A Grand New Biblioteca in Pollença

Can Llobera Pollensa 1

You may not live in Pollença and even if you do, you may not be inclined to consult the vast archive of the Municipal Library there. But wait, I may give you a good reason for a visit next time you’re in Pollença. Expect to be pleasantly surprised.

The Biblioteca de Pollença has recently moved to new premisses. I should rather say, old premisses, because the new home of the library is now in Can Llobera, a grand town house in Plaça Vella, right next to the parochial church of Nostra Senyora dels Àngels (Our Lady of the Angels). Can Llobera used to be the home of one of the wealthiest and most influential families of Northern Mallorca; amongst many other possessions they were the land owners of the entire Formentor Peninsula, in those days when non-agrarian land in Mallorca was not a very valuable latifundium. One of their descendents was Miquel Costa i Llobera (1852-1908), poet, priest and Hijo Ilustre de Pollença (Illustrious Son) as well as Hijo Predilecto de Mallorca (Favourite Son of Mallorca). Costa i Llobera is considered one of the leading representatives of Catalan poetry, ever.

For the simple act of asking, one is allowed to visit the non library areas of the premisses, including the old kitchen, the pantry, the patio as well as the Planta Noble (first floor), including still furnished drawing rooms, the master bedroom, the reading room and the reception room. Entrance admission is free of charge; you don’t even have to be consulting the library.

Can Llobera_02

If you should be looking for accommodation in the rural area of Pollença, albeit just a tad less grand, there is plenty of accommodation for rent, such as can be found at Pollensa villas. You might use your holiday stay to visit the old town of Pollença and admire the way the rich lived in the old days. I bet you will be envious.

A Grand New Biblioteca in Pollença

The Long Walk to Lluc

Earlier this morning, thousands of ordinary Mallorcan people, young and old, will have arrived at the monastery of Lluc after a night-long foot march across the island and up into the Tramuntana mountains. You may remember, that every year on the first Saturday in August, the Marxa des Güell a Lluc a Peu is being undertaken. Now, five weeks on, the same ambitious walk was embarked upon along even longer trails, from the Part Forana, Mallorca’s hinterland. Last night, people set off in their hundreds from Alaró, Alcúdia, Algaïda, Andratx, Artà, Binissalem, Bunyola, Calvià, Campos, Can Picafort, Esporlas, Felanitx, Llubí, Llucmajor, Muro, Petra, Sa Pobla, Santa Margalida, Santanyí, Son Servera, Vilafranca de Bonany, you name it.

The main stop for everyone on the way up was in Inca at 04h00 this morning. Refreshments were handed out and medical assistance was on the ready in Inca, Selva and Caimari. Participants were given a T-shirt and a ribbon. Everyone will have been given a certificate upon arrival, as well as hot chocolate and Bollería pastries. There was also a church service for those who wanted to attend after a successful completion of their strenuous task.

The photo (top) was taken in Escorca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 7th, 2012. The time was 17:40:34. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, Simó Tortella.

Muchas gracias.

The Long Walk to Lluc

The Shoemakers’ Monument

Mallorca has a long tradition of shoemaking. We would normally think of Inca as the island’s major leather and show town, but Llucmajor also had an important shoe industry, right up to the 1970s. The town commemorates the brave shoemakers and cobblers of Llucmajor with a large monument in honour of the Sabaters (shoemakers). The sculpture was crafted in Piedra de Santanyí (sandstone) by Tomás Vila in 1963.

The shoe industry in Llucmajor has since almost completely vanished. Where once the majority of working people in Llucmajor were employed by the shoe industry, now tourism is the biggest employer.

Let’s see if one day the waiters, bellhops and room maids of Llucmajor will get their own monument as well. Somehow I doubt it.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 17th, 2011. The time was 12:54:34.

