Spain: Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Beauty!

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Let’s take a break from all the forts and palaces I’ve been trying to tempt you with for a while now and make tracks towards a Balearic Island. Although the buildings in forthcoming images are…err…dust coloured as well but are no less pretty and then there’s this beautiful blue sea breaking the monotony.

 

 

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Now, isn’t that a Balearic beauty?

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful morning in Mallorca.

 

Honestly, I don’t know how much I do obviate the fact that our travels are meticulously planned, well in advance. Oh! but they are!! (as to whether events in future happen as planned is an altogether different story).

Why I plan? Primarily because I’m the least spontaneous person I know, when it comes to travel or many things for that matter. Any kind of spontaneous travel (including a ride to a restaurant for dinner) knocks me unaware. But this one time, a ‘Looong Weekend Ahead’ sign looming in my head (well, it did appear in red in my head) prompted us to plan and execute Mission Mallorca within a week of flying!

 

WHAT?? Did you think I’m going to say 24hours!?!?

 

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Seriously people, you make me laugh!

 

Armed with no more than four facts about Mallorca viz

a) I’ve heard the PA for ‘passengers travelling to Mallorca’ at the airports – so planes fly there.

b) Mallorca is in Spain (somewhere).

c) Camper is a Mallorcan brand

d) Rafael Nadal is Mallorcan.

 

It is also a fact that ‘time remaining to travel’ is inversely proportional to being ‘excited of all kinds’. So I had a lot to learn in that time frame (with all the jitters) starting with where exactly is Mallorca (not that I’ll be flying the plane but still).

Unlike Adi who has a chip fitted somewhere, that enables him to spend few minutes with maps and then walk through the city like a native, I have none! I have one default setting for turning right. Hotel lobbies, city streets, train stations, shopping malls – I just turn right. So, have to brush up to keep up with the geek.

 

 

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The man who reads maps! And just about perfect room for him.

 

For this one time I’d like to say, with a nonchalant shrug ‘Been there, done that!’  (do you sense a bit of haughty air when you read this? Good. ’cause I feel that way :D) !

This is because, these bits and pieces of land (Balearic Islands) separated but in a jolly company of each other, were actually my geography nemeses. I never got around these archipelagos (you see, even the spelling & pronunciation is tricky!).

NOW  things have changed. Let me show you where it is exactly. And new facts have emerged.

a) Understanding Mallorca is easy (especially if you’ve studied the food guide pyramid).

b) Reaching & seeing it easy too.

 

Here is my simplified hypothetical graphic understanding of Mallorca. And this ‘exactly’ works just fine for me.

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Understanding Mallorca on a pyramid model 😛

 

So, here’s the explanation, Spain has a group of islands off its east coast, called Balearic Islands. The largest island in this group is Mallorca and in this island lies Palma de Mallorca, which is also the capital of Balearic Islands. And that’s where you can spend a lovely long weekend like we did.

 

Note to all those who aren't flying a plane there: Don't bother with the latitudes and longitudes.

They are far too many to keep them all in one head.

 

We settled for Mallorca for its photogenic landscape, long list of sunny beaches and most importantly, it being warmer than Switzerland at the beginning of May. Also for simply being in Spain.

 

 

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Espana? Anyday!

 

 

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Also I call such breaks as my ‘Sandal breaks’ when it’s warm enough to wear sandals rather than shoes and somewhere in my mind I deeply associate (no matter how skewed the association may be) holidays with sandals.

 

 

We stayed in the old town of Mallorca, right in front of a 800 year old tree at Hotel Cort. Having seen the beach side areas we were glad of the location we were in. Being more of a land person who loves the charms of sleepy old towns at 10 on a scale of 0-10, I loved the place. It overlooked a courtyard from where one could sense the rhythm of the place, listen to the church bells and the accordion player who plays under the grand old olive tree.

 

 

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The olive tree is believed to be about 800 years old and still yields fruit every year.
It’s a Mallorcan icon!

 

 

 

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Hotel Cort, one of the lovelist design hotels, we’ve been to.

 

 

 

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Hotel Cort has some really beautiful balearic details & charming wit, that instantly put a smile on you or if you already have it – makes it a large one! 🙂
I saw the ‘gone to catch the fish sign’ at the un-manned reception & I didn’t mind waiting!

 

But if you love & live to party staying by a beach will keep you in the mood starting at 7pm till about 4am.

A more detailed description of my experience at Hotel Cort can be found on Trip Advisor

 

 

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The early bird catches the table!

 

 

 

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The food is just great at Hotel Cort, even if you aren’t staying, it’s a great place to have a meal or even a cup of coffee. Also, I love how the sky is reflecting on the saucer.

 

I would urge you to take your time here, have a coffee, people-watch, there are some lovely shops worth a visit around this square do pop in, there are some ice cream parlours around grab a cone if you wish, it’s a lively sunshiny square to spend some time in, without being overwhelmingly crowded.

So here’s how and what to do in Mallorca over a weekend.

 

 

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Plaza de Cort or Cort Square is a good place refuel & get the engine to a roaring start!
That’s city Town Hall behind me.

 

 

 

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Santa Eulalia Church.The old town is like so many other old towns – with a quaint charm & earthy feel.

 

 

 

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If you start early morning on a public holiday, you pretty much have the city to yourself!

 

 

 

 

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What charm!
Whenever I walk through such streets & alley ways & by lanes, I imagine myself living there and walking those streets to & from work and waving to one Mr. Pedro & another Ms. Garcia and constantly wallow in pride of an old town resident! 😀

I know. But it (my lofty imagination) just adds a bit more to my experience.

 

 

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There are some really tempting, shadowy but windy streets that you’ll definitely enjoy having walked.

