Back in the day, when I was a bright young thing, the prospect of spending a day at the beach was thrilling, exciting, and as easy to achieve as throwing a pair of swimmers along with a towel and a good book into a backpack – job done!
The bright young things of Majorca are still exactly the same; impulsive, spontaneous, and off to the coast at the drop of a sombrero, beach ready in five minutes flat, picking up a bottle of water and a tuna filled baguette for lunch along the way.
Occasionally, there might be the odd parasol involved, but rarely will you see sunloungers, director chairs or any commercial paraphernalia in tow which might slow down the quest to hit that beach!
I remember that same, youthful, carefree, abandoned spirit as if it were only yesterday!
Sadly, these days, an adventure at the beach takes a little longer to achieve.
It might still feel spontaneous in the mind when the thought first occurs, but further down the line when reality kicks in, the preparations and planning for a day on the sand seems to take forever!
We currently live in a beautifully reformed, stone built town house with all mod cons and conveniences.
The house is traditionally Majorcan, designed to be warm in winter and cool in summer, which has proved an absolute life-saver during the hiatus of these overwhelming heatwaves, hijacking and holding to ransom our customary, delightfully bearable Balearic summer.
Other Half recently pointed out, via Instagram and Facebook posts, that most days, the local ‘jovenes’ (youngsters) are all down at the beach, looking super cool and chilling at the coast or messing about in boats with friends and family.
And now that it’s coming up to the time of year when entire families move out of their regular homes to camp out in gay abandon at their summer residencies along the coast, the sunshine selfies are becoming more apparent.
Whilst chatting with local friends, we mentioned that we have an apartment overlooking the stunning Bay of Pollensa.
"Why aren’t you living there?" they asked in complete disbelief of the fact that we seldom use it, feeling more than adequately comfortable in our preferred town house.
The truth is, we have become so settled that going to the beach for the day with a stopover at the apartment seems like a chore!
Now, I can already hear voices saying – how can going to the beach for the day or staying over in a summer apartment be a chore? Here’s how …
We finally made the big commitment. "Right!" we said. " Let’s do it! Let’s make that effort and have a beach day with an apartment stop-over."
First, you must know that we have a cat, and don’t really relish the idea of leaving her for more than 24 hours with an automatic feeder.
So, why not take the pussy with you? The fact is, Lulu doesn’t travel well and is more than capable of launching herself off the third floor balcony never to be seen again, so best (we think) she stays ‘home alone’.
We also have a garden, with trees, tubs, plants etc, albeit small, yet all in need of daily watering, sometimes twice in this unbearable heat, so again another reason for staying conveniently at home.
We do have an automatic watering system, but like lots of things on the island, it’s not to be trusted!
Also, gone are the days when we can lie comfortably for hours on nothing more than a thin beach towel, or one of those organic, rolled up, vegan sushi mats.
After 20 minutes on a raffia runner it feels like rigor mortis has set in! Shifting from a flat back to a frontal prone position is another challenge, and if we are not careful can appear to onlookers as if we are having some kind of a seizure!
Nothing worse than paramedics turning up when all you are trying to do is turn over!
And as for getting up off the sand! Well, it’s often easier to simply lie there and wait for the tide to come in.
Therefore, a comfortable sunlounger or at best a decent folding chair, is an absolute must!
We also need a parasol each so we don’t end up fighting over the necessary shade.
Another thing to consider for a day out at the beach is the picnic, along with preparation of a further snack later that evening, plus something for breakfast the following morning, not to mention taking tea, coffee, milk, water, kitchen roll, toilet rolls etc, because you never want to find yourself without!
And as we haven’t ‘stopped over’ at the apartment for a while we also have to sort bed linen and towels. Then make sure we have everything we might need in the way of toiletries, preparations, medications, notepad, i-pads, laptops, chargers, adapters, reading material etc. In fact everything that is so handy back at home, conveniently located in another room!
So far that’s five trips to the car already and we haven’t even touched on a change of clothes in case we decide to scrap earlier plans and eat out in the evening! (Always good to be flexibly versatile.)
We also committed to using the apartment more often so took a change of towels, more bed linen, a decent vacuum cleaner, and a selection of ‘outfits’ to store in the apartment’s ample ‘armario’.
By now, our lovely neighbours were totally convinced we were moving house! It was also 3.30 in the afternoon. However, we didn’t want to leave too early as it would be unbearably hot at the beach, and both prefer the more cooling rays of a later, more exclusive afternoon sun, watching the sunset playing out on the fading horizon.
We also decided on lunch at home so needed to clear things away and water the plants a second so they had a better chance of surviving until the following afternoon.
Final check, around 4pm. Everything locked up, we left the house for the Pollensa coast.
After arriving at destination, unpacking and making up the bed at the apartment we finally hit the beach at around 5.30pm. It was perfect.
The tourists were leaving. The sun was dipping. The temperature was reclining.
We spent a relaxing hour or so, then it was pack up and head off up to the apartment for the rest of the evening.
Bottom line – it was great! A nice time away. But in reality . . . I did kind of miss having everything at arms reach in another room. Plus we spent a lot of time wondering if we had brought everything we might need!
It was refreshing for a change of scenery.
The sea was cooling. And we are definitely planning to repeat the performance again, real soon.
But in all honesty . . . there’s no place quite as comfortable as home!