Do you like living in Mallorca?

We were asked this week to write about why we love Majorca for the papers special Valentines edition. I started writing and unfortunately then completely forgot so I thought I’d quickly add what I’d already written to this weeks column. 

Having moved here in 1990 I still get asked, do you like living in Majorca? Daft question really but to someone whose never lived here they don’t know any different. I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the World but for me nothing beats this Island. It definitely is an island of contrast and different people fall in love with different parts of the island. The Capital Palma has become one of the most popular weekend break cities with amazing architecture, boutique hotels, shopping, amazing food, and trendy bars and clubs. The mountains of the West are without doubt the most spectacular you’ll ever see. The beautiful bays of the North gives the Caribbean a run for their money and the caves and coves of the east coast make it a total island of contrast. Do I love Majorca? Totally!

I’m at the end of week 2 of my fitness regime. Last Friday I walked into the gym expecting an easy session as we’d worked hard all week. Paul says we’re going out today Richie. A nice leisurely stroll I thought until we reached the Santa Ponsa steps. For those of you not familiar with said steps, there are 600 of them and they run from the beach right to the top of the hill. Let’s just say it’s tough and just when you think you’ve got to the top there’s another level. Coming back down wasn’t easy either and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the next time.

All the hotel associations of Mallorca, Menorca Ibiza and Formentera have called for the Tourist Tax to be scrapped. So interesting to see that Edinburgh is one step closer to becoming the first city in the UK to introduce a tourist tax after the move was approved by councillors.

Plans for the transient visitor levy(Posh name)include a £2 per night room charge, an exemption for campsites, a cap of seven consecutive nights and investing an estimated £14.6 million every year.

Edinburgh would follow in the footsteps of European cities such as Paris and Barcelona and us here in the Balearics, while Bath and Oxford councils have also called for powers to charge visitors.

A recent public consultation indicated 51% of accommodation providers and 91% of residents supported the introduction of TVL.

The council estimates the proposals could raise between £11.6 million and £14.6 million per year. It doesn’t say as where the money raised will be spent as that is something that is questionable here but it’s an interesting development. 

Reddit the American social news website has asked its users to come up with the 20 best names for fantasy football teams this season and there’s some good ones here. 

• Chicken Tikka Mo Salah

• NoIngsMeeNoAyew . . . Zaha!

• Me, My Delph And I

• Show Me Da Mane

• Ctrl Alt De Laet

• Neville Wears Prada

• HuttonDressedAsLahm

• Michu At De Gea Ba

• You Petr Cech Yourself

• When Harry Met Alli

• Ospina Colada

• Men Behaving Chadli

• Obi-Wan Iwobi

• Willian Dollar Baby

• One Flew Over Lukaku’s Nest

• Game Of Throw-ins

• The Wizard Of Ozil

• Gylfi Pleasure

• Boom Xhakalaka

• Flying Without Ings

In our predictor league the best name in my opinion is 1-F-in-Fulham. 

Real Mallorca continued their poor away form with a 2-0 loss versus top of the table Albacete last weekend. They are in 9th place in La Liga 123 just 2 points from the play-offs and they have a home game this weekend against 18th placed Lugo. Kick-off is on Sunday at 12 midday. I must mention our other island based professional team Atlético Baleares who are currently in 2nd place in Segunda B just 1 point off of the top. They currently have 2 players on loan from the Premier League and the Championship. Sam Shashoua is a 20yr old attacking midfielder who joined Baleares last summer on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and 19yr old forward Ody Alfa joined from QPR in the January transfer window. It’s great to see these younger players over here. 

Another mixed bag for my boys this week, Jude my youngest got beat 4-1 but I must give a shoutout to my eldest Jake. You may remember last week I said Dad Taxi had an early start on Sunday to be in Manacor by 08.45. In fact it was still dark when we left and we knew we were in for a tough game against a team 15 points above us in the league. We were awarded a free-kick on the right hand side of the penalty area and as Jake is left footed the coach asked him to take it. He looked like he was shaping for a cross and I was shouting at him to have a shot. What transpired was a truly delightful strike that beat the keeper at the near post causing wild celebrations and earning us a 1-1 draw. He said to me afterwards that he was actually aiming for the other corner but to be honest you’d never had known. Luckily one of the Dads had recorded it and I shared it on social media. To date it has been viewed over 1300 times! Jude has a weekend off but Jake has a derby game against the other San Francisco team on Sunday so that will be an interesting one. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

Love is in the Air?

