The Ballet Of The February Sun

May I remind you that twice a year, on November 11th and on February 2nd, we have the unique opportunity to see a truly awesome spectacle of light inside Palma’s La Seu cathedral. The February sun will dance a very special ballet of joyful light and harmony, weather permitting. That’s the day after tomorrow, at around 08h00, in case you are so inclined. The cathedral will be opening extra specially early for you and perhaps another 500 inspired people. Admission is free. Photography is permitted but without flash, as is video recording.

I have reported about this mathematically accurate celestial phenomenon before, so, I will refrain from repeating myself. But, I would urge you to go if you have never experienced this wonderful performance of the sun before; you will not regret having gone.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 11th, 2009. The time was 08:12:58.

The Ballet Of The February Sun

The Ley de la Memoria Histórica

During a recent visit to Campos I discovered that the Spanish Ley de la Memoria histórica (Historical Memory Law) is, slowly but surely, being taken seriously in some small ways. On the side of the església parroquial de Sant Julià a Franquist coat of arms had been on display for the last seventy years or so above a war memorial remembering the victims of the battle between brothers during the years of the Guerra Civil. The old fascist symbol (see photos centre and bottom) was recently removed and a new Municipal coat of arms has now been put in its place (photo centre and top). Quite why the town of Campos should ever have elected the mythical bear as a heraldic symbol is unbeknown to me. I only know that Madrid has a bear as well in its city insignia.

The war memorial in Campos had originally only lamented the fate of the Civil War victims from the Nationalist Franco camp but such a one-sidedness had already been remedied shortly after the Generalissimo‘s death and with the beginning of the new Spanish democracy, circa 1980. Since then, all victims of any and all political denomination are included in the Municipal sorrow.

The photos (top and bottom) were taken in Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: January 21st, 2011, and May 8th, 2010. The time was 12:25:18 and 14:09:41, respectively. The photo (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, T. O.

Muchas gracias.

The Ley de la Memoria Histórica

The Caves of Drac

Mallorca’s famed caves are amongst the number of tourist sites that attract millions of visitors every year, together with the Cathedral and the Cartoixa de Valldemossa. Caves which are geared for visitors are accessible in Porto Cristo, near Artà, in Campanet and in Genova but, the best known caves are the Coves del Drac (or: Cuevas del Drach) just outside of Porto Cristo. The Drac caves are recorded on Cardinal Despuig‘s legendary map of Mallorca of 1784 but, were mentioned in a first written record of the caves as early as 1338. The Coves de Drac also have their place in a 1896 novel by Jules Verne (Clovis Dardentor).

All caves in Mallorca are quite spectacular and often breathtaking if you enjoy the natural beauty of stalagmites and stalactites and the fables of the underworld. It is a pity that the Drac caves are so overly popular because it has led to a commercialisation with sometimes unpleasant overtones and, frankly, I find the admission charge of 11.50 € quite exorbitant. I’ve been there four or five times over the years but, I did not venture back recently only to take a digital photograph of its undeniable splendour. I somehow prefer the caves of Artà, in Cap Vermell close to Capdepera. They are equally impressive with lighting effects that are less cheesy than those in Porto Cristo. The Artà caves are marginally cheaper than the Drac ones with a ticket price of 10.50 € per adult.

There are plenty of other caves in Mallorca of a similar fascination but without touristic exploitation. They are suitable for practising the sport of caving or spelunking, a potentially hazardous activity, attractive as it may be. I do not know enough to advise you and would rather direct you to people who appear to know better, such as rocksportmallorca.com who do a useful section on caving.

The photo (top) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and commons.wikimedia.org. The image (bottom) was also borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Alta Mar and fabian.balearweb.net.

Thank you very much

and

muchas gracias.

The Caves of Drac

The Monestir de Sant Bartomeu

I can’t think of many reasons why one should pay the town of Inca a visit, other than buying a pair of shoes or a leather jacket. There’s the weekly market every Thursday and the annual Dijous Bo, and there are the half a dozen of Cellers (Can Amer, Can Ripoll, Sa Travessa, to name but a few) but they have turned rather pricey of late. There’s the rather impressive Església de Santa Maria la Major (open for Misses daily at 19h30, as well as 08h30 Monday to Friday, and 09h00 to 12h00 on Sundays. Times vary slightly in July, August and September). And there is the Hospital Comarcal d’Inca, but it would be better if you kept in good health and did not have to go to any hospital, wherever. Other than that, Inca is really a place where one passes through on the way up to Caimari and on to Lluc, or on the way from Palma to Alcúdia and Pollença.

