These past weeks we are working on what will become our new home. Days consist of digging and shovelling rocks, but with many breaks, as the Mediterranean sun shines powerfully this time of year and it makes it all really, really sweaty.
Although I don’t know the island well yet, Mallorca is a place to love. Exactly one year ago when we visited a friend, I could never imagine we would move from Ibiza to here, especially to the rural area where our piece of land is located and where we now build our home. It didn’t appeal to me. It felt in the middle of nowhere. Now, I know it’s less remote than I thought, but still it’s a very calm place, a pureness I have started to adore.
Authentic and old
I know this is an island to love when I cycle and witness the stretched fields, flocks of sheep, terracotta or stone homes and mysterious mountains on the horizon. The villages are authentic and from another era and strangely you hardly see people on the streets. I always wonder where they are. The silence on the streets in the villages I pass, hasn’t anything to do with the Corona-virus though, before the lockdown it was exactly the same. Along the coast, life looks more modern, the architecture is different, colourful and new.
On an afternoon a few weeks ago, we finally went to the beach. We cycled to Playa Es Trenc on the south coast and back, it was quite far, 72 km. Mallorca (3620.42 square km) has six times the size of Ibiza (571.04 square km), so the distances here by bicycle are way longer and sometimes there seems no end in sight. We always try to take the back roads if possible, where you see remote stone homes and small farms and sheer rural life.
The beach, Es Trenc, is stunning and its white sand and crystal clear blue water reminded me of Formentera. Those who have been to this wonderful Balearic Island know what I mean. I could stay here forever.
Break from tourism
Yesterday Spain opened its borders again. I suppose we won’t notice much of holiday makers as our area isn’t quite of a touristic place. Simply because there isn’t much to do here for a tourist. Whereas Ibiza suffers from tourism and the caring people try hard to keep her authenticity alive, Mallorca attracts another kind of people and tourism maybe has a different impact here, not per se less damaging, but different. I suppose Mallorca is more known for its beautiful nature than Ibiza is. Friends who visited us on Ibiza over the years were often surprised by its beauty, somehow they didn’t expect to see so much natural beauty on ‘party-island’ Ibiza.
Obviously, these past months, when both islands were closed from travellers, must have been heaven to its residents and nature, as it could recover from tourism’s harmful environmental impact. Also sea-life got a welcoming break without having boats around the coasts and had a bit of restoration time.
Mallorca feels very rural to me. When I cycle to go somewhere, I always see plenty of animals: sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, birds, cows, horses, dogs… Actually for this reason alone, this is my place. As much as I love this slow campo life (country-life), I wish to visit the sea more often. It’s more effort to go everywhere by bicycle and sometimes I really have to push myself, especially on hot summer days. But when I arrive home in the evening after some time of exploration, I feel so much satisfaction, because going from A to B by bicycle is an independent, healthy, free and total harmless act. During the bike-ride though I don’t always see these advantages, but that makes it even more satisfying when I come home, relax and make a cup of tea and something to eat (long distances make you hungry)!.
Spanish people aren’t used to cyclists who use their bikes as a way of transport, they only use it for sports. So, also on Mallorca, we are — again — crazy people, crazy Dutchies. There are lots of sportive male cyclists here — women, where are you? — in tight lycra outfits, flying on the roads with bikes so extremely light and innovative, it seems almost an effortless exercise. One day I would love to have a bicycle like that.
For these guys, who mostly cycle in groups, cycling is a serious business as they always look so serious in their shiny outfits, speedy helmets and fast sunglasses. Sometimes I receive a nice smile or friendly nod as a recognition (sort of, not really) “you are one of us” (you know, like boat people do), but mostly these guys don’t see me at all, too busy having their eyes on the road and how fast they go. One time, before the Corona-virus took over the world, one cyclist amidst of a group raised his hand and blew me a kiss when he passed by. I loved this spontaneous gesture.
Whereas Ibiza has a strong feminine, floaty, vibrant and mysterious energy, Mallorca feels grounded and earthy and spacious.
Could it be that Mallorca is a man, a no-nonsense kind of guy?
Image by @lifestyle_mallorca on Instagram.