Thursday, September 4, 2014

You Gotta Hand It to Palma!

 “People don’t take trips – trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

Airing the dirty laundry on the streets of Palma

Doors of Palma
The seafront cathedral at Palma de Mallorca

Tuesday morning we dragged ourselves to the Barcelona airport for the short duration flight to the beautiful island of Mallorca. I think Ringo Starr alluded to people carrying around large bags of cocaine, but we just had clothing! Also, in the air, I didn't see alot of coca plants, and although the island is well known as a European beach hangout, clothing optional, it appeared to me to be predominantly orchards: olives, lemons, oranges, figs....if it grows on a tree, they are into it!
Paul checks out the bed.
Our first stop was our very nice hotel, The HM Jaime III--we later found out he was a King who brought many improvements to Mallorca and also a successor to the Arab empire here and the king whose brother returned the island to Aragon.  He never slept in this bed. But the room was really great.
The separate sitting area of the room which can be conveniently closed off from the bedroom.

City view from the balcony.
After staying at Hotel Abac in Barcelona, the Taj Mahal would  be a letdown, but this place was super nice with clean cool rooms and a spa and about $150 a night. Pretty primo.
Local Mallorcan beer. We drank it during"orientation".
We had a nice tapas meal of shaved salmon and ham and this nice local beer while we talked about "WHAT TO DO NEXT." It's actually quite warm in Palma in September (and even in January, hence the flock of Germans!), so we decided to wander down toward the water and let the day unfold.
Narrow streets of the old city
We decided to get a view from the waterfront and visit the big cathedral.
The Cathedral of Perpetual Clothing Optional Beaches

Overview of the interior

Beautiful stained glass


Angels in the grotto

An unusual depiction of Jesus being pierced in the side...apparently once you get one arrow, it is hard to stop drawing them.

A gaudy grotto.
It's a huge building with alot of artwork. One thing they have is a grotto designed by Gaudi. It is literally "a piece of work." Paul said, "They said it was controversial." I think he must have been p.o.'d at the bishop or pope or somebody. Here it is--beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
A Gaudi grotto.
We then noticed the Palace of the kings is nearby. This was built by Arab rulers who were eventually ousted by the Jaimes I through III. Eventually the Aragon empire retook the island. Let's just say it's been remodeled a time or two! The rooms were gynormous and beautifully if sparsely decorated. King Juan Carlos still held functions here throughout his reign
As you can see, room beyond room beyond room...

The turkish baths

King's parlor

Paul fell in love with the angel on the corner of the building.
Go forth, Paul Parris and admire me!

A bit more perspective on the object of Paul's admiration.

Some other things Paul likes.

An interesting door in an alley on the way back to the hotel.

We enjoyed both the cathedral and the palace museum. We made our way back to the hotel and eventually to dinner at a restaurant named Simply Fosh. It was a  four course degustation menu. I should have gone with the three course, but the courses were slightly larger than I expected. But delicious. We had terrine with fish carpaccio, salt cod on lemongrass soup and spiced duck breast paired with local wines.

Overall, we really love the island of Mallorca and could even imagine living here. It never hurts to dream....although sometimes I think I am living in one every day.

Paul's Ponderings:   The first day of a lovely return visit to Palma.  We had a great time out and about in the center city which is fairly small with many lanes.   Reminiscent of Genoa to me....

The dinner at Simply Fosh was outstanding, in an enclosed open air courtyard with lamps and tables that you would normally see inside.   You can tell they don't see much rain here!   

Tomorrow we will take the train up to Soller and its port component as well.

Very warm here, but low humidity, as you might expect!

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