I’ve moved to Majorca for the winter to start a new chapter of my life. I’ve been here two weeks, staying at first in an Airbnb room while I get myself sorted. I’ve really lucked out with my host Montse (short for Montserrat, common female name in Cataluña), who is friendly, chatty and super-helpful. Let me tell you how it is here…

IMG_2388

Bunyola, the village I’m staying in, has two donkeys I’m told, one one each side of the valley. One lives just up the hill from the house and its laboured noises come through my window in the mornings. Does any other creature sound like it’s such hard work to communicate? El burro’s eeyoring starts off with a growl like a cantankerous old man then slips into the familiar in–out wheeze. It seems such an effort!

Through the magic technology of a plug-in repellent, I have finally won the battle with the mosquitos at night. It took me a while to work out that shutting the windows at dusk was a good idea. Then a few nights experimenting with a spare sheet over my head as a makeshift net. Those bastards! I’d be just about to drift off to sleep when that annoying whine would make me start and I’d flap my arms round my head in some kind of panicked reflex reaction. It seems so incongruous in November too. Surreal.

IMG_2387It may seem obvious when I say it, but traditional Mediterranean houses have shutters on the outside not curtains on the inside. The first night I hung up my towel over the window to keep the light out. It was the next morning that I remembered shutters. And I love them! There’s something oddly satisfying about leaning out of the window (through the two-foot thick wall) and swinging the shutters in, the scrape–clank as they enclose the room in darkness. In the morning, opening the shutters feels like a big ‘buenos días’ to the world (and the occasional passerby dog-walker).

IMG_2384

These little narrow streets of stone steps are so pretty. But my, what a pain in the arse for getting around! People here are used to them, no doubt, but my legs are mighty tired! For the rubbish collection, a man walks round the streets with a large wheelie bin picking up the bags that residents have left at the little stations dotted around. Driving (obviously not up the steps, though Montse told me a story of a man who did try it, got stuck, and had to have his vehicle airlifted out) is tricky: you go slow in the village with these narrow streets; parking is ridiculous: I’ve never had to place a car quite so tightly between a wall and a road.

So that’s been my first two weeks. It’s absolutely beautiful here in the mountains, the sun shines most of the time, people are friendly and in no rush, and life feels largely benign. Tomorrow I move into my own place and can finally settle for the next few months. My casita is half-an-hour’s walk from town in a hamlet populated by about four cats in winter, apparently. It’s going to be a whole new challenge entirely.

Advertisements