Palma de Mallorca
We have had some feedback about our blog and one complaint was that there isn’t enough of it! We are going to try to write a bit more occasionally, so for those who prefer it short and sweet, please forgive us.
An early start followed by a long 10 hours crossing to Mallorca, mostly motoring, but we did get the colourful gennaker (big sail at front!) up for an hour or so. The sun came out in the afternoon and it felt amazing for what is still March! The sea temp is already nearly 16C, so the excuses for putting-off diving down to clean the hull & prop are getting weaker.
Ibiza Town, out of season at least was unexpectedly pleasant and the massive fortifications pretty impressive. Palma is even more of a delight and on a much larger scale of course as it is a city of 400,000. The approach from the sea with its terrific view of the cathedral is a great introduction to the place and we are comfortably berthed in the posh Club Nautico de Palma. We can only afford this because it is so early in the year and we feel quite intimidated by all the expensive yachts around us. If we were here in mid summer, it would be costing us 91 euros a night!
We really are taken with the city and last night, after the longish day to get here, we found a wonderful Mallorcan restaurant and ate extremely well in mostly Spanish company.
On our first full day in Palma we explored the lovely winding old streets and admired many of the elegant, balconied buildings, some with arresting “modernista” (the Spanish style of art deco) frontages. We looked around the cathedral which is both one of the tallest and longest in Europe and were suitably awed by its dimensions. We were also intrigued by Gaudi’s lighting system above the high altar and also by the even more recent work of Barcelo in a side chapel. Both these additions to the Gothic interior seem very daring and not traditionally religious in flavour. The chapel has the theme of the interplay of land and sea (appropriate for the Balearics I guess), and has walls covered in plaster fish, seaweeds etc. On first approach it looked like a climbing wall!
Later the same day we got a bit of exercise by running (well in my case more of a gently jog) to the nearby Bellver Castle. It was built in 1300, is apparently unique for its Gothic circular shape and is really rather pretty.
A view of the Almudaina Palace next to the cathedral and home to the Moors who ruled Mallorca for 500 years:
On our second full day in Palma we took the famous little old train that potters up the 28 kms to the attractive town of Soller surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana. The train really does look like it came from an Agatha Christie novel and goes slowly enough for you to appreciate the scenery en route. This included pretty farmhouses among almond orchards, prosperous villas and well kept olive terraces. Soller was bustling with an extensive Saturday market and all the day trippers from the train and we bought some locally produced goodies from the stalls. The day was at least as warm as the best an English summer can offer and it’s still only March. We sat with a couple of beers in the main square admiring the façade of the church there and feeling very spoiled.