The Balearic Mountain Championship

The annual car race up the Sant Salvador mountain near Felanitx is the fourth out of six races making up the Campeonato de Baleares de Montaña 2012 (Balearic Mountain Championship). So far, races were held to Valldemossa, to Monte Toro and to the Castell de Son Mas in Andratx. After Felanitx, two more races remain in this year’s competition, up to Puig Major (October 6th-7th) and to Cala de Sant Vicenç (October 20th-21st).

Tomorrow, September 1st, will be a day of training sessions, starting at 16h30. The proper race will be held on Sunday, September 2nd, at 09h30. Thirty cars have registered to compete here in Felanitx. And the winner is …..

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of mallorcarallye.com.

Muchas gracias.

The Balearic Mountain Championship

A Screech, a Bang And a Spin

Last night, having just finished a latish supper, our son was waiting for a friend to arrive. They were ready to go to some verbenas in Montuïri, a pueblo half an hour’s down the road from Felanitx. Suddenly we heard a screeching noise and a bang. Our daughter wondered if it was a fire cracker. Then the phone rang. It was our son’s friend, saying that he had just been involved in a car accident. We went out immediately, because the accident scene appeared to have been just down the road from our house judging by the bang that we had heard.

As accidents go, this luckily seems to have been a minor one. Even though there was considerable damage to both cars – one of them spun out of control and came to a halt only inches from a shop front – there was no serious personal injury as there might have easily been. Yes, our son’s friend was shocked and appeared bewildered by the force of the impact; he had also suffered bruises to his shoulder from the seat belt. The municipal police arrived at the scene within minutes, and a few moments later, the Tráfico (Traffic Police). Measurements were taken of skid marks and distances to stop signs, and alcohol tests were administered with breathalyzers; both drivers’ samples proved negative. Our son’s friend was then taken to the medical centre for further tests of a possible whiplash injury. No verbenas for him tonight. We hope he’ll be alright.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 18th, 2012. The time was 22:51:53.

A Screech, a Bang And a Spin

Saint Christopher and the Car Blessings

According to the Catholic faith, Saint Christopher is the saint of safe travel. It is quite customary, here and elsewhere, to put Saint Christopher medals on display in one’s car to bless the vehicle, the driver and the passengers with safe journeys there and back.

There are a few pueblos in Mallorca where this tradition is upheld, amongst others Felanitx, Biniali and Sant Joan, and of course Palma. A Beneïdes (blessing) of lorries, cars and motorbikes will take place next Saturday, July 7th, in Portocolom, the harbour town of Felanitx. The time will be 10h30. I am giving you a few days warning in case you would want to make your way to Portocolom. I am not sure about the date of similar blessings in Biniali, but last year it happened to be a week or two after Felanitx. I don’t know the reason for this divergence of dates. As far as I know, the official saint’s day is July 10th. The Saint Christopher blessings are usually officiated by a priest or someone similarly qualified.

Beneïdes de Sant Cristòfol blessings were also held in the village of Sant Joan for the last 56 years, but they have now been cancelled for this year. Apparently there has been some conflict between the Penya Motorista Sant Joan and the local Ajuntament. What can I say?

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, M. Bosch.

Muchas gracias.

Saint Christopher and the Car Blessings

Price Hikes

Steep price hikes were introduced from June 1st for transport on the island. The train from Palma to Manacor is now charged at 3.80 € one-way when it used to cost 2.45 €; an increase of 55 %. The bus from the airport into Palma is now charged at 2.50 € when it was 1.80 € last year, up a mere 39 %. My bus from Felanitx to Palma used to be 4.25 €; now it costs 4.80 €, up 13 %. The bus from Portocolom to Felanitx was 0.95 €; now it is 1.60 €, up 68 %. Other train and/or bus charges in Mallorca have increased between 47 and 58 %. You may have had your own experience if you use the public transport; no one will be spared.

And if you use the car, petrol has gone up as well a week or two ago. Petrol is now 1.44 € per litre un-leaded 95 octane, and 1.55 € per litre un-leaded 98 octane, the sixth increase this year alone. Diesel sells at 1.35 € per litre at the moment.

You may consider this a boring blog entry; believe me, I am quite enraged.

The photo was taken near Inca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 1st, 2012. The time was 13:01:08.

Price Hikes

The Apollo Lunar Module in Costitx

The Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca (OAM) in Costitx has a new attraction, an Apollo Lunar Module replica. The Lunar Module was the landing portion of the Apollo spacecraft.

The astronomic centre, observatory and planetarium is certainly worth a visit, all thanks to Maria Antònia Munar. I wonder how she is doing these days. She is said to be seriously ill, apart from being under criminal investigation and facing a possible prison term.

Opening hours for Planetarium sessions in Costitx are Fridays and Saturdays from 19h00 (Winter, i. e. now) and 20h00 (Summer – June, July, August, September). Visits to the observatory have to be arranged by appointment, unless you are a student and your school has taken care of the arrangements. For information or reservations, telephone 650.386.881 (09h30-13h30 only, Monday to Friday).

I can’t help feeling bewildered by the lack of information and promotion of Mallorca’s many attractions such as this one. Enormous amounts of money are spent on some really incredible projects and installations which then are often neglected, closed, forgotten about and sometimes go to waste. Take the Palma Arena, for example, or the Llotja or, today’s example, the OAM in Costitx. A great shame, really.

The photo was taken near Costitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 12th, 2011. The time was 14:19:01.

The Apollo Lunar Module in Costitx

The Morgan Plus 8

When I spotted this beautiful Morgan Plus 8 on Palma’s Via de Cintura last Thursday, the Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca had just commenced. Even though this Roadster is a vintage car design, it was probably not old enough to classify for participating in the Mallorca rally. The UK-built Morgan Plus 8 was built between 1968 and 2004. This particular one was probably built after 2000 and thus, did not qualify for participation.

This year’s Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca finished last Saturday; the overall winning team was Dominik an der Heiden/co-driver Ottenburger in a 1979 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. Congratulations. The winner in the Female category was Bel Dezcallar in a Triumph TR3.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 15th, 2012. The time was 19:57:46. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and SO911ST, showing last year’s winning team, Stefan Oberdörster and his co-driver, Olaf Heupel, in a 1976 Porsche 911 ST, in this year’s rally.

The Morgan Plus 8

Phileas Fogg

Once or twice a year, there is fog to be found on Mallorca’s roads. Years ago, some friends of ours came to visit, flying in from Germany. Palma International airport was closed for about five hours, first thing in the morning, and their flight had to be re-routed to Ibiza. Instead of 08h00 in the morning, they finally landed in Palma at 14h30.

The fog last night was not quite as bad. The foggy conditions on the motorway from Palma to Llucmajor were only intermittent and again, between Campos and Felanitx, where I live. Driving a car in foggy conditions is not the best setting for taking photos of the fog, and I must admit that my wife got cross and worried when I could not resist the temptation. The resulting image is not half as good as the visual impression that I had whilst driving my car but there you are. Nobody said taking photographs was easy.

Just in case you feel mislead about my Phileas Fogg reference, take it easy. Jules Vernes is said to have based his novel Clovis Dardentor on the Coves del Drac in Porto Cristo and thus, must have visited the island. Phileas Fogg never visited Mallorca; his character was fictional.

Postscript: Five aeroplanes could not land at PMI airport this morning between 08h30 and 09h15 and had to be diverted. So it was pretty bad fog, after all.

The photo was taken near Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 13th, 2011. The time was 22:31:07.

Phileas Fogg