Turned up for hotel breakfast, with nobody checking us off the residents list. Had they known who we were and the devastation we would do to their all-you-can-eat how-many-servings-have-you-had-bloody-hell buffet, they might well have been more cautious. About 3 hours later we left, fed for the day. Nice brekkie, but the hard truth is that the world outside the UK’s borders is a gastronomically barbarous badland, devoid of black pudding.
We had a few hours to kill in Palma before the villa in Pollença was ready, so decided to check out ‘La Seu’, the enormous gothic cathedral in the old town. Fist pump as my newfound reversing technique worked like a dream - car went backwards just as planned. Legend.
Used my usual technique for navigating round Majorca - eschew the modern dual carriageway and instead find the twistiest, narrowest most uneven horse and cart back streets running through the medieval parts of town. That way you can wring the last drop of angst out of your already traumatised spouse, clenching teeth and buttocks as parked scooters and building corners whizz past her ear as I continually fail to judge the width of the vehicle and correct road position. The final comment from the Google Maps lady was “OK, now you’re knackered, I’ve got nothing to do with this. This isn’t even a place.”
Somehow found the car park and joined a slow-moving queue, lining up to descend into something reminiscent of the “Oblivion” rollercoaster at Alton Towers: a sudden drop into a gaping black hole in the ground. If there’s one place even hotter than the scorched streets of Palma it’s the car parks beneath, a hellish conflagration of impatient, stressed tourists and crawling vehicles pumping out fumes and aircon-expelled heat. Bursting out from the pedestrian exit into the full glare of midday sunshine was a blessed relief.
Wafted nonchalantly past the selfie-stick sellers (I wonder how much it costs to get a selfie taken with a selfie-stick seller) and those guys who do caricatures that all look like Tom Cruise with a big nose. The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma to give it its full name is of course a wonder to behold, a vast, glittering, gilded monument to the virtues of poverty, generosity and self-denial (hint: irony). Opted for the free audio tour, which is basically the same as YouTubing on your iPhone but slightly less educational. Joseph and Emma both looked reasonably interested at first, and Gerry will plug into any device given the chance. However predictably one by one they lost interest and gravitated towards a central pew, having already been advised that THIS TIME Dad is going to do the WHOLE tour TO THE END. To be fair this has never EVER been achieved so I was determined to see it through, and the resigned looks on my family’s wan faces portrayed that they understood the hopeless inevitability of this.
Satisfied and sated with religious architectural trivia, we exited to everyone’s obvious huge relief. Strolling into the old town area, we immediately hit upon another huge church, which of course I couldn’t help staring at and commenting on. I don’t know why I do this; something happens to you at some point between the ages of 32 and 45 that turns you into a total f***ing bore. You know you are, but you cruelly do it to them anyway. It’s a sort of dad duty.
Dragged away by Emma we did a few shopping streets then it was time to make for Pollença. Bombed up the motorway and arrived, finding the villa quickly. As we caught sight of the name plaque, another mental hurdle was crossed - the villa actually exists and I wouldn’t be one of those stories about duped newbies. The key safe worked, we got in, the wifi worked, the pool looks lush, Jesus I’m on a roll. I even got a “Thanks Dad” from Joseph. Meanwhile Gerry and Michael were arguing bitterly about who got the power socket adaptor, the beginning of a conflict that has raged for days. Sodding kids.
Once things had calmed down a bit, Michael disappeared off to his room to do a video blog about the holiday so far (he brought a tripod and laptop with video-editing software for the purpose), and to review other people’s vlogs about the superhero flick “Suicide Squad” which was released the day before. Michael would gladly have skipped the trip to Majorca to be able to see this on the opening day, and has been asking continually about whether he can see it while we’re here. The options are watching it in Spanish or in English with Spanish subtitles at a late night showing in a multiplex 40 minutes away. I might have been swayed, but by all accounts the film is a pile of crap so had to nix Michael. I’m a zero again. I think I’ve worked out how to guarantee the perfect holiday: go by yourself. Or better still, stay in your house and lock all the doors.