Casa Morell (Casal Solleric)

Not very often are we allowed to enter a private home in Mallorca. In the olden days, it was customary to receive visitors on the ground floor. No-one other than close family was ever allowed to intrude on the privacy of the Planta Noble, with the exception of the cleric, or members of the nobility. Exceptions were only made when a child was born or when a death had occurred and when visitors came to pay their respects.

Nowadays, customs seem to have changed very little. Only on a rare occasion are we allowed to enter into the private quarters of a Mallorcan home, unless a very special bond of friendship has been formed. Yes, we might be invited for a meal but, more often than not, the invitation would be for the meal to be taken at a restaurant. There might be an exceptional festive occasion such as a baptism, a communion or a wedding but, again, more often than not the celebration would be marked at a hired venue.

To see what the Mallorcan upper class lived like, we are usually restricted to what is open to the public in the way of museums. Can Marcel (Abaco) in Palma’s old town gives a good example on its first floor of a private home during the 18th century. A visit to Can Marquès, a Casa Senyorial in Palma, could give an impression of domestic life in the 19th and early 20th century. And finally, Casa Morell, better known as Casal Solleric, now an art and exhibition centre, was a private residence during the 18th century, that of the Marquès de Sollerich. On the first floor, two rooms are decorated with what might have been its original furniture and fittings (see photo above).

Casal Solleric currently presents two exhibitions that are well worth a visit. One, by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, is on display precisely on the Planta Noble, where the two rooms with the historic decoration are situated. The other exhibition is on the ground floor and is by Chinese artist Gao Xingjian, better known as the Nobel laureate for Literature (2000). The paintings are lovely and vibrant but, sadly the exhibition is hung extremely unprofessionally and in an insensitive manner. The large format paintings seem to suffocate for a lack of wall space, and the smaller works upstairs are displayed in a rather haphazard way. I think it would have been much better to have the Mexican photos on display where the Chinese paintings are shown, and the Xingjian works would be much better placed in the generous layout of the Planta Noble with its high ceilings.

But, still, the work of both artists merits your visit.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 29th, 2010. The time was 12:40:55.

Casa Morell (Casal Solleric)

Bolivia 2, Brazil 1

Ok., here’s my World Cup blog entry. It has probably been inevitable. I admit that the World Cup 2010 in South Africa is not strictly speaking a Mallorcan affair. But. Spain is still in the bidding. And Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) made it big in Mallorca, before he was sold on to Barcelona in 2004. Eto’o played for five seasons for Real Mallorca (1999-2004), and scored 54 goals in 133 league matches. Achille Webó (Cameroon) has been a RCD Mallorca player since 2007, and so was Yoshito Okubo (Japan), from 2005 to 2007.

Bolivia, as in today’s photo, did not qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. Somehow, the South American team did not win any of their nine away matches during the qualifications (eight losses and one draw). But Bolivia had notable wins at home such as beating Brazil 2-1, Paraguay 4-2, Argentina 6-1 and Peru 3-0; would you believe it?

Historically, Bolivia has always been one of the weaker teams within South American football. But Bolivia did play in the 1930 and 1950 World Cup tournaments. After that, they qualified only once, in 1994. They have never advanced past the first round of any World Cup, and have only scored one goal in the final stages, in 1994.

But Bolivia won the Copa América in 1963, so there.

If anything, this blog entry should serve to remind us that Brazil can be beaten. If Bolivia can do it, the Netherlands should be able to as well (July 2nd). And today, it will be Paraguay versus Japan, and tonight, Spain versus Portugal. Good luck, Spain.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 17th, 2010. The time was 11:17:52.

Bolivia 2, Brazil 1

Accident Prone

Passengers travelling from Palma de Mallorca to Manacor by train will find themselves being asked to change to a bus service for the second part of the journey. The track between S’Enllaç and Sineu has been closed since a train derailed there five weeks ago with about 50 passengers on-board, 28 of whom suffered injuries, including the train driver.

Unfortunately, the Mallorcan railway services Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca have a history of serious accidents on the island track system. Only shortly after services were opened between Inca and Manacor in 2003, a train derailed in 2004, with 48 passengers injured. Two years ago, a train crashed into the buffer stops at Manacor station, causing injuries to 11 passengers. Last year, a train caught fire between Sa Pobla and Inca but, without casualties.

Something would need to be done to safeguard the well-being of Mallorcan railway users.

The photo (top) was taken near Sineu, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 14th, 2010. The time was 15:20:00. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, G. Bosch.

Muchas gracias.