If you should be into matters of serenity you might be attracted by one or other of Inca’s monasteries. There are three as far as I can make out, the Convent de Sant Francesc, the Claustre de Sant Domingo and the Monestir de Sant Bartolomeu. The first one is difficult to get into, the second one is not a monastery any more but, is now owned by the town hall, whilst the third is the oldest one and still home to a number of nuns from the order of the Jeronimes. This is a closed order which means you cannot get into the inner sanctum but, the baroque church is open to the public during church service hours (07h45 on weekdays, 09h00 Saturdays and Sundays). I find this monastery to be particularly serene and peaceful. Somehow it is a place that one does not expect to find in a place like Inca. One can get into the outer patio and into some parts of the monastery where there is a permanent exhibition of church paintings from the 16th century, in particular of Mateu Lopez senior and Mateu Lopez junior, both amongst Mallorca’s most prominent painters during the 16th century.

There is also a small and tranquil ermita just outside of Inca, the Ermita de Santa Magdalena, dating from the 13th century and offering splendid views (photo below).

The photo (top) was taken in Inca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 27th, 2011. The time was 13:19:21. The photo (bottom) was taken from the Internet, courtesy of balearsculturaltour.es.

Muchas gracias.

The Monestir de Sant Bartomeu

Money Matters

Not everybody knows that in Mallorca, between the 13th and the 19th century, a non-metric currency existed similar to the old English/British money of Pounds, Shillings and Pence. Here on the island, the largest monetary unit was called Lliura (Pound) which was based on the weight of silver equivalent to 327 gr. of the precious metal. The Lliura was divided into 20 Sous which in turn had a value of 12 Diners each. The metric monetary system was introduced in Spain in 1869 when, here in Mallorca, the Peseta replaced Lliuras, Sous and Diners.

I could not find a photographic reference of the old Mallorcan coins. Instead I offer you a page from a Mallorcan cadastre book, an administrative system to record the dimensions and locations of land parcels and to establish their values in Lliuras, Sous and Diners for taxation purposes, from 1772. I was shown this volume by the courteous and very competent Senyora Beatriz Zamorano at the Arxiu Municipal in Campos. Moltes gràcies.

P. S. The ordeal of our electric and electronic blackout was finally brought to a conclusion after a very long 56 hours. Phew.

The photo was taken in Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 26th, 2010. The time was 14:11:49.

Money Matters

Outside Of The Comfort Zone

We have now been off from any electricity supply for just over 48 hours, in case you are interested. We feel pretty much outside of our comfort zone. Our day is shortened to the hours of the daylight, which at the moment go from 08h00 to about 18h00, here in Mallorca. We now do away with our usual afternoon siesta and find that we take our evening meal considerably earlier than usual. We can’t do our laundry nor many of the other duties that our everyday life would normally include. We have to get used to hauling up water by the bucket and heating it on the butano gas-run cooker.

But, there is no doubt that, despite all the inconvenience we have taken to the absence of any Gesa-Endesa services with surprisingly good humour. We do vividly complain about their customer service friendliness but, the surprise power blackout has given us an unexpected appreciation as well. We now feel a better sense of time in a house where there is now more darkness due to the shorter daytime sunlight. We enjoy the candle light and we generally enjoy what we have, instead of dwelling on what we lack. We go for walks and we enjoy playing family games. We don’t mind the absence of heating any longer; it’s surprising what an extra layer and another pair of socks can do. Also, we retire to bed earlier than usual and get more sleep and a better rest. The whole affair is like stepping out of one’s everyday life and entering a totally different frame of mind, not altogether an unwelcome or unfriendly one. In a way, one is almost grateful for having been forced to reevaluate everything that one would normally take for granted. After all, life is not just about one’s comforts or one’s daily blog ramblings.

The photo was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 26th, 2010. The time was 08:22:06.

Outside Of The Comfort Zone

Modern Times, Or The Simple Life

Early yesterday morning, our electricity source was cut off. I don’t want to bore you with the details but, believe me, life is not the same without the energy supply feeding our daily routines. For a start, the heating does not work without the electric pump supplying the gasoil, and it is very cold in Felanitx, Mallorca, these days (10° C outdoors, 16° C indoors).  The water does not work and thus, the toilets do not flush. There is no running water, hot or cold. We have no access to the computer nor to the Internet, no television to watch the news and no radio to listen to the wireless. It was eerily quiet in the house all day long for the absence of the normal activities. After a few hours one gets used to the unusual circumstances and adapts one’s behaviour but, as the sun goes down rather early in Winter, here in Mallorca, even an ample supply of candles does not give enough light to read the papers or a book.

As far as this blog is concerned, I must apologise for having to temporarily cut back in my usual community service. Yes, I managed to take my son’s laptop to the local bar to prepare today’s blog entry but, his computer does not have any of my photographs stored on it and my photo archive is inaccessible for the time being.

The lack of comfort is quite stressful. I am angry about the situation not for the fact that I am cut off from a vital service but for the total dependence I seem to have upon the supply of electricity. The complete unavailability of the digital world and the addiction that I did not realize I had to the likes of WordPress, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, EuroNews and the BBC is quite a sobering experience. I may have to rethink my position. Do I want to be addicted to the digital age to quite the extent that I seem to be hooked? I do not think so.

Let’s see what will happen later today. I’ll keep you posted.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of bdcan.ca. Thank you very much.

Modern Times, Or The Simple Life