So last Friday I took the plunge and headed off to the Shambhala Gym in Santa Ponsa and my new trainer Paul Hamilton. I’ve decided to get some poundage off for the Radiothon Charities. A week later on my fourth visit I’m still alive, just! Paul’s a hard task master and a boxing trainer by profession so he’s definitely working with a heavyweight here. I’m not going to lie it’s been tough and made even tougher as I’ve got man flu too! No sympathy though so hopefully the results will come. I’ll be looking to get some sponsorship soon so stay tuned. 

Next week is Valentines for all you lovers out there. It is the second best dining out day of the year behind Mother’s Day and whether you celebrate or not, it’s still a massive day in our year. Over £650 million was spent in Britain in 2018, an increase of 5% on the previous year. The huge spend last year made Valentine’s Day the largest spending retail event in the first half of the year, overtaking Easter. But I stumbled upon this story this week, Poundland’s engagement rings have been snapped up by Brits across the country, with the budget retailer claiming to have sold 20,000 in just one week!

The pound shop’s “Bling Ring” range, which are marketed as so-called placeholder rings, caused a huge stir when they went on sale last month.

The cheap jewellery range divided the nation, with some saying it was perfect for couples looking to choose their rings together, while others said your partner should be picking the ring for you.

One poster said: ‘Is this not the best idea ever? Buy a cheap ring from Poundland to propose then go to the shop so you can pick a proper one together.’

But another commenter asked: ‘Why would anyone want to pick their own ring? Isn’t the point of it that the man you love has chosen it for you?’

The rings are being marketed as placeholders, so that the happy couple can go and pick out their real engagement rings together.

One person simply added: ‘Nothing says undying love like an engagement ring from Poundland.’ I say it every year but I love my Wife for 365 days so a card and flowers isn’t going to change that! And they say romance is dead. Actually my fellow writers and I have been asked to contribute to the Bulletins Valentines Day Special. I for one can’t wait for my old mate Frank Leavers contribution. Although he tells me I’ve got him all wrong. He’s the blue rinse pin up don’t you know!

Last week was billed as the greatest show in American Football but unfortunately unless you supported the Patriots(the winners) it was a big disappointment and certainly not worth staying up to 5am in the morning. I was just waking up as they were presenting the trophy relieved that I hadn’t put myself through it. 

If you remember I talked last week about the eventual losers the LA Rams who are owned by “silent” Stan Kroenke. He’s also the owner of my team Arsenal but our man Stanley doesn’t stop there. He also owns the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, and the newly formed Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League.( no me neither) In fact I read up on it and I still don’t get it! Not a bad portfolio but Stan has this silent reputation which doesn’t go down well with the fans. Take Arsenal for example he now has a controlling interest in the club and told new Manager Unai Emery in the transfer window he could only get in loan players. This is a club that despite not being in the Champions League pulled in just shy of £150 million from TV and where they finished in the league last season. They also have the highest season ticket prices and we haven’t started on the stadium, shirt and shirt manufacturers sponsorships plus charging me £10 for a pie and a pint! Let’s not go into what I spent in the shop with my two who always want the most up to date shirts and new players names. Am I having a go at my Club? In short, yes because to say you can only get in loans and before that you gave Mesut Ozil £350,000 a week! By the way given to him by two men, Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis who no longer work at the club. Unfortunately football has gone beyond the ordinary fan and I think it’s a blessing I live here in Mallorca and can only go once or twice a year. I used to go to Highbury most Saturday’s when I was a kid and we used to get there at 1pm, pay £5 so you could make sure you got the place you always stood in. That’s all changed now, they are my team and I’ll always support them but more from the armchair here in a sunny, warm Mallorca. In fact me and the boys love going to watch Real Mallorca and mine and the boys season tickets cost less than the price I paid for 3 tickets to Arsenal v Burnley at Christmas. Interestingly Mallorca are also owned by Americans, Robert Sarver owns the NBA team the Phoenix Suns. Now I know the Mallorquines aren’t too happy that their club is owned by a foreigner. But in this case in my opinion you can’t knock them they’ve basically saved the Club from probably disappearing due to the total mis-management of previous owners some of whom were in fact Mallorquín. Their dream is to take the club back to La Liga and it might just happen this season, if not I’m sure they will reinvest for a stronger push next season. I hear that our centre half Raillo was part of a bid from Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day and the club turned them down as they had’nt met the buy out clause in his contract. That to me shows ambition as they could have quite easily banked the 2 million on offer. A good win last Sunday despite going down to 10 men means they lie in 7th place just outside the play-offs with a difficult match away this weekend against the league leaders Albacete. Mixed fortunes for my two this week, Jude my youngest got a hard fought 2-1 win on Saturday but my eldest Jake got gubbed 5-0 at home. 

