I was fortunate enough to be told about this hidden beach and I'm really hesitant to share the location out of fear of people overcrowding and ruining it. At the same time it's an amazing place and people should have the opportunity to appreciate it. It's called Platja Coll Baix and is located on the northern side of Mallorca near Alcúdia. It's only accessible by hiking 2-3km or by boat. When I arrived there were only 3 other people on the beach and a single boat anchored in the cove, while I was the only person actually in the water. The visibilty was amazing and the water temp was perfect. I highly recommend bringing fins because even though the water may look calm, you never know what kind of currents are coming through these places. I actually lost a friend down in Mexico a few weeks ago after he was caught in a riptide. He was a strong swimmer, but didn't have fins on. Anyway, fins (I was using Churchills) and a quality mask (I was using a Riffe) will make the experience much more enjoyable. After hiking and climbing over some rocks to get to the beach, jumping in the water was a refreshing reward. Up to this point this beach is definitely one of my favorite spots I've been to.
Recollections, reviews, discoveries, and future plans.
For the past 6 weeks I've been living on a finca (country estate) 2.5 miles outside a small town called Montuïri on the Spanish island of Mallorca (also called Majorca) in the Mediterranean Sea. Mallorca is part of the Balearic Islands located off the east coast of Spain which includes Menorca, Cabrera, Ibiza, and Formentera. Over the past 8,000 years the archipelago has changed hands and has been occupied by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, and Moors. You can see the historical influence from each of these civilizations as well as the religious influence from times of Christian and Muslim occupation.
Everywhere you go on the island you hear a mix of Spanish, German, Swedish, Russian, Swiss, Italian and English being spoken. Even though Mallorca is part of Spain, Catalan is the preferred language of choice by the real locals. Street signs tend to be in Catalan or Spanish, but not both.
So far my experience here has been pretty cool and I'll have more specific posts focusing on each experience. I was supposed to fly back to San Diego on May 18, but decided to stay longer so I'll probably be adding quite a bit of content over the next month. Here are some photos of the area I've been living in.
I arrived in Mallorca on April 19 and prior to getting here, I was craving some good Mexican food, which I had neglected to take advantage of before leaving San Diego. I've been living in the countryside near a village called Montuïri and there really aren't too many food options nearby, definitely no Mexican food because this is Spain after all. Anyway, after a couple of weeks in the countryside, I decided to spend a weekend checking out Palma. After arriving by bus I was walking to my hotel, still craving Mexican food. As I stopped to check some directions I looked up and saw that I was standing in front of a place called El Aquanauta and saw the word "tacos." I went in, had a seat and ordered 3 different tacos off the menu. Each one was great and I was wishing I had a larger appetite and more accommodating belly that would allow me to try more from the menu. These tacos were easily on par with anything in southern California.
I've been back a few times, not only because of the great food, but also because the staff is super cool and very welcoming. The chef Raúl is from Mexico so he knows his shit and is a great guy to shoot the shit with. He's lived and worked all over the world so we've had plenty of good conversations across a wide spectrum of subjects. The owner Andres actually spent time in San Diego researching taco spots to get inspiration for El Aquanauta, which makes this a very appealing place to hang out when I want a taste of home.
If you find yourself in Palma you should definitely make a point of having a meal here, whether you're looking for Mexican food or just looking for good food, in a cool environment, with a staff that enjoys their job. This place is a great hang out or meeting spot to get the night started.
This is a photo of the Kjalvegur Road / Kjölur Route in Iceland which I shot using my Nikon D7000 a few weeks ago while my buddy Chris (@chrislovesadventure) and I were exploring the interior of the country. This route, sometimes referred to as the "Ghost Road," used to be the main road used by vikings to travel between the north and south of Iceland. Some legends say the Knights Templar hid the holy grail somewhere along the route . . . Before embarking on this journey it was highly recommend that we rent a vehicle with 4 wheel drive so we opted for a Toyota Land Cruiser which we picked up from Hertz Iceland. With a trusty map and compass in hand, we set out to circle the island. Once we made it back to Reykjavik we still had a bit of time left on the rental so we decided to check out this highland road through the interior. The route starts just after the massive Gullfoss waterfall and continues on to the Ringroad near Varmahliöand and passes between the Hofsjökull and Langjökull Glaciers (Temple Glacier and Long Glacier).
I had the good fortune of being exposed to numerous cultures and countless history lessons while growing up, and because of this, I think I was given the opportunity to see the world from many different perspectives. Now in my 30s, I continue to travel and expose myself to as much of the world as I can. Whether it's close to home or in the middle of nowhere in a remote corner of the planet, there are cultures and traditions worth experiencing and memories waiting to be born.
