We're up bright and early, the weather is good and we're lounging about on the balcony getting to know our host Catarina a bit better. Everyone has a story and Catarina's is a bit more interesting than others. Catarina is an English teacher and is from Venezuela. She upped sticks about three years ago when things started getting a bit hot over there. Catarina went to a few places before coming to Palma, she spent a bit of time in London but found the place crowded and her education was very expensive, so eventually ended up enrolling in the University here and finished off her psychology degree...(She's a smart cookie, this one...). Catarina's folks are still in Venezuela and feel like they dont want to move due to age etc. Catarina told us some horror stories about what is going on over there and despite this, she hopes to return and teach there again. We had a good chat and learnt a lot of things. Catarina's weapon of choice against corrupt government is this, educate yourself so you can educate others. She'll probably end up being President over there when she eventually gets back. She gets my vote.
We hadnt really planned on going anywhere today but Catarina had mentioned a place called Valldemossa, so that was good enough for us. Out into the sunshine and the usual brisk walk to the bus station to check out the times, we have an hour to kill and so head back to the old railway station, there's a very nice lady who works in the cafe there and understands my coffee needs - At last!! So we take in the atmosphere of Central Palma. Cars rule the world and it's no different here, you can get dizzy watching the traffic go by. The Spanish like their motorbikes as well so there's plenty for me to look at. We head back down the underground bus station (It's brilliant, by the way) and hop on the bus, the bus service in Palma has been fantastic, new vehicles and always on time. The bus is a bit busy as apparently Valldemossa is a must see. As we approached the place, you could see it was going to be interesting. Up in the hills, it looked great from a distance. We got off the bus and went off to explore. First off is the Carthusian Monastery called Real Cartuja, this is where the composer Frederic Chopin lived for a while - Did he come here for peace, tranquility and inspiration? No, he rented the place so he and his lover George Sand could be left in relative peace away from the prying eyes of the Paris gossips......it's true, honest, look it up. There is a museum dedicated to him and his work but being the cultural heathen I am, I couldnt be bothered to go in. I've not really listened to much Chopin but what I have heard is not really to my liking, it's a bit too plinky plonky for my lugs. (Lord Gibbs of the Home Office, currently residing in Florida, USA, will be horrified by my comments!).
Anyhows, Valldemossa is a beautiful place and I recommend you try and visit, it has a population of two thousand people, is sleepy and very picturesque. Steep little streets and alleys everywhere, me and Grant actually got lost, he went one way I went the other and thirty minutes later we we on the phone to each other arranging to meet up back at the Monastery. That we get lost a lot should not come as any surprise to any regular readers, we're brilliant at it. After eventually meeting up we decided to have a cup of coffee!!! (Here we go again...) So we took a seat in a fairly full roadside Cafe, which I suppose was quite posh, actually everything in Valdemossa is quite posh - It's a far cry from Shagaluf. Sophiticated Europeans were laughing, chatting and drinking wine and nibbling on exquisite looking food. As usual we were ignored for twenty minutes. Every other person who sat down was offered a menu, we werent. We went through the usual coffee fiasco and eventually that arrived. I said to Grant, what is it with places like this? Everyone else seems to be having a decent time, we're sat here like it's an ordeal. I dont know what it is. Answers on a postcard please.
After another walk around the village we head back to the bus stop and hop on the Palma Express, it's only about fifteen miles away and it's not long before we're back in Dodge. We do our usual thing and head back to rundown town and head to our regular jaunts, ending up in our favourite little cafe run by our new friend Lucy, who comes from the Dominican Republic. The place has a South American vibe, probably because everyone who comes in is from South America, so we meet people from Peru and Brazil amongst others. Again it's a new record for early to beds and we're heading off to the land of nod by ten thirty. Not a bad day.
Tomorrow we head to Capdepera in the North East of the island.