Just the small matter of being in Manacor on Sunday morning at 8.45 in the morning for my eldest, so Dad Taxi will be certainly earning his money!

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

An English Football Tradition that should never die!

Where did January go? Great I suppose for those of you doing dry January as the month seemed to fly by. A short month of February now and we’ll be into March and the island will be coming out of its winter hibernation. We have elections here at the end of May and I’ve said many times on here that will there be a political party that will get rid of the Tourist Tax and the new holiday rental legislation? Sure enough the PP President Biel Company, said this week that the party will eliminate the tourist tax in the low season. He also said that they will reverse everything that is “not correct” with regard to holiday rentals legislation. So the battle lines are beginning to be drawn and it will be interesting to see where this goes. 

Mallorca has lots of opportunities to showcase how beautiful it is with tv programmes such as Love Island and The Night Manager. But this Autumn will be probably be one of the best so far. Tennis legend Rafa Nadal will be marrying his girlfriend of 14 years Xisca Perelló which undoubtedly will be the wedding of the year and will grab the Worlds press attention. Where will it be? Who will be invited? Good luck to the wedding planner!

I love the FA Cup and I love an FA Cup weekend and last week was no exception. Well it didn’t get off to a great start with my team Arsenal getting gubbed 3-1 by Man Utd but after that it was for me what the Cup is all about. Frank Lampards Derby were away at what looked a tricky tie at Accrington Stanley(who are they?). The pitch was a leveler but Lampard who has a great Cup pedigree took the match seriously and got the result. Other teams that didn’t take it seriously and got beat included the other team from North London (Spurs to you), Newcastle, Everton and West Ham. All have good enough teams to win the competition but see Premiership survival or qualifying for Europe as being more important. So why is that? Well if you look at the table below you will see 4th round winners receive £180,000 a great windfall for teams like Millwall and Wimbledon who defeated Everton and West Ham but nowhere near what teams get for surviving in the Premier League. Below is what you get from the third round to winning the FA Cup.

Third Round Proper winners                       £135,000

Fourth Round Proper winners                    £180,000

Fifth Round Proper winners                        £360,000

Quarter-Final winners                                 £720,000

Semi-Final winners                                      £1,800,000

Semi-Final losers                                         £900,000

Final runners-up                                          £1,800,000

Final winners                                                £3,600,000

Compare and contrast that to what you get in the Premier League. Manchester United were the biggest beneficiaries of the Premier League’s huge pot of prize money and TV income for the 2017-18 season. They got £149.8 million and Huddersfield who finished 17th got £102.4 million!

Each club takes an equal share of £80.4million, while the rest is divided depending on the final league position and the number of televised matches.

There is a minimum for TV income, set at £12.3million for hosting up to 10 games, with clubs earning an extra £1.1million on top of that for each game over 10. Prize money is awarded per league position, with each side earning £1.9million for every place they finish above bottom. 

So there you have it, it’s money driven. Most clubs are run by foreign owners who don’t know the traditions of the FA Cup and quite frankly don’t really care. 

Quite a few clubs including my own are run by Americans. In fact the LA Rams who play in this weekends Super Bowl are also run by Stan Kroenke (silent Stan as he’s known at the Emirates). It’s a huge event in the States and this year is no exception. The LA Rams will play the New England Patriots Sunday night in Atlanta. Super Bowl LIII will be the 11th appearance for the Patriots as well as the fourth appearance for the Rams. The Patriots have won eight Super Bowl titles, while the Rams have just one. The average cost of a Super Bowl ticket on the resale market is $7,166. I wonder if they have the same blokes that you see at football matches who will “buy any spares!”? 

The average American consumes 2,400 calories at Super Bowl parties, with a national consumption average of 1.38 billion chicken wings, 8 million pounds of guacamole and 14,500 tons of chips. Nearly 52 million cases of beer are bought on Super Bowl Sunday.

The cost of a 30-second ad during this Sunday’s game averages around $5.24 million. Volkswagen’s 2011 Super Bowl ad (the one with the child dressed as Darth Vader trying to start a car by using “the force”) is the most-shared Super Bowl ad with 5.3 million shares. 

