Traveling in times of corona virus and lockdowns?
Not many choices, right?!
Well, I was thinking, checked the options and it clicked!
I haven't been to Mallorca yet. It's way too touristy, too crowded, too commercialised for me. Plus Mallorca's amazing roads are normally full of cyclists, buses, hikers and campers in the "normal times" ... and you can't enjoy sports ride on the island's adventurous curves and hairpins.
So, NOW was a great opportunity to go! Jump off from the cloudy winter and cold, away from the beautiful but "covid-empty" homeland Switzerland and from the "corona-dullness" in my beautiful city of Zurich.
So I went. From today to tomorrow- OFF I go! Nothing planned, nothing checked, nothing booked. As always: my "planned coincidences" or better: "Dear life, please surprise me!"
I was (practically) ALONE on the island! Extraordinary, beautiful and a bit bizarre feeling at the same time. Once in a lifetime experience of every place you go these days, probably. Corona and all the measurements around gave me a great opportunity to enjoy silent Mallorca in the winds, sun, emptiness at its best and within its beautiful nature.
The island was mine, together with its habitats. Well, even they were hidden, more or less. If not behind the masks, then certainly behind the walls. Sadly. Although the weather could not be better. Sunny, some wind on the edges of the cliffs and in the middays a true summer-like feeling.
With an amazing sports car that I have rented I had the scenic curves for myself!
A couple of photos here might bring some sea, sun, positive vibes and inspirations for your next trip, if you haven't been to Mallorca yet.
For the start: empty Zürich Airport. Deserted. Everything closed. Once in a lifetime experience. Spooky!
The famous Sa Calobra, Torrent de Pareis, designed by Italian-Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti and opened in 1933. It features many hairpin bends and a 270° spiral bridge called the tie knot. It's THE ROAD for a sporty ride - car was like glued on the asphalt and scenery around absolutely spectacular! The road was completely empty - I got it for myself. What an adventurous ride down to the beach where it ends like "cul-de-sac". Fantastic!
No-one should miss visiting of the magnificent cathedral de Mallorca or Seu de Mallorca (or simply la Seu) in
Palma. Designed in the Catalan Gothic with Northern European influences. Its building begun in 1229 and was
only finished in 1601. Even the famous Antoni Gaudi was involved in its reconstruction starting in 1901, but he
abandoned his work in 1914 after an argument with the contractor. It is located in the old city of Palma on the
top the former citadel of the Roman city. It looks on the Parc de la Marand and on the Mediterranean Sea.
The city of Palma, as you can see under, was empty, deserted. Park and street benches, stone steps,
restaurants and bars were desperately missing people. The silence was almost too "loud" to handle. So much
fear must be hidden behind the walls of those beautiful houses and abandoned balconies ... literally speechless
A day trip up North to Far de Capdepera (with a Swiss Post mail box and Swiss stamps to buy!) and down East
on the coast further to town Inca (was totally deserted, too) and on to the famous Santuari de Lluc-a monastery
and pilgrimage site, founded in 1531. With such a beautiful small church in the middle.
Cruising zig-zag over the island, meeting randomly the locals and talk with them about life and the beautiful
gifts in it that we are taking for granted. I ran into "my old friend" Carmiña - a chatty brown donkey - we talked
for an hour - she was so happy to see me! ;-)
Worth mentioning, too, is my last day trip. To Banyalbufar. It is a beautiful little village on the Western coast of
the island, sadly damaged in May 2020 by a devastating tornado that literally cut down 80% trees. Like corona
just wouldn't be enough of a mess already?!
It took me almost one hour to find one local, asking him what happened, what's the story behind the chaos and
ruined real estates. I entered, uninvited, in a beautiful villa garden that was now all devastated; to talk to a local
man who was repairing the villa's roof.
I shouted up to him: "Perdoneu, senyor, però què va passar??" ("Excuse me, Sir, but what happened?")
He explained me the spring horror story, making it more vivid by waving his hands around the air, pulling his
hair and finally putting his palms on his face to cover the wet corners of his hopeless eyes.
Emptiness all around was so silent it hurt even me who otherwise loves solitude, breathing space of emptiness and the bliss of quietness.
I was not missing the tourists so much (although it is a true horror for tourism, people are on their limits of survival all over the island). I was missing the vibe of the locals, frisky voices, vigorous singing, melancholic chanting, speedy chatting and "Spanishly" screaming, the "melos" that creates sound like music even without instruments or singing.
There were no smells from the restaurants' kitchens, no vibrant debates by the glasses of wine, no laughter by the spilled lemonades on the freshly washed pants, no eyes sparkling over the sinfully sweet Catalan desserts.
There were no older ladies or gentlemen debating sanguinely over the weather, politics and downtown street news; who has married whom and who filed for divorce already twice and how children grow too fast.
There was no music, no mixture of local chansons and teenagers' loud funky pop, not even the street virtuosos with old hats collecting for their debts with a dog or two loyally napping by.
There were not even children on the streets, or open boutiques full of stuff no-one really needs but that fill our suitcases and souls with the memories so sweet.
Silence. Broken window glasses, trees cut on half, crushed plant pots and pulled out cactuses; all the consequences of the merciless tornado last Spring. It is reminding me again that nature is beautiful but it truly has enough of our / human gluttony, our ignorant treat and abuse of it. Gently reminding us randomly with its natural disasters about the basic and the fundamental rules of nature we do not listen to nor cooperate with.
The shining Sun is there, strong as always. Mild wind doesn't care, street cats everywhere. A few dogs on self walks seem to be missing some "accidentally" dropped food, pizza slices or fish tails for their treats. Some forgotten plastic and trash is resting in the corners of domestic yards, reminded me of the "good old normal" times that passed not so long ago.
Well, will these "good times" ever come again? The good old (way too) careless times? Or will nature and Darwin's Law left us humans behind.
I guess nature is giving us very compassionate signs to read that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We are dispensable redundant spices. This virus now is mild, much worse is yet to come if we don't wake up and act. No intentions only - enough blah blah was done - actions are needed, daily deeds, hand in hand with nature. I am sure we will get the hundred-and-first chance to improve, walk the talk and so potentially survive.
On the airport back I was a loner, used to it already. As a crazy science-fiction movie star, I could talk to myself loudly, whistle or scream, yet there was less than zero people who would say a word or join me sing.
Up in the air the sun is always shining, above the clouds, with viruses and drama underneath. It is making me hopeful that there is a light and hope despite all the shi* that is happening and all the bad and evil that make us sad and worried, desperate and even depressed.
It is time to treat our nature with sincere respect and install some integrity and regeneration into our lives. With every glass of water we drink, with every meal we cook and eat, with everything we buy, with our consumerism and thinking, thousands of Apps we apply - so we can help the world be, help humanity become and stay united and complete.
There is no "new normal". There is only normal impermanence. Constant change is the only constant. Sometimes we progress slowly, sometimes a disruption forces us to take 10 steps at a time and move on faster for our own good.
Everybody is thinking about changing the world, yet almost no-one is working on changing self first.
Change is frightening at the beginning, messy in the middle and amazing at the end. With change we are slowly emerging into who we truly are without other people's and societal expectations and so become the role models of growth for the generations to come.