Sad News For Music Lovers

paco de lucia 1

Paco de Lucía, one of the greatest guitarists of all times, died yesterday in Cancún (Mexico). Born in Algeciras in Andalucía in 1947, the musician made his home in Mallorca in 2003 when he bought a place in the countryside between Campos and Es Trenc where he planted olive trees and pressed his own olive oil. Later he moved to the outskirts of Palma to enable his younger children to go to school at the Liceo Francés in Palma. In Spain, Paco de Lucía had been bestowed with the Premio Nacional de Guitarra de Arte Flamenco, the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, a Distinción Honorífica de los Premios de la Música and the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes. He was honoured with a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad de Cádiz and another one by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He was given two Latin Grammy awards for best flamenco recording, in 2012 and 2004.

The photo was taken by Montserrat T. Diez and borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Flickr. Thank you and muchas gracias.

This Blog Has Moved

Mallorca Observed

The Mallorca Daily Photo Blog is no more. After nearly six years of daily blogging I experienced some rather serious health problems, albeit unrelated to my blogging activities, and had to spend some time in hospital. When I came back home and back to Mallorca I realized that things had to change in my life, and I had to reduce my stress level. So I decided to let go of my daily blogging adventure. I wanted to continue blogging and continue to focus on Mallorca, the island that I have called my home for the last 26 years. I have started a new blog,  Mallorca Observed. Have a look and see what you think. The new blog is not done on a daily basis; that would be too much self-inflicted pressure, again. Blog entries in the new blog will be published if and when I feel like it, perhaps four or five times per months, perhaps more often, depending on news and events. So far I have published 33 stories on my new blog, and I have a few more stories up my sleeves.

I hope to be able to welcome some of you at the new Mallorca Observed site.

Play it Again, Sam

S'Escorxador2

I am rather pleased that the old Renoir cinema in the Escorxador area of Palma managed to be rescued by the very able and enthusiastic XarxaCinema people, a citizens’ initiative. Two months after the old Renoir closed down for good, the old premises opened up again under a new management and the new name of CineCiutat. Some 1,800 people like you and me have signed up as voluntary co-owners of the new venture. Let’s hope enough people will attend the screenings to make the project a viable one, able to survive the dire straits of economic realities, including IVA (VAT) at 21 % and distribution royalties. The new cinema was opened in July 2012 with 4 screens, partially newly equipped with digital screening facilities.

Today, a new venture will be launched at CineCiutat, a film club under the name of CinèFilms. This film club will have two screenings every Thursday, of either Classic films, European films, films of the 70s and 80s or film screenings grouped by themes. The film club starts tonight with the screening of The Maltese Falcon and will continue next week with Manhattan (Woody Allen), À Bout de Souffle (Jean-Luc Godard) the week after, and Days of Wine and Roses (Blake Edwards), on February 14th. All films will be screened in their original version, with Spanish subtitles. We finally have a cinémathèque in Mallorca, all going well. Come and support the citizens’ cinema, CineCiutat.

S'Escorxador3

On a different subject matter, I promised to let you know about my new blog adventure, Mallorca Observed. I am happy to tell you that the new blog is up and running now. You can either click on the link given above or else, the link in the blog roll in the column to the right. Once at the new site you can bookmark, subscribe or whatever, as you might see fit. I hope to be able to welcome some of you at the new site.

The old MDPB blog will not be continued after today. However, I shall leave the blog archive with some 1,900 entries on air, so to speak, for the time being, at least until October 2013 when the current domain lease expires. We shall see what happens after that; one can never be too sure what life has up its sleeve for us, or can we?

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 22nd, 2013. The time was 16:24:18 and 16:22:13.

Good-Bye to All That

Sa Feixena

It’s time to say good-bye.

After 1,928 daily blog entries between June 10th, 2007, and September 18th, 2012, a serious heart condition caught me unawares whilst on a short trip abroad. I underwent a heart operation and had a quadruple bypass. My unplanned hospital stay rendered me unable to keep the Mallorca Daily Photo Blog running without interruptions. When I got back to Mallorca six weeks later I somehow had lost my sense of purpose, my sense of direction and – without wanting to sound too dramatic – a focus in my life, my attitude, my aspirations, the centre of my self. My organs had been healed and restored but my mental self was all over the place.

It became clear that I did not want to continue as before. I simply could not go on as if nothing had happened. I had to reevaluate myself, my situation and my sense of purpose, including my various blog adventures and, of course, my work load, my stress level and my sense of duty. Things had to slow down; I had to slow down.