Following in the footsteps of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and more, three-time Grammy winning band Maroon 5 is this year’s half-time headliner. They will be joined by Travis Scott, a Grammy nominated rapper, and Big Boi, who is from Atlanta. 

Kick-off is 00.30 here and 23.30 Uk so it should be just finishing when I’m getting up for Monday mornings breakfast show. 

Real Mallorca got a 1-1 draw last weekend away in Cadiz which on paper looks a good result but Cadiz equalised in the last 5 minutes and had 2 players sent-off so not so good. This Sunday they’re at home to Alcorcon, kick-off 12 midday at the Son Moix and let’s hope their 3 new signings make a good start. Both my sons got beat heavily last weekend for their respective football teams so we’re hoping for better things this week. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

We Need to go Greener!

Last Year we donated some of our Radiothon money to Asociación Ondine. Brad Robertson and his team do an amazing job here on the island. Their mission is to enable the Balearic sea to recover its rich biodiversity and to thrive in harmony with a prospering, environmentally conscious and proactive local population. One of the things they do is organise beach leans once a month around Mallorca. The next one is on Sunday February 10th at 11.00 in El Peñon beach in Palma. Ondine beach cleans are not just about removing the waste they find on the beach, they are also an educational activity helping participants to become aware of the increasing plastic pollution problem. They also collect data for a global scientific survey whilst sharing ideas and solutions. The aim is to reduce the impact of plastic pollution through education, team work and making small changes in our daily routine, in time influencing companies and legislators. Last Year 1118 volunteers helped clear 59,399 objects from our beaches weighing an unbelievable 941.4kg! If that doesn’t get you out of your bed on a Sunday nothing will. I have been on a couple of these with my kids they’re actually great fun and they are exactly what they say above. 

Sir David Attenborough was talking to Prince William this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos and he said “we already know that of course the plastics problem in the seas is wreaking appalling damage on marine life – the extent of which we don’t yet fully know.”

Last year, Sir David said he was “astonished” by the response to Blue Planet II, which raised the issue of single-use plastics and the damage they were doing to the world’s oceans.

Have a look at the list below and see how many you do. I’m ashamed to say I had 13 out of the 20 I didn’t do. One of the questions I have is, the supermarket I go to has bio-degradable bags or the re-usable bags to buy, yet they ask me to put my fruit and veg into plastic bags?

Top 20 things Brits do because it’s more convenient than being green

1. Buy new batteries instead of rechargeable ones

2. Use a plastic straw

3. Pay for a 5p plastic bag instead of remembering re-usable shopping bags

4. Put fresh fruit and veg in a plastic bag at the supermarket

5. Leave lights turned on when not in the room

6. Buy a plastic bottle of water instead of carrying one to reuse

7. Leave plug sockets switched on even when they aren’t in use

8. Drive instead of walk short distances

9. Throw out plastic food packaging instead of washing it out to recycle it

10. Use a tumble dryer instead of hanging clothes on the line

11. Put something recyclable into the bin instead of sorting it into the right recycling box

12. Throw food away which could have been eaten or reused

13. Boil a full kettle for one cup of tea

14. Buy paint in plastic pots instead of metal, which can be recycled

15. Use a new coffee cup with your takeaway coffee instead of taking a reusable one

16. Still ask for paper bills rather than go paperless

17. Leave a tap running for a long time when not in use

18. Have the heating on while also having windows open

19. Leave the shower turned on when not in use

20. Wash laundry on a hot wash when it doesn’t need it

I’m interviewing Brad from Ondine next week on the radio.

Last week I told you about a clever marketing tool from Tyrells who had launched some Valentines crisps. Well I’ve found another one. Last Monday was “Blue Monday” The third Monday of January is billed as the most depressing day of the year, citing factors such as the wind down from Christmas, financial woes, the weather, broken new year’s resolutions and the length of time until the next public holiday. So in answer to that KFC has launched a gravy-scented candle, to cheer up its customers! A spokesperson said “You’re not dreaming. You really can now fill your home with the incredible aroma of KFC gravy with this limited edited candle… it’s staggeringly nose stimulating.” While The Colonel’s trusted parfumier(trusted parfumier, really?) said: “What an honour it was to create a candle with such a highly-beloved scent. Initially the different ingredients within the gravy were split into their constituent parts and fragrances matched to each.

