For the last couple of weeks we’ve been cruising the Spanish coast of the Med. We had intended to go straight from Gibraltar to the Balearics, but you know what they say about best laid plans. We stopped in Benalmadena to collect a boom bag we’d ordered in Gibraltar. The marina development there looks bit like Little Venice meets Toy Town on steroids, the whole place full of lobster-coloured British tourists.
Hadn’t planned on stopping at Cartagena either, but are very glad we did. It’s an interesting old Carthaginian, Punic, Roman town dating back to 200 BC with its main civic thoroughfare a lovely stoned-paved, pedestrianised area. Although there are some archeological sites dating back to the Carthaginian days, most are from the Roman times. Right in the middle of town are the remains of the Roman Teatro and a Roman Forum. We were somewhat puzzled by the loads and loads of vacant blocks with propped up building facades. Had they recently discovered yet another lot of Roman ruins? No, they apparently just got GFC’d. Council regs require developers to retain the old building facades, but they’ve since run out of money so nothing’s happening with them. At least they’ll keep the character of the city when they eventually get going again.
We then set off for Ibiza, but ended up in Alicante after having some sail issues to contend with. The weather window then allowed us to hop up the coast to the old town of Javea before we headed for Ibiza. I know this place is best known for its night life and foam parties, but the D’Alt Vila (old town) is really quite lovely to explore.
After 24 years we are now back in Palma de Mallorca, a place where we have fond memories of our earlier time in the Med. When we first arrived at the Real Club Nautico (Royal Yacht Club) we were moored in outer purgatory with all the charter boats, but after we advised them we’d be here for a week we managed to secure a member’s berth right in front of the clubhouse, about 20 paces from the bar. We’re just around the corner from the pool.
This place is still a yachtie’s paradise. It’s full of magnificent yachts that we never see back home. Five J boats are currently in town, along with assorted beautifully restored classic yachts of various sizes, Wally yachts, and so many Swans that I’ve lost count. The sailmaker here doesn’t have a van, he has a truck with a small crane on the back of it. How else do get a mainsail on a super yacht? If there’s a recession going on in Europe then nobody’s told the yachting fraternity in Palma.
Some of these yachts are in a secure marina/yard area, but we couldn’t help ourselves, we just had to go and have a look. So we told the man on the gate that we needed to go to the “Efectos Navales” (chandlery) to get some bits for our yacht – which was true. We tried not to walk around with our tongues hanging out too much.
Palma has a wonderful blend of Moorish inspired architecture, interesting old cobbled laneways and tree-lined boulevards and we’ve very much enjoyed strolling round and taking in the sights. The Castell de Bellver up on the hill overlooking Palma is in amazingly good nick for a 14th century castle. We also took a day trip up to the west coast town of Soller on the old Victorian railway, then on an old tram out to Puerto de Soller. A rather lovely way to spend a day.