Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Dragon that Wasn't

cuevos del drach porto cristo mallorcaToday was Cuevos del Drach day. The Dragon Caves are a bona fide listed actual real tourist attraction and have been recommended to us by 2 separate acquaintances.
The day started so early Bud had to go to the far-far-away restaurant to reach the only functioning coffee machine. But, even though much planning had been done, we drifted way behind schedule and ended up in a big queue for zero taxis at the busiest time of the day.
cuevos del drach porto cristo mallorcaFortunately the one that arrived for the Flemish couple and their son was a six-seater so we all got on, dropped them off at Porto Cristo for the Sunday Market and they gave us 5 Euros towards the cab fare (7.80) onwards to the Caves of Drach.
This is a legend about a dragon who was trapped there millions of years ago or who still lies dormant in an undiscovered side cave or whatever, call him the Gecko of the grotto. The entrance is some distance away from the ticket office so we joined about 300 people in the covered waiting area.
The whole tour takes an hour and they do them in batches of about 300 because of the number of benches available for the musical interlude, and the number of staff they have to make sure you don't try to break off a stalactite keepsake.
cuevos del drach porto cristo mallorcaAnyway, the entrance smells like Wookey Hole or Cheddar Gorge but I don't think they mature locally grown cheeses in it. There are quite a lot of steps down and the stalactites etc start straight away. This is an epic cave system, much better than the 2 previously mentioned.
In some you can see down crevasses to ponds or up domes and it's well-lit and there are dribbly dribble-snots dripping off the stalactites absolutely everywhere, with basilisk-skin areas and snot gurblers and straws coming out of the roof and coloured bits where minerals have dissolved in from the rocks above - you're 25 metres below ground level.
The passage is long and winding with a decent walkway and there are lots of ponds and lakes of various sizes and we enjoyed naming all the funny rock formations like the Sheep, Ghostie, lots of organ pipes and the lake surfaces reflected so much you couldn't tell which way up you were until one of the stalactites dripped and then you could see where the underworld began because of the ripples.
cuevos del drach porto cristo mallorca
At last you get to a vast cavern with Lake Martel (named after the first proper explorer, he has a statue outside) and you all shuffle up onto uncomfortable benches and wait ages for stragglers. The man on the microphone explains things in 4 languages but because of the dodgy subterranean acoustics they all come across the same ie Lithuanian on acid by a Dalek.
The lights go down and ... gradually you see lights starting from 100 yards away on this huge lake and hear the distant strains of Air in G by Bach and a boat slowly arrives with lights around the outside. Charon himself rows it, and on board, you can barely see a lady playing the piano, a chap on violin and another with a slightly out-of-tune cello.
They proceed sedately along the lake followed by 2 similarly lit but empty boats with Charon's interns rowing. They all park around the corner so you can see just how big this lake is (200 yards) and do 3 more lengthy classical pieces while your botties go to sleep on the hard benches.
porto cristo main squareI fidgeted throughout but eventually the ordeal was over and the musical rowboat wandered off again and loudspeaker man did another speech in 4 identical alien languages, leaving all 4 races present unsure of where to go next. Independently the inhabitants of the Tower of Babel (or perhaps the Mineshaft of Babel) worked out that the 2 empty boats would be ferrying people to the exit or you could just walk along the gangway so we did.
porto cristo tourist shops mallorcaThen you ascend 25 metres back up through solid rock (although you get to use the cave tunnels, thoughtfully carved out by water 55 million years ago) back to the surface and then you remember just how hot it is at noon on Mallorca.
Purchased some tat in the shop and squashed 2 souvenir pennies (5 Eurocents) and walked into Porto Cristo once more. There we visited about 5 more quality tat shops and dispensed our Tourist Euros freely in all of them. We got T-shirts of jollity and gaiety (I got a Pokémon Go, Jof got one with geckoes, Grandad one with a sailboat, for he used to win many prizes for sailing). I really wanted the cutlasses, kukris and machetes but settled for a paella fridge magnet, Jof loves her brightly coloured plateware and we got gemstones and a laserpen.
naked mermaid with big nipplesLunch beckoned and Jofs' feet were tired so we found an outside restaurant right by the Sunday Market, across the road from the statue of the mermaid with the outstanding nipples and a squirter coming out of her head. The Tren sailed past without stopping, for that is what it does best.
Lunches in Spain are extremely leisurely affairs, it all seemed to take ages unless they didn't like us because we got our initial drinks order wrong. Jof was disappointed with her toastie ham sandwich and chips, I always like a good Prosciutto pizza and Bud was happy with his fried tentacles with unknown cubes, peas and BIG lumps of garlic, a local delicacy apparently.
Toured the bay to see the bathing beauties, cliff caves and landing stage you can dive off for the kids. Got another taxi (we're experts now) back to Hotel Chlamydia where Jof went to sleep so we went swimming.
Our hotel transfer bus departure time still hadn't been listed in the Reps section, cutting it a bit fine for being marooned in Majorca.
insotel cala mandia mallorca main restaurant
Supper was possibly a bit late due to snoozes so we were shown to a free table by the walkway which made it easier to circumnavigate the chow dispensers and I had pasta and cherries mostly. Managed to cheekily create a table 8 feet from the stage margins for the entertainment but I chose to sit at the front with the other kids.
The players were 2 chaps and a girl who were very good. They did a notable performance of musical hits that I know from my theatricals including Disney's The Rather Plump Mermaid (I'm a Diva playing a fish), we called the girl Vanessa Parody as she wore a fatsuit and sang a cover of Adele's Skyfall with lyrics such as "I like trifle, apple crumble..". When they said we need helpers for this number, I was the first of 73 to apply so I boogied the night away in my bright yellow T-shirt until 2342 when I yawned my last.

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