“Then the scent was built component by component in the similar ratios as KFC’s iconic gravy. “The artisanal approach to creating the candles was crucial to ensure the familiar and evocative aroma of gravy was perfectly captured.”

KFC has gone one step further by launching a gravy mega box in resturants for just £3.99 to tie into the theme. There you go the sale at the end! 

I wonder how many will risk this at Valentines?

Another disappointing away performance from Real Mallorca last week, losing 2-0 away at Osasuna. Not quite sure why they can’t turn there home form into an away performance. They’re away again in Cadiz this weekend, on Saturday at 20.30. Those of us here can watch the game on the free to air GOL channel.

My boys had a mixed bag last weekend for their respective San Francisco teams. Jude the youngest drew an unheard of in kids football 0-0 and my eldest Jake lost 0-2. It was my Wife’s birthday on Thursday and someone asked will you be doing anything romantic? Taking the boys football training was my reply! Dad Taxi showing the love! 

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

It’s a Mess but what about the rest?

I don’t like to comment too much on politics as I find it all very frustrating and I like to keep my scribes as upbeat as possible. But I think it’s safe to say that my country of birth is in a bit of a mess! Whilst that maybe true as I look around the World we’re not the only ones.

Spain where I now live has a coalition government led by Pedro Sánchez who was sworn in as Spain’s new prime minister on June 2nd 2018. The day after the socialist leader overthrew his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, in a historic vote of no confidence provoked by anger over corruption in Rajoy’s party.

Sánchez, whose PSOE party relied on support from the anti-austerity Podemos party as well as Basque and Catalan nationalists to depose Rajoy, governs with just 84 MPs in Spain’s 350-seat parliament! He is also dealing with the problems of Cataluña who want their own independence. 

In America they have a total federal Government shutdown. In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass or the President fails to sign appropriations, legislation funding federal government operations and agencies. At the time of writing the shutdown is in its 27th day and has surpassed the 21-day shutdown of 1995–1996 to become the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.

In Germany, arguably one of the most stable in Europe Angela Merkel has said she will step down as chancellor in 2021, following recent election setbacks.

She also said she would not seek re-election as leader of the centre-right CDU party in December. She has held the post since 2000.

In France there have been riots on the streets of Paris and President Macron is one of the most unpopular Presidents in recent times. His ratings from the French people are 26% who approve his work according to the latest opinion poll with 73% who are not satisfied with his job. 

I won’t go into more detail but Turkey, Greece and Italy are others who aren’t having a great time of it either so let’s hope our political leaders can stop playing party politics and get this mess sorted as soon as possible.

The main problem in America is the funding of the border wall between the States and Mexico. Now I kid you not but the World Brick laying Championships are taking place in Las Vegas next week. There’s over $120,000 in cash and prizes on the line including a 2019 FORD F-250 4×4 truck and a John Deere Gator Crossover Utility Vehicle(whatever that is) on offer as prizes. 28 teams of bricklayers and their mason tenders from around the world battle for 60 minutes to become the 2019 World Champion. Each team puts their skill,speed and stamina to the test by building a 26 foot 8 inch, double wythe brick wall. Judged by over 30 highly qualified masonry industry experts who follow a 10 point system for workmanship, a team’s final brick count may be adjusted down if judges detect workmanship infractions in the construction of the wall.

In the end, the duo who puts down the most bricks in one hour with the fewest quality craftsmanship deductions wins the event and the keys to shiny new truck. Can you see where I’m going with this? Why don’t they hold the Championships on the border and the wall can be built in no time and at no cost! Thus halting the longest running Government stoppage in history. VotePrior!

Continuing on the political theme, i wrote about the unpopular Tourist Tax and comparing it to the charges I incurred whilst on holiday in the US. I have done a bit more digging on this and there are quite a few other European countries with a Tourist Tax including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland. So we are not alone but in my opinion still doesn’t make it right. I wonder if any political party will offer to take it away if elected at our elections in May?

At the time of writing its 28 sleeps to Valentines, for me one of the most hyped events of the year. With that in mind Tyrrells have announced they are launching the first ever packet of crisps containing aphrodisiac properties.

The crisp brand claim their new aphrodisiac variety will “get pulses racing” on Valentine’s Day by combining two simple ingredients – sweet honey and the firey spice of chilli.

They say these two ingredients can have a powerful effect on the body, with the honey “tinkering with hormone levels” and the chilli triggering nerve endings on the tongue, releasing endorphins and increasing heart rate. Sounds like a marketing ploy to me but as you know I love a crisp so I’ll let you know what they’re like and if a night of passion ensues! Too much information?

