Into The Dawn

Hello. I’m back in Mallorca, back from the brink of the Neverland.

A lot has happened since I last posted here, too much really to pretend that the show should go on as it always has. I don’t know what I will do with the Mallorca Daily Photo Blog or if, indeed, I will continue as if nothing had happened. We’ll see. I shall let you know as soon as possible. But it would seem to me as if a new dawning has occurred as far as I am concerned. Please be patient with me and please, give me the time to reflect upon who I am, who I want to be and what I want to do with this blog, or rather, with my life.

I’ll speak to you soon. And please, let me express my gratitude for all the well-wishing that I have so kindly received whilst I was abroad, in hospital. Thank you.

The photo was taken near Cadaqués, Catalunya, Spain. The date: October 31st, 2012. The time was 06:37:04.

Into The Dawn

The Gota Fría and the Blue Moon

You may well know by now that I am ill-equipped when it comes to taking pictures of the moon. This month of August 2012, we had two Full Moons, the second one being called a Blue Moon. The Trompa de Agua or Gota Fría we had two days ago in Palma and to the west, including Calvià, Andraitx and s’Aracco, may well have occurred as a consequence of the moon constellation. There was sufficient torrential rainfall, combined with thunder, lightning and a hail storm to cause trees to fall, the power supply to be interrupted, flooding in streets and houses, and what have you. The Gota Fría is a meteorological phenomenon which regularly befalls Mallorca at the end of Summer. The sudden drop in temperatures over the last two days would suggest just that, the end of Summer and the end of the stifling hot temperatures.

But worry not. The AEMet (Agencia Estatal de Meteorología) has us know that temperatures will rise again from Monday, September 3rd, to 30° C and beyond. You will still be able to go to the beach and there will be enough sun for a few more weeks to consolidate your tan. Don’t forget to put enough sun cream on, even though the air seems cooler now. It’s not the sun that burns your skin, it’s the UV rays. By the way, the Agency also tells us that the Yellow Alert will still be in action today and tomorrow in the North-East of the island, that’s the coastal area between Capdepera and Cala San Vicente, including Can Picafort, Alcúdia, Pollença and Formentor. Don’t go sailing up there if you want to be prudent.

The photo (top) was taken in s’Arraco, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 30th, 2012. The time was 21:29:31. The photo (bottom) was taken in Andratx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 30th, 2012. The time was 19:25:57.

The Gota Fría and the Blue Moon

Ban Lifted on Gorgollassa, Giró and Viognier Grapes

The 2012 wine harvest has started. It is always the white grape that gets harvested first, from August 15th onwards, roughly speaking. That is grapes of the Chardonnay, Macabeu, Malvasia and Giró varieties, amongst others. Some vintners swear by the moon and may have started harvesting this year’s grapes on August 17th, the August New Moon. Others consider that a lot of humbug and call it an unproven folk tale with no background in science.

Be that as it may, the Conselleria d’Agricultura, Medi Ambient i Territori recently authorized the use of three indigenous Mallorcan grape varieties for wine making under the label Vi de la Terra de Mallorca: Gorgollassa, Giró Ros and Viognier. The island’s wine makers have campaigned for legalization of these grape varieties for quite some time, up to ten years if I am not mistaken. Approval had to first be gained from the European Commission in Brussels, then from the Spanish Government bodies in Madrid, then from Industria, the Mallorcan regulatory body, until finally, six weeks ago, the Island Council Agricultural Department approved the amendment, recognizing and regulating the geographical criteria for wines made in Mallorca.

Wine had been produced from these grape varieties in recent years, but its sale was so far prohibited. Now, any supposed illegality has been lifted. You should try some wine made from Gorgollassa or Giró grapes; they are quite impressive. The Viognier variety I do not know myself; I can not vouch for this one.

The grape shown in today’s photo is probably a Manto Negro. This variety is distinctive, but is hard to grow and it oxidizes easily.

Manto Negro is difficult. It takes to the character of the land very well, but it’s like a wild animal, savage, and you have to educate it.” (Maria Antonía Oliver, Bodegues Ribas).

The photo was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 26th, 2012. The time was 19:58:41.

Ban Lifted on Gorgollassa, Giró and Viognier Grapes

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

Promoting Breastfeeding

I can’t say that I go to Santa Ponça a lot. Had I known what was going on at the beach of Santa Ponça the day before yesterday, I would have gone there for sure.

A few dozen women nursed their babies during a promotion day for breastfeeding held by the Associacio Balear d’Alletament Matern (ABAM) in Santa Ponça (see photo). As I wasn’t there I had to borrow a photo of the event from the Internet. I hope L’Agence France-Press or the photographer won’t sue me. If they do and I have to go to jail, would you come and visit me?

Just to make it plain and clear: I would not have gone to Santa Ponça because I am a geek, a voyeur or a dirty old man. I am all that but, no, I would have gone because I would always support and help promote the cause of natural breastfeeding. Our three children were all breastfed, I myself was nursed the way nature has provided for as well and so should every living being on this planet. I am sad and disturbed to see so many young mothers here in Mallorca bottle-feed their babies as young as perhaps two months or less. A lot of them smoke as well whilst they nurse, bottle-nurse that is, their brood. I can’t get my head around it. Do we really want to live in a plastic world? No wonder our politicians act like morons most of the time; they were probably all bottle-fed.

Just in case you don’t go to Santa Ponça all that much either: a national (or international) breastfeeding day will be held on October 2nd this year, with a communal breastfeeding being held in Parc de la Mar, right by the Cathedral.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of lapatilla.com and the photographer, Jaime Reina/AFP Photo.

Thank you very much,

muchas gracias and

merci beaucoup.

Promoting Breastfeeding

The Sa Calobra Canyon

The Sa Calobra Canyon, also known as the Torrent de Pareis Gorge, must be one of the island’s most dramatic landscapes and is one of Mallorca’s two Natural Monuments. Friends of ours wanted to go there for a walk yesterday and were most surprised when we told them that it would be well worth visiting but would, indeed, be a very testing hike or trek, and not to be underestimated. We advised them not to overestimate their skills and rather enter the canyon from the seaside, trying to get up into the gorge as far as they could and to turn back when the going got too tough.

Luckily, our friends heeded our advice and set off with sturdy walking boots, a plentiful supply of water, the mobile phone charged up and a digital camera for the scenic views en route. They went through Inca and admired the drive up past the terraced landscape of the Tramuntana mountains, turned left on top in the direction of Sóller and turned right past the aqueduct in the direction of Sa Calobra. They were most impressed by the 12 km long serpentine route and by the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea when they got down to Sa Calobra. They found the beach, had a swim, walked to the mouth of the canyon and began the hike. The trek was far from an easy Sunday afternoon stroll but, was just this side of too demanding. After about an hour the path was blocked by some boulders of perhaps 3 metres in height and they decided that it was time to head back. I am glad they did. They went back for another refreshing swim in the gorgeous sea before they headed back for Inca where they treated themselves to some excellent fish (Cap Roig [scorpion fish], at 50 € per kg).

When they returned home they stated categorically that they wanted to live here as well. They had seen Mallorca at its best.

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Escorca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 7th, 2008. The time was 15:58:08. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of flickr.com and Guacamoliest.

Thank you very much.

The Sa Calobra Canyon