Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Travels with Tutu: Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Majorca has got to be one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. It is almost stereotypically, sunshine, wide beaches, clean streets, flowers, soft breezes, interesting architecture, and did I mention flowers? I'm not even mentioning the yachts, expensive cars, and villas. The place exudes money, rest and beauty. Bob had been there before, and was amazed at the amount of landfill that had occurred. He was able to point out where his ship had been docked, and then pointed and said that was all under water as he swept his arm around. The cathedral in this picture, for instance was at the waterfront when he was here in the 80's. Speaking of cathedrals, this one was quite spectacular. The building sustained some damage in floods in the past decade, and the restoration is just now being finished. We were there at just the right time to catch the sun coming thru the stained glass and painting colors on the pews and walls inside. it was glorious, and our photos don't do it justice. The exterior is gothic, but the interior was designed in large part by the famous Barcelona architect Antonio Gaudi. I'm not an extreme fan of his work, but some of this was mind-blowing. The hanging lamp over the central altar (seen at right) reminded us of the crown of thorns, and in a side chapel, this fresco of the Risen Christ stopped me dead. No photo can do its impact justice. Of course, no visit to Mallorca would be complete without a visit to a pearl factory. Mallorcan pearls are actually artificial ones made by mixing ground glass with powdered fish scales. The results are 'pearls' nearly as lustrous as those produced by oysters, and a lot less expensive. I succombed to their lure and got three pairs of earrings to go with the other pearls my sailor had brought home long ago. Across the street from the pearl factory was the bull fighting ring, thankfully empty of toro while we were there. At that point, the temp was approaching 100F again, so we peeked in, walked around the lower concourse, tried to imagine the pageantry, took the obligatory 'we were here' shots, and boogied back to the bus! On the way back, there was one more stop, this one at the island's Fort...and of course, another climb up another seventy-eleven steps to get to the view at the top which we were assured was not to be missed......and it lived up to its billing. However, I kept wishing those moats had been full instead of dry, because I'd have dived right in. It was HOT. The facebook album has many more shots.

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