The Fires de Llucmajor

The Fires de Llucmajor are a pretty big thing here in Mallorca. The Ferias are now in their 465th year, having started way back in 1546. There are four Fires and one Firó, with a whole string of activities from now until October 23rd.

Yesterday, Llucmajor celebrated the Dia de Sant Miquel and the Primera Fira. Sadly, some of the activities during the afternoon were soaked in strong rainfalls.The Segona Fira will be held on Sunday, October 2nd, hopefully in better weather conditions, and the Tercera Fira, on October 9th. The Darrera Fira is scheduled for October 16th, and the Firó, for October 17th. Today, the XI Fira Artesana will be held and tonight, a Rutapa Tapas tour. Saturday, October 8th, the Copa de Mallorca Tir de Fona (stone slinging competition) will be held, as well as a congregation of Ball de Bot troupes from Llucmajor and visiting pueblos. The giants will hold a Trobada gathering and parade on October 9th, to be followed by a Correfoc (firerun). An equestrian presentation is scheduled for October 15th.

A detailed Programa de Ferias 2011 (programme schedule) is available on the Internet. Should you be visiting Llucmajor during this year’s Fires, I would advise you to visit the impressive Claustre de Bonaventura with its spectacular wall paintings and the unique roof tiles exhibition on the first floor. You may have to ask the friendly receptionist to open the exhibition hall for you.

The photo was taken in Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 29th, 2011. The time was 14:43:32.

The Fires de Llucmajor

The Global Ocean Race

Last Sunday, six Class 40 sailing boats departed from the Real Club Náutico de Palma to embark on a Global Ocean Race around the world. The six double-handed teams (BSL, Campagne de France, Cessna Citation (with Mallorcan Hugo Ramón as co-skipper), Financial Crisis, Sec. Hayai and Phesheya-Racing) are expected to complete their daunting task sometime in June 2012, back here in Palma de Mallorca. The regatta spans a total of some 32,000 nautical miles and will take the six crews to Cape Town (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand), Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Charleston (USA). By Tuesday night, five of the six boats had passed the Strait of Gibraltar near the lighthouse of Tarifa and were heading south along the west coast of Morocco in the direction of Brazilian archipelago, Fernando de Noronha, some 2,500 miles away. Last night at 21h00 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), after 3 days, 7 hours and 30 minutes, Campagne de France was in the lead off the coast of Rabat, with BSL a close second and Cessna Citation in third position. Sec. Hayai is lagging behind, trailing the leading boat by 132 miles due to some mishap when their gennaker sail suffered some damage. You can follow the regatta and the events on the OCR website, should you be curious.

Originally, 15 boats were planning to participate but, in the end, only six managed to secure sponsorship, thanks to La Crisis. A previous Global Ocean Race was held in 2009, also from Palma to Palma, and was won by a German crew, with Boris Hermann at the helm.

Postscript:

BSL with skippers Ross and Campbell Field beat the competitors to the post, arriving in Cape Town after 32 days, 17 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds on October 28th, 2011, at 05:13:25, finishing 47 miles ahead of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France who had been in the lead for most of the first leg of the race. The other four boats are trailing between 1,660 and 2,060 nautical miles behind.

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 20th, 2008. The time was 12:36:16. The photo (centre) and the map were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of globaloceanrace.com and the photographer, Jesus Renedo.

Thank you very much, and

muchas gracias.

The Global Ocean Race

Ultima Hora

For one reason or other, Mallorca is said to be the place with the second highest density of sundials anywhere in Europe, only exceeded by Cuneo in Italy. Perhaps it is all on account of the fine weather here on the island. Most sundials we know are two-dimensional and mounted vertically flat on the façade of a church tower, a farmhouse or any other building. But, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. There are Equatorial sundials, Horizontal sundials, Vertical sundials, Pocket sundials, Polar dials, Vertical declining dials, Reclining dials, Reclining-declining dials, Spherical sundials, Cylindrical, conical and other non-planar sundials (for more detailed information, please consult Wikipedia). It is quite a mind-boggling subject, but, rather fascinating indeed and utterly absorbing. To me, anyway.

A number of less common sundials in modern designs can be found along Palma’s Paseo Marítimo, such as the one shown here, found at the entrance of the Muelle Comercial, straight opposite the Cathedral. This one is a Cylindrical sundial with its gnomon lined-up parallel to the Earth axis.

Joan Serra Busquets is the big expert on sundials here on this island. He imparts a large amount of information complete with photos, bibliography, typology, references and an inventory of hundreds of sundials in Palma and in the pueblos on his website, Carpe Diem. Miguel Ángel García Arrando is the author of a 204-pages book on the subject of sundials in Mallorca (Los relojes de sol de Mallorca).

The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 22nd, 2011. The time was 16:50:46, 16:50:12 and 16:51:15, respectively.

Ultima Hora

Cala Rotja (Canyamel)

Autumn is here. The heat has subsided. There was some heavy rain a few days ago with temperatures dropping considerably, and before you know it, one has to start thinking about getting another few outings in to the beach before it is too late to swim. How about going somewhere you haven’t been to, for a change?

When we went for a drink in Canyamel before going to a concert given by Maria del Mar Bonet a few weeks ago, we spotted a beach, Cala Rotja, that I had not been to before. The tiny beach is surrounded by rocks. The waters are clear and clean. The best access would be from the Torre de Canyamel, where the concert took place, to the Costa de Canyamel. You’ll come to a roundabout with access to the hotel Can Simoneta. There you turn right and follow the road. Park the car near the only seafront restaurant there. To the left of the bar you’ll find a lane going straight down to the sea. I did not do any snorkeling when we went, but, I am told that this Cala is very suitable for some underwater activity, either snorkeling, diving or even speleodiving (cave diving). There is a submarine cave a few metres deep and there is the near-by Cova del Congre cave at a depth of 20 metres. It might be fun to discover somewhere new, above or below the water. If diving is not for you, you could just go for a drink and the stunningly beautiful view.

