February is a significant month: I first published on Fiona’s Favourites this month, two years ago. So after browsing through the photographs of my 1999 trip to Spain, for my last post, and thinking about time, I thought it useful to look back on what was, in some ways, was a rite of passage for me.
At the time, a few months before I met The Husband, I was in a very weird space. That stay in Palma de Mallorca was the first real three-week holiday of my working life. It was also a time of reflection and resolve. When I looked at the photographs, last week, I realised that they were, in their own way, full of pathways and passages.
All were taken with (I think) a 35mm point and click camera which had been lent to me. However, I’ve not scanned them either from the originals, or from the negatives (don’t exactly know where those are), rather I photographed them with my current camera and then tidied them up a little. Very little – a lot less than I thought I’d have to.
Plaça del Banc de l’Oli, on the way to Carrer de l’Oli, where I stayed.
Checking the plaça out on Google Maps, the building is still there, with its curtained windows, sans the sign, and the square looks a little more respectable than it did seventeen years ago.
The street, in the Old City of Palma: the building in which I stayed (on the fourth floor). The flower shop below is reflected in the windows across the way. It was in a little spice shop down that road, to the left and up Carrer del Sindicat, that I bought my spices.
This was the view from the room in which I slept.
This old Roman house is where I had my first (of many a) cup of café con leche (coffee with milk), and which I passed regularly on my way to the Mercat de L’Olivar.
Valdemossa fascinated me for a range of reasons:
The cobbled roads and the colours of neat homes with front doors that open directly on to the streets, each flanked with happy pots of flowers including geraniums which are, incidentally, indigenous to South Africa.
How long have these homes been here, I wondered, with their brilliant colours – the stones, wood, paint work, and more so, the fossils embedded in those walls?
Equally fascinating was the trip from the village to its eponymous port.
The Virgin Mary watches over travellers between the village and the harbour; she is perched so high up in the mountainside, I’d have missed her had I not been a passenger.
At the end of that precipitous road is the Mediterranean Sea and Valdemossa’s harbour with its boathouses carved into the cliffs.
Bunalbufar intrigued me, not just because, like Valdemossa, the village is perched atop the cliffs and it’s a proverbial day’s journey its the port below, but because of the terraces: built by the Moor conquerors and not merely in evidence but still maintained and cultivated with citrus, olives and vines. From the deck of a bistro, aptly named Bella Vista, one can just glimpse the port at the bottom of the valley below.
Part of the answer to my question about the age of buildings, I discovered after trudging up the hill to Castell de Bellver. This is the site of the island’s main fortress, and home to the ancient kings of Mallorca. Elements of the building date back to before the birth of Christ, and like buildings on South Africa’s Robben Island, it has an interesting history, having served among other things, both as a royal residence, as well as a prison for royal and political prisoners.
This deep, tiny window looks from a room that might well have been a cell, down the battlements to the Mediterranean.
Another South African link: I was surprised, on my regular walks to the nearest Internet cafe, to pass this shop: Biggie Best, an iconic South African home design company.
This 2000-year old olive tree in pride of place in the plaça, outside the post office and which, I think, had once been a court: another sense of life, then and now.
I walked along many pathways and passages in Palma and around Mallorca. At the bottom of the last hill that I climbed in Mallorca ….
this field of spring flowers.
© Fiona’s Favourites 2016