Take the Long Way Home

1 07 2016

Thursday June 30 and Friday July 1, 2016

Time has come to end our long journey. It has been an awesome trip – three trips in one. First Ireland, then Wales/England on our canal boat with Don and Katie and now ending up with Janel and Isam in Barcelona.  How lucky are we?

Our flight is not too early (11:40am) so we can take it pretty easy this morning.  We drag our bags (well, some of us do) through our street and easily catch a taxi to the Barcelona airport.

Rich has been teasing me all along about taking my large bag (hey – a girl has to have her shoes, right?), but then we see travelers who have totally “bag-trumped” me.

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What?  This little thing?

There are some leftover Euros burning a hole in our pocket so we purchase a couple of containers of olive oil.  They seal them and tell us to keep them sealed in order to pass security and customs. Sure thing.

Our flight to Heathrow is nice, but we were delayed taking off and then delayed again upon landing.  We are not sure we will make our connecting flight. Our sweet flight attendant tries to ply  us with champagne and even provides a couple of bottles “to go” in case we have to stand in line..

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Stocking up just in case

When  we land we have about 30 minutes before our next flight (to Denver) departs.  Hmmm – not much time.  Then, the plane sits at the jetway waiting for someone to attach the stairs.  We wait.  And Wait.  Now we are for sure cooked. We are the first off the plane and begin to literally run through the terminal only to find that we actually have to pass through security again.  The line is too long and our flight will take off without us no doubt. Just to top it all off, the olive oil sets off alarms and I am detained another 20 minutes.  I am NOT dumping the olive oil! (Just to be clear – our flight was already gone so we had nothing to lose by waiting in security for the “suspicious” goods to be tested).

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Should we make a Brexit?

We end up getting re-booked and routed through Las Vegas.  Doesn’t seem too bad – our flight will get in Phoenix only about an hour later than planned.  The flight is almost ready to leave and the desk agent tells us our boarding passes for the Vegas-Phoenix flight can’t be printed at this time.

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Musical moment in Heathrow

There is just enough time for us to hit up the First Lounge and down a glass of champagne. We ask for Vegas-Phoenix boarding passes again at the actual gate and are told we will need to wait until we land in Vegas.  Hmmm. We board our flight and get comfy for the long haul.

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The 10-hour flight to Vegas is not bad – at least for me.  Rich has really started to go downhill with his cold/sinus and is quite miserable.  At least we are in first class.

Arrival in Vegas is on time.  I get a notice on my phone that we can check in online for our next flight, but when I try it I am told it is “not available at this time.” Oh well. We have a 2 hour window in which to clear customs/immigration, retrieve our bags and re-check, go through security (again) and board.  Should be plenty of time, right? We easily clear customs, our bags come right out and we are SECOND in line to re-check bags (remember that we do not have boarding passes for our next flight).

It becomes quickly apparent that the baggage re-check process is completely messed up.  There are 6 counters and only 1 (incompetent) employee working.  The people in line in front of us have lost their bags (they should not even be in this line).  The line is growing in back of us and everyone is getting antsy about missing flights.  We wait.  And wait.

Every so often some passenger comes sneaking up to the front just to “ask a question.”  They are quickly sent back with shouts from the line: “GET in the QUE!”  The mob is becoming angry.

We are waiting for more than 45 minutes!  This is absolutely ridiculous.  When the dude finally finishes messing with the lost bag clients, it is our turn.  We try to explain that our bags are tagged “Phoenix” but we have no boarding passes.  Just put our bags through and we will handle the rest.  Nope.  He sends us to the American desk (we flew in on British, but they codeshare with AA for the Vegas-Phx flight) which is IN ANOTHER TERMINAL!

