Molts d’Anys

adam_eva

At the occasion of New Year’s Eve, let me wish you a Happy New Year, or as the Mallorcans say, Molts d’anys (many years, i. e. a long life).

Don’t forget to see the New Year in with the 12 uvas de la suerte, at the stroke of the 12 campanas at midnight. You might want to wear some red underwear if you are superstitious. Or you might take it easy for four weeks or less and wait until the Chinese New Year brings in the Year of the Ox (January 26th), and with it the promise of prosperity in return for some hard work.

Or else, you might just decide to have a walk with your Adám (or your Éva) and enjoy sharing your life on this beautiful island, if the clouds open up for a moment and let the sun shine through which I am convinced they will.

Molts d’anys.

The photo was taken near Porreres, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 17th, 2008. The time was 17:16:44. No, I do not know who the artist is who created this lovely piece of art. But Molts d’anys to him, or her, just the same.

Molts d’Anys

The Torre de Pareires in Porto Pí

torre_paraires1

Palma’s Avinguda Gabriel Roca is locally better known as Passeig Marítim. Interestingly, the water-faced side of this stretch along the seafront does not come under the auspices of Palma’s municipal town council but under the mandate of the Junta del Puerto, the harbour authority which ultimately is a central government body in Madrid, part of the Ministerio de Fomento, Puertos del Estado. In fact, the harbour authority’s stretch of coastline in Palma extends all the way from Porto Pí and the Dic de l’Oest to the Torrent Gros in Can Pastilla, including Portitxol and El Molinar.

puerto_palma_mallorca

This Junta del Puerto, now called Autoritat Portuària de Balears, is not the proprietor of the Torre de Pareires, though, due to its location on the landborne side of the Passeig Marítim. The Torre is a defense tower dating back to the 14th century that was built on an even earlier structure. You can find this tower at the end of Passeig Marítim, just before you turn right at the Porto Pí end. If you look across the Moll de Pareires you can spot the Torre de Pareires’s twin brother, the Torre de Senyals. This latter one, however, was heightened during the 17th century and subsequently converted into a lighthouse, now called the Faro de Porto Pí.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The date: November 7th, 2008. The time was 17:14:24. The copyright for the map is owned by the Autoritat Portuària de Balears.

Moltes gràcies.

The Torre de Pareires in Porto Pí

The Winter Solstice Rose Window

la_seu

A rather stunning and beautiful apparition could be observed in Palma de Mallorca over the last fortnight, early in the mornings.

On the day of the Winter solstice, the light of the rising sun entered through the large stained-glass rose window on the east façade of La Seu (Palma’s cathedral), leaving straight through the rosetted window on the west front and giving an awe-inspiring impression from the distance as if the cathedral was being illuminated from the inside which of course it never is at that time of day.

The effect could be seen this year from December 16th until about now, but was best visible on December 21st, the first day of Winter and the date with the shortest day of the year, and with the longest night. The visual effect took no more than ten minutes to come and go, every day.

The visual feat is nothing but a tribute to the amazing talents of architects, builders and mathematicians of the cathedral which was built from 1230 on and completed only nearly 400 years later, in 1601. The building has subsequently undergone a number of reforms and modifications, especially after an earthquake that occurred in 1851, destroying the main façade (the west side). The last major invention was that of the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, between 1904 and 1914. He is said to have designed the current and rather beautiful rose windows, superimposing three glass sections in the primary colours (yellow, blue and red). One of these rose windows (the one facing East) is at the moment undergoing repair work due to some recent storm damage.

I am afraid I can not offer you a photograph of the morning sunlight’s effect of my own taking. Instead I offer you an image that was published by the Diario de Mallorca. Credit is due to the photographer, Señor Lorenzo. Muchas gracias.

The Winter Solstice Rose Window

Día de Los Santos Inocentes

inocentes

The Día de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Holy Innocents) is the Spanish speaking world’s equivalent to the April Fool’s day. This day is a religious holiday named in honour of the young children who were slaughtered by order of King Herod around the time of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:16-18). These young victims were called ‘Santos Inocentes’ (Holy Innocents) because they were too young and innocent to have committed any sins.

duccio_di_buoninsegna

Although the feast remains on the Catholic Liturgical calendar, today the religious aspect has been almost forgotten and the pranks that became popular during the Middle Ages have been combined with winter festivities of pagan origin. In today’s Spanish – and Mallorcan – newspapers you will find all sorts of invented news and misleading information. The local youth will play practical jokes or mischievous acts amongst themselves. If you are young enough you may find yourself the victim of such a prank. Watch out.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The date: November 21st, 2008. The time: 12:12:50. The painting is credited to Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italy, ca.1255-1319).

Día de Los Santos Inocentes

Mounted Police

policia_local

The Policía Municipal in Palma de Mallorca has some of their agentes municipales mounted on horseback, you might be interested to know.

Of course, the Palma policeman is usually on the beat walking, or driving, two at a time, in the Palma police force automobile, but we can see them occasionally on their bikes as well, especially in the old town of Ciutat. That is bikes as in bicycle as well as motorbikes, to be sure.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The date: November 21st, 2008. The time: 10:48:30.

Mounted Police

El Pequeño Verano

pequeno_verano

El pequeño verano (Letni dzien/A Summer Day) is not only a novel by Sławomir Mrożek (Borzecin/Poland, 1930) but also a pretty regular weather pattern around Christmas time in Mallorca.

True, we had the most awful storms and rain and flooding over the last three to four weeks, including the heaviest snow seen in the Tramuntana mountains for perhaps twenty years but, just in time for the festive season, sun and warmth and temperatures of 15º and 16º C surfaced again. Wonderful.

The forecast for today and for the weekend is not so bright, I am afraid but, who wants to complain? Rain and snow (above 1,200 m) are predicted for today, December 26th, with temperatures dropping to 12º at midday and 4º at night, with north-easterly winds. The weather will change to the better from Monday, December 29th. Let’s hope for the best.

The photo was taken in Port de Pollença, Mallorca, Spain. The date: December 22nd, 2008. The time: 15:46:11.

El Pequeño Verano

Joan Miró Died 25 Years Ago Today

miro_brushes

The Catalan artist, Joan Miró i Ferrà, died on Christmas Day 1983, 25 years ago today. At the time of his death he was one of Spain’s most important contemporary artists. Since then, art history has confirmed Miró’s importance in the context of 20th century art.

Miró’s most widely seen work of art may well have been the wall tapestry in New York City, due to its hanging in the lobby of 2 World Trade Center. The World Trade Center Tapestry was a gigantic (6.10 x 10.67 m) piece made of wool and hemp, specially commissioned for the WTC and sadly perished on September 11th, 2001. Miró had initially turned down the NYC Port Authority‘s commission, because he had not created tapestries before. But several years later, at the urging of some Spanish nuns who wanted a tapestry for their hospital, Miró acquired the skill from a village tapestry maker. After Miró finished the piece for the World Trade Center, he decided that tapestries were too much work and stated that he would not make any more.

world_trade_c_tapestry

The Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma currently shows an exhibition of 120 original posters by the artist. The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, also in Palma, shows an exhibition of  paintings, drawings and sculptures under the title Evocation of the Feminine Image. Both exhibitions are well worth a visit.

The photo was taken in the late artist’s studio in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 12th, 2008. The time was 16:38:28. The image of the lost WTC tapestry is reproduced in homage to the memory of the artist, under recognition of the copyright holders’ rights.

Joan Miró Died 25 Years Ago Today