Peter Clover on the summer holiday experience in Mallorca: what can you expect? | G. ALOMAR


Sun, sea and sangria! No wonder the tourists continue to flock here in their droves. And who could really blame them? With the tourism debate surrounding Covid still hovering like a nervous drone, spinning concerns over the impact and effect of overseas visitors contributing to a rising infection rate, we seem to have lost sight of the initial attraction which herds punters to our summer shores! Mallorca is simply a fantastic holiday destination and remains one of the world’s top vacation locations, enticing (under normal circumstances) well over 6 million tourists per year.

It can safely be said that the majority of people who come to Mallorca for a week or fortnight’s holiday are initially attracted by the tranquility of golden beaches and the guarantee of glorious sunshine; something that for the past eighteen months has been missing in some peoples lives, and provides a huge tonic for those who sincerely seek solace by catching a few overseas’ rays.

Having said that, quite a few mindless morons are taking advantage of the island’s generosity, and disrespecting all sense of safe protocol by attending illegal ‘botellons’ which the police are struggling to control due to the vast numbers attending these, noisy, drunken, gatherings. A recent rave on Sunday, which took place in Playa de Palma saw more than 1,000, mostly German tourists in their 20’s, challenging the police presence by going ahead with their Covid petri party, ending with many arrests and fines.

It seems that concerns over the future safety of island residents is completely valueless to them! If only they could consider that what is simply a drunken night out on holiday for them, challenges our island’s existence! If we are forced to lockdown again then everyone suffers!

The world seems to be in such chaos at the moment, that all people want to do is let their hair down and chill out on a peaceful, sandy beach, which is a bit ironic at the moment as temperatures are currently ‘scorchio’ and hovering towards 40º, so not much chill factor there then!

But joking apart, that’s exactly the point. While locals and residents are desperately trying to keep cool as well as safe, and away from busy beaches and overcrowded tourist spots, the holiday-makers want the big, full-on social roast, and are out seeking the sun!
When I was a young thing, I loved the heat.

The moment that golden ball appeared in the sky, I was there. I would prick myself all over with a fork, and self baste for hours until I was barbequed to perfection. We didn’t even bother with sunscreen in those days. We actually used a product which was basically a lemon-oil, sold in brown plastic bottles and capable of turning your skin to ‘crackling’. Olive oil and lemon? That’s something you would roast pork or chicken with!

These days I prefer to sit comfortably in dappled shade, looking out into the sunshine, rather than challenging my skin to the colour of Malibu Maroon on a Dulux paint chart. Some people are absolutely besotted with turning their skin to the same shade as a mahogany wardrobe, then act surprised when someone tries to hook a hanger over their ears.

The ancient Romans were quite inventive with their methods of keeping cool. The Emperor Elagabalus ( try saying that after three mojitos ) used slaves to import snow from the Alps and built a wall of ice around his summer villa. A little project like that today would take quite a few trips to Lidl, so not very cost effective or practical considering the melting rate and lack of willing slaves!

Around 120 years ago, American engineer Willis Haviland Carrier invented an apparatus that forced air through a series of water cooled coils. The same basic method has come a long way since then, but even today, not everyone is blessed with air-conditioning, and to be honest, it’s not really considered healthy to live 24/7 in a refrigerated environment, even though it undoubtedly makes hot-house living here in Majorca, a trillion times more comfortable.

So again, without air con, apart from sitting in the fridge with a cold melon on your lap or camping out in your air conditioned car, how do you keep cool?

While the Malllorcan sun is searing, the first thing you should really take note of is the locals. See how v-e-r-y slowly they move. No one here is rushing around in this heat, especially to the beach! Adopt the Spanish walk and amble everywhere. Seek the shade, preferably under a tree as the air is decidedly cooler than under a parasol on the beach.

Sit quietly and don’t even think of doing anything strenuous or manual. It can always wait until ‘mañana’. Or next month. After all, it will cool down, eventually. Won’t it? Do all your light and necessary chores early in the morning before the heat really kicks in and notches up the volume.

Up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes through your windows, so utilise your blinds and curtains by keeping out the sun. It might sound unbelievable, but by closing your shutters and pulling the shades you can lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and go for natural cotton.

Ditch the man-made fibres and ‘nuke’ the nylon. Leave the tight fitting lycra for the lunatics out cycling in the midday sun!

An instant cooler, apart from a cold shower, or dip in a pool if you are lucky enough to have one, is to sit with your feet in a bowl of cold water or submerge your hands, wrists and arms under cool, running H2O. As simple as that sounds, it feels great and works a treat. A cold flannel on your neck is another instant ‘cooler’. Or if you are follicularly challenged, draped across your bald head! Keep damp flannels, rolled like mini swiss rolls, in a zip-lock bag in the freezer, and keep cool while pretending you are flying off somewhere ‘business class’!

Combat dehydration by drinking more, ( at least 2 litres daily ) and that means water! Alcohol, along with strong coffee is very dehydrating,

Some very good Mallorcan friends of ours once created an excellent way of keeping cool in a corner of their cosy townhouse. I’ve seen paddling pools for kids before. You know the kind of thing... lightweight inflatables that last about five minutes before the whole thing deflate after a fatal bounce from a boisterous kiddiwink, and floods the entire patio/balcony/lounge! But I’ve never seen an inflatable pool quite like theirs, which could actually accommodate two adults, or even thought of that as a possible concept! Our friends’ portable plunge pool is robust, quite sizeable and even boasts its own pump, a cleaning system and robot surface hoover. As plunge pools go, this one was five star deluxe and I believe had a lifeguard on duty at weekends!

The pool did take up quite a bit of their small patio but it was worth its weight in gold. The water was perfectly chlorinated and crystal clear. And when summer was spent, the pool was simply deflated and packed away until next season. I suppose it was a bit like a jacuzzi without the bubbles. But our friends even have that one sorted, and serve their bubbles ice cold in champagne flutes with a slice of orange. Happy days!

PS. Don’t forget those little pets, and keep them nice and cool. Sadly, they don’t know any better and will lie in the sun all day if you let them! Not a good idea, either for them. Or for you!