Made up for my lazy Tuesday afternoon as i had a VERY busy day of exploring the main sights and the old section of this beautiful island.
First stop was a visit to Castell de Bellver
– a gothic style castle built in the 14th century for King James II of Aragon, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe.
Long used as a military prison throughout the 18th to mid-20th century, it is now under civilian control, being one of the main tourist attractions of the island, as well as the seat for the city’s History Museum
From the top there are amazing views of the port and city
aswell as the coastline
and surrounding mountains
and i had a wonderful time walking round and taking photos in the morning sun!
We then drove to the port and i bode farewll to a new friend (the one i met at the bar last night who is a sailor) as he had to go to work and then made my way to Palma’s world renowned Cathedral
Before entering the cathedral however i visited the Royal Palace of La Almudaina
which is the official Alcázar (fortified palace) of the Island of Majorca. It was built originally by the Moors as a fortress but the kings of Mallorca converted it into a palace during the 14th and 15th centuries. Today it is the royal summer official residence palace but in winter is open for visitors to admire and wander though. And admire i did! Amazing tapestries lined many of the walls
But like many of the grand, historic places in Europe open for tourists, there is the coldness of an uninhabited building which acts as a constant reminder that you could never experience what it would have been like in its prime. A time when the rooms were filled with royalty and servants, buzzing with life and activity. But im glad just to be able to see such places and i use my fanciful imagination to fill in the gap!
The palace also has its own beautiful chapel
i made my way to the cathedral. Standing in awe of its incredible facade (The main facade, which overlooks the Almudaina Palace, fell off during the 1851 earthquake and was later completely reconstructed – that is, with the exception of the Renaissance-era door by M. Verger which miraculously emerged unscathed! )
until finally making my way around to the entrance of ‘The Seo’, as it is called here, which was built on the site of a pre-existing Arab mosque. As the tale goes, one night in 1229, as Jaime I was on his way to recapture Majorca, his fleet was struck by a terrible storm. He vowed then and there to the Virgin Mary that if he survived nature´s fury, he would erect a church in her honour. After the storm had blown over, finding himself safe and sound, he immediately undertook the project. Whilst it begun in 1230, the cathedral wasn’t finished until 1601!
The main altar, consecrated on October 1, 1346, is surmounted by one enormous “wrought-iron chandelier”, forged by Antoni Gaudi as if it were the baldaquin for the altar. The cathedral also features three naves resting on 44-meter tall octagonal pillars and has eight chapels each side of the nave, all incredible in their own rights
And the side bizarre chapel of Sant Pere where local artist Miquel Barcelo has created a ceramic mural of about 300 sq. metres representing the miracle of the bread and fish multiplication.
But it is in Miquels distinct style which while i respect, i really dont think it belongs amongst the ornate and beautiful gothic cathedral. Nevertheless i was overwhelmed by the immesity of the whole cathedral and when i stood in the centre of the church
i was filled with a strange energy related sensation of total calm. cool. Eventually i left the cathedral behind – and happily got lost in the old part of the city centre
wandering past street performers
and through small alleys, taking lefts and rights at whim. Somehow i found the Santa Eualia (quite creepy that this was the first major point i came to considering my connection with Eualia – see previous blog – My house in Australia is named Eualia)
but unfortunately it was closed for lunch and most of the facade was being renovated. Still filled with the optimism that exploration gives you, i kept wandering,
stopping for a small Panini to appease a grumbling tummy
We then went back to Palma again parting ways and i walked along the port to spend the late afternoon opening my mind at the Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma!
Although most of the paintings and sculptures are by relatively unknown artists, the museum’s exhibition also features works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and also Salvador Dali. I had a lovely time wandering around through the exhibitions
and past immense sculptures
(back in Brisbane i would often visit our galleries to chill out) and i particularly enjoyed the views from the top floor
After letting all i had seen soak in over a calming Manzanilla (dandelion) tea, i made my way back into the town to meet with my friends. We had chatted away over decaf coffees at the Port Bar (same at last night) before heading home. For dinner i cooked a BIG stirfry
which i must say was quite delicious! and after spending a loooong time writing up the last blog about Tuesday i was soundly asleep -not for long though as i had to wake early for the enxt days adventure!!! – stay tuned for part 3 of my Palma experience!!
yours truly – HG