Touching down on the runway of Palma de Mallorca airport, I looked out of the window with clear vision and realised that this was the first time I had ever experienced a flight to Mallorca sober. It was also the first time I’d been in Mallorca for 6 years, having last visited to do the final of 3 summer seasons as a PR in the (not very) quiet and quaint resort of Magaluf.
The disgust in people’s faces when I tell them I was a Magaluf worker during my University breaks never ceases to amuse me, but I still stand by the fact that it’s not as bad as people think. I went there on my first girls’ holiday at the ripe age of 18, and loved it so much that I wanted to come back to spend the summer there. Why would any 18 year old think differently?
At the time I was young, care-free and spending my summer in the sun having fun (and drinking excessively) with my friends while making lots of new ones; the horrible drunk British tourists and constant smell of sick didn’t seem to bother me then and in my eyes I was actually living the dream. Or “viviendo el sueño”, as all the workers used to say, in thick Cockney accents.
Regardless, returning 6 years later and at 9 years older than my very first visit, this trip definitely had a very different objective than an 18-35 package holiday. As part of a group of 9 (a mix of girls and partners – very civil), I was visiting my friends who were renting a stunning villa in Alaró, and I planned on seeing parts of Mallorca I’d never even thought of visiting during my rowdy stints on the wilder side of the island. Here’s what I discovered on my return visit:
Neon lights and burnt Brits are the least of Mallorca’s beauty
Shockingly, during my 3 summers in Magaluf, I never ventured anywhere further than Palma (which was a 25 minute drive away) and that was purely for Zara visits to purchase some new pieces of ridiculously revealing clothing for my nights working on the strip. What can I say – free shots were more a priority for me at that time over any sort of culture!
Alaró is a cute little town nestled in a peaceful valley in a mountain range on the west of Mallorca. Despite there being only one taxi driver available in the whole town, it’s undeniable that the scenery is amazing – the villa was situated between two stunning mountains and my friends and I spent the whole time trying to decide which one was prettier.
North of Mallorca is a must-visit; climbing further into the mountains and through incredibly narrow cobbled roads (if you hire a car, get a mini!) is a beautiful town called Sóller.
We took a cute old-fashioned tram to Port de Sóller, visited a beautiful bay and had some amazing seafood. Which led me to my next discovery…
There are more than just Burger Kings on the island
Would you believe it?! For all those years I thought a Long Chicken meal was the traditional Mallorcan cuisine, getting fatter and fatter each day in my hungover states, when there were so many amazing restaurants to explore.
In Sóller we went to the best seafood restaurant in the area (according to TripAdvisor) – they weren’t taking any dinner bookings but we managed to squeeze in for lunch. With beautiful sea views and amazing service, it was a great little spot, but be ready to sweat profusely in the heat if you do want to bag yourself an al fresco table.
On another day, the girls received a TEXT to have a “girls day out the villa” (sorry to all of those who didn’t watch Love Island and don’t understand the reference). We took a trip to a nearby town Santa Maria del Cami to find a restaurant called Bistro 19. We had read that it was situated inside a furniture shop, of which we soon found there were several in such a small town, and after walking into a few furniture shops that actually were just for furniture, we finally found the right place: LIVINGDREAMS (very appropriate for my past Magaluf life).
We sat outside in a quirky, colourful garden which was dressed with all of the shop’s best furniture. I had a tomato and mozzarella salad (no carb life before the inevitable bikini pics) but the salmon ravioli seemed to steal the spotlight alongside the freshly made mojitos, and of course a few bottles of blush. OK, we mainly got trashed in the Bistro. You can take the girl out of Maga…
Oh wait – you can’t take the girl out of Maga…
Yes – you guessed it – you can’t keep me away from that scummy place that I once called home. For one night only, we paid Magaluf a visit and relived our youth, which completely lived up to our expectations:
Vodka that instantly makes you lose your voice because it’s basically paint stripper, banter with drunk 17 year old kids who think they’re going to pull the oldest girls in Magaluf (they didn’t succeed, by the way), endless free shots, dancing to Justin Bieber, buying plastic junk from Looky Looky men and finishing the night off with chips, cheese and gravy. Those were the glory days.
I know I may have spent those summers experiencing nothing but binge drinking, sun damage and extreme weight gain, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I made friends for life and memories that will live with me forever and continue to make me laugh until my brain can’t hold them anymore due to the alcohol damage.
I’d like to say I’ve got it out of my system, but a small part of me feels sad that those days are over and I now have to live a normal adult life. Although I now enjoy a calmer, more cultured holiday, deep down I’m still that 19-year-old strutting around the streets of Magaluf wearing barely any clothes, eating a Burger King…
If you’d like to discuss my writing, how I didn’t die of alcohol poisoning when I worked in Magaluf, or anything else, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org