Real Mallorca recorded probably their best result to date this season with a 1-0 home win over Deportivo La Coruña. They’ve signed a new striker this week called Ante Budimir, a Croatian playing in the Italian Serie B where he’s scored 3 goals in 17 matches for Crotone. Not exactly deadly in front of the onion bag is he! Now I don’t want to be anti – Ante before I’ve seen him play but this is a league where goals are difficult to come by. The top scorers are in fact last Saturday’s opponents Depor who’ve scored just 31 goals in 21 games and Mallorca don’t come too far behind on 26. We actually have the leagues 3rd highest scorer with 9 goals Lago Junior. Let’s hope this guy does the business. Talking of which both my boys did exactly that last weekend. Remember the old saying, you can do it on a summers day in Palma but can you do it on a cold night in Campos? No me neither, but I was freezing my you know what’s off in a temperature of 1c there last Friday but it was all worth it as my youngest sons team won away by 1-2. Then on Sunday my eldest sons team who have struggled a bit this season managed to win 2-1 against the 5th placed team and so moved out of the relegation area. More of the same this week please!

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

My Guide to the Universal Orlando Resort…..

Within a week I’ve gone from lying on a sunbed in Florida to freezing my proverbials off back in Mallorca. For those of you reading this and saying what’s he on about, cold in Mallorca? Yes we’ve even had snow on the mountains! 

A lot of great feedback from last week so I thought I’d give you a rundown of the good and bad of the Universal theme parks in Orlando. Personally and due to previous visits I think they’re now better than the Disney parks and the main reason is the building of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in each park. This opinion does depend on the age of your children as there is a minimum height on most of the rides which start around 102cm and all of these can be checked beforehand online. As our kids are 13 & 9 no problem and we’ve been going since they were 9 & 5. My advice is to buy your tickets online before you arrive as you will definitely save money. It does get a bit confusing to be honest as their are 3 parks to choose from, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and the new water park Volcano Bay. Without doubt you’ll want to do both of the theme parks and the water park is optional and weather dependent. What ticket you buy will be down to how many days you are there but if you can spread it out as much as you can you’ll enjoy it more as it’s a lot of walking! If you book into a Universal hotel you are entitled to enter the parks an hour before anybody else. You can walk or there are motor boats that take you from the hotels to the centre of City Walk the parks entertainment area. It’s then a short walk to the entrances. A lot of people have asked if buying a Fast Pass for the rides is worth it. I wouldn’t buy them beforehand as it depends on how busy the parks are. The less busy times would be out of school holidays and midweeks. Also most of the rides have ways to keep you entertained in the queues which are missed sometimes with Fast Passes. These passes can be bought inside the parks if it is busy. Not all the rides open early but the Harry Potter ones do so take advantage as whatever queue you meet at that time I guarantee it will be the shortest of the whole day. If you’re not in a Universal hotel or don’t get up early enough always head for the rides furthest from the entrance. Most people will jump on the first ride they see making the queues shorter at the furthest rides. There is a Universal app that you can download to get all the up to date queueing times and there are screens inside the parks listing them too. Be prepared to be hit by photos and merchandise on every single ride and this can drain the pockets if you’re not careful. You can get a card to save all your photos and buy them at a later date. Merchandise from all the rides can be bought in the general stores as well as at the ride shops, meaning you can buy at the end of the day so you don’t have to carry them around with you. Take a rucksack that can hold purses, wallets, phones etc and these can be put into free lockers before you go onto any ride. Take a couple of drinking water bottles as you can refill them at the many water fountains dotted around. Food and drinks are not cheap, you can take your own or check out the resort map for what is being served and where. The parks open 09.00 to 19.00 in the less busiest times and 09.00 to 21.00 in the most busiest. Remembering that’s 08.00 opening if you’re staying in a Universal Hotel. So as you can see from the times they are long days, along with all the walking and queueing which is why I said spread the days out if you can to relax and recharge the batteries. Both Harry Potter parts of each park are amazing and no expense has been spared. If you can, buy your kids the interactive wands as they will be able to carry out tasks around the parks that is great fun and stops you just going from ride to ride. The rides in both are for me the outstanding ones and the Hogwarts Express between the 2 parks is a must. Remember you can only ride the train if you have a 2 park pass ticket. The Hulk is the next most popular ride in Islands of Adventure and the Rip Ride Rocket in Universal Studios. There are water rides in the Studios and contrary to what you may hear you will get wet, actually soaked as we did! You either dry in the Florida sunshine, stand in a man size dryer for $5 or put a spare t-shirt in your rucksack. 

