Early in the morning, I board the bus in Palma half asleep and wake at the Port d’Alcúdia. It feels as though a great deal of time has passed judging from the window-face I now adorn, but I’m just 54 kilometers from Palma. I have crossed the island to another world that knows no time.
Alcúdia sits in northeastern Mallorca. While the historic center is the main attraction, I begin by exploring its waters at the port. The area affords over 30 kilometers of coastline, littered in sun-seekers, sands and holiday homes. It is possible to cruise the Badia d’Alcúdia, but not entirely today.
We pass by the Illa d’Alcanada, a lighthouse keeping watch on the cliffs. The seas begin to break and suddenly I wonder if this is the best idea. Trapped on a boat loaded with Brits and Germans looking for tans, this is not the way I want to go. The cool captain announces the waters aren’t cooperating to round the bay, but it’s not all a loss. The boat stops to allow for a couple of passengers to slide out the back and swim. With a lack of towel, I just spectate. You often see Mallorcan waters a shade of turquoise that looks so software aided. However these waters can’t be created.
Our guide María is forever casual. We disembark and stroll the port on our way to the old town of Alcúdia. She runs into her nephew and his dog, just in time for a neck scratching it seems. You feel family in Alcúdia. You sense these casual, comfortable and compelling exchanges, where life seems to slow for everything.
María continues the tour to Alcúdia where we stroll the streets of the old town. Due to Alcúdia’s position, it has long attracted different civilizations. Remains of the Roman city of Polléntia rest just south of the historic quarter as proof. The medieval city still keeps up its guard with walls surrounding the old town streets. King James II designed the walls as a defense system back in the 14th century.
I pass through the Porta de Mallorca, one of the city’s former gates. It connected Alcúdia with the Ciutat de Mallorca highway. Complete with two towers and an arched doorway, Alcúdia’s entrance is as it should be, grand.
The relaxed attitude to Alcúdia continues up Carrer Major. I pop in for a coffee and a pastry along the way, one of the cheapest and best cups I had on the island.
María tells me she knows it is our last day and merely wants the group to saunter. She is not sputtering off history lessons, but rather showing us her Alcúdia. Life moves slowly, so much so that there is always time to stop for a coffee or to purchase the traditional footwear of the Balearic Islands, Avarques.
Sadly the whole word isn’t on Alcúdia time. We must head back to lunch at the port, but not before marveling at the Church of Sant Jaume. Fortress-like, the façade bears a sculpture of the saint, a large rose window and the Alcúdia coat of arms. Forming part of the city walls, the church is both imposing, a little threatening and beautiful at the same time.
You always save the best for last in Alcúdia and today that is lunch back at Port d’Alcúdia. Founded in 1871, I have a suspicion not much has changed at Restaurant Miramar when dining on the terrace along the promenade. With Mediterranean tranquility at its best, we begin with tapas of croquetas and calamari.
I reason that if you can see the water from where you are dining, the fish must be fresh. I order the house specialty of Sol fish with the Miramar preparation. With every sip of white wine, it seems someone is there to fill it up again. Lunch prolongs and no one checks the time.
A good meal is not a good meal without something sweet. We sample the desserts of Miramar, from chocolate covered ice cream to tiramisu. It feels so gluttonous, a day spent bobbing around on teal seas, strolling without worry through medieval streets and feasting on several courses for lunch. However it is just the way of life in Alcúdia where time is not of the essence and life just goes. Schedules and plans don’t exist, except those that include dessert.
Have you been to Alcúdia?