World Champion From Felanitx

Guillem Timoner Obrador is a friendly man of 82 years. He lives in Felanitx. He was born in Felanitx and he has always lived in Felanitx.

Señor Timoner is a very special man. He has seen the world, or lots of it, when he was doing bicycle races. He won his first race and the first trophy of the hundreds of races that he won, in 1943. He became Campeón de España in 1945, and twelve times after that. He also won the Campeón del Mundo world championship a total of six times between 1955 and 1965 (on two further occasions he was beaten into second position).

The amazing thing is that at that time, there was no doping. Pure muscle, pure willpower, pure stamina. Pure Felanitx, I’d say.

Well done, Guillem. And Lance Armstrong, eat your heart out.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 30th, 2008. The time was 12:56:36.

World Champion From Felanitx

Books for Thought

One of the most beautiful libraries in the whole of Mallorca, in my mind, is the one inside the Parliament building, in Carrer Conquistador, in Palma de Mallorca.

The Parlament de les Illes Balears is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The interested public can visit the Balearic Parliament in limited numbers and only for plenary sessions, by previous appointment. Plenary sessions are mostly held on Tuesday mornings, but, not every Tuesday of the year.

The library, however, is open to the public, Monday to Friday, 09h00 to 14h00, all year round. No pre-arrangements are required. You will be asked to show your Tarjeta de Residencia, though, or your passport.

Books on display can be studied but not taken away. Subject matters of the books on display are mostly political or juridical, but not exclusively so. A rare 17th Century edition of Blanquerna by Ramon Llull (Raimundus Lullus), for instance, is available. Nothing political or juridical there. 

The library shown here, and other parts of the parliament building, are listed as Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage) and can not legally be modified or altered in its display, furniture, architecture or otherwise. See for yourself, and you’ll understand why.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 23rd, 2008. The time was 19:14:41.

Books for Thought

Daniel Libeskind, Architect

Polish-American architect, Daniel Libeskind, is the man behind a unique piece of architecture that can be found in Port d’Andratx, on the way to Sa Mola. Mr. Libeskind is one of the world’s Top Ten contemporary architects alive.

The woman behind the building is American artist, Barbara Weil, a gifted painter/sculptor of a self-declared New Expressionist style, who has been residing in Mallorca since 1979. 

This visionary piece of stunning architecture, Mr. Libeskind’s only work in Spain to date, was completed in 2003. The building functions as a studio and showroom for Ms. Weil’s work, and is also a venue for occasional concerts. 

Visits are possible Saturdays and Sundays from 11h30 to 14h00 and from 16h00 to 18h00, or by prior arrangement. Telephone 971.671.647.

The photo was chosen from my archives. It was taken in Port d’Andratx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 15th, 2005. The time was 16:44:11.

Daniel Libeskind, Architect

Last Orders

Time to clean up and shut down for the day.

The staff in this bar establishment in Plaza Santa Eulalia in Palma de Mallorca has had a very busy day, now that the tourist season is finally in full swing. Most tourists are back at their hotels at this time of day. No more business tonight. Last orders have been served a while ago.

Tomorrow is another day.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 23rd, 2008. The time was 21:37:48.

Last Orders

Neptune Grass

After the recent heavy rainfalls and stormy conditions, you may have discovered piles of matter on your local beach and wondered what was going on.

Do not worry. We are witnessing one way of Nature sorting itself out. What some of us consider litter, is actually the result of something quintessentially good.

Posidonia oceanica, named after the ruler of the sea, Poseidon, and often called Neptune grass, is a seagrass which plays an important role in the Mediterranean ecosystem. In some regions, Neptune grass is classified as a protected species. Read more about this amazing plant on this very educative website.

Like autumn leaves that fall from the trees, the Neptune grass sheds some of its leaves in stormy sea conditions. Waves wash the dead leaves onto the beach where in years long since gone, the leaves were dried and gathered by hand.

Dried Posidonia oceanica leaves were traditionally used to stuff mattresses and pillows (apparently deterring bed bugs), to feed cattle, to provide packing material, and even to thatch roofs. Only nowadays, the importance of this bio-degradable material in our ecosystem is being recognized. Some local authorities along the Spanish coasts hold annual information drives about preserving this seagrass and to explain their new policy of leaving areas of beach in their natural state.

In Mallorca, however, most local authorities gather the leaves and bring in heavy machinery to pile the matter into heaps and mounds, before the organic material is hauled away and sold. Some garden centres buy the organic material and use it as a very effective fertilizing compost. The problem is, I believe, that the heavy machines do more harm to the beach in terms of erosion than the actual organic litter ever would. Much more harm.

The photos were taken near Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 14th, 2008. The time was 14:52:29, and 14:43:18, respectively.

Neptune Grass

Hunger Strike

This lady is lodged outside Can Berga, the Audiencia Provincial de Baleares (Magistrate’s Court) in Palma de Mallorca in a hunger strike protest. Her daughter is a mother that has lost custody of two of her children, for reasons unknown to anyone.

The grandmother claims her family’s rights within the Spanish Constitution and deplores injustice and complicity infringed on herself and her family. Apparently, this is her 8th hunger strike vigil in four years.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 22nd, 2008. The time was 12:40:17.

Hunger Strike

Human Towers

Castells are a folkloric custom originally from Valencia, from the 16th Century onwards. It is a tradition of forming multi-tiered human towers of up to 10 m height, and sometimes more.

Two castellers associations have their home in Mallorca, one in Palma, the Castellers de Mallorca, and one in Manacor, the Al.lots Llevant. Both, plus the Moixiganguers, an invited group from Igualada in Catalunya, performed a number of impressive human towers at the occasion of the Fira de Primavera in Manacor, yesterday, of up to seven tiers high. Absolutely amazing.

The young boy at the right wearing a crash helmet is the Enxaneta, the youngest one of the castle and the one who climbs to the top. I do not think that he was five yet.

It is all down to the strategic planning of the base unit, called the Pinya. Strength plays a part in it, obviously, but planning, strategic thinking, trust and courage are even more important.

A lot of enthusiasm all-round coupled with friendly energy made for a truly invigorating experience. 

The photos were taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 24th, 2008. The time was 19:23:13, top, and 19:09:53, bottom.

Human Towers