The Shoemakers’ Monument

The European Day of Jewish Culture 2012

Next Sunday, September 2nd, the European Day of Jewish Culture 2012 will be celebrated in Europe, in Spain as well as here in Mallorca. This year’s event will be under the theme of The Spirit of Jewish Humour. According to the German poet Heinrich Heine, German humour is as heavy as German beer, English humour is misty like whiskey, French humour is light, fizzy and shiny like Champagne, whereas the Scots are deprived of any sense of humour (quoted from the jewisheritage website). Heine was born into a Jewish family, but later converted to Christianity in 1825, age 28.

In case you want to learn something, a Shofar (photo top) is a traditional Jewish blowing horn made of a mature ram’s horn, used as an instrument for religious purposes. And the photo (bottom) shows USA Rabbi Joseph Wallis, centre, at the site of a former synagogue in Palma in 2011 which had been replaced by a Roman Catholic church during the 16th century.

A concert will be given by Ana Alcaide at Castell de Bellver on September 1st, 21h00, as part of the European Day of Jewish Culture. The synagogue in Palma will hold a day of Open Doors on September 2nd, 10h00 to 14h00. There will be guided tours through Palma’s Jewish Quarters on the same day at 10h00 (Catalán and English), 11h45 (German and Spanish), 17h00 (Catalán and German) and 18h45 (Catalán and Spanish), starting from Plaza de Cort. A documentary about the fate of the Chuetas will be screened at Teatro Xesc Forteza, at 20h30.

There will also be a Ciclo de Cine Judío. The following movies will be shown at the Teatro Municipal Catalina Valls in Palma (Passeig Mallorca), quite possibly in a Spanish dubbed version:

04/09/2012: El mundo según Barney/Barbey’s Version (Richard J. Lewis, Canada/Italy 2010).
13/09/2012: Judíos en el espacio/Jews in Space, or Why Is this Night Different from All Other Nights? (Gabriel Lichtmann, Argentina 2005).
18/09/2012: Te quiero, Alice B. Toklas/I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (Hy Averback, USA 1968).
27/09/2012: El Rabino y el Pistolero/The Frisco Kid (Robert Aldrich, USA 1979).

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 7th, 2008. The time was 13:08:55. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of nytimes.com and the International Herald Tribune. Many thanks also to the photographer, Marta Ramoneda.

Thank you very much.

The European Day of Jewish Culture 2012

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

Today, the town of Felanitx is celebrating its patron saint day, the Festes de Sant Agustí. Every year, August 28th turns into a bit of a bit of a pandemonium here, partly because there is a lot of drinking Pomada and other alcoholic beverages and partly because on this day, Felanitx is really ruled by the Penyas.

There are a number of penyas in Felanitx, perhaps six or eight, but El Cosso is the original Felanitx Penya and by far the biggest. The symbol of El Cosso is Sa Kika, a live domestic cock, carefully carried round the vila in a small cage placed on a velvet cushion. For the last thirty years, there used to be a bullfight on this saint’s day in Felanitx, where the Cosso made a noisy appearance, but not any longer. There are no more bullfights in Felanitx.

Last year, there was an incidence after the church mass, when local dignitaries and politicians from Palma were reputedly harassed by some local Penya youths. A local police officer saw fit to use some teargas much to the surprise of onlookers. The disturbance ended in court and a number of rather draconian sentences were handed out to a dozen youths of 5,000 € each. It is rumoured that the Palma elite will not make an appearance at today’s church service which would really give the local Penyas the upper hand.

Tonight at 21h30, a Correfoc will be run from Plaça Santa Margalida to Plaça Pax. See you there, perhaps?

The photos (top and centre) were taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2012. The time was 10:37:25 and 09:41:39, respectively. The photo (bottom) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2011. The time was 09:10:47.

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

The Seduction of the Minotaur

You may not believe me, but I have been trying to get into the Colisseu Balear, the Plaça de toros (Palma bullring), for at least five or six years, to no avail.

When there is no activity, the place is always closed. And when there is a bullfight, or a concert, or whatever, access is strictly limited to those with a valid admission. But I did not want to take photos of a concert, or a TV show or a bullfight. I was and still am interested in the place, the characteristics of the place, the aura, the architecture, the history, the true nature of the Macarena.

