About a month ago, as the days were getting shorter but just before we officially turned back our clocks, I packed up my carry on and jetted off with Ana for four days in Mallorca, full of sun, rioja, and mucho, mucho gambas. But we’ll get to those babies in a sec.
There were plenty of reasons to be excited — our gorgeous Mallorca Farmhouses villa, getting schooled in the local seafood, traveling with a fellow winelover — but seriously? I was mainly looking forward to some pool time and increasing my freckle count. This summer was not remotely bad! But once we left the states at the end of July, it was never particularly summery. France sent us off with mostly rain, and once we arrived in London, we pretty much hit the ground running.
I’m aware that I am in no position to complain here, but still! A girl needs some Vitamin D! Luckily, in just five short days and with the help of Mrs. O, we recaptured some summertime magic during my introduction to Mallorca.
Get yourself some status. // Our weekend started with a very, very early flight from Heathrow. After, I had a quick lesson on why status matters.
Before this trip, I had some vague idea of Mrs. O’s life as a BA traveler and her love for the ever-coveted Gold Status. We moved to London, and I quickly learned why sticking with one airline is important. But until now, none of it was very tangible.
Photo via Mrs O
Yes, well, this early morning flight taught me everything I’ll ever need to know. We arrived at the airport with about 75 minutes to spare, and checked in without a problem. Part of this might have been because when people talk about the crack of dawn, this flight is what they’re talking about. Not many other nutbags were traveling, anyway. Even so, there were a few, and as Mrs. O’s +1, I didn’t need to deal with those plebeians. No, no, I could breeze right on through check in… and the people who handed me my ticket even smiled! IT WASN’T A SNEER!
(Clearly, there were just too many EasyJet flights in my 2014.)
Anyway, after we checked in, we zipped off to the lounge. Here, we had our choice of bottles and bottles of Taittinger, endless Nespresso, and a full breakfast. Unfortunately for everyone, it was way too early to drink champagne. I KNOW, there is such an hour! Because we wanted to sleep a bit on our first flight, we were forced to go uncaffeinated, too. Life is hard. Instead, we had a few bites of their signature breakfast sandwiches, and hopped onto the plane. Obviously, we once again needed not worry about queuing, because queuing is NOT FOR THE GOLD, kids.
After a quick stop in Madrid (and more lounging, though this time we did opt for coffee), one more tiny flight, and a lot of smiling along to misunderstood Spanish on my part, we arrived.
Gambas are prawns and prawns are just giant shrimp and Europe is a continent of confusion // When we were in Puglia, I learned all about Mrs. O’s love of prawns — to the extent that I tried not to recoil when she went so far as to eat the meat from INSIDE the HEADS. Then, when the hubs and I went to Portugal, pretty much all of her restaurant recommendations included “must have!” prawn dishes. Obviously, her answer shouldn’t have surprised me when finally, after the fifth mention of “gambas,” I had to ask what the eff even is a gambas anyway.
As we arrived at our lunch spot, the confusion over Mallorca’s reputation of beauty melted away. We got out of the car, turned the corner, and literally soaked in the sun as we walked down to Flanigan to find ourselves seated in front of this view:
I left the ordering up to Ana, because, well, my Spanish no es bueno. After the first gamba, however, I admitted that, though delicious, they were just a lot of messy work. And that is when I got SCHOOLED on how to properly peel my gambas with a fork! No mess!
Photo via Mrs O
It involves some major finger dexterity, jabbing your fork into the meat just above the tail, using your knife to rip off all the legs, and then sliding the knife in between the shell and the meat until it comes loose.
Et voilà! Or, you know. Whatever the Spanish equivalent is. Either way: life cha-ay-nging.
Make friends with the neighbors // Unsurprisingly, our villa was perfection. It was cozy — two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a huge kitchen, and a comfortable living room. Each time we got home, I thought to myself how adorable and welcoming the entire place was, with its traditional Spanish architecture, understated decor, and seriously inviting pool and backyard area.
We ended each day with G+Ts on the back patio (Gin Mare + Fever Tree, specifically, because when you’re in Spain, you drink Gin Mare and Fever Tree out of goblets the size of your face), and it was all perfection.
Who made it extra special, though? The locals. Especially this guy:
If you were to drive without a valid license, Mallorca is not the place to do it // So, backing up a bit here, but when we picked up our GoldCar rental at the airport, we were faced with a few issues. Aside from an enraged screaming German and the “Express Service” for people without reservations, I also apparently needed an international drivers permit? To be fair, I do have one, but it wasn’t WITH me because literally no one has ever asked me for this. This means two out of the last two trips I’ve taken with Ana, we’ve had some majorly weird rental car experiences. My last trip with her even inspired this post, so… does this mean we’re the problem?
I don’t know, but I can tell you that GoldCar’s idea of “gold” is much different than British Airways. Gold plated, maybe.
Anyway. Hypothetically, if you haven’t driven in, say, 8 months, and you didn’t bring the correct paperwork so that you may legally drive your rental car, then, hypothetically, it would be a bad idea to drive on roads that look like this:
If it rains, you go to Palma // Find the perfect place for your morning coffee, scout out somewhere for afternoon paella, and most importantly, bring your wallet, because the shopping is absurd. And, if it DOES rain, seriously, don’t be that sad! Palma is an adorable place, and it’s very likely we would have limited our time there if the sun were shining.
And if we hadn’t spent much time in Palma, I wouldn’t have come home with new boots. And if I hadn’t come home with new boots, I’d still be wearing old boots, and who needs that? Not me, that’s for sure. What I’m saying is, sometimes a rainy vaca day isn’t the worst thing in the world.
So there you have it, mis pequeñas gambas <<– I had to google that. The perfect intro to Mallorca, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m figuring out how to return in 2015, because Spain is officially working her way into my heart.
– Thank you to Mallorca Farmhouses for hosting us for my very first visit to Mallorca, and to Mrs. O for inviting me along to shadow her life of luxury. Rates for the Pepi villa are as low as £828 for a week in the off season, and, in my humble opinion, it’s perfect for a girls getaway or a family trip (two couples might be more difficult, as one bedroom has two beds, but I don’t know your life.)
All opinions are my own, and I want to be Gold Status when I grow up.