I’m sitting in the middle, unusual ground for your scribbler to occupy but delighted to have around me the excited gabbles, mutters and squeals of Mallorcan families.
Creperia Gelateria Es Cucurutxo is my new my favourite place. A short stroll from here will bring you to the gently posh harbour of Porto Colom on Mallorca’s east coast, where well-ironed Swiss Germans sit looking disinterested, while watching the masts of their yachts bob around in the marina as they eat extravagantly expensive restaurant food (€16 for a dessert? Who are you kidding? Equally, oy, what a dessert!)
Stroll as far the other way from Es Cucurutxo, and you’ll be greeted by the familiar sights of mass tourism, thankfully without the masses. Cala Marçal is a tiny place, built around a teardrop beach, but although the scale is small the style is high-rise all-inclusive cheap family holidays.
The Snapper and I don’t belong in either camp, so we’re thrilled to have our own gaff, with its private wee pool.
Mostly we’re just incredibly thankful to be having a holiday.
Many years we can’t afford it but this Summer the financial issues were outweighed by the needs of your Scribbler. I had to have a break, and so we did; a most wonderful and mysterious holiday in which everything was mirrored by an opposite.
Before arriving in Mallorca we enjoyed a full-on weekend celebrating the birthdays and existence of several members of our families. Staying in 3 different hotels in 5 nights we enjoyed every manic busy second.
More of that next week, but for now we’re here, in the calm oasis of Porto Colom, where we do nothing at all for a week in our yin-yang holiday.
The air is hot but the breeze is cool.
The side roads are massive but there are few cars.
Over in Porto Colom they pay up to €200 for dinner, while 1 km away in Cala Marçal you can eat half a chicken, chips and salad, drink two pints of John Smiths and still have change from €15.
In the mornings I nip off to Cala Marçal to pick up a paper, but sadly only the Germans in Porto Colom get a chance to read news.
Evidently there’s no market in Cala Marçal for print journalism, so I pick up a red top tabloid and wait in the queue in the supermarket as a man with scarlet legs pleads in shouty English for a Factor 30 cream, while the local shop assistant tries patiently to explain that it’s a little late for that.
Behind me a man with a broad Yorkshire accent is repeating over and over:
“The tap. It’s broken. Broken, the tap. No water. Broken. Tap. Do ya gettit? Tap broken. No water.”
As his Mallorcan host tries to explain that he understood the first time, I slip out feeling incredibly lucky not to be stuck in those flats. Equally, I’m glad we’re not as stiff and nonchalant as the rich yachters of Porto Colom
We enjoy sitting in the middle of this bay with two ends; a place where normally I’d expect to be driven crazy by the screams of the children or the noise levels of the adults but instead, I love Es Cucurutxo.
Waiters at both resorts all greet us asking “German or English menu?” yet here at Es Cucurutxo the menu is in Mallorcan, Spanish and then other languages. Here at Es Cucurutxo I can believe I am in another country. I crave neither the highest gourmet standards of northern Europe, nor to eat the same food that I do at home.
Here, midway between the posh and the touristy, life feels perfect. There are one or two tourists like us sitting outside too, but mostly it’s just young mums checking their watches while sullen kids read comic books; toddlers running and laughing and screaming; clouds of cigarette smoke; coffee, Mallorcan wine at Mallorcan prices and mind-blowing ice cream that might make a man dribble.
I give thanks. I planned a holiday and it turned out exactly as I hoped. This year I knew exactly what I wanted and got it. Thank you Internet. Thank you travelling instinct. Thank you universe.
I needed calm and as I write this, apart from the thing that's sucking blood from my ankle (no, not the Snapper) I am absolutely blissed out.
Earlier our dinner at a restaurant on the quayside was destroyed by commentary of the Germany v Ukraine game, pumped from the screen behind our table, two seconds later echoing from the screen in front of our table.
We tried to focus on the view, the yachts, that lovely old church on the other side of the bay and
“Levvan levvan dovski dovski ooohhh ooohhh dass varr dass var nicht nicht so slecht so slecht!”
It felt like left-field CIA torture.
“Hey, these two are tough. They didn’t respond to 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia' played backwards on a loop at 359 decibels? Okay, hit 'em up with time lapse German echo treatment!”
The food is excellent but my attempts to speak Spanish to the waitress falter as she turns out to be German.
Just for second I feel a mite relieved. Evidently the English are not alone in liking to go abroad to eat their own food served by their own people.
Disoriented by the cacophonous commentary, we skip dessert and head home, to sit on the high balcony watching sunset's hues scatter over distant mountains.
Soft strains of a neighbour's blues guitar deliver a subtle soundtrack to our evening.
A crescent moon above dances with Venus by her side.
I turn to the Snapper and whisper
"Bloody splendid love…” as I exhale deeply.