A brief visit to Majorca with a memorable visit to Alfabia Gardens.
13.10.2007 - 18.10.2007 -17 °C
Trip Diary Palma September 2007
I like Palma in the autumn ; the weather is usually fine and the crowds are gone. This time I was lucky to miss some freak weather (possibly a tornado ; high winds damaged an industrial area on the edge of Palma. blew tiles off many roofs and downed several trees on the island). There was some rain during my visit but it occurred at night or during my nap time, so I was not bothered by it.
First morning out I walked through the small park near the Rosamar Hotel which leads down to Paseo Maritime. This is the place to see all the yachts and some rather grand hotels. Near the Tryp Bellver Hotel the pavement was blocked by a group doing a photo shoot. The subject proved to be a blonde in lingerie ; I love my photo in which the people seem totally oblivious to this nearly naked lady walking around at 10:30 am.
My friend Leif told me about two interesting exhibitions : one at Gallery Pelaires (the commercial gallery) and the other at C.C.C. Pelaires (the Foundation or museum).
The main pedestrian street connecting the shopping area with the cathedral (Pasieo Born or Passeig des Born if you prefer Catalan). It was closed for nearly a year while they refurbished it and the results are stunning. Huge sculptures by Manolo Valdes seemed to be drawing interested residents and visitors alike.
I returned to Palma Cathedral (LE Seu) to get better photos of the Barcleo chapel which I enjoyed so much during my visit last June.
The Diocesan Museum has been extended and now fills a lovely old mansion behind the cathedral. There is great variety of art works (I admit that religious art is not my favourite). There is a striking 18th Century sarcopagus for King Jamie II (who died in 1311) a crown sits on a pillow on top the tomb .. it was amasing to see that the pillow is out white granite so fine that it looked like fabric. I also enjoyed a close-up look at some of Gaudi’s fixtures for the cathedral (lectern, seating, etc.)
On Tuesday my friend Leif took me out to a garden I have been waiting to see for several years – Jardin Alfabia on the road to Soller. It is not easily accessible by public transport.
“This was once the estate of Majorca's Moorish governor and retains features from the fifteenth century, including a courtyard fountain and a canal with criss-crossing jets of water. There are seventeenth century additions and also a romantic nineteenth century garden.”
There are a few features which reflect its Moorish history but mostly it seems to be a Baroque building. The gardens are fascinating because they are rather dense, filled with water features and have a romantic air about them (certainly they are not over manicured .. there is a hint of decay and of the site being almost abandoned.
The Jardins at Soller are on the edge of the town, easily accessible by walking and altogether a more straightforward botanical garden. It seems to be expanding all the time ; there were new areas which look slightly raw but I’m sure they will develop in time. The display of mushrooms at the house (which is part of the site) tweaked my curiosity.
We had lunch at a lovely old fashioned hotel El Guia next to the railway station. Stuffed marrow as a starter, delicious tongue of veal followed by a ice cream dessert covered with a scrumptious chocolate sauce (honest, I only had a spoonful – being allergic to diary products). An attractive and relaxing place but not for those in a hurry. The waiters are older are seem to be operating as if it were 1880 when the place first opened.
On my arrival in Palma I learned that a festival (Week of the Historical Organs of Mallorca) was underway. I was only able to attend one recital (Iglesia del Socorro) and was sorry that my short visit (5 nights) did not permit me to attend other recitals.
Centre Cultural Contemporani Palaires
Calle Can Veri, 3
Calle Pelaires, 5
Note: The street sign is in Catalan (Paraires)
Hotel El Guia
Calle Castanyer, 2
The set menu is 20 Euros and house wine 10 Euros a bottle.
Note: I will add photos to this entry when this Website increases its capacity .. currently I have exceeded this month's limit ....