Well, yesterday I happened to drive past the Colisseu Balear and, lo and behold, the gates were open. I parked the car and sneaked in, expecting to be thrown out again by some busybody guards within no time at all. But no. I was unhindered and undisturbed and could spend some twenty minutes minding my own business and clicking away until my camera memory disk was completely full.

I am not much into bullfights. I have only ever seen one proper one in my life, one half proper one with young bulls, without any bloodshed, and a couple of corridas and bullruns in the south of France, with the bulls being chased towards the bull ring. But I can’t help associating the bullfight and the Plaça de toros with artists like Picasso or writers like Hemingway. Entering a bullring, even an empty one, confronts one with an air of temerity and a sense of carnage; there is blood in the air, want it or not, quite possibly in a seductive sort of way. The last bullfights were fought here, or should I say, staged, some two weeks ago (August 9th). Since then there had been a concert, and tomorrow (August 24th), a bull jumping show will be put on, an acrobatic kind of bullfight with no blood and with no loss of bulls’ lives.

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 15:33:31 and 15:28:16, respectively.

The Seduction of the Minotaur

Slumbering Beauties

I have occasionally been asked about, or sometimes even been criticized for, my intermittent reporting on matters of the Catholic church. There were suggestions that my blog entries on monasteries in Mallorca, on churches, chapels and the Cathedral, or on festivities related to saints and saints’ days amount to promoting the Catholic religion or something to that extent. I keep explaining that an exhaustive blog on the subject of Mallorca would be flawed if it did not include references to matters of church traditions in a country as deeply entrenched in the Catholic religion as Spain was and still is. No, I am not a Catholic, I never was and I never will be. If I did a blog on Japan, I would certainly have to include topics of Shintoism or Buddhism quite frequently, don’t you think?

Every time, I point out that I continuously aim to give equal attention to other religions such as Islam, Sufism, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Mormonism or Jehovanism. After all, there has been a time in Mallorca when Catholicism, Islam and Judaism coexisted in perfect harmony for a few hundred years, or so it is sometimes claimed.

Okay, I have never reported on Scientology and I am not sure that I will ever consider it relevant.

Allow me to talk about the Virgin Mary once more, on occasion of the recent Festivitat de l’Assumpció de La Mare de Déu (Ascent of Virgin Mary). The celebration is also called Dormició de Maria (Dormition of Virgin Mary).

I have visited a number of church exhibitions of the Slumbering Beauties over the last number of years and this year, was all intent on filling in the gaps that I might have missed in the past. Easier said than done. When I was in Palma last Friday, I approached six churches plus the Cathedral but, I found myself locked out in all of them but two. Saturday and Sunday, the same happened in the pueblos. Of seven churches, only three were open for visits at the time of my arrival. For your perusal, I am offering you reclining Mare de Déu Dormida examples taken in – from top to bottom – La Seu (Cathedral) and Sant Miquel in Palma, and Campos, Felanitx, Santanyí and Porreres in the Part Forana (the hinterland). I was told that the most beautiful Virgin Mary statue was laid out in the parish church of s’Arracó (Església de Sant Crist), but I did not get there before time and the display there is now no longer on view, until next year.

This year, some installations will be on display until August 22nd. The parish church in Santanyí will show its sleeping beauty (above) until August 21st, the parish church in Muro, until August 23rd, and the church in Alaró, until August 25th. In Palma, the exhibition at the Església de Sant Francesc comes to a close on August 22nd, as will the one at La Seu de Mallorca. An exhibition Mostra de la Mare de Déu d’Agost will be open at the Monestir de la Puríssima Concepció until August 23rd. A Funeral Procession of the Ascending Virgin will be held on August 22nd at 19h00 at the Església del Monestir de la Concepció.

The photos were taken, from top to bottom, in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 17th, 2012. The time was 15:28:09 and 13:34:54, Campos, August 18th, 2012, at 11:05:14, Felanitx, August 15th, 2012, at 11:56:02, Santanyí, August 18th, 2012, at 12:09:45, and Porreres, August 19th, 2012, at 20:28:38.

Slumbering Beauties