Accident Prone

Festes de Sant Pere

Port d’Alcúdia is celebrating its Festes de Sant Pere (the Patron Saint of fishermen) with a gathering of the giants and also, a correfoc. Whilst the main day of festivities will be next Tuesday, June 29th, celebrations are already in full swing and will include a sand castle competition as well as a Sardinada this weekend, and tomorrow (Monday) a Fidevada. Tuesday, the traditional procession with the statue of San Pedro (Sant Pere) will commence after the church service at 19h00 and will continue with a convoy of fishing boats traversing the port of Alcúdia (see photo below).

Here’s a link for the programme of activities. The Festes de Sant Pere will be followed next week by the Festes de La Mare de Déu de La Victòria (July 1st and 2nd), also in Alcúdia.

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 5th, 2009. The time was 15:55:21. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of ajuntamentalcudia.net/festes and picasaweb.

Muchas gracias.

Festes de Sant Pere

The Corrida In Muro

The pueblo of Muro (Mallorca) is in the middle of celebrating its Festa de Sant Joan. Or rather, has been celebrating. Yesterday was the last day of this year’s activities. Last Sunday, a bullfight was supposed to be held, with six bulls and three toreros (Manuel Diaz ‘El Cordobés‘, Miguel Abellán and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez). The corrida had to be cancelled, though, due to some unseemingly heavy rain. The spectacle has been re-scheduled for tomorrow, June 27th, at 18h30. Tickets sold for last Sunday’s bullfight will be valid tomorrow night. ‘El Cordobés’ and Miguel Abellán will be there, whereas Cayetano Rivera had previous commitments in Algeciras and will be replaced by a female bullfighter, Noelia Mota. Tickets are 35 € (sol) and 45 € (sombra).

Last Sunday, an anti-bullfight demonstration was held outside the Plaza de Toros in Muro, with some 200 protesters airing their opposition to bullfights in Spain. I expect there will be another manifestación, as it is called here in Mallorca, tomorrow afternoon. If the weather holds, you could either watch the bullfights in Muro, or join the protesters outside.

The photo (top) was taken in Muro, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 25th, 2010. The time was 15:26:32. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es.

Muchas gracias.

The Corrida In Muro

Sant Joan Pelós

The Festes de Sant Joan are a big date in the festive calendar of Balearic events. None, of course, are as big as the equestrian events in neighbouring island, Menorca. If you wanted to spend a few days in Menorca during this week of the start of the Summer, you had to make your reservations by last Christmas, or so I am told.

Midsummernight’s bonfires, beach parties and correfocs were celebrated here in Mallorca, just the same. Plus the awesome Festa del Sol que balla (Dance of the Sun) in the pueblo of Sant Joan.

Felanitx begs to be different. Here, the Festa de Sant Joan is actually the Festa de Sant Joan Pelós. It is said that this festivity has pagan origins somewhere in the Medieval times. The person representing Saint John the Baptist (see photo) carries a cross with the inscription Ecce Agnus Dei Quitoli (Here is the lamb of the Lord) whilst performing his little dance. The inscription is probably an amendment from a later date and instilled by the Catholic church. From the photo you can also detect that the musical accompaniment of this folk dance is distinct from the usual ball de bot instrumentation. Here you have a violin, two guitars, a Bandúrrias (small mandoline type guitar), a Llaüt (lute) plus drums and Rascas (scraped reed stalks), whereas in traditional bal de bot music, you would have the xeremiers, i. e. bagpipes and flutes.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2010. The time was 19:09:46. The video was borrowed from the Internet, thanks to YouTube and guingaia.

Moltes gràcies.

Sant Joan Pelós

Pernoctaciones

Pernoctaciones. What a wonderful word. It means overnight stays. Pernoctaciones are used as a denomination to tot up the nights that tourists spend in a defined holiday area.

According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), the whole of Spain had a total of 24,000,000 tourist overnight stays during the month of May 2010 and thus, an increase of 5.7 % when compared to May 2009. And that is despite of La crisis. Hotel prices per night were down though by 2.6 % last month, in Spain, when compared to a year earlier.

Hotels in the Islas Baleares clocked up 5,407,660 pernoctaciones during the same month, an increase of 5 % over May 2009. No figures were given as to how that total would break down between the four main islands, but obviously, it is safe to assume that Mallorca would have taken the lion’s share. The statistical evidence for May 2010 is good news also in as much as it is the first year-on-year increase since May 2008. For the last 24 months, there has been a decrease of overnight stays every month when compared to the same period 12 months earlier, at least as far as Spain is concerned. If the latest increase turns out to signal a trend, this Summer 2010 season could be a good one after all. Nobody is taking any bets at the moment but, you never know. It may turn out all right after all.

The photo was taken in Cala Millor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 7th, 2010. The time was 13:00:09.

Pernoctaciones