The speed of time.

Terraces 100’s of years old.

14th May 2021

Port de Sóller, Mallorca

Time is an abstract concept and we traverse time at different speeds.

Sitting for days at anchor time passed slowly in Port de Sóller. Every minute felt like months, every hour felt like eons and every night felt never-ending. While Iain nursed a face that felt like the elephant man’s, lightening flashed across the sky and we worried about the consequences of being struck. Once the worry of the lightening had passed, we felt the effect of the hills.

As the huge hills cooled at night the air simply fell off them and blasted through the anchorage like bullets. While Ruffian danced about and held fast others were not so lucky. Anchors pulled out of the mud and boats that were once stationary slipped onto those behind causing chaos and damage. Once untangled they then had the challenge of re-anchoring at night in howling winds, with random mooring balls waiting to entrap their props and weed on the bottom forcing them repeat the process if they were unlucky enough to catch it.

While we watched, and just wanted to save our own souls, Robin on Zilveren Mann was a real hero. Like a true Captain Ahab inspired action figure he hopped onto one of the boats struggling to re-anchor, took control, guided them onto sand, made them safe and then simply cracked open a beer. What a legend.

During the day, the sun warmed the land, and all the air that had been blown out at sea now wanted to return and we suffered the worry of a lee shore. With the onshore wind, swell rolled into the anchorage breaking over Ruffian’s bow and the boats that were once safely behind us now threatened to drag us onto the beach and disaster.

Time passed slowly at anchor but once we moved to safety on a cheap dock time would start to pass at breakneck speeds.

The time would pass quickly as we headed to the hills and followed the outstanding advice of Fiona’s, super fit, super nimble and super young niece, Nina. The walk from Port de Sóller to the art retreat of Deia is well known, but instead of getting the bus home we’d walk there and back! This was so outstanding that Iain wanted to take credit for it, but as time would pass, he’d be pleased that with the stamina required, the walk would be ‘his fault’!

Scaling the first hill the sun beat down and the olive groves opened up. We walked mile after mile in dappled shade with amazing views while the sea glistened far below us. As we started descending, we knew we were near the fabled halfway point of Cala Deia, but being used to deserted beaches, crystal clear waters and being alone it came as a shock to walk by the tourist stalls full of ‘local wares’ and down onto crammed waterfront that was devoid of sand or even comfy rocks to perch on. This ‘highlight’ was clearly in every tourist guidebook but luckily, we were about to experience something that’s not written about anywhere.

Retreating up to the arty retreat in the village high above we could hear the distant screech of sirens getting louder and louder, but an eerie silence was falling over the village as no traffic was moving, farmers carts sat idle on the side of the road and even the birds stopped singing. Then the silence was broken by a cacophony of sound.

Motorcycle outriders flew through the streets being chased by sleek lycra men on their sleek racing machines. As they accelerated down the hill their bikes ached and moaned as gears were indexed, thin rubber was strained and the hot air was pushed aside. Once the riders were past it was time for their support cars to whizz through with spare bikes perched on their roofs like unhappy passengers and garish corporate logo’s covering every square inch. We’d just witnessed the ‘Tour de Mallorca’.

After a lemony refreshing stop in a café, we set out for home self-righteously striding past all the walkers waiting for the bus. The sun was beating down and we resolutely put the miles under our feet. With every mile our minds turned to the sweet thought of air conditioning, soft seats and being whisked along effortlessly, but we’d won the moral battle even if our feet were tired, our legs were aching and our calf muscles screaming.

With all those miles behind us we could finally sit in a bar in Port de Sóller and feel all that pain and effort of hiking 25k (which was clearly Nina’s fault and not Iain’s – phew!) ebb into the background. As the beer restored our energy levels we were able to look down on all those who’d ‘cheated’ their way home while we basked in our ‘glory’.

After time speeding up in the hills, time was once again about to slow down as we headed back into Palma.

Like all sequels, ‘Dentistry: The return.’ was much worse than the original. All those nasty black stitches came out within seconds and then it was time for the drilling to start. Digging through an old filling the dentist found layers of decay that had to be removed and time slowed for Iain. He felt like he’d been in the chair, mouth wide open with his jaw reverberating for days, but it turned out it was ‘only’ 2 hours, but wow, 2 hours for a simple filling. Once again, the conveyor belt of UK dentistry had been shown up.

With Iain having a nearly new face and with the weather opening the west to us time should return to its usual speed of passing. We hope were done with the slowness of dragging boats and scary weather, but deserted bays and unexpected attractions will continue to speed up that time.  

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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