We decided to make the final leg of our around-the-world trip a transatlantic cruise – our first major cruise. The ship we chose, the Celebrity Equinox, had 5 ports of call along the way – all new places we’d never been to before.
We’ve taken time on our long trip to stay in each of our destinations for many days, but now – on the cruise – we’d have only a fraction of the day to see a city. Time and budget restrictions became a travel planning challenge! Since wifi on the ship would be slow, unreliable, and expensive, we did our internet research before we boarded. Our first stop at Palma De Mallorca would test our plan. We hoped it would work.
We woke up early, with a little “bump” as the ship settled in to its berth in the harbor. After breakfast, we walked off the ship and took an immediate wrong turn, following other passengers as they led us straight to their tour bus. Redirected, we soon found the sunny walkway along the harbor and headed for the Palma Cathedral, 45-minutes distant.
The Gothic cathedral towers over the city. Construction lasted for hundreds of years and was completed in 1587. Work on old cathedrals rarely “finishes,” and Antoni Gaudi redesigned the altar area in the early 1900s, and, more recently, Miquel Barcelo fashioned a side chapel with the (rather strange) backdrop of a cave.
Palacio Real De La Almudaina, across from the cathedral, was built earlier in an entirely different architectural style to be the Moorish palace for its Walis (governors). When the Moors knew defeat was inevitable, they opened the doors to the palace and let King Jaume I and his army enter in 1229. Ever since, it has been a summer palace for the Spanish royal family.
We had one more stop to make before returning to the ship: a café to sip a cold drink and use its wifi. Our path took us through the old city, looking for just the right place to stop. When did we realize we were some distance above the harbor on a road leading further away from where we wanted to go? Lost so soon! We pulled out a sketchy map, provided by the cruise ship, and decided to take the road leading the wrong way as we (rightly) guessed it would eventually intersect with a road leading back down to the harbor.
Success! We stopped at Cappachino Grand Café, downloaded email and the daily newspaper on our iPad using Witopia, while we sipped our drinks. No sooner had we started the walk back to the ship than a few drops of rain came down. We picked up our pace. So far on our trip we’ve had very few days of rain. Could it really rain today? Yes, the rain came down and only let up a half-hour later – just as we approached the covered boarding area.
We enjoyed our day in Palma De Mallorca and realized that, while it wasn’t our usual style of slow traveling, we’d been able to really see the cathedral and castle, got a good amount of walking in, and even managed to download “The New York Times” to read that night. A good day!