Hotel commissioned press trips vary greatly from press trips put on by tourists boards or airlines. In the past when sent to a country by a tourist board or UNESCO, I've generally had a very extensive itinerary, one that would allow me to write an in depth article detailing what the area has to offer and the history behind it. On my recent trip to Alcudia the only task I was given was to review the accommodation, the four star Hotel Astoria Playa.
However, If I am lucky enough to be sent to another country I want to immerse myself in the area, even if the the comforts of the hotel are at such a luxury level it makes it extremely difficult to tear yourself away.
After a day of much needed blissed out relaxation by the hotel pools we asked our host for reccommendation of things to see and do in the area.
The first one we decided to embark on was a visit to the old town of Alcudia. She informed us that it was in walking distance, if you didn't mind a half hour plus walk, and that there would be great views at our final destination courtesy of the city walls. When the weather's nice and the scenery picturesque a walk is actually rather appealing.
After you pass some of the less desirable views of the main strip, like the British pubs and off-puttingly named burger joints, you reach a roundabout. After you turn right you feel like you've escaped that more touristy part of the area, it feels a lot more country-fied...if that's a word.
During this trip we wanted to get as much content as possible for my blog and channel, and were extremely chuffed with our next discovery. Hidden on the side of the road amongst some overgrown foliage was a rusty old car.
Finally I could create a look-book that wasn't filmed in my garden or garage! After spending longer than I would like to admit posing on this rusty old machine and risking Tetanus, we carried on our trek to the old town, which started to show a slightly intimidating incline - only intimidating to me as a person who hasn't set foot in a gym for over 5 years.
As you can see from these views you really feel away from the bussle of the hotel's location. You're surrounded by lush fields, with mountains on the horizon, and every step onwards delivers a new photo opportunity.
The next stunning sight on route to the old town was this religious building, which appeared to be a cemetry, although it wasn't completely clear. We started taking pictures then realised people entering through the gates with flowers. Out of respect we stopped taking pictures. I just wanted to show you this one image I did manage to get because it reminded me of the visuals I fell in love with in Baz Luhrmanns Romeo and Juliet.
Trekking further uphill alongside the road, the views continued to impress. A huge expanse of green emerged littered with beautiful yellow flowers. Obviously we had to stop to take some more pictures. This is what it's like to be a blogger....you just cannot let a good backdrop pass you by - it's ruddy annoying!
As you can see from these ouch enducing photos I had overdone it in the sun on my first day. Wearing my denim bardot top (Forever 21) was a foolish attempt to rid myself of the horrific strap marks.
A few minutes on and we could see the beautiful Church of St. Jaume, a Roman Catholic church, which signals your arrival to your the old town.
The construction of this monumental chapel is a consequence of the increasing devotion that Alcudia and the neighbouring villages felt for Saint Christ. It was believed that Saint Christ had sweated water and blood in 1507 in the cave of Sant Marti (on the outskirts of the city) to implore for rain during a drought. The first stone was laid on 8 December 1675 and the works finished in 1697. The chapel is notable for the central dome and four side chapels along with the altar piece which is a spectacular work of baroque art. The latter shows the l'horror vacui and is the work of sculptor Mateu Joan i Serra and was made between 1699 and 1703. The altarpiece was restored in 2007 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Saint Christ.
The architecture of the church, the shops, restaurants, and homeswithin the city walls are stunning. All comprising of warm toned stone, they pop beautifully set against the clear blue sky.
The old town has been preserved and pedestrianised. It has now become one of the most visited villages in Mallorca.
I fell intsantly in love with the old town. I'm not a huge fan of spots that scream tourist or party, but this was quaint and untouched enough to feel like a proper escape. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels, but none of them are so grotesque or modern that they feel like an eyesore.
Forever 21 Bardot top, American Apparel White Denim skirt, New Look Cuff, Primark Sandals
As you can see there was no improvement when it came to my strap marks and the sun was scorching, so I decided to admit defeat and play it safe - that's why you'll see me sporting a mustard crop in the next lot of images.
If you come at the right day of the week (Saturday and Tuesday's) there is a great market (according to some of the other bloggers), but if you don't manage to visit while it's still on there are so many cute little shops, some selling artisan style clothing, other selling all the things you might need as a tourist who has packed in a hurry. Si became particularly distracted by the foodie shops which stocked all sort of oils, breads, spices, olives, and so on.
One of my favourite aspects of ancient towns is that they are like mazes, you can get completely lost as alleys lead into even more alleys - even better when they are created by walls in beautiful pastel and terracotta shades.
While you're in the old town I thoroughly reccommend you treat yourself to an ice cream. There are numerous shops displaying swoonworthy flavours - I'd personally reccommend Hazelnut (it tastes exactly like Nutella). There's one we found that offered free tasters so try and seek out that one if you can! Sa Gelateria even serves lactose free ice cream.
After mooching towards the centre you'll be greeted by a particualrly impressive and intricate building which is the old town hall. With ornate balcony's, a clock, and a weather vain decorating it's highest point, it's a beautiful standout landmark.
Alcúdia is celebrating the festival of St. Jaume every summer. It goes on for nine days at the beginning of July. Before the festival starts the town is decorated and each street picks out a theme for that year's look. During the festival several traditional evening festivities are arranged in the old town such as the Night of the Romans where the streets are full of locals dressed in traditional ancient Roman dresses. There are also outdoor theatres, sport tournaments, exhibitions and the traditional bullfight. The fiesta is finished with La Noche de Sant Jaume, a fireworks display and philharmonic concert by the old walls.
Taking place every three years is the Triennial of Sant Crist, a religious procession where the population slowly walks barefoot through the town in silence, for several hours. The origin of this procession dates back to 1507.
It is possible to step up on to the 14th Century wall and follow it almost all around the village. There are remains of a Roman town just outside the medieval town walls, in front of the Church of St. Jaume belonging to the ancient city of Pollentia.
As you can see from the pictures below it's extremely worthwhile to travel up the few steps towards the panoramic views. I'll let my photo's do the rest of the convincing.....
Feeling enthused about our adventure to the old town, we were raring to discover more beauty nearby. We decided to get a bus to another reccommended location, which I will fill you in on in a future post. Although I'm sure you will have already been swayed to leave the pool for a few hours in prusuit of history and atmosphere, I will leave you by saying we'd urge you to visit the Old Town of Alcudia - it was a noteable part of our favourite day in Mallorca. Not being a lazy bugger pays off you see!