Thus begins the second phase to our trip around the world.
We bid an emotional farewell to Ben as he boarded a plane bound for the United States after an incredible two months of traveling with him. Always game for a photo cameo. Always up for a hike. Always prepared with a word of encouragement when things went awry, Ben was a standard bearer on this trip who would be sorely missed.
But adventure waits for nobody, and we still had five continents ahead of us that required our focus and attention.
So we boarded a plane and ventured south to the island of Mallorca, with Morocco and Tunisia as our immediate, decidedly non-European, destinations to come.
The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca feels like a place caught between Spain and its Moorish history. With palm trees and olive groves that count the centuries with their roots, rugged beaches and upscale restaurants, luxury cars and all-night discos jammed against the foundations of castles and palaces past.
Since we would be staying on the island for three nights, I rented a car and booked an Airbnb on the edge of Palma, Mallorca’s capital city. We love booking with Airbnb, mostly as an opportunity to meet local hosts and stay in accommodations that are authentic to the experience. And this particular host is certainly worth mentioning.
His name is Mack, and he greeted us with champagne.
A German-born musician and sound engineer by profession, Mack had worked with some of the biggest names in the music business. Pair that experience with a natural gift for storytelling. Mix it with champagne and beer. Chase it with whiskey, cognac, and an excellent vinyl library, and you have the makings of an all-night conversation about music and travel and Hollywood.
The next day, we set out to explore Mallorca by car, traveling north to the marina of Port de Sóller. On this particular road trip, however, the destination wasn’t nearly as important as the journey itself.
The route snakes its way through the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and provides perfect access to a UNESCO World Heritage cultural site. Comprised of terraces, olive groves, and a network of water mills, the arid mountainside is converted into a lush landscape that dates back to the early middle ages.
And it’s simply stunning.
But a trip to Mallorca would be incomplete without experiencing one of its world-famous beaches. During the descent on our flight, we passed over the northeastern end of the island, and I saw long stretches of empty sand. So, the next day, we set out on another road trip to find that beach. Or at least one like it.
With only a cardinal direction but no real destination in mind, we found ourselves in the coastal village of Son Serra de Marina on the northeastern shore, looking out on the high breakers of the Badia d’Alcúdia. Impossibly blue and green waters with the Mediterranean wind pushing sailboats about.
We lingered for a while here, reflecting on the journey so far. The beauty of this world and its people, and the grand opportunity Angela and I have to enjoy it together. It was a humbling moment, recalling all that we had seen and all that was still left to see. And we were thankful in it.
That night, I was mugged. But that’s a story for another time.