Photo: View of Puerto Soller from the town of Soller.
The weather of the western Mediterranean is often unpredictable, with days of calm common in summer. We set out from Bonifacio under power and were pleasantly surprised when the wind picked up from the north for several hours, saving us fuel while allowing us to sail along the rugged north coast of Sardinia at a brisk 7-8 knots. It was 300 miles to our next destination Mallorca in the Balearics.
By sunset the wind died and we motored through the night, a pattern that continued till we reached Puerto de Pollensa on the north coast. There we anchored in the crowded bay, encircled by craggy but beautiful mountains. The next day we were able to get a berth in the marina, so we could leave the boat securely while we did some sightseeing around the island.
We rented a car for a day and drove along windy steep roads along the northwest coast, stopping first at the 13th century monastery of Lluch, famous among other things for the contributions of Spanish artist Antonio Gaudi. Though there were several large tour buses in the parking lot the grounds were large enough to absorb the masses without it being crowded.
Next we drove on for lunch at Fornalutx (never did learn how to pronounce that final "tx"), touted by our Rough Guide as the prettiest town on the island. It was indeed pretty, with its honey-colored houses and quaint cobblestoned lanes decorated profusely with potted plants.
From there we drove to the beach town of Puerto de Soller, which was packed full of tourists. We had considered it as our next port but seeing how crowded the busy the little harbor is, we've decided to give it a miss. There was also a surge coming in the entrance, causing some boats to rock violently. No thanks!
Onward to Deya, where poet Robert Graves spent much of his life. Deya competes with Fornalutx for the beauty prize, in our opinion. Wealthy villas enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, cliffs and ocean.
Our last stop was yet another beautiful place, Valldemossa, made famous by George Sands and Frederic Chopin who spent the cold, dreary winter of 1838-39 in the centuries old Cartuja de Valldemossa (monastery). After exploring the small town we restored our energy with ice cream and capucchino while people watching outside the monastery walls.
The road south led out of the mountains to the bypass road around Palma, where we stopped in to shop at the largest Lidl's we've seen yet. Then we drove north along the fast highway, through the flat central plain of Mallorca, back "home."
CLICK FOR PHOTOS