Saturday, 9 July 2011

Alcúdia Old Town - In the Market for Roman Ruins

Getting back to our holiday to Mallorca in May, it was day two, the day after we'd realised that we'd forgotten how to relax. As we woke up to bright sunshine that cast rainbows onto our hotel room floor it wasn't long before we'd found the bar and the pool.

Shadow in the Rainbow

After a swim and some writing/reading and more drinks we took some time out of the sun in our room and watched the first couple of episodes of season one of 'How I Met Your Mother' on DVD on the laptop. It didn't take long for us to be totally addicted and the couple of episodes turned into half a dozen. It was a slow paced day, we watched the episodes with Vodka Sunrise cocktails and later enjoyed some more of the sun before heading along in the evening to the hotels film quiz.

We sucked at the quiz but after it it was announced there was to be a walk to the weekly market held in the old town of Alcúdia the next day, so keen to get our bearings anyway we made plans to head along. The market happens every Tuesday and Thursday in summer and though we were trying to take it easy, a bit of sightseeing and adventure was just the thing to tip the scales.

Slanty Trees

So day 3 began with a 2.5 mile walk to Alcudia Old Town where we the only ones except our guide to have thought the hike was a good idea. It was their loss as we chatted to our guide and found out a bit more about the area, the hotel and our guide himself. There were local and regional elections taking place in the area and like Northern Ireland at similar times, every lamp post and miscellaneous empty spot with a vantage point was being used to display election campaign banners and posters.

It was a nice walk, it wasn't too hot. When we arrived outside the walls of the town that date back to the 14th century we parted company with our guide for the day and went off exploring.

Walled City of Alcúdia

First of all we checked out the market which stretched from the lower walls at the base of the hill all the way through the lower part of the town. The market was very busy with people, mainly tourists but nothing much appeared to be being bought.

Alcudia Market

Except for the food sellers, most of the traders there seemed to be offering almost identical goods. The same bags, leather goods, t-shirts, jewellery and salt and pepper shakers adorned the packed stalls. I wasn't really impressed or interested to be honest and it seemed there were not many other people who were either. I'm probably just not the demographic for the goods on sale, I wasn't alone though as Norngirl didn't buy anything in the market itself either and found more that interested when she ventured into the regular shops, most of which were clothes and souvenir shops

Street in Alcúdia Old Town

Alcúdia Old Town itself was very pretty and picturesque. A stroll around the town through its grid like puzzle of tight streets was like stepping back in time.

Narrow street in Alcúdia Old Town

At the peak of the hill stands a grand building called the Church of St Jaume that was apparently (according to unsourced sources) finished in 1893.

Church of St Jaume Alcudia

Spirit of Flowers

Door to the Church of St Jaume

On our way around the town walled town we stopped for a beer and watched the world go by before carrying on to the tourist information centre. There we found some helpful leaflets about the island and the local area. One thing we did want to see were the ruins of the former Roman town. So that's where we headed next.

Alcudia Roman Archaeological Site

The entrance fee for the Roman Ruins was €3 and that included access to the small museum across the road from the Church which contained some of the archaeological artefacts from the site. The museum part was interesting but very small, really just the one big room with modern displays featuring the best major finds from the excavations of the site.

The best part though were the ruins. They are a good bit of a walk if you want to see everything including the amphitheatre but well worth it. Walking around the site gives quite an insight into the Roman settlement that once existed.

Alcúdia Roman Ruins

With the exposed foundations of buildings, a fair few pillars and more well preserved stone features there is lots to see, the site also has lots of information boards that explain the ins and outs of what your looking at.

Site of Roman Ruins

We had fun down by the amphitheatre, pretending to be gladiators. Norngirl also did a wee rendition of I'm a little teapot... don't ask, though it was a very good rendition.

Roman Amphitheater in Alcúdia

There were lots of nice views from the site too, like these poppies in a nearby field.


It was a really nice town to visit, the beer not too expensive, the tourist attractions very cheap (3 Euro's for the Ruins and Museum was a bargain) and plenty of history there to be seen, from walking the walls to visiting the church. We even made it back to admire the walls some more later in the week but more on that later.

Alcúdia Walls

All cultured out for the day and beginning to crave more 'How I Met Your Mother', we headed down into Alcudia Port. Realising that we enjoyed - or were at least capable - of relaxing by being active (yet still unable to unwind by sitting around or taking it completely easy) we booked ourselves onto a tour to Lluc and Soller for later on in the week.

The port part of Alcúdia is just a big tourist resort and the further south around the coast we saw later in the week, the more tourist-centric it seemed to become - at least the bigger the hotels got and the more fast food was on offer, very much not our thing. We headed back towards the calm of Alcanada and our hotel but before we did we stopped in a cafe and we got some refreshments. My drink being a usual that I have at home in teabag form but here I had a very nice tea leaf filtered cup of Rooiboss tea and it was very refreshing. Almost as refreshing as some of the oranges growing in gardens by the side of the road on the short walk between the Old Town and the port.

Orange Tree

We walked back to the hotel and in total it turns out we had walked a good 6 miles during the day by the time we got back to our room. Our feet were really starting to feel it so it was a quick dress change before plunging ourselves into an empty and very soothing swimming pool.

The rest of the day we did spend relaxing, turns out a long walk and tiring yourselves out is good way to facilitate relaxation of the lazy variety - it dawned on us this is probably one of the reasons why we love visiting big cities and sightseeing so much.

The evenings entertainment in the hotel was a thing called the 'Crazy Mix' and lets just say it was unique. We agreed after the show that the ladies who work there really don't get paid enough... because you couldn't have paid us to do what they did for anything short of a small fortune. We retired to our room with some drinks and day four was to be known as 'Gym Day'.

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