By Shirley Roberts
What is the collective noun for four Nan’s? That was my word dilemma this week as London met Cala D’or and picked me up on the way. Our names give us away as being born in a certain time frame. You don’t get many Lyn, Sue, Val or Shirley’s these days – we were all born in a certain era. We had North London childhoods around Kentish and Camden town and have been friends for many years. Children and grandchildren now and many stories to catch up on in our four away days in Cala D’or. For me it was a drive to the other side of the island. For them it was a flight and a coach transfer that took as long as the plane journey.
One thing is guaranteed when this lot get together is that we will laugh and find the smallest thing hilarious. Laughing and reminiscing were the flavour of the days. We became the group that people wanted to join because we sounded like we were having fun. All of us live full lives and not all our tales were funny. The enormity of life has touched us all in one way or another and we were there to support each other as well as laugh. We were also there to discover this beautiful part of Majorca.
Cala D’or is a place I visit at Christmas to sing in the Carol Service for the English speakers who live there. I know the area a little but this did not prepare me for the beauty of the whole region. With moorings for over 600 yachts it is a serious boating paradise with inlets and coves the sailors love. The other bays of the area include Cala Gran, Cala Petita, Cala Ferrera, Cala Egos, Cala Esmeralda, Cala Serena, Cala Galera and Cala d’es Forti.
All these little beaches and the purpose built nature of the resort make it a haven for young families. More babies per inch in this place than any I can remember. Swing parks and children’s entertainment centres are situated all over the resort for them.
The ‘must do’ trip in Cala D’or is discovering the region on the little tourist train that works the streets in a loop. An introduction to the 7 beaches and Marina is contained in the one – hour bumpy ride. Majorcan life was seen at its best when the driver stopped often to chat to a friend on the pavement or passing motorist friend. We did get a little glimpse of Cala D’or using this 4-euro route which came in useful.
The nearest main centre is the pleasure that is Santanyi. The heart of this area is held together in this town with its attraction for many residents from other countries. The markets held on Wednesday and Saturday are great local meeting places. The art, music and life here is represented by the multicultural vibe in a very traditional setting. Winter sees the tourism of the area fade for a few months and Santanyi becomes a very quiet place. Many residents really enjoy this respite as they claim the area back for themselves for a short while.
We had a day trip to Santanyi for the Wednesday market. Crowds of people and streets and streets of stalls from tourist stuff to a full fruit and vegetable market. While the other Nan’s were shopping I was chatting to the curator of the Church Museum who showed me round the wonderful church at the centre. I was happy to know that on market days the church gives an organ recital on their very old, restored organ. I gathered my lot up and told them I had a special treat in store and we went to the concert. The church was busy and the music ranged from Bach to the unusual. We stayed awhile to be polite and then meandered to a back street Tapas occasion.
Back to Cala D’or and the adventures waiting my friends. A little history lesson first because this place was a huge pig farm until the 1920’s. The whole area was built from scratch in the 1930’s and the emergence of the whitewashed building style of Ibiza grew from the farmlands. To drive in here and see all the two storey, cubic buildings flanked by Pine trees is Majorca with a difference. Pep Costa, originally from Ibiza, was the architect and brains behind the whole project.
A chat with the lady in the tourist information office of Cala D’or told me that Pepe Costa’s family live round the corner still in the heart of the town. She told of the aspirations for winter tourism they have started in memory of the famous founder of the area. Pep was an artist from Ibiza and visited the seven bays of Cala D’or to paint. His influence encouraged other Ibizan artists to visit and between them they emerged the master plan. A new cultural Centre is being planned in 2020 and will become a hub for art in all its forms.
The family tourism is augmented hugely by the presence of the yachts and fine craft moored in the Marina. To sit in a restaurant along the narrow waterway watching the boats sail in at sunset was a special treat. Many marinas look like a boat car park but not this one. The canal approach somehow changes the look and feel of the place. More like a natural harbour than a man made one. Mussels and good wine were on the menu, so the local harbour side restaurant became our spot for our last night of the holiday.
The drive back to the Soller Valley took 90 minutes and only half of it was on the motorway. To drive through Felanitx and Campos was a pleasure. Little traffic and a slightly gentler countryside view to my side of Majorca.
My friends chose the resort because they got a last minute good deal on the hotel and location. They had been to many other locations in Majorca but never here. Their view was that it did exactly what it advertised. Purpose built, different architecture plus a concentration on the holiday requirements of young families. Their real preference was for the authenticity of Santanyi but the proximity to the sea in Cala D’or was a bonus.
We parted with tears instead of laughter vowing to do it all again soon. I chugged home in 90 minutes and I left them to their 4 am flight the next morning. It was great to have some intensive friend days and the memories will make me smile and even laugh out loud in the days to come.