I decided, albeit grudgingly, that my main blog, the daily Mallorca adventure and its endless photo sessions resulting in thousands of images had to undergo severe changes if not, had to cease altogether. And that is what it finally boils down to. I have decided to let go of this MDPB blog. I will be embarking on a new Mallorca blog which will not be a daily one (Mallorca Observed) in the near future and I shall let you know as soon as I possibly can where you will be able to find it.

In the meantime let me say a million thanks to you, my valued readers and my loyal subscribers. I appreciated your company, your comments and your numerous recent well-wishes. I shall miss you all. I hope you will join me in my new blog adventure. I would certainly value your continued affiliation.

Let me wish you a Happy New Year. Molts d’anys. See you soon.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 4th, 2012. The time was 14:58:35.

Into The Dawn

Hello. I’m back in Mallorca, back from the brink of the Neverland.

A lot has happened since I last posted here, too much really to pretend that the show should go on as it always has. I don’t know what I will do with the Mallorca Daily Photo Blog or if, indeed, I will continue as if nothing had happened. We’ll see. I shall let you know as soon as possible. But it would seem to me as if a new dawning has occurred as far as I am concerned. Please be patient with me and please, give me the time to reflect upon who I am, who I want to be and what I want to do with this blog, or rather, with my life.

I’ll speak to you soon. And please, let me express my gratitude for all the well-wishing that I have so kindly received whilst I was abroad, in hospital. Thank you.

The photo was taken near Cadaqués, Catalunya, Spain. The date: October 31st, 2012. The time was 06:37:04.

Ex Nicotine

Apologies to all loyal MDPB readers, but due to some medical problems of a rather serious character, there will be a temporary period of no daily blog entries. Even though I had given up smoking 31 years ago, it seems that the heart remembers the sins of a young person. I am abroad at the moment, far away from Mallorca, and far away from computers or anything digital other than hospital equipment, and I do not know at this moment when I will be back and able to once again entertain you. I promise to keep you up-to-date as soon as I possibly can. Molts d’anys.

P.S.

Just a quick update to let you know that Klaus had his operation a week ago today (28.09). Everything went well and he is recovering well and is in good spirits. He misses his blog and he misses you all. Thanks for your wonderful well-wishes. Thank you.

The Fortification At Es Fortí de Cala Llonga

When I last visited the cliff top fortification at Es Fortí de Cala Llonga in Cala d’Or, some twenty years ago or even longer, it was in a pretty bad shape; one might have called it a ruin. The origins of the fortification may easily go back a couple of hundred years or even more. It might have been built during the 1730s. At that time, surveillance and custody of the coast was a matter of great importance. In an inventory of the year 1832 the military fortress weaponry was listed as consisting of four cannons, a fact that clearly shows the importance and strength Es Fortí de Cala Llonga once had.

Nowadays, the small old fortress stands in good splendour; well, almost. The Military sold the fortress by way of an auction in 1878 and it became private property. In 1992, Es Fortí was acquired by the Fundació Illes Balears who slowly and carefully restored the erstwhile stronghold. It is now open to the public and serves as a venue for occasional festive events, concerts and other cultural and social gatherings. The views over the cliffs towards the coastline of Cala d’Or and the open Med are as good as it gets.

The photos were taken in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 6th, 2012. The time was 14:01:11, 13:57:34 and 13:45:16, respectively.

The Port Authority in Mallorca

Ports in Spain and the Merchant Marine are managed by state-owned institutions called port authorities, ultimately a section of the Ministerio del Interior in Madrid and the Spanish government, depending on the Ministry of Public Works and Economy. The Autoridad Portuaria de Baleares (Port Authority of the Balearic Islands) is assigned to the management of the ports of Palma de Mallorca, Alcúdia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Savina (Formentera).

The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands is about to move into new headquarters at the Moll Vell in the harbour of Palma. A new construction has gone up on the site of the former Trasmediterránea building, busy up to some twenty years ago but abandoned since the late Nineties. For generations of visitors to Mallorca, the old Trasmediterránea building had been a landmark acting as a meeting point and forwarding station for messages, mail and communication, not unlike the American Express office in Paris during the Forties and Fifties. The new Port Authority headquarters were built, integrating parts of the old construction and its modernist façade, to an estimated budget of 18,000,000 Euros but seem to have finally come in at a total sum of 20,472,223 Euros, if the official figures are to be trusted. That’s quite a lot of money, don’t you think?

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 4th, 2012. The time was 17:52:27. The photos (centre and bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es (centre) and portsdebalears.com (bottom)

Muchas gracias.

