Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reasons (if you needed any) to love travelling in Spain

The beach at S'Arenal, Mallorca

For a travel blogger, I post remarkably little about my own holidays. I was actually called out for this just this past weekend, as I was ambling through Dublin with a good friend of mine, because he thought it was strange that I didn't post my plans or impressions of a destination in real time. I've thought about this, too, because on paper I guess it is a bit unusual to be a blogger these days without being a chronic oversharer, as well. The best response I had was that when I'm travelling, I don't want to feel like I'm working - the constant documentation of a trip, for me, takes away from the fun of it. Plus, taking some time away helps me put a place and an experience in context, rather than just writing a list of things I did... which, as a reader, I don't usually find terribly helpful.

So I bet there are a few of you who don't realise that I was in Mallorca, one of Spain's Balearic islands, in September. Living in London these days, it just feels a shame not to take advantage of all the cheap flights you can nab, not only within Europe but also to north Africa, southeast Asia, and beyond! A friend of mine had just returned from a Mallorcan holiday, and it sounded so beautiful (and was such a good value) that I decided to test it out for myself.

The view from the narrow-gauge railway between Palma and Soller.

More of the stunning view from the train...

Is there anywhere like Spain? I've now been to Barcelona, Tarragona, and Mallorca, and I have to say my curiosity is only growing - I have friends who are from Malaga, Madrid, and Cordoba, and last year was editing pieces for my old magazine on Valencia... it just feels like every day, I find another snippet of inspiration to go back. It's a laid-back, friendly place, where families are always welcome at restaurants and no one's fussed if you arrive just as a shop is starting to close for the day.

How can you not love a culture with this many scooters? (Aside: I LOVE SCOOTERS.)

I spent about a week just kicking back in Soller, which is the most lovely, laid-back town imaginable. This is the charming old wooden tram that takes you from the hillside town to the port.

One of the otherworldly towers on Gaudi's La Perdrera, in Barcelona

Don't know why you'd buy these besides pretty, but we werein Catalunya around Easter and MAN, was there some lovely stuff for sale in the markets!

As a solo traveller in particular, I find it very peaceful - there's something about taberna culture, where you can sit back and nurse a drink, write in your journal, and daydream, that I adore. No one is bugging you to rush along, order something else, or otherwise get out of the way; hospitality runs deep.

A delicious snack of apple cake at Soller's Cafe Scholl.

The Soller Cathedral

Views like this are literally around every turn in Mallorca.

That's really the heart of Spain, for me - a place where you are always welcome, where relaxation is paramount, and it feels as though the most important things in life are taken seriously - food, friends, and family.

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