When you first embark on a quest, whether it's one of curiosity or one of travel, you start to notice that there are two different breeds of people. The first of the two consists of those that like to stay close to home and are either afraid of or have no desire to experience the world beyond what they've become accustomed to. They stay within their bubble and if they do happen to venture out, they appear uncomfortable and remain tethered to home in one form or another. If and when they travel, they tend to stick to all the typical sites found in a travel guide and never venture out to experience real local culture. If they're in New York they'll visit the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, etc . . . and they'll eat at major chain restaurants which they probably frequent back home. This is an extremely boring way to travel and see the world, yet when these people return to their homes they will speak of their experience as if it were really exciting, while recommending the same trip to everyone they talk to. The reality behind this kind of travel and this breed of individual is that they really aren't trying to learn anything new because they lack true curiosity and have no interest in experiencing local life. They enjoy telling people where they've been, even though in most cases they know nothing about those places. Instead of exposing themselves to new experiences, they bring what they know with them on their journey and return home as the same uninteresting person they were when they first set out.
The other breed consists of the more adventurous types. This doesn't mean they're roaming around the globe seeking near death experiences, this just means they're comfortable being uncomfortable and willing to immerse themselves in whatever it is they're doing. If they travel somewhere new, even if only for a day, they live there for that day. They don't visit a place, they make it their home for the duration. People of this breed make new lifelong friends wherever they go. When I cross paths with one of these individuals I immediately notice something different, yet familiar. It's as if we both were part of the same fraternity or grew up in the same town. Although we may have never met before, we feel an instant connection. The reason for this is because we're both part of what I'll call the Global Society. People that are members instantly recognize each other without saying a word. Even though we may have spawned from different corners of the globe, our roots are embedded everywhere. Some people that are part of this worldwide club may have never traveled a day in their life, but they possess an inquisitive nature and desire that expands their horizon beyond where the sun sets. It's always refreshing to stumble upon such individuals and share stories while at the same time adding another chapter to your own captivating autobiography. When parting ways you both feel like you've learned something new and know that you've made a friend for life, a friend that will most likely relate to you more than most of the friends you grew up with. The Global Society is the closest thing you'll find to a utopia, it's a place where race, religion, and politics have no relevance.
Members of the Global Society are some of the wealthiest people you'll ever meet, regardless of the monetary value of all their assets or what they have in the bank. These individuals are a wealth of knowledge and experience. These people keep you humble and modest and constantly remind you to ditch the blinders and look at the world with eyes wide open.
Awhile back I rode my bike down to the beach where the U.S./Mexico border fence runs into the Pacific Ocean. I was hanging out at Border Field State Park when I noticed this kid going back and forth between the two countries as he squeezed through the fence.
The photo below was taken about 15 minutes before the sun sank below the rim of the canyon walls. We started running in order to make as much progress as we could before it got dark. The backpacker running in the green shirt is Ryan, he grew up near Zion and was showing me around. Further in the distance you can barely see my friend Christine, she lives near Zion and we had been trying to coordinate this trip for about 3 years.
Last summer I decided to take a trip to Utah to explore Zion National Park. Over the years I had seen a lot of photos of Zion and decided that I needed to check it out in person. My original plan was to head out there in 2011 during a 4,000 mile solo road trip I was doing around the southwestern part of the U.S. Unfortunately I didn't have quite enough time to make it there and had to postpone. Finally at the end of May 2014 I had a bit of free time so I packed up my Saab wagon and drove from San Diego, CA to Saint George, UT. After about 6 and half hours I arrived, grabbed dinner, and met with a few locals I had befriended. The first day there I went on a solo hike to Three Ponds in Snow Canyon State Park. It was the beginning of June in the Utah desert so there definitely wasn't any snow in Snow Canyon and the 3 ponds turned out to be one small pool of stagnant water which was covered in dead flies. This was not the most pleasant thing to discover after trekking a few miles through really fine sand in 113°F/45°C heat.
A few days later I met with my new local friends and went to Zion. We did about a 5 mile hike in the morning that took us around one of the other parts of the park and then we headed to the Narrows after. I have to say The Narrows was definitely one of the most enjoyable hikes I've done. Not only is the terrain amazing, but hiking through the cool water in the shade while it's 100+ degrees out makes things much more pleasant. We probably hiked in about 3 miles and didn't start heading back until the sun was setting. Being in a canyon after dark was an interesting experience because it was pitch black, luckily I came prepared with my Petzl Headlamp. The downside to the headlamp was that it attracted a ton of Mayflies that started to circle my head so I eventually just used the headlamp like a regular flashlight.