Ok, so it´s been a while, but there´s a good excuse. The shops in Barcelona are just far too tempting. Anyway am in Mallorca and back on the water.
I realise that I´ve got a lot of catching up to do… at least this way I´m back on track with my dates. Even I was getting confused.
Barcelona was, as always, great. The best thing about it is that there´s so much to see and do that you know you´ll never get it all done, so you don´t feel guilty for not bothering. I mean, there´s a huge church on the hill behind the city that is the architectural spit of Sacre Coeur in Paris – a real stunner – and it only warrants a one-sentence mention in the Lonely Planet. That´s how much there is to see here.
So I may have taken a leetle bit of ´me´time (sorry Hugo – it was always going to happen…)and explored the ancient retail outlets of central Barcelona. And I can say that through my committed research, I can recommend them to any boating visitor.
Did make it down to the water though, for the first time, and was really impressed at how stunning a backdrop you Barcelona boaters have to wake up to. From Christopher Colombus helpfully pointing out the marina toilet block to the beautiful palm-lined promenade that I followed all the way to Port Olimpic and then grumpily followed all the way back (it was VERY hot). Port Vell is alot smaller than I had imagined, but seems friendly and within spitting distance of everything. After being turned away from the Club Nautico (I think they have a no-white-leg door policy) I met a lovely couple at the Tapas Bar in the new waterfront centre who knew someone who knew someone who kept their boat at Port Vell! Have arranged to meet them and some official marina bods on Friday when I´m back in Barca for a day in transit.
Got the ferry from there to Palma yesterday evening and am staying in Cala dÓr. I know it´s a treck, but I´ve stayed at the Melia Hotel here before and knew it was a no-risk and lovely option (my hotel in Barcelona was a hell hole). My taxi driver, Juan, was hilarious. He´s a skipper aswell and has all the goss on various big international businessmen that keep their boats here. All very enlightening… I´ll never look at an aubergine the same way again.
Today I visited the lovely Mark and Claire on their Princess 67, Magnum, in Palma. They´ve been here a month after bringing the boat from Puerto Banus via Almerimar, Torrevieja and Ibiza and are going to keep her in Palma for the winter, shuttling back and forwards from their home in Cheshire. It was a real adventure for them as they only have a year´s experience on the water, and that was in Torquay, but watching them berth such an enormous boat with only two of them on board was awe-inspiring. And that was with some annoying journalist taking their picture the whole time.
We took the boat to anchor off Palma Nova, twenty minutes west of Palma, and although the bay was fairly crowded with boats (mainly British, mainly flashy), we enjoyed a few hours enjoying Med life. Only the small, and I mean small, interruption of a naked German man on a Sunseeker distracted us from the extreme laziness at hand. Apparently there are naked Germans on boats everywhere here – Claire said that when they see you coming to anchor near them, they stand up to inform you of their nakedness and might perform a few poses for your benefit, one foot up on the flybridge stairs, for example. How sweet.
The Magnums had lots of tales to tell about their trip over and their new-found passion for on-water loafing, but you´ll have to wait until my inspirational feature that I will write. At some point. Perhaps when the pool´s too crowded.