Mallorca: The 17th State of Germany

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Balearic Islands,
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

After a fantastic 2 weeks exploring the mainland, I was off to the Balearic Islands for some more R&R.  I said my goodbyes to the Tse sisters and hopped on the 30 minute flight to Palma de Mallorca.  Upon arrival, I was shocked to see how incredibly busy it was at this airport.  I later found out that during peak season, an airplane lands in Mallorca every 90 seconds!   Mallorca is the European version of "Cancun".  It's THE destination for sun, beaches and partying.  Over 40% of the tourists are German and close to another 40% are from the UK.  There's a running joke that Mallorca is unofficially the 17th state of Germany.  In other words, if you're looking to experience some Spanish culture, don't go here.  I also inadvertently picked the busiest week to visit the island when all the kids are out of school.  Luckily, I was able to book a hostel in the quieter part of the town within walking distance to several public beaches.  For dinner, I wanted to take a break from Spanish food so I opted for spaghetti carbonera at a local Italian joint.  It definitely hit the spot!  After being utterly spoiled with air conditioned hotel rooms over the last couple of weeks, the switch to a barebones hostel proved to be an unwise decision.  With no air con or even a fan in the room, it was next to impossible to fall asleep at night even with the windows wide open.  I got up early as usual and visited Cala Nova, a small beach where the locals hang out.  At 9am, I was 1 of 5 people on the beach.  The best part was I didn't even have to worry about people stealing my stuff when going in for a dip.  

I learned from my procastination in Barcelona and quickly decided that Belgium would be my next destination so I booked the cheapest flight and extended my stay in Majorca for a couple of extra nights.  I was looking online for things to do on the island and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do some scuba diving.  Not surprisingly, I was the only girl along with 5 big German guys on the dive boat.  Even the dive master was perplexed as to why I chose to vacation in Mallorca.  The first dive was at Palma Wrecks, a graveyard for a sunken 40m cargo ship.  I was a little apprehensive of doing this dive because we had to descend 16m to reach the top of the wreck and another 14m before reaching the bottom.  For my Open Water license, I was technically only allowed to dive a maximum of 18m.  The dive master assured me that it would be ok for my skill level.  Ten minutes after beginning my descent, I could see water entering my mask.  I tried to clear it a couple of times.  For some inexplicable reason, there was also water entering my regulator mouthpiece (my source of oxygen) and I was feeling gassy at the same time.  Swallowing salt water and trying to burp every 10 seconds quickly resulted in panic.  The dive master tried to fix my mask underwater but it wasn't working.  I decided to resurface and bail on the dive.  After the other divers finished their session, we jet back to the dive shop to refill our tanks.  The dive master determined that my mask was on too tight.  During the descent, the expanding pressure caused the lip of the mask to flip outward which resulted in leakage.  Lesson learned!  The next dive (el Faro) was at a much shallower depth and the dive master was with me the whole time.  It was a good chance for me to regain my confidence and see some cool marine life including a moray eel.  

I spent the last day on the island enjoying the touristy town of Sóller.  The hour long  ride on a wood-paneled train built in 1912 takes you from Palma to the northwestern coast where luscious orange and lemon trees line the area.  Unfortunately, the famous orange ice cream was a bit disappointing.  After exploring the quaint town and deciding that it was way too hot to walk anymore, I took the public bus back to Palma.  For €2.70, I got to sit in a fully air conditioned bus and enjoy a 90 minute drive through the picturesque villages of Deią and Valldemossa with spectacular views of the coastline.  I savoured the last tapas dinner of my adventure and called it a night.  Early morning flight to Belgium!
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