Saturday, 15 April 2017

Palma, Mallorca: a civilised boys' weekend

Palma's cathedral
A few weekends ago Ed, Mike and I jetted off to Palma for our first boys' weekend since our adventure in Lyon at the end of 2015.

Friday was a complete washout with torrential rain all day. We made the best of it by hopping between a few nice bars, but I was beginning to wonder what we'd done. Had we chosen a dud destination?
Parc de la Mar / Lagoon in front of the cathedral
Ed and I woke up early(ish) on Saturday morning and headed out for a run along the coast. The sun had come out and a beautiful walled city was revealing itself. Any thoughts that we'd come somewhere duff were completely dispelled.

Palma has a compact centre with lots of narrow streets and small squares. It was perfect for exploring on foot and we were never far from somewhere that we recognised so it was easy to get back to our apartment any time that we wanted to.
Inside the merchants hall
We started Saturday off by walking down to the cathedral and then doing a loop of the Parc de la Mer / lagoon. We continued our drift west and stumbled across the Lonja de Mallorca, the beautiful merchant's hall with its spiralled columns and high ceilings. I saw a sign saying that there were great views from the roof, but unfortunately none of the corner stair cases were open to enable us to get up there.
After a coffee stop in a pleasant little square near the merchants hall we found ourselves in the Santa Catalina area and when we saw the local covered market I immediately wanted to go inside. There were lots of locals shopping at the stalls selling meat (fresh and cured), fish and fruit & vegetables. There were a few places to stand around and eat and drink at stalls preparing some of the fresh produce.
Mercat de Santa Catalina
After a lazy, and incredibly good value fixed priced lunch, we spent the afternoon drifting round more of the historic centre of Palma and checking out the few bits of Gaudi architecture that we stumbled across (below).

On Sunday morning Ed and I repeated our run along the coast on an equally bright and sunny morning. We saw people setting up for what we guessed was a local 5km or 10km race and quite a few other people out exercising on the path along the coast.
Gaudi designed opticians
Having pretty thoroughly explored the centre of town on Friday and Saturday we decided to head north from the centre. We had breakfast in Plaça d'Espanya and then continued north through the Parc de les Estacions. We were drifting without too much of a plan and came across the bull ring in the backstreets. There were high fences all the way round the ring and it had the look of somewhere which might be abandoned, but it was a very impressive structure so hopefully it doesn't fall into disrepair.
Bull ring
We made our away across to the San Juan Gastronomic Market for lunch before making our way back into the centre to grab our bags and then to take the bus back to the airport for our flight back to London.

Thanks Palma for the great weekend!
Colourful streets of Palma

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