28.05.2010 - 28.05.2010
When I had gone to sleep, we were docked on the far side of the harbour and just a couple of dozen passengers seemed to be waiting to board. By the time I went to breakfast at 8am, we had moved docks to the main central location, the other 3 cruise ships had all departed, 2 new ones had arrived, and we seemed totally overrun. There had been less than a hundred passengers onboard last night – now there seemed to be several hundred. A huge influx of mostly elderly Germans had joined and were milling around. I queued 20minutes to get some food.
Although the Westerdam does not arrive for 12hours, I suspect that the real charter starts here – Mallorca has long been a favourite for German holidaymakers, and assume that most people who will be joining the ship and all charter flights will come through Mallorca. And as they have a ship here, they may as well let people board to make use of the free food and rest in their cabins if they wish, rather than stay ashore.
For me, it gave me a previously unexpected opportunity to get out and explore a bit of Palma, somewhere I never expected to visit in my life. Now, all of a sudden, I had a full day. And I must admit, Palma kind of worked for me. I would have loved to have had a bike and gone for a ride inland or explore on my own, but the only easy option was a free coach tour (in German) being offered, which I declined. Which left me with just Palma's town to peruse. It was a long walk into town, but not an unpleasant one: along the harbourside, past rows and rows of yachts (2 or 3 of which were of the ridiculous yacht type, those barely smaller than our cruiseship) plus heavy sprinklings of British, German and Swiss number plates in the cars parked in the port.
The old town was much nicer than I had expected, and I was happy wandering it's bustling old streets. Though only late May, it was already heaving with tourists, and I suspect it would be a miserable place in a few weeks time when the real crowds start to hit. It is a standard problem, and one increasingly hard to solve: finding somewhere nice that everybody else hasn't already found, and where you can still enjoy without the hoardes of other visitors and 'tourist' prices.
With my understanding of the ship and it's facilities now slightly better, I took advantage of a local supermarket and stocked up on cordial, coke and nibbles. Then, went for something to eat. Admittedly, if I had wanted to, I could have brought enough stuff from the ship to eat, or returned there, thus saving money, but it was definitely Paella time. I love a good Paella. To be fair, even an average one is normally pretty good in my eyes. I had planned to have one in Barcelona, but eventually decided to save money. I was not about to let another opportunity slide.
Two hours, one large seafood paella, 3 beers and one almighty rainstorm later, I happily started ambling back to the ship.