Picture index ||
Friday April 22
Snow in the morning! The narciss flowers lay flat down of the ground. Nice to go southwards.
Packing all morning, nothing sincere forgotten? Taxi and train to Arlanda Airport where we had a room for the night.
Saturday April 24
Wake up at half past four, breakfast, checking in, transport to the aeroplane which belonged to the company Britannia . The same concern as "Fritidsresor" - the organiser of our trip.
The weather was nice and we could see the Alps from the air. Arriving time to Palma 10.45 and we had a transport to the hotel in Palmanova where we arrived about one o'clock. There our guide Lillemor Huggh was meeting. The afternoon we spent on the balcony in our apartment reading and enjoying the sunshine. In the evening the group met for a welcome glass of champagne before the dinner. We were 32 persons from all parts of Sweden.
Sunday April 24
After breakfast we entered our bus for Valldemossa, a village up in the Tramontana Mountains. The weather was hazy so the tops of the ridge were often up in the clouds. Terraced cultivating strive upwards the mountain sides. They are mostly built already during the Arabic times thousand years ago. What a great work to build all those terraces!
The tops in the Tramontana mountains are often up to thousand metres high, and very steep. High mountains and deep valleys!
Along the roadsides we all over the island saw the affodil (Asphodelus aestivus).
The village Valldemossa is known for the fact that Frédéric Chopin and George Sand lived in the monastery one winter. The Carthusian monastery has a long history. We heard much about that monastic order. Especially interesting for me was to see the pharmacy.
We had a sitting listening to a quarter of an hour with Chopin piano music.
Our bus drive went on along the west coast under the steep mountains that often descended abruptly into the sea. Lunch stop at Port de Sóller in the restaurant Es Canyis. We had a locally typical soup with mussels, cuttlefish, shrimps and rice etc. Main course was chicken and the dessert was
In the afternoon the sun came out and the views good when the bus climbed upwards to the little village Formalutx. Lillemor had hoped that we should be able to enjoy the orange trees in blossom, spreading the wonderful scent. But as spring was late this year there was mostly fruits on the trees but we found a few trees in blossom. What a wonderful scent! A pastoral idyll of grazing sheep with tinkling bells in the orange tree groves, looking upwards the mountain sides seeing all the varied nuances of green from all the different kinds of trees!
But time to go to town by the Sóller tunnel under the mountain and to the Swedish church in Palma. There we had coffee and joined the evening service. The theme was "Growing in faith".
It is enough, oh Lord, to know, that we are living in your hands
Monday April 25
Sunny morning - vacation seems to be good!
The bus tour to Palma via the coast road, along the old town wall and then a visit to the cathedral. (Catedral de Palma De Seu)
After the cathedral our guide Lillemor took us for a walk through the old town, but as my husband and I are so slow in going we did not hear much of her information. We visited the Roman bath and had a nice pause sitting in the nice garden there, and after that the nunnery of Saint Clara where the acacia was in flower before the gate.
The lunch was in a restaurant "Celler sa Premsa" where we had the Spanish dish Paella.
When we arrived home to the hotel the temperature was 30C so we really felt the difference from our snowy home - we enjoyed ourselves very much in the shadow on the balcony.
In the evening we went to a restaurant just some steps away "Sopranos" where we had a little dinner for two, celebrating the 51:st Anniversary of our wedding. We had chicken soup with garlic bread, veal cutlet with vegetables and Irish coffee, and a local white wine. Going home a little unsteady ----
Tuesday April 26
The first part of the bus tour passed enormous plantations of almond trees. They have the flowering time in January- February and that must be an enthralling sight. Now the trees were carrying the unripe fruits, they are ripe in August. There are about six million almond trees in Mallorca.
In the northern part of the Tramontana mountains we had our first goal this day, The Heart of Mallorca the monastery of Lluc. The road up there was very bending and the driver had to take many sharp curves. Sanctuary of Mare de Déu de Lluc is an ancient cult centre. Nowadays it is a goal for pilgrims who visit the black Madonna of Lluc. The monastery is from the time of the Order of the Knight Templars.
There is a boarding school for boys there, and the Choir sang Praise to The Holy Mother Mary in a short service.
Some of the leafed trees had just come out, the green was light and fresh. Blue veronica was creeping at the ground, the thrushes sang, and we really had a nice time in the gardens.
The mountain range is nature reserve. The rock is limestone.
The bus went to Pollença where Lillemor had ordered a festival lunch for us in the restaurant Clivia. The master chef Domingo García has had many awards, and now he wanted to serve us a real Mallorkean feast. The meal began with tapas of many different kind, shrimps, fishtoast, salmontoast, mussels stew in the shell, small fish croquette, and a just heavenly paste. The main course was tender lamb - wonderfully brown - and at last we had a fromage with all kind of berries for dessert. A real feast, and the cook had a well-deserved applause from us.