Great.  We now have to go to the other terminal, try to get a boarding pass AND get through security.  Sure.  At this point we are still holding out a glimmer of hope that maybe our flight has been delayed because it is about 5 minutes from takeoff.  Then we realize that the other terminal is 10 minutes away…

Ok.  Take a deep breath.  We are in this for the night (It is about 9:30pm now). We get to AA, explain the situation and are given a choice of flights to take in the morning.  We choose the 10am flight because it is the one in which we can get 2 first class seats.  We figure we would at least like to end our vacation on a high note.  No problem.  She gives us our boarding passes for the morning flight.

Uh…”How about a hotel and meal voucher for tonight?”  We are told we have to check with British Airways for that – IN THE OTHER TERMINAL. We jump through the hoops, take the shuttle to the Orleans Hotel (with some of the other displaced passengers) and check into our room.

Rich feels really bad right now and Iv olunteer to get him some food for the room.  I do so, tuck him in and go back downstairs to visit the Casino for a few $$$ (I mean, a few hours). We have to get up for the 7:30am shuttle and sleep is fitful. We are beat in the morning, but happy to see the shuttle and get to the airport for our final leg.

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Goodbye Vegas!

Nothing else can possible go wrong now – we are free.  There is no line at check-in and Rich gets a kick out of the clerk putting a “heavy” sticker on my bag.

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Wait a minute – oops.  “Did you miss your flight last night?”  We re-iterate the entire story for the agent.  Then he tells us that our tickets on this flight have been cancelled because we didn’t show for last night’s flight !  What???  “We have our boarding passes and seat assignments RIGHT HERE.”  Nope, too bad.  Oh and by the way “there is only one first class seat remaining on this flight.”  The next flight with availability isn’t until 4:30pm.  I tell him give the seat to Rich.

Fortunately, there is an Amex Centurian Lounge here where we can relax and wait for our flight.

 

The flight is mercifully short and uneventful.  The best part is who is waiting for us in Phoenix:

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Missed You!

The ending was shaky, but overall this was an awesome, awesome trip!  Thank you to our loyal readers for taking this journey with us.





Final Day in Barcelona

29 06 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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Janel’s front door

Today is our last full day in Barcelona and with our girl. We are sad to leave, but we miss Johnny and are kind of ready to return to Arizona. Besides, we want to see what is going in with our kitchen remodel. I think we were pretty brave to leave it. Fortunately, our foreman (Kenny) is wonderful as are our designers (Kati/Bess) and we know we are in great hands.

Breakfast today will be at the Bicioci Cafe where Janel, Isam and I had dessert last night. Rich has been searching Barcelona for a great bike jersey and has come up empty handed. They have an awesome one in the cafe, but we fear it will be too small – they only have a medium. In any case, it is a cute little cafe and will be nice for a light breakfast.

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want

Rich orders a cortado, croissant and a juice made of carrot, celery, ginger and who knows what else. I order a bocadillo de queso (baguette with cheese), a cortado and a strawberry/banana smoothie. While my smoothie is good, Rich’s juice is great! When he gets to the bottom of the glass he has to “chew” the remainder…

Today is our last chance to browse around for artwork. We head back to the poster shop hoping it is open. It is. There is one in particular that we both love. We are thinking that if the prices are reasonable we could purchase several items and play around with them. The prices are NOT reasonable. We will have to think about this one. We measure the chosen piece and will see how it could fit on one of our walls when we return home.

We keep walking down towards the water and make stops at both of the stores that I scoped out last week. I still love those trays that I posted online. Rich is starting to warm up to them, but we are not ready to jump.

There are always  beautiful buildings to be seen

Rich spies an art gallery along our journey and we pop in. We are both taken immediately by one work in particular. I am not going to post it in case we do decide to purchase. Suffice it to say it is very unusual, but striking. The gallery worker was very knowledgeable about the artist and invited us to meet him, but we won’t have time. Measurements and photos were taken. We will ponder.

