So much has been written about Palma, the elegant capital of Majorca, in the Spanish Balearic islands, that it seems superfluous to add too much, so here are some photos with a few words to explain why I chose them.
Hidden in a tiny street behind the cathedral the Arab Baths are a tranquil place and the only surviving relic of Medina Mayurca, the Moorish city of Palma. They date from around the 10th century AD. I first visited over 25 years ago and it has hardly changed; well-worth searching out.
Mariano the guitarist
On the Sunday we visited Palma, soulful guitar music could be heard by the cathedral. Mariano Miranda is a well-known classical guitarist whose music seems to capture the essence of this charming island and the passion of Spain. He spent almost half an hour explaining to me the origins of some of the pieces he was playing and back home I only have to play one of his CDs to be immediately transported back to that perfect day.
The Galera: One of the most famous sights in Palma are the galeras, horse-drawn carriages that clip-clop round at a leisurely pace; a gentle way to view this lovely city. I have vague memories of many years ago being taken on one of these rides in the early hours of the morning by a very romantic sailor I had met in a bar on the quay!
Can Forteza Rey
This marvellous facade is of the Casa Rey, designed by Modernist (Spanish Art Nouveau) silversmith Lluis Forteza de Rey has echoes of that other famous Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi. The lavish mosaic façade and ornate iron-work are exquisite and there’s a dragon spread over a balcony that’s the epitome of quirky …
The Cafe: Cafe society is vibrant in Palma and round every corner are tables set out on pavements where locals and tourists drink, chat and watch the world go by. This one is right beside the cathedral and provides a quiet escape from the crowds.
Palma Cathedral: And finally, La Sei Cathedral, one of largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. From a distance it looks rather like a huge galleon drifting on the shores of the island and at night its splendour is brightly lit for all to see. Built on the site of a Moorish mosque, the cathedral was started in 1230. At the start of the 20th century, Gaudi redesigned some of the interior and introduced electric lighting. There was a service going on when I visited so I was fortunate enough to see it fully lit; the chanting, choral singing and smell of incense combined with glorious stained-glass windows and elaborate chapels to create a kaleidoscope of sensory delight.
To get around the island I suggest a car; you could use the fairly decent public transport system but a car is much easier. Just watch those mountain roads! Other places visited on this trip include Puerto Pollensa, Alcudia and the Caves Of Drach in Porto Cristo.