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Contraband in Cala Murada

Cala Murada on the East Coast is as strange a place as you will ever find in Mallorca. When I first went there, some thirty years ago, elderly people sat in a bar, quite clearly of a foreign provenance, most of them female, eyeing me with suspicion as I entered to sit down for a coffee. At once, everyone stopped their conversations. You could hear a pin drop. Later, I was told that the foreign residents of Cala Murada, and then, there were only foreign residents, were mostly of either German or Belgian origin. The German women appeared to be widows of ranked military personnel. Rumours had it that German army staff retired to Mallorca during the Franco years, during the Sixties and Seventies, having had dealings with Franco‘s troupes during the Spanish Guerra Civil. The Legion Condor was mentioned to me, but, I have no evidence for the truth of such gossip.

The Belgians, on the other hand, again seemed made up of ex-servicemen. It would appear that the Belgian contingent arrived and settled in Cala Murada soon after the end of the turmoil in Belgian Congo resulting from the proclamation of national independence in the Congo. During the Sixties and Seventies, banks in Felanitx, the nearest town to Cala Murada, had a sudden requirement for employees with foreign language abilities, as land transactions were made involving either German, French or English.

Most widows have died since my first visit, I suppose. Still, nearly all residents here are still of either German or Belgian descent and may well be heirs to the aforementioned lot. There are some Spanish residents as well by now and some residents of South American origin, plus Austrians, Dutch, Scandinavian nationals and so forth. Somehow, Cala Murada still seems a murky place with muddy waters trickling down the Torrente. Perhaps I am biased, but there is also gossip that Cala Murada, then not yet urbanized, was used by contrabandists during the Twenties and Thirties, before the Franco years, for their profitable if shady dealings. Ships would approach the coast, cargo would be offloaded onto Llaüts (fishermen’s boats) consisting of tobacco, spirits, coffee, spices, leather, shoes and whatever other commodities that were heavily levied with tax at that time and thus, smuggled and stowed away in hideaway places such as caves along the coast of Cala Murada and its vicinity. Everybody knew about such illegal dealings then, but, everyone was in on the trade, including the eyes of the law and the Guardia Civil who supposedly took bribes. Large fortunes were made in those days in Mallorca, by some.

A friend of mine told me the other day of a friend of his having heard of a large plastic wrapped parcel full of narcotics being found on a shore not far from Cala Murada, only a few months ago.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Cala Murada, near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 26th, 2009. The time was 15:04:08.

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October 2011


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