All of this art shopping has made us hungry (you knew that, right?) I am thinking that I would like for Rich to experience Pinotxo Bar at the Boqueria (Like I visited alone last week). He is down. When we are making our way through the throngs of tourists to get to La Boqueria, I spy a shop that I recognize from Janel and my trip to the Alsace – Pylones. It has so many cute, unusual items that Janel really loves. AND I know that is where we can possibly get the solar-powered “Queen” that we saw on the boat trip. We duck in.

No Queen – but the do have a solar powered Pope. Hmmm. We end up purchasing a cute set of two bowls for Janel and Isam that I know they will love.

We fight the hoards of tourists on La Rambla finally ending up at La Boqueria. I know from past experience that in order to secure a seat at the muy popular Pinotxo Bar you have to be a hawk. I have gotten very good at watching to see when someone will be leaving and soon enough secure two seats at the bar directly where the “man” (owner Juanito Bayen) will be serving us!

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Do we like garbanzos? “te gusta garbanzos?” “Si!” I know we will be getting the same thing I had the other day but that is just fine. I know how great it is. Sorry. “Butifarr esta al fin” (sausage is finished). Ok. “Que mas?” What else? He suggests the “judias con chiparones” (beans with baby squids). I think I have had this before and know it is fantastic. “Si, por favor” (or “Si es plau” in Catalan). They are wonderful and we room the bread around the plate until it is clean. Why don’t we have this kind of place back home? Our awesome lunch with 2 plates of super goodnes and 2 glasses of beer each was about 22 euros.

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A glimpse inside La Boqueria

Time for siesta. We walk back home instead of taking the metro. I feel like I have walked my legs off on this trip. Probably for the best given the way I have been eating. (must hit the gym immediately upon returning). On our way back we stop at a bodega and purchase a really nice bottle of cava for tonight.

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The Obelisk is our sign that we are almost “home”

We take a little nap, blog and catch up on the Brexit and Trump news. Those two topics are definitely hot buttons here and I expect they are that way back home as well.

Tonight’s dinner is being prepared by Isam. How lucky are we? Janel pings me and we agree to meet for a beer. She reluctantly agrees to go just to the local, local bar Tarbush. Janel says we can either go somewhere to sit inside and have awesome beer, go somewhere and sit outside and have non-descript beer. We opt for outside at Tarbush. Rich and I have actually been here before and think it is a great local spot. Janel has never been here and it is less than a 1 minute walk from her apartment.

Sitting outside on evenings like this is lovely, even if you have crap beer. Happy Hour is enjoyed by all.

Time for supper at Janel’s apartment. Isam has been working on it all day and everything is prepped and ready. That is the only way to go – very relaxing and no last minute flurry. The cava is popped and dinner is served.

Isam has made something very dear to his memory – Summer Cake. It is very hard to describe. It is a layered concoction made with bread stuffed with awesome tuna (from a friend), olives, rocket, tomatoes, etc and then topped with his homemade mayonaisse. Incredible. We are honored. He has also supplemented this with juicy tomatoes stuffed with his own creation inspired by Restaurant Koa in Mallorca – whipped olive oil with black olive tapenade then topped with caviar. OMG

After dinner we retire to the living area to dive into some of Isam’s musical creations. I have heard some of his music previously, but Rich has not and he is very interested. Isam plays pieces for us from when he was in a metal band to when he created music for his mom’s Easter Passion Play. It is phenomenal. Immediatley it makes us think that Isam and Johnny would be a fantastic team to collaborate on some kind of musical project. Maybe.

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Janel treats us to one of her special warm “New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  Heaven.

The evening ends bittersweet with the inevitable parting of our ways. Does it ever get any easier? It has been a fantastic trip. We both feel like we got to see Janel in her element being super happy with where she is with work, life and love. No parents could be any prouder.

 





Recovery in Barcelona

28 06 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rich had another difficult night with coughing, hacking etc.  He wants to go to the pharmacy this morning to see if he can get something to help.  Pharmacies here are almost like a mini-clinic.  They can even prescribe antibiotics. Rich does a great job telling the technician his symptoms.  She types on her computer using Google Translate to make sure she is prescribing the correct medicine – very helpful.  He ends up with some packets of a vile powder to be mixed with water.

