From Syden with love

We have the strangest concept in Norway. It’s called ‘Syden’, and basically refers to all places offering the wholy trinity of Sun+Beach+Bar. Preferably in unlimited amounts.

San Francisco on tap... just the way we like it in 'syden'.

Loosely translated Syden means South, and geographically speaking it can be Greece, Mallorca or the Canary Islands. Even Thailand seems to count as Syden these days… The concept tends to include a charter flight, an all inclusive meal plan and a kiddies club.

Disco for kids is as 'syden' as it gets.

I don’t know why, but this weird concept fascinates me. I have been on several trips to ‘Syden’ as a kid, and whereas I thought I was discovering the world, little did I know that I didn’t actually see Mallorca all those years ago. Or Crete, or Gran Canaria. I was simply placed in a holiday atmosphere in order to soak up sunshine with a passion that only summer deprived Scandinavians can relate to.

 

Taurito valley beach. Sunshine guaranteed.

Three small surfer souls enjoy the Atlantic waves.

Recently I travelled to Gran Canaria to write a piece about a child friendly hotel in the Taurito Valley. And to be quite honest, I was shocked to be back on ‘Syden’ turf. There was cocktail on tap. There was sizzling skin. There was a dining hall which echoed and transformed every single child’s cry into daggers aimed at my ear drums. But nevermind. One doesn’t go to Syden to enjoy the silence. One goes there to come back with a tan and to be able to tell everybody about the endless hours spent by the pool.

This is what Syden is all about @ Taurito Paradise Lago Hotel.

 

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Palma through my crystal ball

Sometimes I feel rather courageous. Because believe me, it’s all down to courage when I dare to predict the future of tourism in Mallorca. This place is Ground Zero for package holidays as we know them today. The island’s capital, Palma,  saw the arrival of the very first charter flights in the late fifties. And what did the Mallorcans do?

To sum it up in three words: Build, build, build…. in the name of revenue and in order to accommodate all those souls lusting for sunshine, beach bumming and sangria.

The result is a shoreline littered with high-rise hotels. They are still standing firm, too close to the beach, too boring to look at and way too old fashioned to attract the elite traveller.

But hang on. Aren’t we celebrating Danish Functionalism as one of the hippest retro styles there is at the moment? And what about the funky Bauhaus style advocated by architect guru Mies van der Rohe? These old, yet very trendy styles have in common that they lasted for approximately ten years each. Bauhaus flourished between 1920 – 1930’s, and the Danish functionalism had its peak in the 1960’s.

Who is to say the concrete jungle we know as the Bay of Palma will not shake off its dusty facade and re-invent itself as retro cool? Could it be that the coast from Magaluf in the West to Arenal in the East will re-gain claim as a cultural destination where one can travel to experience pigeon hole living in its most authentic way?

The Bay of Palma has a lot going for it, maybe even a concrete jungle?

I say YES! Give it five more years and I bet some of the old high-rise hotels will start advertising themselves as authentic 70’s buildings with a renovated interior. And who knows, maybe we’ll even have tour groups organizing Concrete Jungle excursions?

Failing all of the above, there’s always this to ensure future tourism: