Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Three Adventures In Mallorca

Photo: Cathedral of Majorca

Thursday morning we sailed into the large port of Palma de Mallorca. This is the capital of all the Balearic Islands of Spain, and has about half a million people in population. It’s a remarkable city, which we drove through on a bus tour whose first main destination was a train station. There, we boarded a 1910 wooden train that traveled for almost an hour to the lovely hillside town of Soller. The train went through many mountainside tunnels and passed by fields with almond and olive trees. The tour continued in the town, but we had decided to break away from our tour group to travel to Valldemossa, another and even more beautiful old village, tucked high up in the mountains along the coast. For years I’d wanted to visit the Monastery (Cartuja) there to see where Frederic Chopin and his lover Georges Sand spent part of a winter. So we took a taxi from Soller to Valldemossa and finally located the exact cell where Chopin wrote one of his polonaises, his second Ballade and some preludes. Sad to say, it was a stark setting in the winter he spent there, for there was much rain. A beautiful garden is outside the rooms where the famed couple vacationed and worked, and they are all enclosed in a huge monastery. Our cab driver, a kind senora, waited for us to tour the museum and then we drove back to Palma, capital of the island. There we visited the huge Cathedral. Though it was built in the Gothic style, it also contains decorative and architectural elements in both the Renaissance and Baroque styles. Most surprising was the chapel to the right of the main altar that was decorated in 2007 by an artist who built huge ceramic walls showing not only a ghostly Christ resurrected, but also life under the sea (with gaping fish whose mouths cut holes into the fabric of the terracotta) as well as growing gardens on the Earth. After the Cathedral we took the bus back to the ship and had lunch on the back veranda. --Dan


 The 1912 vintage train to Soller


The village of Valldemossa

The Monastery of Valdemossa

Display of Chopin and Sand historical items in cell No. 4 of the monastery

Chopin's Pleyel piano that was shipped to him in Majorca from Paris

Case containing Chopin's seath mask


The view of the countryside from Chopin's and Sand's small living quarters in the monastery 


The garden outside of cell No. 4 at the monastery

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