After this meal the bus went around a part of the northern coast of the island where most of the beach resorts are situated, e.g. Port de Pollença and Alcùdia. But soon we were southbound again and arrived in a little village Campanet where there are grottoes in the hill. Some of the group did not want to go down, my husband among them. I went a little bit down and saw lots of wonderful stalactites and stalagmites, millions of years old. But I soon returned as the walking was too hard for me. We had a good time at the terrace, listening to the bells from the grazing sheep down the slope, surrounded by the scent of orange blossom. There are large fields of grain, potatoes and vegetables in this area of the island. A bit more south at our way home there were wine cultivation.
We really were a bit sleepy and tired after that big lunch.
Wednesday April 27
The weather still was the best a vacationer can wish, sunny and not too hot. The daily tour was eastbound and passed large vegetable cultivation areas where the characteristic wind pumps were an obvious feature. Big greenhouses and some places the fields were covered by white plastic sheets. The soil is red and fertile.
As usual I tried to see if I could recognise any of the flowers along the road sides as the buss passed, but that was not possible. I just could see that the flora was very differing from that of Sweden. There is purple wild gladiolus, yellow hawkweed, and whole fields covered by yellow wild chrysanthemums, and many other kind of flowers seen as weed. In the hills you see e.g. affodil and cistus.
Many are cycling on the Mallorkean roads. You see the training competition bicyclists everywhere on the roads. Very often on the steep roads on the hills and in the mountains. Very trying of fitness!
The first goal this day was the ancient town Sineu in the centre of the island. Each Wednesday is the local market day. Travelling merchants put up their stalls, but there are some local butchers and sellers of vegetables, poultry, plants etc. We walked up to the top and sat down in the church for a while. During our walk back down to the bus we bought a mixture of nuts as sweets.
Next stop was set for the hill Randa 548 metres above sea level. On the top the Franciscan Order has a monastery, church and hostel, Santuari de Cura. As the bus made its way upwards in a bending encircling road I had great opportunities to observe the flora on the hillsides. The dominating bush this time of the year is kind of Cistus. The rock in these solitaire hills in the plain are sandstone, not limestone as in the western range.
We had our lunch in the restaurant of the Franciscan brothers. Entrance dish a soup with rice, meat and vegetables, the main course was a plate of mixed meat, potatoes and green salad, and we had dessert too, almond ice cream with a small glass of their own spicy liqor. We had a view of the immense sight. We could see most of the island from there!
But it was time to leave for next goal, the monastery Nuestra Senõra de los Angeles, La Porciùncula, in Arenal. There is a church consecrated in 1956 with beautiful glass paintings. I did not grasp the name of the artist, but he is a Mallorkean. The theme is Saint Franciscus's Cantico di fratre sole - The canticle of Brother Sun .
Our Guide Lillemor read a translation into Swedish of the text as we meditated by the paintings. It really was a moment to remember.
Thursday April 28
A day without common program. We just relaxed. I swam in the hotel pool twice, and I went out behind the hotel and looked for flowers, really weed in the eyes of people. I found a lot of herbs, and photographed some of it.
The group had a common dinner in the evening at the hotel.
Friday April 29
Sunny and bright air, the tour headed south-westwards to the former fisher's village Port d'Andratx, nowadays dominated by tourism. But there are still some fishermen, and we saw boats in the harbour and inhaled the sea air. Then we headed up in the mountains. The road was really curved and the driver had to hoot at each bend. The goal was Bodega Son Bosch that was originally a bishop's house from the fourteenth century. It is a centre for Santa Catarina wine-grower. We could taste some of the wine with snacks, tapas. The ending of the tasting was the Mallokean pastry "Ensaimada". We sang Swedish Spring songs together under the conduction of cantor Ragnar from Avesta in our group.
The inner yard was so nice with the wine runners as a ceiling over the table, enclosed by the ancient stone walls of the house. And outside there was the sunny slope filled with the scent of the orange blossoms.
But no long pause, we headed for the Miró Museum in Palma. It is a very interesting building of the architect Rafaél Moneo. The house is built so that the houses in the surrounding seem to be spirited away, you just see the sea through the windows. Some parts of the wall are alabaster and that is making a very special light.
In the evening we had a common good-bye dinner at a restaurant on the beach in Palmanova. We had shrimps cocktail, fried flatfish and an ice-cream soufflé. We presented our guide Lillemor with a lot of bottles of red wine and a bouquet of flowers. One of the ladies had a speech, and we said hooray, and we sang Swedish songs again conducted by Ragnar from Avesta.
Time to part. Everything had been very nice but it is good to go home. Our son met at Arlanda airport and we spent a few day at their home. We see our grandchildren so seldom.
What are my most tangible memories?
What do I remember the best?
I remember the sermon in the Swedish Church in Palma with the parable of life as a balloon.
I remember the quiet garden by the Roman bath in Palma.
I remember the sitting on the terrace by the tourist centre of Campanet - the scent of orange blossoms and the quiet twinkle of the bells from the grazing sheep on the slope.
I remember the wonderful sight from Santuari de Cura on the Randa hill. The entire island at my feet. The immense western mountain range with its tops and valleys. The flowering cistus bushes on the hillside as we winded upwards on the hillside.
The glass paintings in Porciùncula, Arenal - inspired by Saint Francisco's The Canticle of Brother Sun.
Photos from the trip Diary in Swedish