The Bombona de Butano

butano

There is some good news for a change, as long as you live in Spain.

From tomorrow, April 1st, the retail price for a bombona (cylinder) of Butano gas will be lowered from 13,50 € to 10,50 €. The new price tag represents the largest price reduction in some 15 years. You may suspect that I am having you on, on account it being April 1st (April Fool’s Day) tomorrow. But no, you can trust me. April 1st is not a day when pranks are played out in Spain. Pranks in Spain are carried out on the Día de los Inocentes (December 28th).

Butano is calculated in Spain on the basis of the price of crude oil, the cost of transport and the exchange rate Euro versus Dollar. After all the price increases over the last few years, we are now finally being given the benefit of the lower price of crude oil and the favourable exchange rate. Hurray.

For those of you interested in the technical details: A 10 kg bottle of Butano gas contains approximately 4 m³ of butane gas. Butane gas has a heating capacity of 28.000 kcal/m³, which amounts to about 112.000 kcal per bombona cylinder.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 13th, 2007. The time was 07:59:24.

The Bombona de Butano

The Plague

sepultado

The village of Artà had the misfortune of being infested by the peste (plague) in 1820. Other Mallorcan pueblos such as Son Servera and Capdepera suffered a similar fate, then.

One can safely assume that there were many mortal victims at the time. A visit to the Artà parish cemetery seems to offer sufficient evidence.

Sebastián de Sant Pablo was the abbot of the Ermita de Betlem near Artà when the infestations occurred. He rushed to the village to offer help to the inflicted and the sick. When he returned to the hermitage, he had caught the contagious disease himself. His life could not be saved. Ninety years later, in 1913, the abbot’s remains were returned to the Ermita’s cemetery.

The caragols (snails) in my photo seem oblivious to the fate of us humanoids.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Betlem, Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2008. The time was 12:18:25.

The Plague

The Monestir de Miramar

miramar

The Monestir de Miramar between Valldemossa and Deià was founded in 1276 by Jaume II, the first ever King of Mallorca, at the request of Ramon Llull.

Miramar was not really a monastery but a missionary college dedicated to the teaching of Arabic and other oriental languages, with a view to prepare friars to convert Moors to Christianity. Some historians claim that Miramar somehow constituted the first attempt to establish a university in Mallorca.

The Archduke Ludwig Salvatore of Austria (1847-1915) bought the old property in 1872. Today Miramar can be visited for a token admission fee. A very old Tàfona olive oil press can be admired. Two museum presentations are included in the admission fee; one is dedicated to the Arxiduc and the other one pays homage to Ramon Llull. But the best impressions by far are to be had courtesy of the awesome landscape and the stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea and Mallorca’s west coast.

Visiting hours are Tuesday to Sunday (10h00 to 18h00). Admission: 3 €.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Valldemossa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 16th, 2008. The time was 15:05:07.

The Monestir de Miramar

New Mercedes E-Models Launched

e_classe

German car makers Mercedes-Benz came to Mallorca to launch their new E-Class models. Rumours have it that some 15,000 Mercedes dealers from all over the world were invited to our island for a two day test drive with the new models.

Every day for the last five weeks or so, about 300 dealers toured Mallorca’s South East in pursuit of the ultimate driving experience. Every morning Felanitx with its only two sets of traffic lights witnessed convoys of seven shiny luxury cars navigating the pueblo‘s narrow streets to acquaint themselves with life in the country lanes. I can report that the VIP-effect caused the occasional traffic congestion in sleepy Felanitx, in remote Son Macià and in rural Campos del Port as well. Each convoy of seven vehicles was made up of five Mercedes cars, one Audi automobile and one BMW motorcar. I suppose the competitors’ vehicles may have served the useful purpose of some comparative evaluation.

Mercedes-Benz had completely taken over two hotel compounds in Mallorca’s South East: Robinson Club in Cala Serena, and Blau Porto Petro Beach Resort, in Portopetro. The launch event will continue until April 4th, I understand.