The photo was taken near Canyamel, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 27th, 2011. The time was 18:26:26.

Cala Rotja (Canyamel)

Canis Majoris

Apologies for my liberal use of the Latin language. Of course I know that Canis Majoris is a constellation of stars in our skies of which Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) is the brightest one. Today’s photo is rather about yesterday’s Exposició Monogràfica Ca de Bestiar in Felanitx and a different star, a canine superstar at that. The dog with the owner labelled no. 25 is a bitch who was crowned the Best of the Best, the Champion of Cans de Pastor Mallorquí, the Campeó Ca de Bestiar 2011. Her name is Auba de Can Parreta (* 2007) and the proud owner’s name is Antoni Vives Ramis. Auba de Can Parreta was also declared the winner in this year’s bitches category. The two runner-up champions overall were both male dogs, Dolç de Can Nyegos (no. 22) and Al·lot de Lluçànes (no. 18).

Auba de Can Parreta is a real superstar as she has already won virtually everything there could be won over the years, here in Mallorca. She also came best in the bitches category in 2008 and best young dog in 2007.

¡Enhorabuena!

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 25, 2011. The time was 13:04:59.

Canis Majoris

Gregorian Chant

Last night, we had some tough choices to make. We fancied some music and had to choose between going to Palma to hear Miguel Poveda perform some Flamenco at the Trui Teatre, or to Binissalem to appreciate the Orquestrina d’Algaïda at the Festes de Vermar, or to Llucmajor to enjoy some Gregorian chant at the Claustre de Sant Bonaventura, performed by the Schola Gregoriana de Mallorca. We were tempted by the passion of Flamenco but, instead, opted for the Gregorian music for three reasons: the Claustre is a very beautiful venue, in Mallorca one very rarely has a chance to listen to good Gregorian music, and Miguel Poveda was ours for 40 € per person whereas the Gregorian chant came for free with a voluntary donation thrown in. Llucmajor it was.

According to Wikipedia,

Gregorian chant is a form of monophonic liturgical music in the Christian Church to accompany the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. The Mediaeval chant used to be notated in a system ancestral to modern musical notation. In general, the chants were learned by the viva voce method, i. e. by following the given example orally, which took many years of experience in the Schola Cantorum. Gregorian chant originated in monastic life, where singing psalms made up a large part of the life, while a smaller group and soloists sang the chants.

The earliest notated sources of Gregorian chant (ca. 950) used symbols called neumes to indicate tone-movements and relative duration within each syllable. The chant was learned in an oral tradition in which the texts and melodies were sung from memory. The neumatic manuscripts (see below) display great sophistication and precision in notation and a wealth of graphic signs to indicate the musical gesture and proper pronunciation of the text. Scholars postulate that this practice may have been derived from cheironomic hand-gestures, the ekphonetic notation of Byzantine chant, punctuation marks, or diacritical accents. Later adaptations and innovations included the use of a dry-scratched line or an inked line or two lines, marked C or F showing the relative pitches between neumes. Consistent relative heightening first developed in the Aquitaine region, in France, in the first half of the eleventh century, from where it made its way into Spain and, much later, to Mallorca.

We enjoyed our Gregorian evening even though the lengthy explanations in Mallorquín by the Schola director, Sebastià Melià, were protracted and somewhat repetitive. Sadly, the acoustics were below an acceptable standard. The sound system at the Claustre’s auditorium was very badly adjusted. The concert would have been much better held in the adjoining cloister, sadly not an option on a rainy day such as yesterday, or in the splendid church of Sant Bonaventura. Some of the audience went out halfway through the concert. We sat through the entire rendition and I, for one, have no regrets for having missed the possible alternatives. It may not have been a perfect Gregorian performance such as one might have heard under the Bishop of Rome, Pope Gregory I. But, when it matters, I can be in a forgiving mood. Sometimes anyway.

The photo (top) was taken in Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 24th, 2011. The time was 21:48:13. The illustration (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of wikimedia.org.

Thank you.

Gregorian Chant

The Pastor Mallorquín

If you would ask me what I liked best about Mallorca, I would probably give you a dozen aspects, or two. There are the local Mallorcan people, there is the landscape, there is the sea. I like the light here, the blue sky, the weather and the sun. I wouldn’t want to miss the history of this island, the Talayots, the monasteries, the sundials. I could do without yachts and golf courses, but, I could not do without the smell of the algarroba, the fig tree, the Higo Chumbos, the poppy fields. I would not want to miss the tempting fish markets, the gentle olive oil, pa amb oli, sopas or vi negre. I would very much miss the sheep bells, the high-pitched cry of the peacocks, the elegance of the Mallorcan thoroughbred and the devotion of the Pastor Mallorquín, in the local lingo (Catalan) known as Ca de Bestiar. And I certainly would not want to be denied the local lingo itself, Mallorquín, a language which I love even though I do not speak it very well. I’m working on it, though.

The Ca de Bestiar will have its annual dog show competition, the XVIII Exposició Monogràfica de Ca de Bestiar, in Felanitx tomorrow, Sunday, September 25th, 2011. The contest will start at 10h00. I’ll be there.

The dog show is part of the Fira de Sant Miquel which this year also includes a Fira de Vi i Dolços, starting this afternoon at 16h30, weather permitting.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of es.cadebestiar.de.

Danke, Ana.

The Pastor Mallorquín