Mallorca, or Majorca if you prefer, is a holiday location we have frequented for a number of years. It is, generally, sunny and dry. That said, when it rains – it rains. The locals are hospitable and in the places we have been, speak English far better than I speak Spanish.
Although, don’t be fooled. They speak restaurant English – that’s the English they need to take your order and your money, don’t expect an in-depth conversation about world politics.
Now, clearly, this is not a page about multiple sclerosis BUT, people with MS do travel, they do go on holiday and they will share and want to share their experiences about such travel and adventures.
In point of fact on one of our trips to Mallorca I met a young man at Palma airport while walking back to baggage reclaim. He was conspicuous as he was walking with two under-shoulder walking sticks. He then boarded the same transfer bus as we did and I volunteered him my wife’s seat at the front of the bus. It was on this journey that I learned he had MS and this trip was organised by his wife and was intended to provide him with 100% stress-free time. He didn’t even know which hotel they were destined for as this knowledge was deemed unnecessary to avoid him worrying about such trivialities.
We met them again the following morning when we went to Tony’s for breakfast. He was by this time in a wheelchair, presumably also organised by his wife.
Mallorca Vitamin D Boost
Mallorca is the largest of the three Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea: Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza. The map, above, indicates the locations where we have stayed, on Mallorca, and include:
- 1. Santa Ponsa
- 2. Puerta Pollensa
- 3. Alcudia
- 4. Cala Ferrera
We have visited much of the island, by car or on organised bus trips. On one occasion my wife went to Inca by train where she got lost but, not before she found the big market there. We have been to the Pearl factory in Manacor, the Caves of Drac, the train to Soller though the hills and the pirates show in Magaluf.
Did you know? I certainly didn’t. Santa Ponsa derives its name from a Roman villa called Sancta Pontia. It is where King James I of Aragon (Jaume in Catalan) landed on September 12 1229 in his successful quest to conquer the island and take it from the Moors.
It is pure coincidence that Portofino Apartments are on Avenida Rey Jaime I which translates as King James Avenue. It is also adjacent to the beach where there is a huge fiesta and a great march of the giants every September commemorating King James’ conquest
We have missed the last 2 or 3 years when we either didn’t travel or we went to mainland Spain or to France just for a change.
But old habits die hard and the allure of Mallorca beckons once again. On this occasion, however, I intend to do what I had hoped to do on each of my former visits but never got past the nearest taverna or ristorante. I intend to write about my trip! I shall be taking my electric wheelchair with me which should provide the much-needed incentive to get out and about as well as the essential mobility. I have never flown with the electric wheelchair so there will be one new experience right from the start.
We will fly from Edinburgh to Palma with Jet2. Ryanair are not my favourite airline after a bit of in incident in France a couple of years back. The Palma airport on Mallorca is also known as Aeroport de Son Sant Joan although you’re not likely to encounter that name on a tourist flight.
As my travel is likely to be limited by wheelchair accessibility I may not get too far beyond the bounds of Santa Ponsa. But I expect there should be plenty of scope for my journalistic, or periodístico, aspirations. There may not be many tourist sites in Santa Ponsa but there are many good restaurants and bars to be reviewed.
The visit will serve one other very important objective; to practice my Spanish language skills. I wish to pursue my linguistic studies for two reasons:
- I love to travel, especially to Spanish speaking countries.
- Learning a new language is proving to be VERY beneficial to my MS-addled brain.
Porofino Apartments, Santa Ponsa, Mallorca
We will be staying at the Portofino Apartments in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca where we have been before. I believe these apartment have now been bought over by Jet2 Holidays and have been fully refurbished in the process. I hope they haven’t changed too much. I will know more when we get there.
This location map gives a very rough idea of the layout of Santa Ponsa, Mallorca which is about 30 -40 minutes in a taxi from the Palma de Mallorca airport. The Portofino Apartments are indicated. There is a lovely big beach at the end of the bay where the, often topless, sun-worshippers congregate. I personally don’t like sitting out in the sun and it is many years since I enjoyed playing on the beach. My step-son and I did rent a couple of jet skis in the bay on one of our earlier visits.
Health Benefits of Mallorca
The obvious health benefit from my point of view is the sun. Vitamin D is known to be beneficial for MS sufferers, indeed it has been mooted that a vitamin D deficiency may play a part in the development of the condition. Exposure to excessive heat can be a very negative influence, and I frequently experience Uhtfoff’s Symptom which can be most debilitating. However, the Spanish heat somehow differs from the Scottish heat that I am exposed to on the rare occasion we get it.
Paguera is the neighbouring town to Santa Ponsa. During one visit, we were very adventurous and hopped on a local service bus, to see where it would take us. Santa Ponsa is predominantly a Brit resort with the Scots in the west of the town and the Irish in the east. However, and it was a refreshing change, Paguera is very much a German resort.
For many years, I have looked forward to our foreign holidays not, primarily, for the sun and certainly NOT for the noise of the club scene but, for the FOOD. I believe diet plays a big part in managing MS and I fully intend to make the most of it.
A Mediterranean Diet is well-known to be a great health diet. Fresh fish, olive oil and the most amazing fresh fruit. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious AND it’s good for your heart.
By the time I’ve had two weeks in Mallorca, I’ll be returning home to take on Ben Nevis in the rain!
A word of caution
The Spanish are friendly, at least the people I have met are friendly but they are no different to you or I and the Spanish towns are no different to the UK towns, in that, there are bad people everywhere. Be on your guard for pick-pockets and bag-snatchers at all times.
On one of our visits, I had hired a mobility scooter and we ventured out along the road towards the marina and stopped at a little bistro for a beer and a sandwich (una cerveza y un emparedado). I had left my scooter to sit at one of the tables in the sun. My mobility scooter was at my side but, my wife had placed her handbag in the carry tray of the scooter and in the few minutes we took to drink our beers, the handbag was swiped.
It had our apartment key, our camera and some money. We, as a precaution, only ever carry the money we need for that day so it wasn’t as catastrophic as it might have been.
My travel insurance should have covered us but, I needed to file a police report and the local police do not speak any English. It is a nuisance and a concern, so be alert.
I am looking forward to this trip. I hope to meet up with the Spanish acquaintances I made on previous visits although they have probably moved on since my last visit. We have not used Jet2 Holidays before but they have given the appearance of being well-organised on the telephone. We had to make special arrangements for the airport transfer with the wheelchair but they have charged what I know to be the going-rate for a taxi journey and they have refunded the cost of the coach transfer.
I am happy with the arrangement. I don’t like crowded coach transfers, that stop at every lamp-post en-route and queue for hours at the apartment reception. Jump in a taxi and be taken direct to the apartment and hopefully miss the queue at the door. – Perfect.
While all of this sounds lovely and highly organised, experience tells me that the reality is likely to be very different. I am not expecting another wheelchair catastrophe, I expect a trouble-free, relaxing and stress-free holiday. What I get may be very different.
We had hoped to go back to Nerja near Malaga in July but the flight costs at that time of the year were prohibitive. So Mallorca won out, and now that it has, I am very positive about it.
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