High bray to Hel Lady and the tram

I'm quite annoyed. Virtually ever since booking a holiday to Majorca I've had a cracking jackpot blog post title ready and waiting. All I needed to do was find a particular kind of dark beer, and find it a bit weird, and hey presto: the porter in Majorca don't taste like what it ought to. But could we find any beers from the supposed 8 craft breweries on the island? No. Grr.

Still, Helen's been on top form. She came up with every one of the titles so far. Hats off.

Anyway. Monday was upon. The view from the loo is nice.

Breakfast is from 0900-1030; we headed down around 1015 and met the owner of the place. After sitting down to our juice and meat and cheese and pastries, I made the shameful admission about having broken our room key. Good job we did it then; she'd just been up and unknowingly locked us out.

After breakfast, some chilling by the pool. I wrote the previous blog post, Helen tried the water but found it way too cold to swim in. Just after midday we went back in to get our stuff together for a day out, with Rich on his way. En route we had a chat with the cat, and then with the owner's mum who told us it's a 15-16 year old mouthy feline terrorist who'll bite and scratch if you get too close.

View from our room was alright.

Today, hopefully, we are heading to Soller ("soy-air") to get a train. Rich doesn't really know the way but intends to head to Palma and then out. But, early on we see a big fat road sign to Soller before we even reach Andratx. Let's see where it takes us.

Oh, it takes us up a mountain. Up, and up, and up, and up, in fact. That cyclist we passed on the early climbs must be in for a day of epic burning thigh muscles.

It's spectacular. This is a world heritage site mountain range, the name of which escapes me for now. Rich can take some of it in, but is driving with thankful circumspection on all the hairpins. I'm loving the views. Helen, however, has developed some vertigo and is hating it. It's a real shame.

Once we stop climbing, we reach the pinnacle, because that's how mountains work. Apparently the peak is right next to the coast, and there's a place to stop and look at the bluest sea in the world. Also a large bar/restaurant with a terrace. I manage to take a couple of photos but my legs are also in disagreement with the height.

Also, donkeys. These are on the other side, and Helen makes a beeline for the nearest one in order to seek solace for her woes. This guy lets out a giant, louder than loud bray, silencing all the other tourists and making all the other donkeys look round. Helen retreats; Rich and I approach and he's quiet.

Back in the car and we stick the only road there is. Everything stays spectacular, Helen stays terrified. There's a road sign for deer, which can apparently "fuck right off".

We work our way down into a town called Estrellencs, and our way back up afterwards, then our way down into Banyalbufar. As with several towns - including S'Arraco, where we're staying - there either is or was recently a big fiesta, noticeable by all the street decorations.

A little while after there, there is a genuine large fork in the road as we can choose to continue the genuinely scenic but unfortunately terrifying route, or head inland. For Helen's sake we choose the latter, and find ourselves in a town called Esporles. The river is somewhat dry.

We stop, because we're all hungry and thirsty and the other two need a smoke. Esporles seems, as with everywhere else on the island, lovely. Each street corner has a sign pointing to things like Spar, a vet, a hairdresser, etc. I have a beer, the others have softs. The place is very reminiscent of a typically Australian "hotel" bar, actually, especially with all the fruit machines and other gambling paraphernalia.

While there we realise there are basically no trains from Soller to Palma in the afternoon, so our plan is kinda scuppered. But we press on anyway, because it's meant to be a nice place anyway, and there's a tram too.

We pay the toll for the tunnel, rather than the insane mega-switchback hairpin freebie.

Suddenly we're in Soller and through the other side, at the car park. It's a somewhat tumultuous drive because we have to navigate our way around a tram. These are ace, and go directly through the busy and impressive town square. On some of the al fresco tables you could high five the passengers if you wanted.

Also there's an impressive bank.

We go to buy tram tickets, and learn you buy on board. There's one due in 10 minutes, and every half hour. We're hungry so go to a tapas bar, who tell us the kitchen is closed. Whatever. We go back and wait for the tram instead, deciding to eat in Port de Soller at the other end.

A tram arrives, and then goes into the depot behind closed gates. Another one does the same. No-one has a clue what's happening. Then, one of them comes back out and lets us on. I love this. Several coaches, including the one we board, are old converted San Francisco cable cars.

Within the first couple of minutes we are, inexplicably, overtaken by another tram.

Beyond the town, the tram goes over dry rivers, past lots of back gardens, through a car park, alongside a motorway, and then eventually - because it stopped a lot - was next to the sea. Hello, Port de Soller. I'd totally expected this to just be a tiny district, maybe a 5 minute ride, not a half hour odyssey to a whole new town.

Barely before we've even stopped, a woman barges her way onto the tram. Not a single person has got off yet, it is spectacular rudeness almost worth applauding.

We're all feeling pretty thirsty, Helen in particular. There are loads of places to choose from and we perch at one of them, next to all these boats 'n that, and order. Her vodka is comedy giant size. The choricitos and albondigas are pretty nice.

Then, there's not much else for us to do but get the tram back - especially because our car park ticket was only for 2.5 hours. Thankfully they are actually running 3 trams at a time, which is good because they're very crowded. We stand at the end of one, on the outdoor bit, and enjoy the views. It's a much faster ride back, and we all get repeatedly elbowed by a German lady with her camera.

We've 7 minutes left at the car park by the time we get there. Signposts lead us out of Soller and on the perfectly straight motorway to Palma, at which we turn onto the road to Andratx and are stuck in a traffic jam due to a rush hour pile-up 2km ahead of us. Bleurgh.

I'm starting to get a bit of car fatigue, and Rich's driving - which was excellent on the hairy mountain roads - seems to be getting a bit more aggressive and unpleasant on the early evening motorways. He takes us on a whistle stop side trip to Magaluf, which looks bloody horrible, and to Port Adriano with all its expensive boats, but our real destination is Port Andratx for sunset.

It doesn't disappoint.

Well, it kind of does, in so far as I'd wanted to drink at Tim's, likely the only place to have even a chance of selling a porter so I could wield my blog post title. But we can't get a seat, so go to Cappucino instead. The nuts are horrible.

Apparently Prince Harry bought a round for everyone here a couple of years ago. Behind us might be Dawn French. It certainly looks like it might be her, but I'm not convinced by the voice nor the talk of using Expedia to book holidays. I've just got it in my head that a celebrity wouldn't do that.

Port Andratx is lovely. Apparently there are barely any hotels, so people either make a trip here just for a drink or two, or they're the "locals". It means it isn't rammed, and it's also gorgeous. I could just sit there and drink all day.

Anyway, not now. We drive back to S'Arraco and I'm glad to not have to sit in this car much more. At the village we quickly drop stuff off, get changed, and go back out for dinner. It's more tapas and beer - including an 8% bad boy marzen - at the bar we'd popped into just before midnight on Sunday.

It's lovely, but after an exhausting day and with an early-ish start tomorrow we call it a night pretty early. On the way back to the hotel I pop up to the little village square, still decorated with fiesta bunting.

Back at the hotel, of course we grab another couple of cans from the honour fridge; in bed, the stream of Just A Minute lasts just a minute so we fall asleep to the dulcet tones of Greg Carlwood's conspiracy madness on The Higherside Chats.

Created By
Darren Foreman

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