Sunny, Warm and the Beach…

What more could you ask for when on a short holiday on an island in Spain? :)

Last week, we spent 4 days on the beautiful island of Majorca! It was a much-needed break for all of us – a few days to just do nothing but enjoy the warmth and each other’s company.

The best way to take you through our trip is in pictures – so here we go:

This is our first view of the island from our plane. We landed, got information about when our shared transport was going to leave and ate our sandwich lunch on the kerb, in the sunshine. i like that they offer this shared airport transfer, you share the bus ride with other tourists and as they get dropped off at their hotels, we got to see a bit more of the island. Of course, i had to choose a resort which was the furthest away, so we were the last to get dropped off.

Left: View from the plane, Right: Having lunch...
Left: View from the plane, Right: Having lunch…

We got to the resort (Hotel Playa Garden) and had a surprise, the staff immediately spoke German to us, without even asking if we did speak German. That’s how many of their guests are German-speaking!

This is the AMAZING view from our room balcony and the view of one of the 3 pools. i didn’t ask for a sea-view room but i’m so thankful (Praise the Lord!) we were blessed with this room!

i LOVED that view!
i LOVED that view!

As you can see, Tobias wasted no time in getting comfy. He slept on the pull-out which he loved and we had the double bed in the other room.

The pictures are a little dark but in reality, there was lots of light coming into the room.
The pictures are a little dark but in reality, there was lots of light coming into the room.

There is also a small kitchenette which means you can cook your own food if you want or need to. It is fully equipped, you simply need to bring or buy your supplies. We booked the room without meals and had the option to add meals once we were there. Which was an excellent way of doing things, cos we could try out the food in the resort but also had the option of going out and exploring the local options.

We loved the breakfast there and so had all our breakfasts in the dining hall. We had one dinner there and decided we preferred eating out. The food was ok but it was not spectacular.

i can understand why lots of families with young children would choose to come to a resort like this and not leave it for a week. They have a kids club where you can send your kids to for the morning, have lunch there and then it’s lazing by the pool or beach till dinner at the dining hall.

Left: Mini Disco for the kids after dinner, Right: Mini Clubhouse...
Left: Mini Disco for the kids after dinner, Right: Mini Clubhouse…

After dinner that first night, we took a long walk on the beach – AHHH… it was good to be by the beach and smell the ocean air! We found the provision shop just outside the hotel which meant you could buy almost everything you needed for your trip. We filled up on snacks and bought provisions for a picnic lunch there.

The beach photo does not do justice to the really nice view there... i like the convenience of that little shop!
The beach photo does not do justice to the really nice view there… i like the convenience of that little shop!

We found out, to our surprise, that cycling is a HUGE thing on Majorca! At the airport we saw people with various signs, waiting for tourists who booked bike tours. This Max Hurzeler company is very big. We saw lots of cafes and restaurants flying their logo, apparently these are places where their tour groups stop for breaks and meals. There is also a big bike test center and many bike rental places in Alcudia, the town our resort was nearest to.

Cycling around the island is the thing to do!
Cycling around the island is the thing to do!

We spent our second morning wandering around the open market and the streets of the old town of Alcudia. It was lovely.

The market sold the usual scraves and handmade items, cheap watches and clothing, as well as wonderful local produce...
The market sold the usual scarves and handmade items, cheap watches and clothing, as well as wonderful local produce…

The old town was previously a walled-city. Today the wall is no longer whole but large parts of it remain. There is a section which you can walk on even. And it provides a great view of the area around.

It's wonderful to walk around and get a feel of what the town might have been like during its prime...
It’s wonderful to walk around and get a feel of what the town might have been like during its prime…

sunnywarmbeach20140415iWe traveled to town by bus. It wasn’t hard, there was only a couple of buses which serviced the road our resort was on and the timetable was straightforward. We had dinner that second evening at a Spanish-run-American-Tex-Mex. It was nice. Then we walked back to our resort – there was no more bus service by the time we finished dinner, besides the walk helped us digest and again allowed us to see more of the area.

One of the bus drivers was an Englishman ;) And the head waiter at that Tex-Mex was a funny guy and we got free mini margaritas...
One of the bus drivers was an Englishman ;) And the head waiter at that Tex-Mex was a funny guy and we got free mini margaritas…

On our walks, we noticed, sadly, that a few resorts appeared closed down. We had not expected to see that as we had always heard how many people loved coming to Majorca. So maybe they have not been doing as well as they did in their heyday. There was even a small hospital with an ER, however, that too was closed.

sunnywarmbeach20140415k
This was the view on our walk back to our resort… looking inland…

The third day was spent lazing around. We tried out the whirlpool at their spa facility. There was only a few hours a day you could go in there with kids. Then we headed to the beach, enjoyed the sun and had our picnic lunch. The boys braved the cold ocean.

