Andraitx

We were all up before six this morning Mallorca bound. It was a longish passage we anticipated correctly having to make under engine, as the wind was slight and right on the nose. At 6.40 we had left harbour and Lara disappeared back to bed, this having been agreed the night before. At 7.08 we passed between the island and the isolated danger mark and turned onto our course for the next eight hours. I lay down on deck and closed my eyes. We had set out so quickly that my seasickness tablet did not have time to work, the sea state had not calmed with the drop in wind and the swell was swooshing through my insides. This left John stoically on watch till around half eleven, when the sea smoothed out and I surfaced again. I then helped look for lobster pots, but John still kindly wrote all the log entries for the day. He said I had not missed much, but he had slowed down to delay our arrival, because we were making such good time. Here in Spain we have found it is better to either arrive before two or after four. This is the hottest part of the day and everything very sensibly comes to an abrupt halt. There are people on duty, but they are running short handed, so it seems only courteous to not stress them unnecessarily. On emerging at half one Lara was much bemused by this delay. It is a bit wearing listening to the constant throb of engine for hours on end. On our journey up the west coast of Ibiza to Portinax we had been sailing and she had seen some little fat dolphins jump in unison around the bow, but on this journey there was nothing really to break the slog.

We were all relieved to see our destination come clearer into view and delighted by how pretty it looked. After a long sea crossing John had anticipated not wanting to have to risk finding a suitable space to anchor and had managed to book us into Andraitx. It is the location of the oldest yacht club on Mallorca and the pilot book had stated was impossible to get into, so we had not really studied it as a possibility. It turned out to be a lovely natural harbour wrapped in steep wooded hillsides. Mingling with the trees are houses in faded earth tones, very restful after the glowing whites of Ibiza. There are no high rise and even the holiday developments decried by the pilot book had mellowed into the vegetation. What was more the marina has a swimming pool, much more Lara’s idea of a place to swim. There was also a very swish looking restaurant, but after a day at sea we fancied a walk into the town and ventured across the very rickety wooden bridge.

By the time we set off it was late enough to eat. We were all hungry and had not ventured far when John spotted an Italian restaurant up a side street from the main quay. The restaurant spread over the street by means of a wooden veranda, so we squeezed past it to look at the menu displayed on a music stand. Italian restaurants usually offer more things for Lara to choose from and this menu had all the usual suspects. As we looked an tiny older lady drifted over to hover smiling and her presence tipped us into the decision to go in, even though we had not explored far. It turned out to be a most excellent choice. The proprietor, tall, dark and quiet spoken, handed us copies of the menu and then gently walked us through the days’ specials, looming over us and whispering of wonders elegant and simple. We were all mesmerized by the choice and avidly tried each others food after each course was served. Lara started with potato carpaccio, served thinly sliced on a huge plate topped with rocket and onto which our host grated generous slivers from a truffle. I had been tempted by this, but fancied the homemade taglietelli with truffle as my main course, so opted for the fish soup, which was rich and red and full of seafood served with a crisp slice of toast. John had carpaccio of melon with smoked salmon, which he reckoned was a combination to note. The sun went down and our host lit flaming torches, which he fitted onto brackets at the corners of the veranda. John had also selected a pasta main, with thick ribbons bathed in the sort of ragout the spoon would stand up in, while Lara had Pizza Capriccio. After eating half she had the vexed problem of whether to continue or leave room for a sweet and hoped she could take the other half for breakfast. “Yes you can!” came the answer and our host whisked it away, explaining to the old lady, who helped with the serving. She spoke no English, but smiled and spoke rapidly to us in Italian, approving of our not smoking and relieved there had been no fault with the pizza.

Our host racked his brain and murmured three mouthwatering descriptions of the days’ special deserts, half a dozen more were listed on the menu and I was full. Lara chose the chocolate soufflé special and promised me a taste. In turn I ordered the homemade biscuits to go with our coffees, so she could try one. Alas the biscuits were not baked yet. I had to choose a desert, he was looking at me offering me treat upon treat in lieu of the unbaked biscuits. I remembered lemon sorbet, surely that would be small and slip down. Would I like Vodka poured over it? I was already woozy from the Pino Grigio. “Perhaps then some Cava, just a little to lighten it?” Reader it was heavenly. Particularly after a spoonful of fabulously rich, warm chocolate soufflé, the mold for which had obviously been dusted in nuts to impart the slightest of peanut butter qualities. The restaurant is called La Fraschetta. If you go to Mallorca make pilgrimage to it.

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