I am starving (of course) and it is well into lunch time. I want to find Plaza Gracia where there are several restaurants with outside tables. I had previously checked online and scoped out the one where I would like for us to eat – Las Euras. We find a table, order a couple of cervesas and a glass of water for Rich to mix with his powder potion. It looks disgusting.

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Las Euras has a Menu del Diaro (a Menu of the Day with several choices for starter, main and dessert – comes with a drink). We peruse the choices and don’t quite understand them all. I know enough to be dangerous. For a starter I choose the zucchini wrapped around Baccalao (cod) and Rich has the Ensalata (Rice Salad with boiled egg, tuna and 1000 Island dressing). My starter is awesome. Rich also loves his.

For our second course, Rich chooses the Chicken Cutlet. I choose what I think is some kind of pork chop (Higado de Ternera…). When it arrives it looks like a lovely, thin grilled piece of meat. Then I taste it. OMG. It is grilled liver (higado)! I am at first shocked because it was unexpected. Then, I LOVED it (good think I like liver). This was a happy mistake.

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Liver – yummy!

I want to show Rich the antique poster place I found last week and think I can lead us straight there. We walk. And walk. Have we gone too far? How in the heck could I have missed it? It is just a straight shot down Pau Claris. When we almost reach the Catedral I know we have gone too far. This navigating is exasperating for me. Just when I think I have it down, I don’t. Rich is exasperated with me – he doesn’t feel well and has zero energy for messing around. We backtrack and find the place. I hadn’t recognized it because their gates were down being closed for siesta. Oh well. Back home we go – this was a bust.

The entire afternoon is shot. Rich needs to rest so we chill out at home until Janel gets back from work. She has already asked me to go to the gym with her at 6:00pm. I am actually not looking forward to it after the huge hike in Mallorca and all the walking already today. But I know it is something I should do. I have gone with her to her trainer, Mark previously and really like him.

Janel and I gym. I feel more energized after going so it was a good decision. When I return home, Rich is feeling a bit better and is ready to join us for dinner tonight. We are going to give Quimet y Quimet another try. (We tried to get in last week and it was closed for the Festival de Sant Jaume). Hopefully we will have better luck tonight.

We taxi to Quimet and voila! It is open and not too packed. Evidently, from what I have read, this place can be a zoo. It is super, super tiny and only room to stand at a counter or little bar table to eat. The atmosphere is great!

Folks are packed around the bar. We grab a menu – it is all tapas and small plates that sound delicious. Isam makes a list on his phone of things we would like to order and snakes his way up to the bar. Being Spanish, he knows the protocol. If Rich and I came by ourselves, we probably would not even be able to order.

Isam shows the server behind the bar where we are standing (I managed to snag the perfect standing up table – I am very good at staking out a claim). I am thinking there is no way she will know where we are and there is no way we will know when our food is ready. Wrong. They know. The “bartenders” look over at you, call out your item and hand it over the bar and people. You grab quickly and start munching. It looks like chaos, but tastes like Heaven.

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Isam storms up to the bar

Everything we tried was mind-blowing. Why have we never been here before? I definitely want to put this on the list to come again.

About midway through our feast Rich begins to really go downhill. I think it was the combination of taking one more powder (probably a little too soon) and a couple glasses of wine. Too bad. We finish up and taxi back. Rich is put to bed. Janel, Isam and I still want a little something sweet. Janel whips out her foursquare app and finds a little place right in our neighborhood – Biciolo (Bike Cafe).

This little spot is great. They have a few desserts to choose from – we order the Lemon Tart and the cheesecake to share along with a couple of copas of cava (say that fast).

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We sit and chat until Isam finally bugs out. Janel and I remain for a bit longer chatting about life and love.





Back to Semi-Reality

27 06 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Today is travel day.  Fortunately we are not flying out until around 6pm so we have time to dawdle.