Top 10 facts you might not know about Universal.

The best secret of them all is Universal’s second entrance, a great tip for those who want to get into the parks as quickly as possible. This entrance can be found near the Blue Man Group, between the Despicable Me ride and the Studios Store. Compared to the regular entrance this one rarely has a queue. However, it does open slightly later (10am) than the usual park opening time, so if you want to be the first on the rides go to the main entrance. We discovered this on our way to visit friends at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Universal Orlando opened in July 1990 with a raft of original rides. Since then many of those rides have evolved into new ones. ET’s Adventure is actually the only original ride that still remains at the park. You can find this ride at Universal Studios park in the Woody Woodpecker Kid Zone. The one ride of old I would bring back is Back to the Future. 

The Harry Potter-inspired attraction, Diagon Alley, is designed to look exactly how it’s played out in the movies. Located at Universal Studios, it features the film’s famous secret alleyways and quirky buildings including Gringotts Bank and Olivanders – plus many more elements to make it super authentic. In Diagon Alley all the buildings are at least 3 stories tall and the sky is part of the set. This means that when you look around you can’t see any part of the real world. I told you no expense was spared. 

For Harry Potter enthusiasts, there’s something very special about getting your mail branded by the famous franchise. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can post your letters at the mailboxes in Hogsmeade and they’ll be delivered to your recipient with a special stamp. It will probably be faster than the Royal Mail and definitely quicker than out correos here!

If you head down to the Fast Food Blvd at ‘Springfield: Home of the Simpsons’ you can buy a pint of original Duff Beer from Moe’s Tavern. Taste-tested by writers of the Simpsons television show, the beer can only be purchased at Universal parks. Although I’m sure I saw a can of it in Lidl once!

When you buy a refillable souvenir mug at any of the gift stores at Universal Orlando, you’ll be able to refill it with a soft drink for just 0.99 cents. Whether it’s a Transformer mug, a Butter Beer beaker or any other refillable, just take it to one of the many drink stations at the park and get it filled up with your favorite soft drink. This deal is valid all year round, plus you can refill your mug as many times as you want. Beer is not included unfortunately.

For all Harry Potter fans this is one of Universal’s must-see experiences. If you’re taking the Hogwarts Express train from Universal Studios’ Kings Cross Station, you can actually walk through a solid brick ‘wall’ to Platform 9 3/4 to catch the train. 

If you love both roller-coasters and music, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is for you. Once you’re on board you can choose your very own personalised sountrack and mix it up as you ride. Thirty songs are available from five different genres including rap, hip hop, rock, country and pop. The trick is to hold down the touchscreen on your safety bar and your special music show will start. I’ll be honest I didn’t go on this as I hate rollercoasters but my Wife and kids told me!

At Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, can you actually speak to the Ministry of Magic. Dial 62442 in the red phone booth outside King’s Cross Station and it will directly connect you with the Ministry. What people don’t know is that 62442 on an old phone translates to ‘MAGIC’ on a new one.

Most ride queues in Universal are located indoors as a way of helping visitors stay cool. As such, there are plenty of extra attractions in the queue lines as I said before. These include special attractions and themed video clips packed with fun facts and entertainment. At the begining of the queue at ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ look out the gold King Kong statue which commemorates the old King Kong ride once located there. Over at the The Simpsons ride, you’ll see animated appearances of Doc Brown while you’re queuing; it may sound random but it’s a throwback to the Back to the Future Ride originally located there.

As I said last week we love Orlando and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody. Hopefully all the above is useful if you’re thinking of going or you know somebody that is.

Back to freezing my wotsits off back here in Mallorca as my youngest has a kick-off in Campos at 20.00 Friday evening, madness! Real Mallorca play Deportivo La Coruña on Saturday evening at 20.30, daft! And just when I thought I could have a relaxing Sunday my eldest kicks off at 17.00 Sunday afternoon, it rhymes with rollocks and it was said in Parliament this week so I might just get away with it!

Dad taxi working overtime this weekend with the heater on full blast.

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

I like to be in America!

We’re lucky enough to be away in Florida over the New Year and the Three Kings Celebration’s. We’ve headed out to Miami, Key West, Islamorada and Orlando. At the time of writing we’re leaving Islamorada and heading to Orlando. 

