Our honeymoon in Mallorca – with a screaming toddler, unreliable stomachs and no toilet roll | Majorca vacation

“It’s your turn…she’s awake”

Heavy, loaded, silence.

“But I did it… are you sure it’s not yours?”

The AC sputters like it can’t handle the voltage let alone the heat. The curtains hang limply, eavesdropping.

‘Come quickly, before she wakes up. The diapers are on the side. Would you pass on that paracetamol?

The hollow thwWhen a thin package hits a headboard with a little too much force.

“It is your turn.”

“I am ill!”

“Me too, we all are!”

“Yes, But I’m Worse”

Outside the open window: clinking glasses, conversation, laughter. Mockingly, the sound of revelry fills the hotel room. The air conditioner hums. Silence. And then …

Baby squeaks.

“Happy Honeymoon!”


WWe are staying in the old town of Palma for the first night of our honeymoon. A night to acclimatise in a hotel before traveling for a few days in a villa to Pollença on the north coast of Mallorca. The thought of sinking into a pool with a beer in the condensation layer has kept us both going for weeks, even months. We are getting married in two weeks and have our 18 month old toddler in tow. This is unknown territory.

We haven’t been on a plane in over three years – this is a honeymoon splurge, an airplane-shaped bunion on our otherwise well-cared-for carbon footprint. A wave of fear, excitement and guilt, then, as we roll toward safety. It turns out that a small person is a handy airport attendant. It’s doubtful that the drug smuggling cartels of this world read the Guardian travel section looking for tips, but our advice to those guys would be: get a stroller. Pitying looks, friendly, cooing security guards and sanctioned queue jumping. With great speed we drove to the gate. Excited, one of us started using the phrase “paed-y boarding”. The other emphatically did not.

The flight goes smoothly.

Dodgy boquerones Photo: James Wallace

We drop off our bags at the hotel and head to a nearby bar to order some boquerones (anchovy) and patatas Bravas and dizzily drink two carafes of wine. The baby sleeps in her pram and the alcohol and the sticky evening heat make us dizzy. We roll through the Parc de la Mar, flanked on either side by the butterscotch sandstone of the 14th-century Gothic cathedral La Seu and the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. Tired but satisfied, we saunter back to the hotel, while the stroller clatters lightly on the smooth marble streets.

A few hours later, the baby wakes up and vomits the three packets of raisins we propitiated her on the plane. Since this is clearly a “code red” situation, we both spring into action, one comforting while the other cleans. An hour or so later, and all is quiet. That is until one of us gets a meaty electric shock from a faulty nightstand plug. The baby wakes up. cries. vomits. We sit up on our phones, one googling “Baby puke after first flight” and “how many raisins is too many raisins?” the other “side effects of electric shock”. An hour later, one of us wakes up with a tingling arm and a slight disappointment that they’re not suddenly fluent in Spanish. The other with a creeping fear. Abdominal cramps and rushing for the bathroom.

Dodgy boquerones.

At daybreak at reception, the electrocution is emphasized and exaggerated – a late checkout is laboriously negotiated. A few extra hours that are as grim to us as they are begrudged by the hotel staff. Later we bundle baby, bags and ourselves in a taxi to pick up the rental car. After a torturous, gurgling wait for a properly sized car seat, we hit the road (“RIGHT HAND SIDE!”)

The slightly less affected among us, the one with the famous “iron stomach”, is behind the wheel. We head north through the bowels of the island on the MA13 – bad luck for some?

We arrive at the villa in a heat of 40C. After all, we asked for sun. The iron stomach melts as soon as the threshold is crossed. The villa is beautiful but there is no toilet roll, no kitchen roll and no tissues. No cleaning products of any kind. Nothing.

A desperate voicemail is left with Wanda, the villa manager, whose number is written on a laminated card titled “Wanda’s Tips” where the baby is already teething. Our daughter is oblivious, fearless and incessant with her need to play and eat.

