountains raising out of the Sea, but once we got closer, more came into view. First, the city of Palma de Mallorca itself, situated right off the bay cusped by Rocky mountains on all sides. Next were all the ships! There were sailboats skimming across the water below the plane and at least 5 of the largest cruise ships I had ever seen docked along the marina. I was lucky to catch these views out of the plane window. They were absolutely breathtaking and were the best I would see the whole weekend. 

We stayed at a place called Hostel Atlanta, Three blocks off the beach! The hostel had a great beach feel to it, and was run by a group of British folks with some fine humor! The trip this weekend consisted of myself and four other Butler friends. After our morning flight on Friday, lunch, and getting settled in to the hostel, we headed to the beach, only a five minute walk! Although it was crowded with tourists from all over the world (a surprising amount of Germans), my group found a good place to hang out/ lay right up by the water. Swimming was fantastic! the waves were small and the sand sloped down so gradually into the water that I could stand waist high in the water 50 yards out. We hung out on the beach all afternoon, and definitely took advantage of the sun. For dinner, we headed back to the Hostel where at their own restaurant, we had what has been voted as the "best burger in Palma." It was fantastic! 

Saturday was a busy yet amazing day. By 9am, we were out and headed back to the Sea. This time however, it was to kayak. With our own personal guide, leading our group of five college students, we headed out onto the choppy, windy waters of the Mediterranean. My kayak was a two seater, so I rowed with Olivia, another Butler student on the trip. This was absolutely my favorite part of this weekend. In about three hours of kayaking, we managed to make a 6km trip along the southern coast of the island. We always stayed within about 300 yards of the coast and would sometimes get up very close to the rocky cliffs that looked every bit as cool as you would expect from pictures of the Mediterranean coast elsewhere. It was windy day so the kayaking was not easy. The wind was against us on the first leg of the trip, which took two hours. On the return leg, we only spent 45 minutes, to put things in perspective. Sometimes a wave would push the kayaks up a good 5 or 6 feet above the resting sea level, going down would then result in butterflies in the stomach. My buddy Nate actually got seasick for a while, although he kept trooping on. To say the least, we were all exhausted afterwards with burning arms when we finally got back our start point. However, it was the good kind of exhausted, where afterwards, you know you have just done something you will never forget! 

Later Saturday afternoon we were bussed away from the city into the interior of the island where we rode horses! This was a very different experience that offered incredible views. It was nice to get away to a more secluded area and to see the countryside of the island. The "Ranch" we went to happened to have an American cowboy theme, which was slightly funny. We spent the rest of the afternoon riding horses, getting called "cowboys" and "cowgirls" by Spaniards, and listening to country music/ dancing to American Western music with tourists from all over Europe. It was a unique experience thats for sure. 

My flight back to Madrid left the island at 3pm Sunday, so I had plenty of time to do more in the morning. Three friends of the group left on an early flight, but Olivia was on my same flight to Madrid, so we decided to go exploring in downtown Palma to see some of the major attractions. Our hostel was actually in a suburb beach. So this morning Olivia and I rented bikes and rode all around town. We saw the incredible architecture of the Cathedral of Palma and rode the bikes along a bayside path up next to all the boats. We even made it up a hill a small ways to an old castle that overlooked the bay (see pictures). This was a great way to end the trip - looking out over everything we had enjoyed for the past two days. 

I arrived back home this evening at around 7pm and walked into the apartment to find my spanish mother on the couch with her foot propped up in a cast. Yesterday she was walking quickly back to the apartment because it had started raining and lost her footing. She ended up twisting her ankle pretty bad and may have torn some ligaments. Tomorrow she goes to the family doctor (yesterday was just the hospital). Luckly Alberto, my host brother is staying around for the next few weeks to help her out more. She also has a sister that lives only 20 minutes away that will be coming around more often to help out with cleaning, laundry and other chores. Surprisingly my spanish mom was able to make dinner tonight almost just like any other night. There were only a couple times when she called to myself or Alberto to help her grab a plate up high or throw something away

She really seems to be taking it well and tells me I shouldn't worry about anything. She was even sure to let me know that nothing will really be different for me because she has her sister and son to help her with what she needs. I will certainly be the one around more than anyone else in the afternoons though because Alberto has class all afternoon, so its my plan to spend plenty of time with her and help her with whatever she needs these next two weeks because I know she has got to be frustrated at the circumstances. I have no worries that she will still manage to do everything she needs to do. 

 This upcoming Friday I have a class trip to Segovia, Spain. Its one of the cities with the most classic Romanesque architecture left! The remainder of the weekend I will be spending relaxing in Alcala and helping my spanish mother when I can. It will be nice to not travel for a weekend. 

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