Two weekends ago was important for two reasons. First, it was my birthday. Second, it was a national holiday in Spain. And because those two events coincided just perfectly, we decided that we needed to do something special to take advantage of it.
We both really wanted to go for a hike, so we did some research and it turns out that some of the best hiking is in northern Mallorca. So we decided to base ourselves in the small town of Alcudia so that we could take two interesting hikes.
Alcudia is a small-ish town in the northern part of Mallorca. It actually consists of two different towns, the Port d’Alcudia down by the ocean, and the normal Alcudia about a mile inland. The town of Alcudia is absolutely worth seeing. The original walls, complete with gates and towers, still ring most of the inner city. The local government has even started rebuilding portions of the walls that were previously demolished, something we have never seen. There are plenty of good restaurants, a brewery, and some quirky restaurants (lots, including the brewery, were closed for the winter season).
We really enjoyed our time in this little city, but the Port d’Alcudia is a hell hole, and should never be visited. If you want a generic beach with generic upscale beach shopping, and overpriced restaurants with meh food, looked down on by an endless expanse of depressingly uniform holiday apartment buildings and hotels, definitely go here. It really represents all that is wrong with this island.
…Anyways, back in Alcudia we were happy as could be in our hotel which was right in the middle of town. We decided to stay at the Fonda Llabrés Boutique Hotel, and it was a great choice. It’s also apparently the oldest restaurant in Alcudia, so that’s cool. Our room was small but modern, the shower had a rain head feature, and the restaurant was surprisingly good. The staff were also unbelievably kind, always willing to chat in English or Spanish. When the manager saw that we had lived in Martos he got pretty excited because, crazily enough, he has family who live there. Sure, Spain is a small country, but we have never met another soul outside of Jaen who knew Martos existed.
Besides the nice people and the pretty town, the other thing Alcudia has to offer is hiking. The town sits at the mouth of a small mountainous peninsula, which was the real reason we wanted to come here.
On our first day of hiking we set out somewhat early and walked ourselves the tree miles to the trail head. It wasn’t too bad, seeing as how we were along the coast most of the way.
But it ended up screwing us over a bit. See, everyone else on this island has a car. So while, yes, we did get an earlier start, we had to walk three miles to get to the start of the hike. Everyone else just drove. So we ended up arriving there at the same time as everyone else did. And if there is one thing that we hate it’s crowded hiking trails. We almost turned back before even getting half way up, but since we’d walked so far to even get to the trail head, and since we had made some nice sandwiches, we angrily continued on. Eventually though it got to be too much, but luckily we found a trail that branched off from the main trail (more like a road) that everyone was using to get to the top. We figured that even if this trail were to dead end in a garbage dump, it would still be better than the Disneyland style queue we were trudging along, so we took it. It ended up going up a smaller peak that wasn’t even on our map.
We had amazing views, a good place to sit, and we were finally left alone.
After this hike we realized that we had seriously lucked out with the surprise trail that had saved our day. We realized that the second day’s hike would probably be just as busy, but we weren’t willing to push our luck on being able to find a quiet trail a second time, so we canceled it without any regrets.
So instead of hiking we went to see the Roman ruins of Pollentia.
Right outside of Alcudia are the ruins of a Roman city named Pollentia. The ancient houses, streets, market and theater have all been uncovered and are all really neat to see. And there were tons of medieval burial crypts dug into the stones that formed the ancient Roman theater. It was interesting to see how the original town had been buried by time, and then turned into a necropolis by later Mallorcan people, only to be dug back up in the 1920s.
The ruined houses didn’t make much sense until we went to the museum where we saw reconstructed models showing what they would have looked like. So if you ever decide to visit Alcudia and the Roman ruins, make sure you take advantage of the free admission to the museum that is included with your entrance to the Roman ruins.
On our last night we wanted to get ourselves a hot adult beverage and sit outside to enjoy the festive lights and the Christmas music being piped into the streets. We went to the bar at our hotel and ordered a hot chocolate with some Baileys in it. To us, this is a normal enough drink. But the lady at the bar looked at us like we were crazy. The manager came over to see what was going on, and when she explained what we wanted he also looked at us like we were crazy. “Es muy normal!” I tried to assure them. The bar lady made us our drinks with a smile, and another for herself and the manager to share so they could see what the hell we had just ordered. We enjoyed our drinks outside, just like we wanted, and had a great time.
The manager later swung by our table and let us know that the drink was indeed delicious.