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

The Balearic Constitution Day

Almudaina Palma Mallorca_

Spain is politically organized into a total of 17 comunidades autónomas (autonomous communities), plus 2 ciudades autónomas (autonomous cities), Ceuta and Melilla. The Balearic Islands are one of the 17 autonomous communities having been accorded such status thirty-two years ago today, on March 1st, 1983.

Every year, the Día de les Illes Balears is commemorating the Estatuto de Autonomia Balear (Statute of Balearic Autonomy), or, in other words, the Constitution giving the legislative framework for regional law making. A range of festivities will be held today in Palma and elsewhere, and have already been held for two or three days. In celebration of Balearic Autonomy, March 1st is a public holiday, but this year the holiday happens to coincide with a Sunday. Oh, well.

Each of the four main islands organises a number of festive and institutional events on this day. For Mallorca, a PDF file with the programme of activities can be downloaded in Catalan from the Govern de les Illes Balears website.

Activities include a Trofeu de tir de fona tournament at Sant Carles, Open Doors at the seat of the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears at the Consolat de Mar, Open Doors at the newly restored Llotja, Open Doors at Castell de Bellver and Palau de l’Almudaina, Open Doors at nearly all the museums and galleries in Palma and the rest of the island, such as Es Baluard in Palma, Museu de Son Marroig in Deià, Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober near Alcúdia, Ciutat Romana de Pol·lèntia in Alcúdia, plus a few things more, too numerous to mention here.

Enjoy.

The Balearic Constitution Day

Sad News For Music Lovers

paco de lucia 1

Paco de Lucía, one of the greatest guitarists of all times, died yesterday in Cancún (Mexico). Born in Algeciras in Andalucía in 1947, the musician made his home in Mallorca in 2003 when he bought a place in the countryside between Campos and Es Trenc where he planted olive trees and pressed his own olive oil. Later he moved to the outskirts of Palma to enable his younger children to go to school at the Liceo Francés in Palma. In Spain, Paco de Lucía had been bestowed with the Premio Nacional de Guitarra de Arte Flamenco, the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, a Distinción Honorífica de los Premios de la Música and the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes. He was honoured with a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad de Cádiz and another one by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He was given two Latin Grammy awards for best flamenco recording, in 2012 and 2004.

The photo was taken by Montserrat T. Diez and borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Flickr. Thank you and muchas gracias.

Sad News For Music Lovers

Play it Again, Sam

S'Escorxador2

I am rather pleased that the old Renoir cinema in the Escorxador area of Palma managed to be rescued by the very able and enthusiastic XarxaCinema people, a citizens’ initiative. Two months after the old Renoir closed down for good, the old premises opened up again under a new management and the new name of CineCiutat. Some 1,800 people like you and me have signed up as voluntary co-owners of the new venture. Let’s hope enough people will attend the screenings to make the project a viable one, able to survive the dire straits of economic realities, including IVA (VAT) at 21 % and distribution royalties. The new cinema was opened in July 2012 with 4 screens, partially newly equipped with digital screening facilities.

Today, a new venture will be launched at CineCiutat, a film club under the name of CinèFilms. This film club will have two screenings every Thursday, of either Classic films, European films, films of the 70s and 80s or film screenings grouped by themes. The film club starts tonight with the screening of The Maltese Falcon and will continue next week with Manhattan (Woody Allen), À Bout de Souffle (Jean-Luc Godard) the week after, and Days of Wine and Roses (Blake Edwards), on February 14th. All films will be screened in their original version, with Spanish subtitles. We finally have a cinémathèque in Mallorca, all going well. Come and support the citizens’ cinema, CineCiutat.

S'Escorxador3

On a different subject matter, I promised to let you know about my new blog adventure, Mallorca Observed. I am happy to tell you that the new blog is up and running now. You can either click on the link given above or else, the link in the blog roll in the column to the right. Once at the new site you can bookmark, subscribe or whatever, as you might see fit. I hope to be able to welcome some of you at the new site.

The old MDPB blog will not be continued after today. However, I shall leave the blog archive with some 1,900 entries on air, so to speak, for the time being, at least until October 2013 when the current domain lease expires. We shall see what happens after that; one can never be too sure what life has up its sleeve for us, or can we?

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 22nd, 2013. The time was 16:24:18 and 16:22:13.

Play it Again, Sam

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

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

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