A plan is hatched: one of us drives to a local store to pick up “essentials,” while the other keeps an eye on the baby and her desire to climb the steep stairwell. Twenty minutes later the car returns, freshly squeezed. An unseen concrete pillar “just appeared” in the parking garage. The baby is screaming at the foot of the stairs and no supplies have been bought.

The doorbell rings, bringing a truce.

“You’ve seen The Night Manager? That great palace where the evil Hugh Laurie lives? Majorca. The seafood restaurant where the little boy is kidnapped? Majorca.”

Wanda’s estuary sound has been unabated on the island for 20 years. She arrives not armed with Domestos or Andrex, but with a map, a bottle of fizz and lots of enthusiastic sightseeing suggestions.

“Have you seen the Škoda ad? The one on the cliff? Majorca. And I’m not even talking about Made in Chelsea or the Love Islands.”

“Thanks Wanda. About that toilet roll…?


WThey take turns sleeping and getting older. A sorry, largely silent tag team. It takes us two days to get over the worst. Breadsticks provide just enough fuel for us to gruntly communicate and push the baby slowly around the pool on a rubber flamingo.

On day three we carefully venture into Pollença. The charming old town meanders in the shadow of the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana, and while we didn’t climb the 365 steps on El Calvari – a steep walkway lined with cypress trees that recreates Jesus’ last journey – we appreciate its beauty and energy of those who do.

The author's daughter on the beach
The author’s daughter on the beach Photo: James Wallace

Instead we try a glass of wine in the shadow of the main square. The city is gearing up to celebrate the Patrona Festival, a week-long celebration that will culminate in a mock battle between Moors and Christians. One evening after dinner we drive to nearby Port de Pollença, past the shops selling spades and fridge magnets, keeping the sea to our right, along the pine-clad promenade to a secluded spot facing the sea. Wanda’s tips to be worth the effort.

Majorca is busy. This is mid August. But there’s no crowd anywhere at 5 a.m. — the baby’s chosen time to put on her linen dungarees and carpe diem. One morning we drive the awe-inspiring and gutsy road to Cap de Formentor, the rocky tip of the peninsula overlooking Cala Figuera. We grab a bottle, some raisins and saunter down a steep path as the sun rises behind us. The sandy beach is empty, the sea clear and warm.

On our penultimate morning we drive over the mountains, through the Golden valley, to Sóller. The 57 hairpin bends take us past the monastery of Lluc and the Gorg Blau. It’s a spectacular drive, even in a squeezed rental car, reminiscent of the opening scenes of a Bond movie or, with luck, the closing scene of The Italian Job. The sky-blue mountain reservoir looks somewhat ominous in the morning light. We arrive in Sóller in time for coffee and another ensaimada. A local delicacy with a Jewish heritage, the airy Frisbee-sized pastry has proven to be the ideal beige ballast.

We don’t take “Red Lightning”, the rickety wooden tram to the Port de Sóller – it’s too busy so the pram won’t fit. Instead, we continue through Deià, surrounded by orange groves, then to Valldemossa, the highest town in Mallorca, in time for lunch. Chopin and his beloved George Sand lived here, among almond trees and monks. We soundtrack the ride back with some of Frédéric’s piano concertos, it’s a nice change from endless Sing and Sign. The baby doesn’t mind; the numerous hairpin bends lull her to sleep in record time.

James and Victoria on their wedding day two weeks later
Happy ending… James and Victoria on their wedding day two weeks later

On our last day we make the most of the villa. Fully recovered, we notice well the rugged views, the surprisingly relaxing bleating of Balearic goats scattered on the mountain opposite. The baby’s growing confidence in the pool has long since thrown off the flamingo. On our last evening we brave tapas, including fish, drink Wanda’s fizz and toast to the honeymoon and the wedding to come. The sun is setting and the sky is as pink as the hibiscus hugging the terrace. We turn to each other, ready to say those three little words.

The baby monitor screams, puncturing the moment.

“It is your turn!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *