Yes, I have written about Mallorca before, but I just love it, and I am blessed that I get to spend a few days there every Summer.
My family has been going on and off to Mallorca since the late seventies. We always go to the same small beach, and lately to the same hotel.
For me there are three key things that I love about Mallorca:
There is nothing particularly special about the beach, it is a small beach. But it does have a peculiarity: there is an island in the middle of the bay, the cala, which is reachable by a small wooden bridge. The island is mostly taken up by an excellent restaurant. There are a few rocks which you can jump off from. You can also swim to the island, climb the rocks, and jump off. This is my favorite moment of the year; the moment my feet leave the rock and the seconds it takes to reach the water. Bliss.
Mallorca is endowed with plenty of Mediterranean pines. I love going for a run in the forest breathing the wonderful scent. There is an observation tower (many were built during the 15th and 16th centuries to spot and warn of the many pirates that roamed those waters) on a hill next to the beach, and that is my objective, run to the tower and back. The views, the smell, the air, the deafening sound of the cicadas all make for a memorable run.
The third item is a food which you can only really taste in Mallorca (you can buy them elsewhere, but the taste is not the same). The Enseimada.
What are the things that make your special place special? Leave a comment below!
The other day my dear friend and fine art restorer extraordinaire took me on a whirlwind excursion to see some of his recent work. We took the opportunity to enjoy a nice lunch and ended by visiting our friends at the Paular monastery and to check up on them with the whole pandemic to-do.
Our day started with our traditional morning coffee at our local village café/bar/restaurant/social center: Marcelino. From there we drove over the Guadarrama mountains (yes, the ones where Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is based) to the lovely village of Rascafría. We had a leisurely lunch at a cool garden restaurant “La Pradera” (the natural translation “prairie” has taken the American meaning and spirit, being much larger than a Spanish “pradera” which is more of a field, but enough etymologies, and translation theory!)
After lunch we drove to the small village of Canencia. The root Can from the Latin “canis” for dog (oh no, back to etymologies) is because this village is where the kings’ dogs where bred during the Middle Ages. Jaime restored the gorgeous Gothic pulpit at the church last year. A stone’s throw away from the village is a very elegant Medieval stone bridge.
A short drive away is the town of Lozoya. A manorial village as testified by the many coat of arms decorating entrances. The main door of the church is in a beautiful Plateresco style, which is unique to Spain because it keeps the Gothic style but incorporates Renaissance elements. Jaime is scheduled to restore the pulpit there, a delicate Renaissance piece.
A tiny hamlet nearby is Pinilla del Valle, again with a lovely old church and town square. Jaime is working to secure the restoration of the portico of the church, damaged through the centuries.
We ended our excursion visiting our dear friends the monks at the Paular monastery. They are all fine, including the oldest ones. We snuck in for a quick visit. You see, Jaime restored that monastery from scratch years ago, so he knows it well and I have gone on two retreats there -as you might know from previous posts, so I also know it a bit.
After that visit, it was time to head home over the mountains.
Church at Canencia
Elegant medieval bridge
Marcelino, our local coffee spot
Elegant Renaissance pulpit
Notice the shells of Saint James and the Maltese Cross
Jaime at work
Work in progress
El Paular Monastery
Plateresco doorway at Lozoya church
One of 52 Carducho paintings at El Paular
Cool “La Pradera” restaurant
Documenting the restoration
Restored Gothic pulpit