The Choice is Yours

Guardia de Honor Palma de Mallorca 2

Mallorca is quite a unique island, really. Here, everyone can find what makes him (or her) happy, be it the long beach or the solitary cove, the old town of Palma and its exciting history of 2000 years, the wilderness of the Tramuntana mountain range, the encounter with the past in Chopin’s Valldemossa, the fortified rock castles, the picturesque beauty of the almond blossom season, the intriguingly hooded Easter processions or the dramatic alpine roads, equally attractive to motorists, motorcyclists and competitive cyclists.

Es Calderer Sant Joan Mallorca

The market days in the pueblos of the island center are just as alluring as the festivities celebrating the wine harvest, the Melon Festival, the correfoc fire runs or the annual animal blessings. Only recently, Palma de Mallorca was named by an English Sunday newspaper as the most attractive city of all in terms of the standard of living. In Mallorca, there is so much to visit and even more to discover. The island offers a vast variety of gastronomic delights, from roast lamb or paella to the roast suckling pig or the thick hot chocolate. The range of restaurants, tapas lounges and beach bars is vast; the agony of choice sometimes turns a simple task into a daunting affair.

Badhia de Alcúdia Mallorca

Mallorca is said to have 254 beaches, 171 monasteries and hermitages, 57 wineries, 301 km of trail of the dry stone route (GR 221), 6,000 years of populated History, 228 sundials, 17 bird sanctuary areas, 6 nature reserves, 300 days of sunshine, 2,922 restaurants, 1,538 cafeterias and 3,064 bars, 53 municipalities, 54 mountains with an altitude of more than 1000 m, 16 lighthouses, 52 defense towers and 157 courtyards in Palma alone. Fortunate is he who has a vehicle at his disposal to find what makes him happy.

Far de Porto Pi, Palma de Mallorca 2

If you need a rental car for your trip to explore the island, you might want to examine the rates of Carhire-Mallorca. There, you will be given the best rental prices for a first class car hire service. The choice can be yours without the agony.

The Choice is Yours

Good-Bye to All That

Sa Feixena

It’s time to say good-bye.

After 1,928 daily blog entries between June 10th, 2007, and September 18th, 2012, a serious heart condition caught me unawares whilst on a short trip abroad. I underwent a heart operation and had a quadruple bypass. My unplanned hospital stay rendered me unable to keep the Mallorca Daily Photo Blog running without interruptions. When I got back to Mallorca six weeks later I somehow had lost my sense of purpose, my sense of direction and – without wanting to sound too dramatic – a focus in my life, my attitude, my aspirations, the centre of my self. My organs had been healed and restored but my mental self was all over the place.

It became clear that I did not want to continue as before. I simply could not go on as if nothing had happened. I had to reevaluate myself, my situation and my sense of purpose, including my various blog adventures and, of course, my work load, my stress level and my sense of duty. Things had to slow down; I had to slow down.

I decided, albeit grudgingly, that my main blog, the daily Mallorca adventure and its endless photo sessions resulting in thousands of images had to undergo severe changes if not, had to cease altogether. And that is what it finally boils down to. I have decided to let go of this MDPB blog. I will be embarking on a new Mallorca blog which will not be a daily one (Mallorca Observed) in the near future and I shall let you know as soon as I possibly can where you will be able to find it.

In the meantime let me say a million thanks to you, my valued readers and my loyal subscribers. I appreciated your company, your comments and your numerous recent well-wishes. I shall miss you all. I hope you will join me in my new blog adventure. I would certainly value your continued affiliation.

Let me wish you a Happy New Year. Molts d’anys. See you soon.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 4th, 2012. The time was 14:58:35.

Good-Bye to All That

Feeding the Starved

Pa de Sant Antoni

This may not be the image that the Mallorca Tourist Board would want to see highlighted, but there you go.

Ever since unemployment rose to unprecedented levels here in Mallorca, almost four years ago, more and more families and single mothers with children find it increasingly difficult to feed themselves. In a sometimes really difficult situation hundreds of destitute people depend on the help of charitable organisations on the island, such as the Catholic Church, the Lions Club, banks such as Sa Nostra Solidaria and Caixa de Colonya, the Salvation Army or ONGs such as Comedor Zaqueo and Projecte Home Balears.

Every weekday morning, the Frailes Caputxins in the Convent dels Caputxins (Capuchin monastery) just off Plaça d’Espanya hand out a sandwich to up to 400 hungry and impoverished souls. The convent has a door in Carrer Bastió d’en Sanoguera where a bocadillo and a piece of Ensaïmada is handed out for free without any questions asked bar your name. In addition, every Monday afternoon, you can see dozens of shopping trolleys parked outside the Puerta de Pa de Sant Antoni, ready to carry home warm food which is offered for about 300 families (see photo top). On Saturdays, warm food is offered to more than one hundred old age pensioners.

The Comedor Zaqueo in Plaça Mercadal is offering breakfast to some 150 homeless, and evening meals to 300 hungry souls (see photo bottom). Demand for food and shelter is on the increase; the Associación Zaqueo is also offering a bed to over 5,000 homeless residents every year.

