Why does it matter that we explored Palma de Mallorca on Monday? If you read my previous post, Good-bye Soller, Hello Palma! Mallorca, Part 5, then you already know that we had planned on visiting a few museums and the cathedral. But the museums we wanted to visit were closed on Mondays and the cathedral closed before we arrived because of its shorter winter hours.
So…drastic change of “The Plan”; we would get to know some of Palma’s exteriors instead. Fortunately, we had relatively clear skies and comfortable temperatures (yes, in February). Here are just a few of the sites we passed on our walking tour of Palma.
This peaceful spot, S’Hort del Rei (King’s Garden), at the base of the Palau de l’Almudaina, reminded me of the gardens at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
The Palau de l’Almudaina was once the residence of the Moorish rulers. This building sits just west of the Cathedral, which was built on the site of the Great Mosque after the Christians recaptured the island from the Moors. There’s a lot of history here.
With my back to the Palau de l’Almudaina, I was facing the artificial lake in the Parc de la Mar with the Bay of Palma beyond. Do you see the wall mural? It was donated by Joan Miró. I may not have been able to visit the museum of one of my favorite artists, but at least I got to see some of his work.
Just north of the Palau de l’Almudaina sits the Palau March Museum. I’m sure the collection is superb (as my out-of-date travel guide explains), but we just admired the exterior. (This museum was not on my list, so we did not check to see if it was open.)
The Personatge (a.k.a. the Egg) by Joan Miró! Artwork not housed in a museum, but displayed outside in public where everyone can enjoy.
Walking along the Passeig de Sagrera, which runs parallel to the coast, we saw the cathedral peeking out above the palm trees. We were actually moving away from the cathedral, but I couldn’t resist turning around for this shot.
Here are just two of Mallorca’s three thousand windmills, some dating back to the seventeenth century.
On the map, you can see where we started our walk (the Parc de la Mar is by the knuckle of my husband’s thumb) and where we ended (at my husband’s fingertip. Note the windmill just to the right). We were trying to figure out where we should go next. The light was fading so we decided to start heading back.
Remember that earlier photo of El Torrente de Sa Riera? I took it with the harbor at my back as I stood on the bridge shown above. The vantage point for this photo provided a better view of El Baluarte de San Pedro. We continued to the left where we found some stairs leading to the top of the fort.
At the top of El Baluarte de San Pedro, we discovered Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma. The museum was closed. Fortunately, we were able to access the museum’s terrace, which contained several sculptures, one of which can be seen in my post, “Beginnings.” From the terrace, we enjoyed another view of La Seu standing high above Palma.
We also saw Bellver Castle on the hill overlooking Palma Marina. Next time, I’d like to go up to the castle for a visit. I’ve heard it has great views and is worth a visit even if it does take a little effort to get there.
That night, we ate at Creperie Cafe Gaudi at Carrer Gilabert de Centellas, 9, which is about half a block north of the back entrance to El Corte Inglés department store (which I had to visit, of course, at Avenida Alejandro Rossello, 12-16). The creperie was one of the few places we found open with an appealing menu selection. We were pleasantly surprised with our fresh and tasty chicken and ham crepes.
Our host/server/bartender/cook was friendly and spoke to us in English, which was less common than we’d expected in a tourist-heavy city like Palma. Although he spoke English quite well, he couldn’t recall the translation of one particular dessert crepe ingredient. We all guessed, then searched the internet on a hand-held, but to no avail. Finally, my husband asked if he could bring out the ingredient so we could see. We all laughed about why we hadn’t thought of that earlier. Turns out it was a walnut. A happy resolution, because my husband loved the chocolate walnut dessert crepe. I opted for a cup of thick hot chocolate, instead. After, we continued to talk with Mr. Jack-of-All-Trades; he, in English and we, in choppy Spanish, all attempting to improve our foreign language skills while learning about each others countries and lives. Talking with him (along with the delicious food) tied with our dinner with the devils for our best night out of the whole trip.
Tourism in Mallorca, including Palma, is very seasonal. With fewer crowds and mild weather, a visit during the off-season can be very rewarding. Proper planning can help to ensure a positive experience. So, after learning the hard way, I share my new-found wisdom with you. When visiting Mallorca:
- Don’t expect to visit museums on a Monday. (Note: It’s possible some museums were open, but once I learned that the few museums I wanted to visit were closed, I stopped checking.)
- Don’t expect regular hours in the winter.
- Don’t expect that locals will speak anything other than Mallorqui. In businesses, chances are good that someone will speak English (or another language), but our cab driver, street vendors, a grocery store clerk, bakery employees, and several people we spoke with on the street did not, while others had limited vocabularies.
- If visiting something during the off-season is important, check the business’s or attraction’s website for up-to-date information. If off-season hours aren’t listed on its website, consider e-mailing or phoning before you go.
Next time in Mallorca, I’ll follow my own advice.