Six 'P's down, 15 to go
Trip Start Mar 29, 1999
44Trip End Jun 18, 1999
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Where I stayed
It's an overcast day in Palma with the sun making a valiant effort to break through. In fact, by the time I had bought my ticket back to Barcelona (a 'futbol group special' - return only, no one ways available), it was positively hot out. Especially so after I had lugged my backpack for the 3.5km into town, plus the 1.5km I spent looking for the tourist office and then a hostel. Quite by luck I happened upon the 'Hostal Ritzi', the place I had chosen back in New Zealand, who had told me yesterday that they were booked up for months. They speak English there and took me in.
On the way into town, a middle-aged woman approached me and gave me a rose. "Gee, that's nice, thank you", I smiled and walked on. "Hey! One peseta" she cried as she scurried along side me. "One peseta? Sounds like a fair price" I said to myself and took out my wallet. The smallest Spanish denomination is a 5 peseta piece (about 6c NZ) so I gave that to her. As I was doing so, she stuck her hand into my wallet and started grabbing the 500pta piece that was there. "Hey, no!" I shouted, ripped her hand away, screwed up the rose and threw it on the ground defiantly. There are a whole bunch of these women around the place. I wonder if they really make much money this way. Next time I'll have a 5pta piece on hand and hold the woman to the deal.
There are so many tourists here now, I hate to think what it must be like in July and August. Most of them (about 80 percent) are quite old, fairly well off and from England and the USA. I expected to see more British 'lager louts' but I guess they are still in bed sleeping off hangovers. The weather doesn't really know what it's doing - sometimes lovely and warm, two seconds later chilly and breezy.
Had a good wander around Palma and, as if predestined, managed to get lost. Popped into McDonald's to further prepare findings for my thesis on "Comparative Features of Fast Food in Major Tourist Destinations". I asked for two Big Macs and a large Coke but the girl misunderstood me and gave me two Big Macs, two large fries and two large Cokes. The place was totally crowded and I didn't want to look like a stupid tourist who can't even order a meal at McDonald's, so I ate as much of my enormous fatty meal as I could.
Had a wee look around the Royal Palace of the Almudaina, an old castle with lots of wall hangings and a few paintings, but nowhere near Burghley Castle on the over-the-top-display-of-wealth scale (if there is such a thing). It is also possibly the most over-staffed tourist attractiong in the world. There were at least two guards in every one of the 20-odd rooms and I was the only visitor. I felt safe at least.
I have now been to six 'P' cities, 15 to go. Favourite so far? Hmm. Possibly Peterborough. A controversial decision perhaps, given that city's relative anonymity, but in its favour it had nice wather, a nice place to stay, pleasant attractions, and the novelty of being the first place I stayed at. The worst? Portsmouth. Daylight second.