Janel scrambles eggs, I make toast, and Isam sets the table with two empanadas we purchased yesterday.  He also puts out the ensimada we purchased a couple of days ago.  Ensaimada is a famous Mallorcan pastry that we found out is just as delectable when a couple of days old.

After packing up, Rich takes a few minutes to capture some more flora photos around Els Sestadors:

Since we have all afternoon to kill before handing over ourselves to the “evil clutches of the airlines,” we decide to drive to a mountain village we saw on the road our first day here – Valldemossa. Valldemossa is known as one of the prettiest villages on Mallorca.  Fredrick Chopin even spent a winter here in 1838! We park and waltz around.

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From the road

Gelato stop

Valldemossa is filled with cute shops and cafes.  It is a place where I could definitely spend more time exploring.  However, I still want to make a stop in Palma before the airport so we zip back to the car.

In Palma we pass the front of the Catedral that we had seen the other night.  It is such an imposing sight.  I wish we had taken the time for a lengthy visit.

20160627_143040There is time for us to stroll through the old part of Palma a bit.  We walk along the sea and come to a little park where Rich takes a few moments to train for his upcoming bicycle ride in July:

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Ready to ride!

Janel does a quick arm workout:

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Hunger has set in (as usual) and we pop into Bar Dia for a light lunch.  Our favorite kind of table (half in/half out) awaits. Turns out to be a great spot.

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Cute surprise on one of Palma’s narrow streets

Since we have to get gas and return our car, we reluctantly make our way to the airport in plenty of time to not be rushed.  No need – our plane was delayed.  And delayed.  And delayed.  Coulda spent more time flouncing around…

After a couple hours, Janel and I go into the “VIP” lounge to grab some nibbles to smuggle back to the boys.  However, when we got to the lounge, they were pretty much out of food.  What kind of place is this anyway?  We end up smuggling out a couple of mini cans of beer for our guys. It makes them giddy.

After switching gates at least 3 times, it is finally time to board.

We are now late getting in and Janel and Isam both have work in the morning.  A quick and great decision is made to get pizza to bring back to the house.  Rich and I go check in our new apartment (just up the street from Janel) and then meet the kids at the pizza place.

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The kitchen in our new digs

There are quite a few varieties of craft beer in bottles at Messie Pizza and we each choose a couple to bring back.(I chose a wonderful Garage IPA and then one called “Hop Doom.”  How was I to know it was 11% alcohol??? I did not finish it!)

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Waiting for pizza

The pizza and beer at Janel’s place was perfect for tonight.  We probably stayed longer than we should have, but WE don’t have to get up in the morning.

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This was such a fine trip to Mallorca – it makes us all want to go and explore the whole other side of the island.  We only have a couple more days in Barcelona. Rich is still not feeling well, but he has been a trooper.  I hope he gets a good sleep tonight and is feeling much better tomorrow morning.





A Meaty Feast!

26 06 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Janet!

A very late morning at Els Sestadors begins with a delicious breakfast prepared by Linda and Rich.

Today is our hiking day.  I have read about what is promised to be an awesome lamb-y lunch that is preceded by a tough hike up into the mountains to Castell Alaro. According to The Spain-Holiday website “Reaching the top of this peak is a popular Sunday jaunt that combines a challenging, but not epic walk, a bit of history, and quite possibly the best Sunday lunch you are ever going to taste.” We are IN.

The drive to the restaurant where you park your car to hike is a challenge in itself.  Once you turn off the main road you are faced with a pot-hole laden one lane road of tight turns, switchback, rock walls and sheer drop-offs..  It is not for the faint-hearted, but Isam handles it with precision.

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Great Driving!

Then comes the parking space is super tight so we all get out to guide the car into the spot. did I also mention that we are facing downhill?  Oh – and the car is a manual transmission?  With NO emergency brake to help you when you need to back up when your car is 2 inches from the car in front of you and you are heading downhill into it?

