As a sort of continuation from my previous post about our trip to Mallorca, Spain, I didn’t include everything. I left out the most harrowing drive I’ve ever done in my life. No one mentions the danger and sheer terror of driving the serpentine trail through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains on your way to Sa Colabra, a highly recommended village with a beautiful inlet beach.
The drive itself is considered one of the most scenic in the world and the mountain range is a World Heritage site so I kept thinking the beauty would outweigh the anxiety. I heard it best described as someone dropping a wet spaghetti noodle on the ground and making the road follow that shape. It was built this way to avoid having to tunnel through the mountains and the result is incredibly picturesque…and dangerous.
It’s not enough that the roads aren’t wide enough for two cars at points, you also have to be wary of the hundreds of cyclists riding along the hairpin curves. Sometimes you pass the groups of bicycles having no way of seeing around a turn. Luckily, the bikers would usually signal to you when it was clear to go, but not always (plus, why are you riding a bike through this???). At any point you could plummet off the sheer cliffs. Oh yeah, and there was also fog obscuring everything for most of the way down to the bottom where the beach is.
Needless to say, I white-knuckled the steering wheel the entire way.
At one point, we came to a complete stop to wait for a number of giant tour buses to round the corner below and pass us. Cars in front of us had to reverse and basically wait in the ditch to allow enough room.
Once we finally reached the bottom of the mountain where Sa Calobra is, I shut off the engine and collapsed into a heap on the floor. Once I gained control of my faculties again, we made our way toward the beach but decided to make a quick bathroom stop (we saw a sign for “Kaffee und Kuchen” so it obviously drew our attention). We planned to just grab something quick and cheap in this cafeteria style “restaurant”. As we were observing what was offered, the man behind the counter literally yelled at people trying to walk in and use the restroom without buying anything. Nic and I look at each other and at the poor excuses for food behind the glass but proceeded anyway, ordering one portion of what looked like meatballs, a glass of orange juice, and a glass of sangria. The man took the plate of meatballs and immediately covered it in plastic wrap and tossed it in the microwave. That’s when we noticed the row of microwaves lining the back wall.
The numerous flies buzzing and lack of customers should’ve tipped us off, but we didn’t want to be berated for not buying anything and using the restroom. As we approached the cash register, the man started tallying our items up. To our dismay, our “small, quick snack” totaled nearly €30! (About $35, stateside folks) We looked at each other incredulously but took a seat while alternating trips to the bathroom. I’ll spare you the grossest of details about what I saw, but leave you with the visual that I could see men using the urinal as I walked in and experienced a disgusting toilet with a trash can beside it half-filled with toilet paper and some sort of…liquid.
I was emotionally numb at this point but quickly returned to the table so Nic could go.
That’s when I again saw the saddest plate of our 8 meatballs in a mess of slop. For 14 Euros. I actually teared up. Nic got back and we just sort of sadly laughed with each other, the meatballs basically disintegrating on contact. We were definitely in for some food poisoning after eating at that place of highway robbery.
I finally started to lighten up when we got out of there and headed toward the beach. We walked through a couple of illuminated, dripping tunnels and arrived in a clearing surrounded by mountains and bright blue water on one side.
It was gorgeous. Not many people were there, thankfully, and a few laid out in the sun that at last made an appearance. We wanted to let Thom touch the ocean for the first time and he wasn’t too happy about it 😛
The drive back up the mountain and back was a lot less anxiety-stricken than before. We could just laugh at how ridiculous the situation was and see how crazy the roads were now that the fog had cleared.
All in all, it’s probably worth going if you’re not as stressed about driving as I am. I recommend taking a small car in any case and please be informed how the drive actually is.
Have you ever driven on such a dangerous road? I’d love to hear about it and where it was so I can avoid it! 😛