By Shirley Roberts in July 2020
Followers of my outings with the granddaughters will know that they are all growing up. Taking them out, being in control of the music in the car, heading for something cultural has largely gone. I can still have days like that with the youngest (age 10) but my big girls think they are taking me out. So to spend delicious time, with the those who have busy social lives of their own, is a multi coloured blessing.
This week was a case in point when Monday saw me, plus the oldest and youngest, heading out of the Tunnel looking for a Beach Club experience. Can Penasso is now renamed as La Meson and is the nearest the Soller Valley has got to a trendy Beach Club. Can Penasso is steeped in history as one of the staging posts of old. There was a time, before the arrival of the Soller train, when access was over the Coll mountain. No Tunnel in those days so it was over the top or nothing.
Travellers would pick up their horse drawn Stage Coach from Plaza Espanya cab rank in Palma. Then the three-day journey would begin. We are not talking about travelling on the roads of today, but lanes, cobbles and routes often blocked by trees. This was Majorca at its ‘Wild West’ best. First stop Can Penasso to eat, drink, rest, water the horses and sleep. The next day took them up the Coll mountain, which these days has 52 bends. The road building hadn’t arrived then and the journey was arduous. Another stop at the top of the Coll, where in 2020, the lovely Paula and Damien serve English cakes to cyclists. Then, on day three, the Stage Coach cheered itself into the stop in front of St Bartholomew Church in Soller.
On Monday we arrived at La Meson, 10 minutes from Soller in the car. Easy parking outside and then the magnificent pool and poolside services awaited us. 6 euros’ entrance, which is a ‘stay all day’ price, from 11am to 8 pm. We have followed the recent progress of this summer haven and noticed that money has been spent. Shaded areas of canes surround the whole place and sunbeds are for all with no extra charge. A disabled hoist means that all can use this pool with accessibility not a problem. The busy bar and café area feed the hungry swimmers from the burger, pizza and snack menu.
To be surrounded by the mountains in blue skies and brilliant sunshine were all the ingredients for a great alternative to the beach.
On Thursday another outing, this time with middle and youngest granddaughters. After Art Summer school, which is absorbing the youngest, we headed off towards the environs of Palma. Lunch was on the agenda and then a little exploration and swim in the waters of beachside Palma. Our Capital City and the Bay of Alcudia are the largest bays in Majorca. They both give rise to a cluster of resorts which have developed round their sands. On both these bays you can find highly residential areas where visitors rarely wander. The party streets of Arenal were just up the bay from where we were and it is a different world.
The neighbourhood of Cala Gamba is populated by many who work nearby. You know you are in the vicinity because planes fly over with such regularity they just become part of the sounds of the city. The area is also known for Sant Joan de Dios Hospital which is the hospital with a view. This prime location, in sea front terms, is home to an old but now refurbished hospital and rehabilitation centre. Then just along the road from there is the Can Paulina meat market where most supplies to the island come through. The residents are made up from all three major employers of the area and visitors rarely find it. Most are on their way to Ca’n Pastilla or Molinar. Cala Gamba has a yacht club and is home to many sea faring summer schools. Learning to sail, paddleboard and the like went on in front of our eyes.
Cala Gamba is also home to newly opened Raft 19 restaurant and this was our lunch stop. Great food and chat with the owners as we sat in the window table with beautiful sea breezes cooling us down. In fact, the girls said that the waters of Cala Gamba were really cold today which was great in a day of 35 degrees.
This has been a week of contrasts for our Nan’s Days Out’ trips which are just blest by the weather. When the sun is happening every day and the sea and pools are a cooling blue then the world of Majorca is just perfect.