No sign of winter in Majorca ...

I am determined to arrive in Majorca open-minded, having read George Sand's damning and morose account of the winter she spent there. When our plane lands against what can only be described as an uninspiring sky, I worry that Madame Sand's criticisms were grounded in truth. The airport is chaotic - arrivals and departures blend into one - compared to the Swiss watch-esque precision of Zurich. It is a shock for me to be in a country where I don't understand the signposts, never mind the locals. Oh no, I didn't enjoy Spain last time I visited; I'm going to hate it again, I think to myself.

Driving out of Palma, the countryside looks barren and thirsty. It is dotted with ugly high-rises and intrusive touristy new builds. And yet, intermingled, are the most beautifully crafted windmills with arrow-like designs. Majorca has something. Tim's parents own a flat near Santa Ponsa (a resort along from Magaluf - the less said about that the better) and it is beautiful. Awaking with a Mediterranean view is good for the soul. From the balcony, the sea is a mere slip behind the lush, green oasis of the apartment complex, which is all terracotta and camouflaged. Bowling pin-shaped trees prick up and prod the soft cloudscape; two islands (Cabrera and Dragonera) peep up from behind the headland.

We visit three-year-old Port Adriano, now awash with slick yachts, and enjoy moonlit drinks beside the harbour one night and a delicious fish supper at La Terrazza the next. We swim in the sea off Cap Formentor - a peninsula that cuts in a jagged lump into an ocean of a thousand shades of blue that never seems to end. Here, there is a beautiful beach that is no more than a golden belt along the length of the bay, lined on one side with pine trees and encroached on the other by the Med. The sea feels fresher than a swimming pool and is so clear, I could gaze into it all day long. We drive back through the mountains along a windy road and admire steeped terraces of citrus fruit plantations and writhing olive trees.

One of the most picturesque resorts we visit is Port Andratx, popular with British holiday makers. It has a rounded bay with fishing nets against a backdrop of shiny yachts. There is a tapestry of terracotta dwellings on the thirsty hillsides and the usual array of tacky tourist shops. We stop at Tim's namesake bar! From there we drive to Saint Elm and lunch at El Pescadore, where the wind whips the table cloth. The sharp sea breeze soothes the mind as if carrying bedtime wishes. Fruit and salad here harbours more layers of flavour than any of the varieties I have sampled from supermarkets before. The colours are vivid - the fuschia-coloured flowers that dangle from windows and archways and the rich, orange soil. I feel healthy waking up every day for a swim in the pool, lounging in the sun with a book, and then swimming some more. Majorca's natural beauty might have been encroached upon by tourism, but it retains a beauty in the lifestyle you can enjoy there. George Sand, I have to disagree with you ...
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