|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.