Tag Archives: summer

Smells of the past

One of the things that I remember the most about my first visit to the UK, when I was 15 years old, is the smells.

My host house had a certain smell, definitely not something I had smelt before in Spain. It wasn’t unpleasant, it was just different. My room had this particular smell, so did the living room and the dining room. I remember coming down for breakfast the first day and sitting down at the dining table and looking around me, taking everything in, and trying to figure out what the smell was.

I then went to the school were my course was taking place. And this place had its own particular smell too! The classes, the bar, the restaurant. It was all so different. I knew I was in a different country and I expected to find differences. It just didn’t occur to me that even the smells would be so particular.

This didn’t bother me, so I stopped paying attention. It just stayed in the back of my mind until I returned the following summer. I had had a great experience the first time round with my host family, so I requested to stay with them the following year too.

When I got there, the second time, and I put my first foot in the house, the smell abruptly hit me in the face. Suddenly it was like going home, the familiarity of the smell simply made me happy.

I have never been able to discribe the smell, although I have come across it several times during my travels in the UK. In the back of my mind I have always thought that it’s a mixture of old carpet, cooking butter and whatever product the use for cleaning. But I have also smelt it (or something very similar) in places with new carpets, or kitchens where I know for sure that butter isn’t used for cooking. So I honestly don’t know what it is.

If I am lucky enough to smell it, even if it’s just once a year, the smell transports me to that first summer in Kent, where I discovered this country that I love so much and where my passion for everything anglo started.

In love with Mallorca

I have recently been on holiday in Mallorca (I refuse to spell it with a J) and I must admit that I am in love with the island. Yes, I knew it was going to be a bit “guiri central” but the town that we went to was quite a local, not-too-tourist one, so we were happy. The town is called Felanitx, in the south east, but not by the beach. We rented a villa (or “chalet”) with a private swimming pool and it was fantastic. We were told to bring warm clothes as the temperatures had “dramatically dropped” (literally), so we were a bit scared to not have summery weather.. But it turned out to be just right. We had between 25 and 28 degrees every day, which is more than perfect as anything hotter is too much for me! I have acclimatised to England and I don’t tolerate heat as I used to. I even managed to almost burn my arms one day… Silly me.


What did I like about Mallorca?

– Palma, which is beautiful and in some aspects reminded me of Granada.

– The little fisherman villages in the coast. So traditional and pretty.

– The sandy and almost Caribbean-like beaches. With crystalline waters and very well equipped.

– The country side, with its beautiful wheat fields and stunning stone walls.

– The local people. So nice and friendly, and even when they talked to you in mallorquín they were sweet about it.

– The architecture. The very Mediterranean stone houses and massive churches.

– The geography. The high mountains and cliffs, and coves, and the fact that maybe thanks to the German tourist influence, all roads are beautifully paved and are glorious to drive on.


What did I not like about Mallorca?

– The fact that it is a tourist island and it is full with tourists for most part of the year (I know, I know, I am a tourist too!).

– Tourist towns like Magaluf and Port D’Alcudia. They couldn’t be uglier.

– Tap water, which was undrinkable, and even bars and restaurants refused to serve it (and I know that they weren’t just trying to sell you bottled water)

– The beach parking prices. We only paid twice, but those times the prices were 6 and 7 euros. What a rip off.

– Some beach “chiringuitos” that rip off tourists, selling soft drink cans at 3 euros and bags of crisps at 2.5 euro.

– That tapas were so expensive. Coming from an area in Spain where tapas come FREE with your drink, having to pay up to 5 euro for a plate of “Russian salad” was extortionate. Other foods were reasonably priced. But not tapas.


But apart from this, this trip came with an added bonus. For the first time ever, Jon and I travelled with friends (we’ve been on holiday with family before, but not with friends). I must say that it was quite an experience, and it did not work out quite as expected. We have learnt our lesson and we will make sure to not make the same mistakes again.

What are those lessons?

– Always travel with people that you know well and who you share interests with.

– Always travel with people who have the same spending budget as you.

– Despite the fact that some people may think of it as an unnecessary expense, try to rent two cars so both couples are independent of each other.

– Following on the above point, try to spend the days apart and just get together in the evenings for most part of the holiday.

– DISCUSS these things with your friends before booking the holiday.


I came back from Mallorca without having eaten fish a single time, we only had ensaimadas once, and spent far more time in the beach than we would have deemed necessary. We only ate 3 times in a restaurant and shopped more times at Lidl in one week than I had ever done in my whole life.

All in all we had an awesome time, though. I loved the villa (will be going back one day, I swear), loved swimming in the sea and exploring new areas. We rested a bit, although not as much as I would have liked. We had fun, I won’t deny it.