I noticed that the Hotels I stayed in had their own version of the Tourist Tax. 

In Miami it was disguised as Valet parking, we were charged $45 a night at our hotel, the alternative was 4 blocks away and quite a long walk back and that’s if you actually could get parked. 

In Key West it was called a resort charge of $33.75 a night which included free parking, daily bottles of water in the room and free WiFi. 

In Islamorada it was $31.50 which includes free parking and free WiFi. 

In Orlando it was $25.00 parking fee which includes free WiFi, a free water taxi to the Universal Park entrances and the park opens its doors 1 hour before the general public can enter. 

After a bit of research these resort charges are very common here but are not without problems as some hotels resort charge is higher than what they originally charged for the room. Complaints are that these charges are hidden until you get deep into the booking process. It seems that the hotels are going down the route of charging as little as they can for the rooms and all the things you thought were included are added into the resort charge. Does this remind you of anything? Well you don’t have to look too far as this is exactly what the airlines do now. Book your flight and add on choose your seat, meal, baggage, insurance etc after you’ve been hooked by the cheap flight price.

How long is it before we see this hotel practice in Mallorca? 

So these charges do exist in other resorts, it’s just that here in the States the hotels benefit from it and not the Government. Which is probably why in Mallorca they are so opposed to it. The name doesn’t really help as the word Tax immediately puts people’s backs up. Income Tax, Value Added Tax(VAT), Capital Gains Tax are all names we hate to hear. Maybe they should look to divide the tax 50/50 with the hotels with a law that says the income gained must be used for hotel improvements? The current spend of the Tourist Tax is questionable as it’s supposed to be distributed into various environmental projects throughout Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. A Commission on Sustainable Tourism was set up to decide together with existing organisations how the money is to be spent each year. The main issues are environmental restoration, improving the quality of tourism offering, improving infrastuctures for future tourism, promotional projects, cultural heritage projects, research, development and the improvement of job quality (including educational aspects) within the Balearic Islands. Firstly some of the projects could be deemed outside of the Tourist market and secondly, I think we all know it’s to prop up money that’s not received from Central Government. 

After our nightmare journey to the Uk our Christmas celebrations with family and friends were great. Must give a shoutout to Malcolm Wyse who looked after us at the Bedford Swan Hotel. Some of you may remember him from Reads Hotel in Santa Maria and he’s the General Manager in Bedford now. We also had a football reunion of my old Team Ware FC. Is it me or have nicknames disappeared? We had Lemon, Cheeky & Skin amongst others but you don’t hear them much these days. Beer, football & laughs brought us together and still keeps us together! Miami was great, we lived there for 3 months when Pirates took the show there. We met up with our old PR guy from the show José Boza who I’ve kept in touch with. We met at an Irish bar that was home to the Miami Arsenal supporters club and the watched our team get gubbed 5-1 by Liverpool! We had great New Year celebrations in Key West and we managed to make it to Midnight. It’s steeped in great history and to be honest our 2 days there wasn’t enough. Islamorada is a lovely relaxing area and the weathers been great. We’re just leaving on a 5 hour road trip to Orlando. We’re looking forward to spending time in the Universal Studios theme parks and shopping in the outlet malls.

10 things that I don’t like about America.

  1.   Security at the airport is a nightmare.

  1. Valet parking is a total rip.
  2. The resort charge.

  4.  How can they call their bacon, bacon?

  1. The Tv is rubbish and too many commercial breaks.
  2. Some restaurant or bar bills add a service charge and then ask for a tip!
  3. They also give you examples of what you should tip starting at 18%!
  4. Why does it take 3 hours for a 1 hour game of American football?
  5. Their coffee is rubbish.
  6. You can’t get to or find anything without Sat Nav.

10 things that I love about America.

  1. The theme parks are amazing.
  2. The majority of people are very friendly. 
  3. The chicken wings.
  4. Hooters(gave it a miss this time!)
  5. The weather has been great.
  6. The WiFi is good.
  7. Service is on the whole very good.
  8. Outlet shopping is amazing.
  9. Football or soccer as they call it is a lot more popular. 
  10. As a family holiday destination I would thoroughly recommend it.

Real Mallorca return to action this weekend with an away game in Almería. They are at home the week after against relegated Deportivo La Coruña. Currently in 8th place they certainly can make the play-offs. My boys have another week before they restart their football.

Enjoy your weekend and wishing you all a Happy 3 Kings Day on Sunday!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com