What’s your driving style? If you’re the Grand Prix type then add Mallorca to your list of travel destinations. For the faint of heart, this is not.
Travel guidebook warnings are prolific and weighty, …57 hairpin bends – the most terrifying in Mallorca, …need nerves of steel, …boasts 270 degree loops and other harrowing features, provide ample warning for the acrophobics to make other plans. But loving time behind the wheel invites those up for the challenge. Count me in. And if not now, when?
With warnings under advisement (and recent downhill gear instruction from my daughter) I opt for a first day’s drive to Castell d’Alaro, an ‘extremely narrow road that threads its way along precipitous mountain ridges.’ Choice leads to awareness.
Like the ribbon path of a rhythmic gymnast, roads are threaded along precipitous slopes. Marvels of engineering. Spectacular views abound in the peripheral line of vision only. To indulge fully, if only for a fraction of a second, can be costly. Absent cliffside barriers attest to momentary lapses of concentration and lost lives, human and goat.
Dangerously narrow roads allow passing cars only inches in which to navigate. Bikes, scooters, cyclists, hikers, even horses add to the dodge ’em maze, and missed directions means many miles of onward travel before a turn around is possible.
Getting around this part of the world requires patience and sobriety. Perfect for me. But then there’s always the young and the restless, in a rush to get somewhere…or not. Some take it in their stride. Only behind these unfettered souls can fleeting glimpses of the dramatic seascapes, yawning chasms and homes of the rich and famous (Halle Berry? Sir Bob Geldof?) be gleaned. The occasional rants at atrocious drivers morph into empathy for the poor sod behind the wheel. One day it’ll be me, the old sucker who amasses a trail of cars in her wake.
The zippy Fiat Panda is back with the rental company. Returning home on the bus, afforded a long look out… and down at one too many burned out car wrecks. Glad to be a passenger for a while.
Check this out (filming last week!)
The new movie from the Wachoswki brothers (The Matrix triolgy), starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, has been filming this weekend at the famous beauty spot of Sa Calobra. Filming for ‘Cloud Atlas’ has been taking place all along the rugged
west coast for the past 10 days, with scenes being shot around Soller, Formentor and Puig Major.
Mallorca is doubling for New Zealand and Hawaii, both of which feature in the multi-stranded story by novelist David Mitchell. The spectacular scenery of the west coast, where the Tramuntana mountains fall into the sea, was said to be ideal for the sea scenes in the movie. The beautiful bay in the Port of Soller
played host to the replica galleon ship, the Earl of Pembroke which will feature as a pirate ship in the film.