Agatha Christie in Mallorca

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (née Miller) was born 122 years ago today (September 15th, 1890). You may be interested to know that there is a link between Agatha Christie and Mallorca and not an unimportant one.

In March 1932, Agatha Christie came to Mallorca for the first time, on the last leg of a long journey that had taken her to the Middle East (Luxor, Cairo and Jerusalem) and beyond. In February 1927, the popular British writer had already resided in the Canary Islands, in the town of Puerto de la Cruz.

When she arrived in Palma, she was surprised by the large number of English and American tourists who were in the capital of the Balearic island, making it impossible for her to find a room in any of the three best-known hotels. Everything was packed. She contemplated staying in Formentor instead where hotel prices were considered exorbitant even at that time. Eventually, she passed through Port de Pollença on her taxi ride to Formentor and was immediately fascinated by the view from the bay; she is said to have exclaimed “… this was the site I was looking for…”. Her fascination for the pine trees in Port de Pollença are believed to have inspired her character of Parker Pyne.

Agatha Christie reputedly enjoyed going for long walks from the Hotel Illa d’Or to the lighthouse at Port de Pollença, stopping occasionally at Hotel Mar i Cel for tea. Both hotels, converted to Pino d’Or and Mariposa for literary reasons, became central to the development of the plot of her Mallorcan story, Problems at Pollensa Bay. Agatha Christie probably returned to the hotel in 1935. One of the current owners recalls how his mother repeatedly referred to her as “the writer“. The lighthouse in Port de Pollença was expropriated in 1937 by a certain Generalissimo to build a military base whose first tenants were the German Legion Condor who had earlier treacherously bombed Guernica in Northern Spain, in the Basque Land.

The writer seems to have returned to Mallorca after the Guerra Civil (Civil War). The photo (centre) shows a copy of ‘The Golden Fleece’ by Robert Graves, dedicated to ‘Agatha and Max, love from Robert 1944’, and a letter to Agatha & Max from Robert in Mallorca in 1946 in which he says ‘How nice to send us your blood! Blood donor Agatha! We had already ordered a copy…’. Both items plus Agatha Christie’s telephone directory were auctioned in Cambridge, UK, in 2009.

The photos were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of sensitivehomeschool.comcheffins.co.uk and accommodationnear.com.

Thank you very much.

Geocaching in Mallorca

Geocaching is a craze which has now besieged Mallorca, just as it has the rest of the world. Geocaching is this incredible GPS-assisted treasure hunt that you can do virtually everywhere, from Vietnam to Alaska and from Australia to Iceland. According to Wikipedia, Geocaches are placed or rather, hidden, in over 200 countries. This outdoor recreational activity is easy, but not without snags or obstacles, and it is fun. You log on to the Geocaching website, sign-up and download the free application onto your smartphone. Chances are that there will be a few dozen, if not a few hundred caches hidden in the outdoors somewhere near you, either at home or on holiday. You could then attempt to find the cache, solve some quests on the way and record your exploits in the logbook and online. You might even win some Brownie Points on the way.

On October 10th, 2010, Geocachers around the world held events and went caching to commemorate 10 years of Geocaching. In the process they set a record for the most Geocachers to find a cache in a single day, with 78,313 accounts successfully logging a cache.

I went to Lluc last Saturday with a few friends and was introduced to the Geocaching concept and its physical reality. There are currently some 1,460 caches in all of Mallorca, 759 of them in Palma. In or near Lluc, there were about 40 caches listed on our GPS phones. We selected one and set off. We had to solve three tasks or quests on the way before we approached the target area. The GPS positioning is only accurate within four to six metres (after all, the signal comes from a satellite high up in the athmosphere). It took us a while to locate the hidden Tupper box. The two females in our team proved more astute than the two males, but isn’t it often like that? The box (second photo from top) contained a small log book and a number of items, instructions, gifts and a Travel Bug, which is a moving cache. We took that bug and replaced it with a slim torch. We had to consult about the Travel Bug on the Internet to find out the intention/s of the person who placed it and his or her instructions as to where to hide this travelling cache next. After successfully solving and locating the first such treasure, we selected two more cache points and were quite pleased with ourselves when we found those as well. Then we headed back to the monastery for a well deserved cup of tea and a nice piece of cake.

The top two photos were taken near Escorca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 7th, 2012. The time was 17:12:36 and 17:11:37, respectively. The bottom photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of destinationunknownjournals.com and Pam Bauer. The map was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of 2000.com and the CIA (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency). I wonder what they might get out of us so freely sharing our GPS positions.

Thank you very much.