Palma Diary, Jan 2017 – An Englishman abroad

Day 5 – Wednesday

I walk to Plaça d’España again and take the train to Sineu to visit the market. The weather forecast wasn’t too good, but it’s nice and sunny again. There are not as many stalls at the market as there are in summer, but there are fewer people, so it’s easier to stroll around. I eat a rustic pie, empanada, have a coffee and buy a nice wooden toy for the baby. The only disappointment is that there are no mules today, just one big ass donkey.

I’d had the idea of grazing around the market and having a late dinner back in Palma, but the idea of sitting outside Es Mirador in the glorious sunshine is just too tempting. The Menu del Dia is only €12.50 including a half-litre of wine. It’s a calculated risk eating at a place that attracts so many tourists – they were mainly German, with a couple of English – but it turns out to be a good choice. I start with Sopes de Matances (sopes is not to be confused with soup or, indeed with the Mexican dish of the same name. Mallorcan sopes begins as a kind of broth, but then bread is added to soak up the liquid; vegetables, usually cabbage are included and in this case, various small cuts of pork) and I wanted Callos (tripe) for my second course, but they have run out, so I go for Frit de Marisc (potatoes and peppers pan-fried with mixed seafood). If the quality is good, I’m more than happy to have peasant food plonked in front of me in a terra cotta bowl, but here, the presentation is top-notch and served on white china. Even the strawberries come delicately sliced in a glass dish. I finish with a coffee which is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. All this with a beautiful view and gently serenaded by guitar and drum music from the market.

Opposite is a house, also called Es Mirador, for sale. Though quite unassuming from the exterior, it boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, courtyard with well, garage and roof terrace. I quite fancy that.

In the words of the song, what a difference a day makes. Or, indeed, a few hours of sunshine. On the way back, a few almond trees have sprung into life. Not the vista of pink and white as far as the eye can see, but it’s a hopeful sign. One could even wax lyrical about the emergence of young life from a barren waste, but we don’t have time for that kind of nonsense.

Back in Palma, I enjoy a cold beer outside a little bar in Plaça Santa Eulalia and then wend my way back to the hostal.

I have a wander out in the evening and find myself on Passeig de Mallorca, so I decide to look for the beer bar which I’d noticed the other night. It’s called Barbas and is quite garish compared to its neighbours – it even features a “Happy Hour” – but they have their own beer, Barba Roja, of which I try a bottle and it’s good. They have a few other Mallorcan beers which I’ve never seen before and I decide to try a bottle of black IPA (something of a contradiction in terms), curiously named Saint Anthony and the Demons, brewed in Puigpunyent and I enjoy that as well.

There are quite a number of very stylish restaurants on this stretch of the road and a few up-market estate agents. You can’t get much for less than a million, but I do spot a bargain basement two-bed bijou town house for only 330,000. Unlike the rest of Spain, there is not much wrong with the Mallorcan economy.

Next Segment – Day 6