Later in the evening of our first night our group was joined by an Irish man who flew in from Dublin (quite the character) and two older ladies who arrived from Manchester. These two ladies reminded me a little of The Odd Couple. Irene had obviously been quite the looker in her younger years and was indeed still very glamorous and sociable. M - her companion - was the complete opposite, a kinda "quieter than a church mouse" type. I did get to speak to M a few times because she had at one time owned a house in Normandy (and apparently very much regretted selling it) but others said that when they tried chatting to her about the many solo trips she had taken she pretty much blew them off! That kind of thing doesn't bother me much because I just do my own thing anyway, but I heard later in the week that things were somewhat tense between Irene and M because Irene wanted to do more things with the group but ended up "having" to stay with M all the time! Hence I don't travel with anyone on these trips 'cos my days of having a regimented schedule are well and truly over! Anyway, I mention this as it's relevant because of what happened on the last night! More to follow!
There was also another couple of Scottish women travelling together and who also seemed to fit The Odd Couple mold somewhat. They too had slight tensions during the trip but ended up being okay together for the most part. I got along really well with the outgoing Scottish lady but the quieter lady had actually had quite the life too, it turns out. She had been born in India (her father was manager of a tea plantation) but when she was six her grandmother in Scotland had become seriously ill so A (the quiet lady) was shipped off to boarding school in Scotland and she hated it! She said she had never seen anywhere so cold, wet and grey in all her life, but I suppose having been born in India that was a normal reaction. Ultimately she ended up loving Scotland but said it wasn't easy at first. And Mrs. Quiet Lady had also travelled all over - although Asia was her main love, for obvious reasons! There was also another quiet lady who I put in her mid-70s (as did others) but turns out she was only 68 and she had been doing the solo travelling thing for the past 18 years. She seemed to have been everywhere and was such an interesting person to talk to, so I guess it really is true that you should never judge a book by its cover!
Anyway, the next day six of us signed up for the aforementioned island tour and it was wonderful, if a little hectic! Our first stop was in a town called Inca to visit a leather goods outlet. Mallorca is known for its leather goods and cultured pearls and their wares really were lovely and very reasonably priced, but in the end I realized that I actually don't need any more stuff. I really do have everything I need in that department so decided (reluctantly) to pass! After that we ended up crawling over a hair-raising horseshoe pass to get to our first stop where we would pick up the boat. Hats off to the bus driver is all I can say!
|This was the "easy" bit. We had crawled|
through forests with steep drops over the side
for an hour previous to this!
I had been to Mallorca many, many years ago with my boyfriend and I remember Soller being stunning then, and of course it still is. André told me that he and his then wife took her grandma to Soller for a holiday and she just loved it (I'm not surprised)!
|This is a google picture of Soller, as I couldn't get|
my head out of the train window quick enough
to take a decent picture!
After a quick lunch in Soller we caught the rickety old tram for a few km up to the town of Soller and from there hopped on the train for a one hour ride back to our bus!
|Another google picture I'm afraid!|
|13th century church!|
That evening it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner in an excellent Argentinian restaurant on the beach where the food (and the margaritas) was wonderful and very reasonably priced. In fact the food throughout Mallorca was consistently good so guess who's gonna have to go on a diet now that she's back!