Ex Nicotine

Apologies to all loyal MDPB readers, but due to some medical problems of a rather serious character, there will be a temporary period of no daily blog entries. Even though I had given up smoking 31 years ago, it seems that the heart remembers the sins of a young person. I am abroad at the moment, far away from Mallorca, and far away from computers or anything digital other than hospital equipment, and I do not know at this moment when I will be back and able to once again entertain you. I promise to keep you up-to-date as soon as I possibly can. Molts d’anys.

P.S.

Just a quick update to let you know that Klaus had his operation a week ago today (28.09). Everything went well and he is recovering well and is in good spirits. He misses his blog and he misses you all. Thanks for your wonderful well-wishes. Thank you.

Ex Nicotine

The Fortification At Es Fortí de Cala Llonga

When I last visited the cliff top fortification at Es Fortí de Cala Llonga in Cala d’Or, some twenty years ago or even longer, it was in a pretty bad shape; one might have called it a ruin. The origins of the fortification may easily go back a couple of hundred years or even more. It might have been built during the 1730s. At that time, surveillance and custody of the coast was a matter of great importance. In an inventory of the year 1832 the military fortress weaponry was listed as consisting of four cannons, a fact that clearly shows the importance and strength Es Fortí de Cala Llonga once had.

Nowadays, the small old fortress stands in good splendour; well, almost. The Military sold the fortress by way of an auction in 1878 and it became private property. In 1992, Es Fortí was acquired by the Fundació Illes Balears who slowly and carefully restored the erstwhile stronghold. It is now open to the public and serves as a venue for occasional festive events, concerts and other cultural and social gatherings. The views over the cliffs towards the coastline of Cala d’Or and the open Med are as good as it gets.

The photos were taken in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 6th, 2012. The time was 14:01:11, 13:57:34 and 13:45:16, respectively.

The Fortification At Es Fortí de Cala Llonga

The Port Authority in Mallorca

Ports in Spain and the Merchant Marine are managed by state-owned institutions called port authorities, ultimately a section of the Ministerio del Interior in Madrid and the Spanish government, depending on the Ministry of Public Works and Economy. The Autoridad Portuaria de Baleares (Port Authority of the Balearic Islands) is assigned to the management of the ports of Palma de Mallorca, Alcúdia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Savina (Formentera).

The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands is about to move into new headquarters at the Moll Vell in the harbour of Palma. A new construction has gone up on the site of the former Trasmediterránea building, busy up to some twenty years ago but abandoned since the late Nineties. For generations of visitors to Mallorca, the old Trasmediterránea building had been a landmark acting as a meeting point and forwarding station for messages, mail and communication, not unlike the American Express office in Paris during the Forties and Fifties. The new Port Authority headquarters were built, integrating parts of the old construction and its modernist façade, to an estimated budget of 18,000,000 Euros but seem to have finally come in at a total sum of 20,472,223 Euros, if the official figures are to be trusted. That’s quite a lot of money, don’t you think?

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 4th, 2012. The time was 17:52:27. The photos (centre and bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es (centre) and portsdebalears.com (bottom)

Muchas gracias.

The Port Authority in Mallorca

Agatha Christie in Mallorca

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (née Miller) was born 122 years ago today (September 15th, 1890). You may be interested to know that there is a link between Agatha Christie and Mallorca and not an unimportant one.

In March 1932, Agatha Christie came to Mallorca for the first time, on the last leg of a long journey that had taken her to the Middle East (Luxor, Cairo and Jerusalem) and beyond. In February 1927, the popular British writer had already resided in the Canary Islands, in the town of Puerto de la Cruz.

When she arrived in Palma, she was surprised by the large number of English and American tourists who were in the capital of the Balearic island, making it impossible for her to find a room in any of the three best-known hotels. Everything was packed. She contemplated staying in Formentor instead where hotel prices were considered exorbitant even at that time. Eventually, she passed through Port de Pollença on her taxi ride to Formentor and was immediately fascinated by the view from the bay; she is said to have exclaimed “… this was the site I was looking for…”. Her fascination for the pine trees in Port de Pollença are believed to have inspired her character of Parker Pyne.

Agatha Christie reputedly enjoyed going for long walks from the Hotel Illa d’Or to the lighthouse at Port de Pollença, stopping occasionally at Hotel Mar i Cel for tea. Both hotels, converted to Pino d’Or and Mariposa for literary reasons, became central to the development of the plot of her Mallorcan story, Problems at Pollensa Bay. Agatha Christie probably returned to the hotel in 1935. One of the current owners recalls how his mother repeatedly referred to her as “the writer“. The lighthouse in Port de Pollença was expropriated in 1937 by a certain Generalissimo to build a military base whose first tenants were the German Legion Condor who had earlier treacherously bombed Guernica in Northern Spain, in the Basque Land.

