Now we know…

So, the morning we leave Mallorca for France, we drop some stuff off at the post office to mail home.

We finish up, leave, and walk back out to the car, only to find a bylaw officer giving us a parking ticket.


Turns out that, on Mallorca, parking spaces painted with blue paint instead of white are paid spots, and the meter was hidden across the street behind some huge, communal garbage bins. White parking spots are free. Blue are most certainly not free, not even when the meter is hidden and the spots are for going to the post office.

Nice trick. 40Euros worth.

Of course, we could skip our flight to Marseilles and go 15 km into Calvía on Monday to plead our case. Ha ha! Not.


At least we’ll know for next time? At least now YOU’LL know for when YOU go to Mallorca. Which you, seriously, should do. What a beautiful, classy island.

(Even the bylaw officer was nice about it. It was already all written up and entered into his system, too late to reverse. He looked really sad for us, actually.)

Call this a hard-learned Travel Tip.

(Damn…oh, sorry, said that already…)



I’m Proud of Me!

Didn't want to lose our VW Golf, so I took a picture of its location in the underground lot

Didn’t want to lose our VW Golf, so I took a picture of its location in the underground lot

Three months and one week before Carlin was born, I left my broken-down-again Subaru on the side of the road in Richmond, and told Subaru to go pick it up and sell it. After four years of doing battle with them over a dreadfully-constructed vehicle, I’d had enough.

Interestingly, they complied. They picked it up, took it in to their shop, did a full work-over on it, and sold it on my behalf, with a full used-car warranty to the new buyer and a decent price for me.

I think they were very happy to — finally — be rid of me. I know I was ecstatic to be rid of them! That car stank.

It was a brand-new 1988 wagon, stick shift, and I was so proud of it. It was the perfect go-camping car. Until it started breaking down. Over and over and over. Mostly under warranty, but that doesn’t matter when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Coincidentally, I haven’t driven stick since that chilly Friday night in December, 1992. We replaced those wheels with a Mazda MPV, automatic, and that was that.

So, the thing is, nearly all the rental cars in Europe are standard drive. You can get an automatic if you try, but they charge a massive premium for it when you can get it. So, we’re renting standard vehicles most of the way.

Jeff has been doing an amazing job of recovering his own long-unused clutch-and-shift skills, and I think he’s been really enjoying the little VW Golf we’ve had all week. The mountain roads (see this video for an idea), have been quite a lot of fun!

Finally today, with much anxiety about finding I’d lost my ability completely, Jeff took me into an empty parking lot that we spotted, and I tried it out.

Turns out I can still drive stick! Not perfect, for sure, but not like a beginner.

Now I’ll probably do more driving. And I’m even looking forward to it!

I’m actually rather proud of me.


“Paella with ‘maiz’?!”

Straight from the little Spanish restaurateur’s mouth:

“Paella with maiz (corn)?”

Astonished expression.

“That is NOT paella!”

Then she almost snorted, and we both laughed.

I guess that makes it official! Real Spanish paella never, ever has corn in it.


Should we try this crazy road?

We’re thinking of going out to Sa Calobra, which looks absolutely stunning and we hear is absolutely worth the trip, day after tomorrow. We also heard there is a crazy mountain road to get to it, so I looked it up and found this on YouTube.

I think I would be having a white-knuckle ride in the bus, but think…hope…that riding in the car with Jeffrey at the wheel (in a stick-shift VW Golf) will be ok…at least, most of the time!

Aside from the crazy driving, the other thing that absolutely gets me about this crazy road is the number of crazy cyclists on it! Oh, and I love where the bus driver actually honks at someone so he can get by, somewhere around 12:20.

What do you think? Could you ride this road?



A million words behind in Majorca!

Es Trenc Beach, Majorca, Spain

Es Trenc Beach, Majorca, Spain

Well, we’ve been so busy running around and seeing things and getting sunburnt and discovering yummy food and all kinds of other stuff, I’ve not really kept up with this blog!

We’re in Mallorca, aka Majorca, right now, off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s amazing!

AirBnB is working out well for us thus far. So is Orange, the service that I’m using for my cell connection. 20 Euros gets me 2 GB. Pretty good, eh?

Here’s a picture of the beach we went to today. Tomorrow: the big cathedral in Palma de Majorca that was first started in the 1200s!