The photo was taken near Cala d’Or, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 26th, 2009. The time was 16:26:30.

New Mercedes E-Models Launched

Cruz Roja

cruz_rojo1

The International Red Cross is a wonderful operation.

I have never had a calamity where I would have been in need of their assistance, but it is a good feeling to know that they would be there if one were to need some help.

The Cruz Roja Española has an Islas Baleares branch with some 17,043 helpers all over Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Most of them serve on a voluntary basis. In Mallorca, there are posts in Palma, Inca, Manacor, Alcúdia, Andratx, Capdepera, Felanitx and Sóller. Luckily, there are First Aid stations also on some of the beaches, like the one shown here in Ciudad Jardín (Ciutat Jardí). However, these Red Cross beach posts are open only during the Summer period, from May until September. Sounds reasonable to me.

The photo was taken in Ciudad Jardín, Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 19th, 2009. The time was 13:57:05.

Cruz Roja

Honey And No Milk

bovinae

When we first came to live in Mallorca, we soon noticed the ubiquitous presence of sheep, coupled with a noticeable absence of cows. As a consequence fresh milk and other dairy products were quite rare. Of course, later-on we came across the occasional dairy farm, but few and far between.

Milk and butter do not form a traditional part of the daily food intake in Mallorca. Milk is normally bought in its UHF packaged variety, usually imported from Asturias in the north of Spain, as is butter. Some cheese is produced locally, often blended with goat or sheep milk. In commercial quantities cheese is chiefly imported from the island of Menorca or again, from the North of Spain. The larger availability of cheese in Menorca is probably due to the neighbouring island’s British connection. There are more dairy cattle in Menorca than there are on the much larger island of Mallorca.

Over the last twenty or so years, the limited presence of cows has dwindled even further. I understand that grants were handed out from coffers in Brussels to do away with any surplus cow herds.

But where there are rules, there are exceptions. Now and then one can spot the occasional farm in the countryside with perhaps a dozen or so cows. And there are dairy farms with hundreds of cows like the one shown here, but not many of those remain.

A shame really, somehow.

The photo was taken near Vilafranca de Bonany, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 24th, 2009. The time was 17:20:35.

Honey And No Milk

Adán Diehl And His Formentor Vision

adan_diehl

The year 1928 was not a time when many people would have thought of building a hotel on the island of Mallorca. Only a mad person would endeavour such an undertaking, or perhaps a visionary.

Adán Diehl, an Argentinian art lover, was a man with a vision. I do not know what exactly brought señor Diehl to our shores, but he liked what he saw and he fell in love in particular with the idyllic setting of the remote Península de Formentor. He bought a large expanse of land from the Costa i Llobera family for the stately sum of 520,000 Pesetas. The Hotel Formentor was duly built, overlooking the stunningly beautiful Cala Pí de la Posada.

The hotel would soon become a synonym for sophisticated luxury. Virtually from the beginning, the venue served as a meeting place for royalty and personalities of politics, art and show business from all over the world, among them Edward Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson, the Spanish royal family, Winston Churchill, Charley Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Ava Gardner, Edward G. Robinson, Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Aristotle Onassis, Agatha Christie and Mario Vargas Llosa. Nowadays, important international events and European summit meetings are organised in this outstanding, peaceful setting.

Adán Diehl had one more vision when he built Mallorca’s first golf course near his hotel premises. That venue was never inaugurated, however, for reasons related to the Spanish Civil War. Let me hold that story back for a future blog entry.

Today, the Hotel Formentor is owned by the Mallorcan Barceló group of hotels.

May I suggest to you a visit of the Platja de Formentor. The surroundings are perfect for a swim, a picnic, a sun tan session or a drink at the beach bar, which is run by the Hotel Formentor but is open to the public and rather civil in their pricing attitude.

The photo was was taken near Port de Pollença, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 14th, 2009. The time was 14:34:43.

Adán Diehl And His Formentor Vision