It was simply too cold for me... while we were sitting at the beach, we saw a couple of Chinese ladies walking the beach, offering massages for 10Euros...
It was simply too cold for me… while we were sitting at the beach, we saw a couple of Chinese ladies walking the beach, offering massage for 10Euros…

After lazing by the pool for the afternoon, we headed out to visit another little town called C’an Picafort. It was more built-up than Alcudia but seemed less touristy. Lots of shops were not yet ready for the tourist season. It was, after all, just the beginning of Spring.

This was the main street at C'an Picafort...
This is the main street at C’an Picafort…

On the fourth morning we checked out and rode our shared transport back to Palma airport. Along the way, we picked up passengers and saw different parts of the island. i loved the drive through the center of the island where there are wide plains and orchards. There were also lots of unused, run-down windmills near the airport – i wondered what they were used for.

The plains set off the mountains so nicely... the orchards are lovely - i wondered what type of fruit trees those were... i wish i had gotten a picture of a complete windmill, painted in white and blue, but there were very few complete ones...
The plains set off the mountains so nicely… the orchards are lovely – i wondered what type of fruit trees those were… i wish i had gotten a picture of a complete windmill, painted in white and blue, but there were very few complete ones…

So that’s the end of our trip. It was good. In fact, hubby thinks it’s good enough to go back and explore even more of the island. Tobias isn’t too sure. i think mainly because this was his first relax-do-nothing holiday, not quite his thing to do nothing – hehheee… but i think we will go back. i just won’t go in high season. Our resort was about 65% to 70% full as it was, and i found it quite crowded. i can’t imagine what high season would be like!

But Majorca is definitely worth a visit, if you have not gone before.

Missing the sun and the warmth…

syc

Book Review: One Morning Like A Bird by Andrew Miller…

It has been more than 2 months since my last book review… life certainly took over and opening an online shop also took time.

Cover picture from Amazon.co.uk

And of course with all that happening, my reading time slipped away. But on a recently short beach holiday i managed to finally finish the book i began 2 months ago.

This is the first book i’ve read by Andrew Miller and i picked it up because it was about the Japanese culture and also ties in with the Second World War. i dislike wars but have always wanted to know how the people back in the various countries saw the wars their country fought in, especially this one, which i have studied in my history books, in which i have been told the realities of the war was pretty much kept from the people of Japan during those years and even in the years after. Of course, the Japanese culture has also always fascinated me.

It starts out pretty slow and for a while i wondered if this would be one of the few books i would abandon reading. But the writing is lovely and flows so nicely, it’s like listening to a sweet elderly aunty tell you about her childhood, which i happen to like doing, so i kept reading.

The main character is Yuji Tanako, who lived such a privileged lifestyle, some would consider it a sin. He spent his day any way he liked, he lived on an allowance from his father, visited bath-houses and bars and enjoyed the company of his friends, especially those from his French club, organised by Monsieur Feneon’s. His one accomplishment was having published a book of poetry which sold 37 copies in total.

You know trouble is ahead when his father cuts his allowance, then talk of being called up for the army becomes common and his French club is threatened as “foreigners” are no longer welcomed. He then somewhat unwillingly (he says in the book, “She tricked him of course, that much is obvious.”) gets involved with Alissa, Monsieur Feneon’s daughter.

As his circumstances change, you witness the sluggish but sure change in Yuji. A change i thought would not happen when i read the first 100 or so pages. He realises what needs to be done and he steps up to it, even if fearfully at first. It is a slow, but certain coming of age, against the dramatic backdrop of a world war and an internal struggle of tradition and love (if you can call what he felt for Alissa love).

The end is bittersweet in some ways as he decides, finally, for himself, by himself, what needs to be done, for his future and the future of his loved ones.

i realised after finishing the book, that Miller’s writing style is so well-suited to showing the character and spirit of the Japanese culture, even the title reflects that quiet reflection which happens throughout the book.

If you are looking for a leisurely read, without over-dramatic tones and is a telling of a life-story in beautiful prose with great detail to culture, time and place, this is the book.

syc

FREE Shipping – Angel Crafts Shop…

freeshippingEASTER20140407Angel Crafts Shop is offering FREE SHIPPING from now until Easter Monday, 21 April 2014!
Click on the picture to go to store and make a purchase.

Remember every purchase helps JASPER and JASON – our precious special needs orphans.

Thank you.

syc