Mallorca is not just all sun and sea and chill-out parties. Some find the going quite tough. Perhaps you can spare a thought.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 27th, 2012. The time was 10:37:15. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and Zaqueo.

Muchas gracias.

Feeding the Starved

Cool in the Pool

You may be surprised when I tell you that we do not possess a swimming pool. We had guests staying with us the other day, for a week or so. Friends of theirs, who were here on holiday, were aghast to hear they stayed with us in a house without a piscina. The truth is that I would quite like to have a cooling-off swim basin but my wife is not in favour of my idea. You may also be shocked to hear that we don’t have air-conditioning in our house, either. I am totally against the environmental insanity and the harmful effect of air-conditioning, health-wise. Luckily my wife agrees with me on that one. Okay, it is hot out there right now, I grant you that. But temperatures will drop within a week or two; so, what’s the big deal? We keep our shutters shut all day long, and there is always a slight breeze and sufficient circulation of air in the house.

As for swimming: there is a large municipal piscina less than a mile down the road from our house with two large pools, a jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna. And even better, there is the sea less than twenty minutes from here, by car, with two dozen bays and coves and beaches within half an hour’s drive, and some 250 beaches in Mallorca, all told. Would you rather swim in the pool or would you rather float in the Mediterranean Sea? That’s an easy answer, I would have thought.

The photo was taken near s’Alquería Blanca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 22:40:14.

Cool in the Pool

Fifty Grades of Shade

We have recently been sent a heavy humid heat wave from the African land expanse. The Agencia Estatal de Meteorología has seen itself prompted to issue a Yellow Alert warning of high temperatures for today and tomorrow.

You may agree with my findings that the heat is more bearable when under the protective shield of some natural shade. The Mallorcan natives have always considered shade an important ally in combating the unforgiving aggression of the Summer sun. Main roads between major villages used to be lined with tall and handsome Aleppo Pine Trees (Pinus halepensis) affording a canopy of shade for those traversing the island. The same in Palma, where streets such as Carrer de Blanquerna were tree-lined, in this case with Lledoners (Celtis australis), offering the animals some shade on their way to the slaughterhouse at s’Escorxador. When I sit sipping my morning coffee, I do so under the shade of the Felanitx palm trees (Phoenix canariensis) and when I go to the beach I seek comfort under the pine trees. If there are no trees, I do not go to the beach during the hot July and August temperatures. I am not mad enough to get roasted like a suckling pig just for the sake of a swim in the Med.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 7th, 2012. The time was 14:54:20.

Fifty Grades of Shade

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

Yesterday, I was reporting on the pneumatic collection of household refuse in the island capital, Palma. In country properties up and down Mallorca there is a different problem, that of wastewater and its reclamation. In the countryside, you would normally not have a communal or municipal conveying system of ducts or channels to collect fecal waste. It is rather a matter of each one to his (or her) own. Country properties would have a private septic tank or pozo negro on their property, usually a construction of three inter-connected chambers with the last one allowing the waste liquid to flow or leak slowly through porous material or small holes. The non-liquid stuff hardens with time and fills up over the years. Friends of ours had the need to have their septic tank emptied yesterday and, luckily, the friendly set-up of Limpiezas Toni & Jaime S.L. was available and willing to come and do an emergency suck-away job. It took them less than 30 minutes to empty the full septic waste tank. I don’t know where they take the fecal waste matter but I suppose it will be to a municipal treatment facility. The charge was 120 € in case you should be interested.

There may well be an economic crisis here in Spain but, believe it or not, there is enough waste matter around to make a living for the likes of Toni and Jaime. Their job may get a bit smelly but perhaps one can get used to the odors.

The photos were taken near Felanitx, Mallorca. The date: August 9th, 2012. The time was 13:40:54 and 13:41:34, respectively.

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

Pneumatic Rubbish Collection in Palma

A pneumatic rubbish collection was installed in Palma some ten years ago at a cost of 23,000,000 Euros. Subterranean tunnels would normally suck the waste to central collection points from where the basura is being transported to the Centre de Tratamiento in Son Reus, the massive incinerator plant just north of Palma. Alas, all is not well with Emaya‘s pneumatic collection system; a number of technical and electric breakdowns seem to have occurred over the last few months. Currently, some 380 pneumatic rubbish collection bins in Palma’s historical centre have been sealed off and were rendered unusable. Emaya Empresa Municipal d’Aigües i Clavegueram S.A. is the municipal water and waste refuse company in Palma, currently in debt to the tune of some 35,000,000 Euros.

Whilst the pneumatic collection system is inoperable, traditional waste containers have been brought out of retirement and dustbin lorries are now sent out periodically to visit the pneumatic bin areas and collect the rubbish from the deposit bins, to ensure that rubbish does not accumulate in the streets.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 7th, 2012. The time was 14:15:12. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, Lorenzo.

Muchas gracias.

Pneumatic Rubbish Collection in Palma