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What now?

Isam rightly figures that he needs to gently touch the car in front of ours (so that he doesn’t actually bash it), then try to back up while quickly moving his foot from the brake to the gas.  As he touches the other car carefully, it starts to move forward (there is a drop-off in front of it and a thin, little wire fence…). Our little car dies several times in the transition from brake to gas.  It seems like we are in an impossible situation, but Isam keeps his cool and perseveres.  We are parked with no damage to either vehicle. (Well, maybe a teeny, tiny scratch – the rental place won’t see that, right?)

We begin our hike up to the Castell.  It is stunningly beautiful and the higher we go, the more awesome the views.  Fortunately, today is a bit overcast so we are not overheated.  I would not have made it in the heat – it was difficult enough as it was.

Lots of photos here:

 

After about an hour and a half we finally reach the top.

The ruins of the Castell are pretty cool. “The castle itself is the history of Mallorca in microcosm. The current ruins, that you will enter through a fortified gate and portcullis, date from the 15th century, but initially it was the final island stronghold of the moorish occupants of Mallorca. Later it became the last stand of Guillem Cabrit and Guillem Bassa in 1285, as the two heroic figures fighting for King Jaume II of Mallorca eventually they were overcome by the troops of King Alfonse II of Aragon, and executed on the spot.”

We walk a little bit further and come to a restored guest house.  I can’t even imagine that there is anything all the way up here.  It is a really nice oasis from the walk.  We sit and enjoy the tremendous views.

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Selfies are needed:

Time for the long walk down.  It is almost more difficult to walk down the steps and path than it was going up.  Isam “mountain goats” the path and finds several shortcuts – yay!

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Made it!

Es Verger Restaurant and our promised lunch awaits.  We choose to sit on the covered patio for the fresh air, the view and to watch the sheep and goats parade by. Beers are ordered and downed – we earned this!

The menu is simple and does not disappoint.  It is filled with lovely meat.  We choose to start with sobrassada – “a raw, cured sausage from the Balearic Islands made with ground pork, paprika and salt and other spices.” Isam expertly shows us how to prepare it for munching:

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We enjoy it tremendously.  Then the real feast begins.  We have ordered the lamb shoulder, roasted goat and a humongous Chuleton (Veal T-bone).  OMG the meat!

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Wow!  The Chuleton is amazing!

We chow down on everything thinking there is no way we will finish it all.  Think again…

I believe the goat actually won the prize for “best,” but personallym, I could not get past the Chuleton.  It was incredible. Good thing we did the hike first. No way could I make the walk after eating this lunch.

We say goodbye to this little piece of paradise and make the drive back contented and full.

No way are we going to go out again tonight.  We spend the evening by the pool enjoying the sights and sounds and then retire inside.

As evening arrives at Els Sestadors, Janel and Isam volunteer to venture out to get some “picking” supplies and return with nibbles and “gas station” wine.  We teach Isam how to play the Evansville card game known as Clabber and have a wonderful last night in.

 





Beach Day!

25 06 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

beach day

I know that Janet remembers reading this book to Janel at least 100 times!

After a peaceful night’s sleep at Els Sestadors we awaken quite late.  I slip downstairs to make coffee and begin breakfast prep before the house stirs. The others trickle down to the smell of scrambled eggs with onions and jamon, toast and coffee.

We enjoy a fantastic breakfast/brunch to prepare us to meet the challenges of the day.

Janel is in charge of navigation and Isam is in charge of driving.  Rich and I are happy to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.  The first stop is a lovely village – Llucmayor.  We stroll around the quiet town stopping in a couple of shops for flip flops and an inflatible “Hello Kitty” which will prove to be one of the highlights of the day.

Today’s ultimate plan is to hit up one of the many lovely beaches on this island.  Janel has chosen Es Trenc for us and it turns out to be an outstanding spot. It was fairly easy to find parking close to the beach. We surveyed the sand situation and quickly understood that we needed to rent a palapa with lounger for 14 euro.  At first, I am thinking we won’t be here long enough to make it worth it, but in the end it was a great expenditure.  The shade is lovely and the breeze keeps us cool as well. We set up camp.