The writer seems to have returned to Mallorca after the Guerra Civil (Civil War). The photo (centre) shows a copy of ‘The Golden Fleece’ by Robert Graves, dedicated to ‘Agatha and Max, love from Robert 1944’, and a letter to Agatha & Max from Robert in Mallorca in 1946 in which he says ‘How nice to send us your blood! Blood donor Agatha! We had already ordered a copy…’. Both items plus Agatha Christie’s telephone directory were auctioned in Cambridge, UK, in 2009.

The photos were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of sensitivehomeschool.comcheffins.co.uk and accommodationnear.com.

Thank you very much.

Agatha Christie in Mallorca

Geocaching in Mallorca

Geocaching is a craze which has now besieged Mallorca, just as it has the rest of the world. Geocaching is this incredible GPS-assisted treasure hunt that you can do virtually everywhere, from Vietnam to Alaska and from Australia to Iceland. According to Wikipedia, Geocaches are placed or rather, hidden, in over 200 countries. This outdoor recreational activity is easy, but not without snags or obstacles, and it is fun. You log on to the Geocaching website, sign-up and download the free application onto your smartphone. Chances are that there will be a few dozen, if not a few hundred caches hidden in the outdoors somewhere near you, either at home or on holiday. You could then attempt to find the cache, solve some quests on the way and record your exploits in the logbook and online. You might even win some Brownie Points on the way.

On October 10th, 2010, Geocachers around the world held events and went caching to commemorate 10 years of Geocaching. In the process they set a record for the most Geocachers to find a cache in a single day, with 78,313 accounts successfully logging a cache.

I went to Lluc last Saturday with a few friends and was introduced to the Geocaching concept and its physical reality. There are currently some 1,460 caches in all of Mallorca, 759 of them in Palma. In or near Lluc, there were about 40 caches listed on our GPS phones. We selected one and set off. We had to solve three tasks or quests on the way before we approached the target area. The GPS positioning is only accurate within four to six metres (after all, the signal comes from a satellite high up in the athmosphere). It took us a while to locate the hidden Tupper box. The two females in our team proved more astute than the two males, but isn’t it often like that? The box (second photo from top) contained a small log book and a number of items, instructions, gifts and a Travel Bug, which is a moving cache. We took that bug and replaced it with a slim torch. We had to consult about the Travel Bug on the Internet to find out the intention/s of the person who placed it and his or her instructions as to where to hide this travelling cache next. After successfully solving and locating the first such treasure, we selected two more cache points and were quite pleased with ourselves when we found those as well. Then we headed back to the monastery for a well deserved cup of tea and a nice piece of cake.

The top two photos were taken near Escorca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 7th, 2012. The time was 17:12:36 and 17:11:37, respectively. The bottom photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of destinationunknownjournals.com and Pam Bauer. The map was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of 2000.com and the CIA (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency). I wonder what they might get out of us so freely sharing our GPS positions.

Thank you very much.

Geocaching in Mallorca

Easy Riders

I was trapped in my car amidst a horde of Easy Riders the other day, a long trail of perhaps twelve or fifteen Harley-Davidsons, with three heavy machines ahead of me and the rest behind. Mallorca’s secondary roads are quite narrow, so overtaking was not an easy option. But, hey, they were considerate and as soon as there was no oncoming traffic and the vista was clear, they waved me to pass, one at a time. They were driving quite conscientiously. Muchas gracias.

My friends and I were slightly concerned that the rowdy, or rather not so rowdy, lot may have been heading for the same restaurant as we were for our lunch, but no. We had a pleasant meal of cochinillo (suckling pig) and leg of lamb and had soon forgotten about the previous encounter. After lunch we headed for the monastery of Bonany, on the outskirts of Petra. You can imagine our surprise when walking up from the car park we passed a noisy gathering of leather clad folk having a picnic-type party. Here they were again, the Easy Riders. Apparently they were from a Harley-Davidson penya in Palma. Oh well. Apart from the exceedingly loud rock music blasting out, they were quite amenable, really.

The photos were taken near Petra, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 9th, 2012. The time was 14:58:27 and 15:06:31, respectively.

Easy Riders

Beach Life in September

I am constantly amazed by the hordes of people on Mallorca’s beaches. One would have thought that now, after the end of the Summer holidays, beaches might be a bit emptier. But, far from it. If you had been to the beaches of Cala Pi, Es Trenc or Cala d’Or during the first ten days of September, as I had, you would have found it difficult to put your beach towel down without any physical contact to some unbeknown person next to you.

Statistical figures for PMI airport and the month of August 2012 were at a slight plus over the previous year (3,494,008 passengers; plus 0.8 %), the highest monthly figure in Mallorca, ever. The figures for July 2012 had been 3,435,936, an increase of 1 % over the same month in 2011. Figures for the time between January 2012 and the end of August suggest that there were 16,141,592 pasajeros (remember, each person gets counted as two, one for arriving and one for departing).

People in the hotel business are complaining that, even though this year’s tourist season is seen as a good one, income and profit are not good enough to make up for a relatively dead Winter season. Some people are never quite satisfied, aren’t they?

The photo (top) was taken in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 6th, 2012. The time was 12:56:15. The photo (bottom) was taken near Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 24th, 2012. The time was 18:53:08.

Beach Life in September