Palma de Mallorca

From Nice we flew first to Barcelona, and then onto Palma, the capital of the island of Mallorca. I stayed there for four weeks working on courses toward my teacher's certification while Tracy joined me for two weeks before flying home. While Palma has a reputation for being an endless stretch of resorts overrun with British and German tourists, the old part of the city is a beautiful spot, reminiscent of Nice. Below are a few photos which attempt to capture that charm [click on any image for a full screen version]

Our tour begins with the harbor that forms the southern boundary of the city. It is a bustling place, full of cruise ships, sailboat and powerboats. It also serves as a major port. There is a lovely corniche along its entirety, where I ran and Tracy walked daily. It the background you can see the spires of the Le Seo gothic cathedral.

Bellver Castle overlooks the harbor Turning your gaze inward from the Marina, Bellver Castle stands watch over the harbor. In its heydey this prominently positioned fortress warned of pirates. Today it witnesses an endless profusion of cruise ships filling the west end of the harbor.

Traditional Spanish sailing craftOne of my favorite spots as an avid sailor (something I finally got to do here) was the far end of the marina where the local sailors moor their boats. Pictured here are the traditional Spanish sailboats, doubled-enders with wooden lapstrake hulls.

Old fort on the Passeig MaritimThis fort is located on the waterfront across from the marina. Mallorca was plagued through the 18th century by pirates plundering the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea. Fortresses such as this dot the waterfront. It was for this reason that most of the major cities were located inland, using Mallorca as their supply depot.

Dining at the WaterfrontThe waterfront is lined with wonderful restaurants which feature both seafood of every imaginable type, and also tapas, the traditional Spanish dish consisting of a variety of appetizers. Here Tracy and I take a breather from our seafood platters at the Caballitos de Mer.

The Palau de Almadaina Courtyard at the entrance to the palaceJust down the street from the restaurant is the Palau de Almadaina, a fortified palace that is still used by the King on his summer trips to Mallorca. The king also had a second, more modest palace next to Bellver college where I studied--this palace is used primarily for ceremonies. The photo to the left shows the castle from the sea, while the picture at the right shows the garden entryway.

Fishing port at PalmaFishermen tending their netsContinuing along the harbor toward the east, we arrive at the fisherman's docks. Palma has a very active fishing fleet, providing hungry tourists like us with the "fruits of the sea." On the left is a picture of the docks, while the photo at the right shows the daily ritual of fishermen mending the nets when they return to port in the early afternoon--just in time for siesta!

Facade of Le Seo Cathedral Le Seo Cathedral has been described as a huge ship anchored at the end of the harbor. As you can see from the first photograph on this page, it dominates the Palma skyline. Side profile of Le Seo CathedralGothic in its exterior (as shown from the facade at the left, and the side profile to your right) its interior was redesigned in modernista style by Antoni Gaudi at the beginning of the 20th century. The original cathedral was begun in 1230 and was completed in 1600. This is considered rapid progress by island standards!

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