Janel proceeds to inflate her beloved Hello Kitty float.

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Ta-Da!  (She especially likes the little flag on top).

Janel and Isam scamper off to the water with the float in tow.  We stay behind to guard the belongings and wait our turn.

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When they return from the water it is our turn.  I am a weenie about “cold” water and have to take my time getting past the waves.  Actually, the water feels awesome once you get in.

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Here we go!

The

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Straight Chillin’

All the action made us hungry.  We noticed there was a nice looking restaurant just down the beach.  Perfect. (Sorry, I don’t remember the name).

The menu is perfect – it has just what we want.  Once again we let Janel/Isam order several dishes for the table.  Janel and I share a little pitcher of Cava Sangria.  It is amazing!

After our beach lunch we relax and lounge for a while longer under our palapa before packing up and heading back home.  This was a wonderful beach for relaxing, people watching, swimming, eating, etc.  One of my favorite beach experiences ever!

Our water-theme continued when we returned to els Sestadors.  Hello Kitty ended up in the pool.

The bottle of wine that our host left in the fridge is opened and consumed.

The magical part of the day is spent at the pool.  Early evening here is very special.  The goats have returned to our field and the swifts fill the air. We linger.  Then we decide we need to eat.  Palma is not very far and should be a good place to find tapas.

As Isam drove into the center, Rich and I gasped when we looked out the window and saw the Catedral.  However, neither Isam nor Janel saw it because they were concentrating on the driving/nagivating.  It will have to wait.

We peek and poke at several restaurants, finally settling on Restaurante Koa.TWhe place is quite packed at 10:00pm when we arrive with no reservations.  We snage a table in the small bar area to wait and people watch.  While waiting, we soon get the idea that this is a “see and be seen” restaurant.  Hmmm.  Looks like it might be trying too hard to be hip. The music is booming and it is hard to converse. Oh well, we are hungry and we are here.  Let’s wait and see what the food is like. We hope the servers are not snotty.

Our worrying was in vain.  Our server leads us upstairs to a smaller, quieter room.  He is very friendly and approachable.  Ahhh – we begin to relax.

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The menu looks really interesting and a variety of dishes are ordered to share. Among them were: Quinoa Timbale with Squid Octopus and Coconut, a Byron Bay Pizza (Burrata, confit tomatoes, basil), Marinated Rack of Lamb and Beef Entrecote.  They are all delicious – we almost can’t believe it!

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After dinner I insist that we walk to the Palma Catedral that Rich and I spotted on the way into town.  OMG.  It is breath-taking.

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After doing some later research, we find out it is the #1 thing to see when in Mallorca!  “The Palma de Mallorca Cathedral or ‘La Seu’, as it is known in Mallorca (Majorca), is the jewel in the crown of Mallorcan architecture. Apart from being one of the most famous Gothic buildings in Europe, it represents Mallorca (Majorca) and is a symbol of the whole of the Balearic archipelago. It is considered one of the most magnificent buildings ever built and encompasses almost all artistic styles since the Middle Ages.” Well, duh.  Who knew?

It is beautifully lit and we walk all around it with our jaws gaping.

Another fantastic day in Mallorca – I think we like it here.  This is a late one – we arrive home around 2:00am (yes, even the fogies made it up that late!) We are planning a big hike for tomorrow and need to sleep fast.  Goodnight Mallorca.

 





Charting New Territory

24 06 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

We have to use our alarm today to get up early for our flight to the island of Majorca (Mallorca in Catalan).  We are all excited for a different venue.  Once again, we are flying the local airline – Vueling.  It is Rich’s favorite (lol).  We lounge, cafe, snack, blog and await our 30 minute flight.

