Autumn Sun Destinations
Majorca Part One: The Armchair Traveller
“I can’t believe you have never been to Majorca”, spouted one of my friends last month when I was discussing my upcoming trip to some sun soaked destination before the drabness of a UK winter I was undecided about where to go and it was a somewhat difficult choice as I didn’t feel like spending more than three hours in a plane it’s strange how one can get these preconceived ideas about a place, these prejudices about some destinations. Majorca has been one of those destinations I have avoided maybe because of those disparaging newspaper articles about drunken youths or not so youthful tourists there , mushy peas and chips with paella and everything else; “But it’s not all like that”, my friend promised me. Me of little faith decided to do some research and so I set about compiling a list of books about or set in the island that I could read before I went ,if that was indeed my final destination and surprisingly there are in fact a lot. Of writers who have depicted the island’s charms and, traditions. In An Enigmatic Disappearance, by Roderic Jefferies one character asks, “Can you find anywhere more beautiful than this? Before ….Alvarez stopped .it was even more beautiful when there were no hotels or houses for tourists and only fishermen walked the sand.” The Graves family have documented the island extensively so I started with “Wild Olives “ the moving memoir written by Robert Graves s son about growing up on the island ,it gives insight into his father’s character and describes idyllic island life before the mushy peas and the chips with everything. He chronicles the changes and modernisation of the island. this memoir actually moved me to tears. Then I moved on to Robert Graves translation of George Sand’s, ”Un Hiver a Majorque”, but I soon became disheartened by his lengthy corrections and went on to read the original and I LOVED it, Sand is witty, honest and a true master of her art Next on to Tomas in the Graves family his book about bread and olive oil is a must read,” Bread & Oil: A Celebration of Majorcan Culture” -According to Tomas bread and olive oil can even help one diet!
Part Two Authentic Majorca Cala San Vincente
Finally, I told my friend that I would go but to a quiet resort “Ok, let s try Cala St Vincent in the North Eastern part of the island. Woe oh sorrow a dreadful flight out with Monarch filled with drunken yobs at 7 am why do they let them on board? For the money of course. Was this indeed going to be a trip from hell? Happily, once arrived at the resort the landscape was turned to be breath-taking, with its three coves, and three beaches a quiet pool and day excursions on offer. I plumped for the Island tour with local based “No Frills Excursions” by coach, boat, and tramway and train (1911) Fabulous! A trip to Soller port and Soller village where I indulged in the speciality of orange ice cream which was absolutely divine- to be recommended. This was a package deal –all inclusive and the food was to die for although chips were on the menu every day. If you can ignore the evening entertainment of Karaoke and the pool side trivia quizzes every afternoon you will find that old Majorca is still there, just waiting to be discovered, you just need to get up and go off the beaten track pack your walking shoes as I came across many a happy back packer some touting copies of the books I may well have just read in my armchair.
Helpful Guide book Eye witness guides
Graves, Tomas. Bread & Oil: A Celebration of Majorcan Culture 1 Jun 2013 . 1st June 2013.
Graves, William. Wild Olives. Pimlico, 1995. Jefferies, Roderic.
An Enigmatic Disappearance. collins crime, 1998. Samd, Georges. Un Hiver a Majorque.
Sand, Georges. A Winter in Majorca . 1958. translated by Robert Graves .