Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sevilla → Mallorca → Mallorca → Menorca → Mallorca

Laura and I decided to spend the weekend in Palma, a Spanish city on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. It's only about a 75 min direct flight from Sevilla, so we thought it would be a snap, haha. We had an early flight out of Sevilla so we got up around 4am, hiked to the bus stop and caught the bus out to the airport. We got there pretty early and hung out at the gate. Our flight (Vueling Airlines) left on time and we headed towards Mallorca. Though it was sunny, there was a persistent fog bank at the airport. The pilot warned us that it could be a problem. We tucked in for landing. With the wheels of the plane feet above the runway, the pilot gunned the engines and we flew back up into the sky steeply. We did a long, 15 minute loop back around for another approach. Once again, with wheels just above the tarmac, the pilot gunned the engines and we flew off. Shortly after this aborted second landing attempt, the pilot informed us that we were diverting to Menorca--a small island about a 15 min flight north and east of Mallorca.

It's not really clear to me what the decision-making process is for getting a plane within feet of landing and then deciding to abort (twice). Isn't there someone on the ground that can advise the pilot so that such a dangerous maneuver isn't necessary?

We landed in Menorca without incident. We sat on the plane for about a half hour, presumably waiting for the airport in Mallorca to clear. After a while, they booted us off the plane (so it could be used elsewhere) and we all wandered into the Menorca airport.

The most frustrating part of this whole thing wasn't the fog, weather happens. It was the utter lack of communication and guidance for the abandoned passengers once we deplaned in Menorca. Also, the little communication that did occur happened in Spanish. OK for us, we kind of got it, but there were a large number of folks on the plane that didn't speak Spanish.

Luckily, I had Laura. She alertly identified the right people, listened in on conversations of other passengers, and talked to folks at the ticket counter. Eventually, she found the correct line and got us re-booked on an Iberia flight at 3:15pm. She also got us some food vouchers for the airport restaurants. We killed a few hours in one of the restaurants (which, pleasantly, had some good lunch dishes), and left for our 25 min flight to Mallorca--getting there a mere 7 hours later than planned.

Just to get some exercise, we decided to walk from the airport to the hotel. It was about 4 miles. There were a few pedestrian unfriendly stretches near the airport, but once we got down to the beach area, it was a nice walk. At one point, we walked along a dirt road with some very old looking stone dwellings:

We made it to our room and enjoyed a nice meal at the hotel:


This morning we walked farther along the beach to some cliffs. We passed along some lovely shoreline properties. I particularly enjoyed the "Beware of Dog" tile on this entryway (it's worth zooming in on, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that dog):

The cliffs were lovely:

The water was very blue and clear. We saw lots of sailboarders and even a snorkeler out there:

Back on land, cycling is a massively popular activity. This sign showed popular bike routes all over the island (it's about 150km across at some points):

There have been a number of stages of the Vuelta a Espana here in Mallorca.

We leave tomorrow.