We spent the weekend exploring the remote beaches on the north coast of the island. We found the perfect wave beach for the kids near Alcudia. It was their first time in waves and they absolutely loved it. The waves were a perfect size for kids and the beach had a sandy bottom. It was a wind surf and parasail area with probably 50 people practicing the sport on the long beach. We then drove out to the end of the Cap de Formentor and soaked in the spectacular views of limestone cliffs, deep blue sea and green hillsides. The protected areas on the north coast are absolutely beautiful and I hope they can keep them wild.
On Sunday we visited Cala Torta. It was a windy day and the beach was closed to swimming when we arrived. The waves were immense. We hiked along the ridges, and when the lifeguard left, we got into the water a bit. The waves were so high, that I didn’t dare let the kids go out past their knees. We had a lot of laughs as the immense waves crashed on the beach and knocked us off our feet.
The kids are really improving their swimming. We have a pool next to the apartments where the kids could spend literally all day in. Owen learned to dive and Ollie can now jump into the deep part and swim to the side. Ocean can also jump in the deep end, but is a bit more cautious and only does it right next to the side. She does a front flip underwater.
The Son Caliu suburb of Palma where we are staying, has a lot of running/bike paths. As I wrote earlier, I am very impressed with the infrastructure of Mallorca.
I read an article yesterday in the Diaro de Mallorca (Mallorcan Daily) that discussed the economy of the island. In 2001 the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza) had 526 hotels that stayed open during the winter months (November to Easter) with an occupancy rate of around 50%. Last winter, 2011-2012, the number of hotels that were open year round had dropped to 126 with an occupancy rate of 32%. They are expecting even lower numbers for 2012-2013. This of course is not good for the islands as people have to make due on 7-8 months of salary. The reason less tourists are coming to the islands are the rising costs and competition from warmer places. Before switching from the peseta to the euro, it was cheaper for Germans and Brits to spend 15 days in Mallorca than in their home countries. Today, it is just as expensive. Also, places like Egypt, Tunisia, etc. are now less expensive than Spain. There was a another article with complaints from the golf industry, that the government is raising the IVA (sales tax) from 8 to 20% on a round of golf. In Europe, these government sales taxes of above 15% are ridiculous. I used to think the Canadian 13% was excessive (to give some perspective, in my home state of Michigan, the sales tax was raised from 4 to 6%) before I moved to Europe.
Spain fell into the same trap as the US did regarding the economic crisis. Many people thought they could become rich quickly through investing in real estate and many got in over their heads. The banks made bad loans and now Spain is receiving bailouts from the IMF and the Central Bank. I have noticed less people in downtown Mallorca and shops either closed or offering discounts. I think the island is adjusting to the lower number of tourists and there will be hotels and shops that go out of business.