The flight is super short and I nap the entire way.  When I awoke we were in a whole new world.  Our rental car is secured from Hertz and we have all agreed that Isam will be our driver.  Rich is still not feeling 100% and Isam knows all the Spanish signs etc.  Our stuff is loaded in our Minerva and we zoom off to Establiments and our Airbnb.

In planning where to stay I proposed several Airbnbs to Janel.  There were a couple on the water and then one was an inland “estate” that was composed of several houses, lots of land and a pool.  We chose that one – Els Sestadors. Els Sestadors is “located in a Majorcan property that has belonged during many generations to the same family, taking care and keeping it until nowadays. The actual owner, conserving the spirit of her ancestors, has recuperated and restored with affection one part of this great “Possessió” dated back to the XVI century.”  It is sort of a wild card choice for us and I am hoping we will love it.

Ok.  This place is amazing!  We are the only people in this huge and beautiful estate surrounded by many types of trees (including many cacti like at home), olive groves, and sheep.  It is fantastic.  Our house – Aloe – is a wonderful stone structure with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large living area, kitchen, two patios and great views of the Sierra de Tramuntana (mountain range).  There are great French doors that can be opened up to let the breezes flow in.

We might just be able to be happy here.

Since we took the early flight from Barcelona, we have plenty of time to enjoy the entire afternoon on the island.  Janel searches for some ideas, contacts folks she knows from Mallora and comes up with a destination for lunch and the afternoon – the beach Cala Deia. We are off.

Parking close to the beach is somewhat of a nightmare, but Isam is cool and patient.  We finally find a spot.

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It takes several people to help park in these tight spots!

The beach at Deia is small, but spectacular.

There is a fantastic looking restaurant that is super crowded, but appears to be worth the wait.  We put our name in and are told we would have a table in about an hour.  Good thing – we are starting to get hungry.  We mess around lounging on the beach until we think our table might be ready.

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Back up the steps to Ca’s Petro Mach to check on our table. It has been about 45 minutes.  There are lots and lots of folks still waiting on the landing for a table.  People are mooring their yachts and coming here to eat.  Why didn’t we make reservations?  Everyone is getting antsy and hungry – including us.  We wait.  And we wait.  Rich is ready to leave – it has now been almost 2 hours and we are getting hAngry.  Then, Janel comes up with a brilliant idea.  She pushes her way to the bar (literally) and secures 4 beers.  Amazing how much better we feel…

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happier

Finally our table is ready.  (I sure hope this will be worth the 2 hour wait). When our server shows up I am not sure when we will see him again so I order a bottle of cava (Recaredo!) AND a bottle of rose wine.  I want to be sure we are covered.  We have already determined that we plan to sit here for a long, long lunch.

 

The ordering of lunch is left up to Janel and Isam.  They are great at choosing a wonderful variety of dishes to share and today is no exception. They order the grilled sole, grilled Amberjack, escalivada (a Catalun specialty of mixed grilled vegetables, fritters of whitebait, olives, etc. Yep.  Definitely worth the wait!

 

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We had an absolute fishy feast and enjoyed everything.  This late lunch (4:30) thing is not so bad after all. Do we want postre (dessert)?  Sure we do!

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After a bottle of cava and a bottle of rose, we realize it is a good thing that Isam is driving (he only had a tiny taste of cava).

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Obviously, it is a good thing that I am NOT driving… (thanks for the flattering photo, Janel)

Before going all the way back home, we make a stop in Palma to pick up a few things to snack on and to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.

It is early evening by the time we arrive back at Es Sestadors. – pool time.

We stay out by the pool for a while, listening to the sheep’s bells and “baa-ing” in the field behind us.  What a great sound – we may need to record it to take back home.

It has been a great intro to Majorca and the fogies (me and Rich) are beat.  We turn in early, leaving the late night snacks for Isam and Janel.  It is so quiet here that I know the sleeping will be primo.  We plan to sleep late and arise to fix a wonderful breakfast to enjoy together.