 

 

Although it is hammering in my head but I don’t want to use the expression ‘get lost in the alleyways of old town’ because

a) It is soon going be awarded ‘Travel Cliché of the Century’ & I obviously loathe it.

b) As I said earlier, Adi can read maps!

c) Frankly, my dear, it’s not easy to get lost in Europe. Every narrow by lane has a name and maps accurately show them and they are not obscured by movie posters, adverts, bird droppings or any such thing.

d) If one can find his/her way out of Chatuchak Market, this is going to be walk in a park.

 

So, walk, wander, stroll or saunter, amble & ramble if you wish and wonder & ponder, reflect and muse you will, in the streets of old town.

 

 

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To remind you, don’t forget to look up…

 

 

 

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…and you’ll be amazed at the architecture!

 

 

 

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Still sleeping…come later, alligator!

 

 

 

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You can remind men of this connection when they question yours to the stores!
Just saying.

 

 

 

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The Arab Baths or Bany’s Arabs is also located in old town.

 

A lot of arabic influence reflects in Palma de Mallorca (the palm trees, the architecture, even the name comes from its arabic ancestor Medina Mayurqa) because of the Islamic control over the city between 902 to 1229. The Arab baths are one of few remaining buildings from the islamic rule.

If you fancy a sauna style bath or hammam with around nine other people you can do it here. There’s an entry fee for adults but children can tag along for free.

 

 

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After a fair amount of old, gothic, crumbling and smokey background pictures we walked upto the La Seu Cathedral.

 

 

 

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The gorgeous gothic style La Seu Cathedral

 

 

It was built on a site of pre-existing Arab mosque. It overlooks Parc de la Mer and the equally gorgeous Mediterranean sea.

 

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This lake was built to reflect the cathedral in it and the fountain is very much like the one in Lake Geneva.

 

 

 

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Happy early birds!

 

 

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Enjoy your walk along this lake and watch the Mediterranean sea lapping the shores of the city.

 

 

 

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The beautiful landscape of Mallorca, on a beautiful morning.

 

 

 

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Horse carriage rides through the old town can be hired close to the La Seu Cathedral.

 

 

 

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La Seu Cathedral

 

 

 

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Impressively detailed outer facade of gothic style cathedral.

 

 

Traveling for a while in Europe, makes you have had enough of cathedrals. I completely understand this. And then they all begin to look similar from the inside and sometimes even on the outside. But do visit this, for Gaudi’s sake (Yes! Gaudi has his contribution here) and because it really is very beautiful inside without being much different and because it is going to be a short visit.

 

 

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Inside La Seu Cathedral

 

 

 

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A rosette window of La Seu Cathedral.

 

 

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A stunning landscape capture on more exploration around the cathedral, an area peppered with souvenir & jewellery stores, ice cream parlours and cafeterias.

 

 

 

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You can easily tell a Miro sculpture when you see one.
If anything, it gives a different perspective to photograph the same old wife 😉

 

 

After a good look and feel of the old town we hopped on to the city sight-seeing bus to reach Bellver Castle. I think it’s a good idea for weekenders to go for this tour, the ticket is valid for twenty four hours and it’s a good way to reach the far flung tourist spots like the Bellver Castle and most beaches. And if the weather gods are on your side, you’ll definitely enjoy whizzing through this beautiful city and the wind in your hair.

 

 

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A view of the Mediterranean sea from the bus.

 

 

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Another beautiful view of Catedral de Mallorca or La Seu Cathedral

 

 

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Pueblo Espanol – if you want to see the rest of Spain at one area.

 

If you love Spanish cities and architecture you might love this too. It’s an interesting cross of an ‘architectural museum’ (never heard of that) & ‘cultural’ theme park boasting of reproductions of plazas and streets and other architectural charms from Alhambra, Madrid, Toldeo and more. It has workshops of local artisans and their craft and local cuisine of each region for you to try.

 

 

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And we’ve reached Bellver Castle.
One of the three tall fairytale-ish towers with its fairytale-ish windows.

 

 

High on a hill and sitting on the ruins of a Muslim site is the Bellver Castle. It has all that you expect a castle to boast of, museums, moats and the works but most of all it has views of the bay area unmatched by any other place in the city.

 

 

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Interiors of Castell de Bellver. The round configuration is characteristic of Spanish architecture.

 

 

 

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From where the bus drops you, it’s going to be a short but worth while hike to the castle.
So like they say, KEEP CALM & CARRY ON.

 

 

 

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A snapshot of us 🙂

 

 

 

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Some ancient hide bound chairs caught our fancy.

 

 

 

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Can I take one home?

 

 

 

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‘Bellver’ in old catalan meant ‘beautiful views’.
Nope. Can’t argue with that.

 

 

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If you really feel like being high up somewhere, have a beautiful view in sight and feel the wind in your face, this is the address.

 

 

 

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‘Twas a complete delight to be here!

 

 

 

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It was a long day, and kids get cranky, hungry and then there’s sugar rush but follow the mantra and carry on!

 

As such and more travels have allowed me to observe, the rush of tourists in cities along the mediterranean depend largely on cruise ships. If a giant cruise ship is docking in the harbour you’ll find all these places flooded with people otherwise (and as in our case) you would not have a hair or hide in sight and linger a bit longer in these castles, you might actually feel you own them!

Though cruising as such might be fun and a common thing on the ‘Travel Bucket Lists’ but the little time it lets you have in such glorious cities is a complete injustice to them. You do add a number on your list but you don’t add an experience.

No, Mallorca cannot be ‘seen’ in a day. It’s way too beautiful for a mad dash in the city.

 

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Mallorca is a delightful place and has so much for every kind of soul.

 

Read more on Mallorca here!

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another very beautiful piece of travelogue .Keep it up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Marvellous Mallorca