Date: March 13th + 14th/2018
Place : Back on the Road - SFO to Palma De Mallorca
The stationary period in the US, between when I landed, back from the previous trip, and prior to taking off, again, had begun in January, For one week, I was first basking, in the movie heaven of the Palm Spring International Film Fest, and then ending the touch down in March, after also "hovering" for a another week, at the East Bay Jewish Film Fest.
Movies, in addition to books, are a blessed safe escape from on going daily routines, endless Sisyphean chores or mundane trivial tasks, life forces upon us. Thus I can never have enough of, or can stay away from,them.
And they are definitely an affordable consolation to aging, loneliness and boredom - the 3 main existential life’s unavoidable maladies..
Movies, offer timeless imaginary possibilities, tell of other intriguing lives often quite exciting, as well as provide opportunities for virtual traveling to untraveled distant destinations and cultures.
What I don’t get to experience in our own traveling adventures, I catch up and supplement with the amazing captivating films I am fortunate to watch.
Our East Bay Jewish Film Fest, on which its Board I serve, has been successfully assembling a fantastic quality films. Their major subjects’ matters manage to knock me off emotionally, way beyond the week I spend viewing them.
Despite the fact that Jewish humor and jokes exceed its group's cultural reputation, for some mysterious reasons, obtaining light hearten comedy features on Jewish topics, is quite a mission impossible task. There are few and far in between, humorous Jewish films, and even if exist, they are of a mediocre quality. The "heavy duty" ones are in unlimited supply..
My friend Mike once wrote me : <<"Jewish humor" is often defined as "laughter through tears", in itself an ironic oxymoron. Perhaps the phenomenon has become so rare after the Holocaust because there are no tears left, nor anything left to cry about. So Jews, Germans, Poles, French, Czechs, Americans, Israelis, etc. are forced to contemplate heaps of dead bodies and make heaps of "heavy" films about them. I have now seen enough to last a lifetime.>>
Since we were so enchanted with this island, when we visited it for the first time in 2015, (and you are encourage to read that year's post first) we decided to have a “taste of more” of this best known for international party destination, before continuing to Lisbon - were David was due to give 2 lectures at
Nova Business School and IBET Technology U.
The very looong flight from SFO - Madrid- Palma, finally landed us at the Balearic Spanish, riveting but raining wet, shores.
Upon arrival late and zombie-out at Palma -Mallorca’s main port city and capital of this Spanish rule archipelago, we drove straight to the beautiful Gran Melia Victoria hotel which offered at this off-season, the best last minute deals, which we couldn’t resist.
And immediately we “passed out” into a deep sleep bliss.
Date: March 15/2018
Place :Palma to Valdamossa
Miraculously the jet-lag had not yet kick in, yet, so we were lucky to sleep off our flight's exhaustion, all throughout the night, and woke up at a normal Spanish morning hour, to a mild but dreary gray weather.
As mentioned in my post from 2015, that we visited this enchanting village but promised
to come back and further enjoy a sty there.
We decided to take up on a suggestion made by our Bay area travel seasoned acquaintance - Susie- who recommended to stay at least one night, at the delirious
Hotel Valldemossa which closes up, at the end of October and opens its season at the beginning of March.
Formerly an heritage belonging to the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa, the hotel is located only 20 minutes drive up North West of Palma, at the corner of the looming Sierra de Tramuntana mountains.
Though we did explored enchanting Valldamossa small town for half a day, as was mentioned in my previous 2015 post, we missed sampling this hotel, during that previous visit to Mallorca, I was determine not to miss on the opportunity this time.
The Polish composer ,Chopin defined Valldemossa as “The Most Beautiful Place in the World”. And alas who am I to think otherwise..
We lucked out on getting one of the 2 left (out of only 12) vacant rooms, when we showed up at the reception, with no beforehand made-reservation.
Valdemossa is the the quaintest town in which a famous 13th century Palace and Monastery complex, was build, originally as a country Royal complex by King James II for his Asthma bedridden son, and where the famous Composer Chopin and his companion author George Sand rented, in 1838 some rooms for Chopin's emphysema This huge and well preserve past Royal/Religious complex which is now a museum, is well worth visiting.
Port De Valdamossa - A fisherman Paradise
6 km from Valldemossa a winding, hairpin road between the Tramuntana Sierra and the Mediterranean Sea, lead us to the small port of Valldemossa a delightful mariners’ village, which its houses are now summer residences.
Climbing back the narrow serpentine road and further down south brought us to:
Esporles- A quaint mountain Village
The village, approximately 15 minutes drive south of Valldamossa, was a center for the island’s textile industry which flourished by favor of the abundant source of water flowing out of the hills, under rain gathering close-by mountains.
While in the area make sure to visit La Granja at Esporles
A charming 17th-century mansion/cultural museum, which was originally a Moorish settlement and later turned into monastery.
It is surrounded by lush vegetation, beautiful gardens and natural springs, with a Mllorcan restaurant and a terrace café .
It displays traditional farm tools, mechanical gadgets, and equipment for food growing and processing, for crafts, art, wool dying, medicinal functions and of course ... how not.. torture disgusting devices and prison chambers, from the infamous inquisition era.
Viewing this man-made cruelty on display, at the basement of a small G-d forsaken marginal estate, in the midst of such of abundant pastoral surrounding, made me realize, how easily sick imaginative real life inventions, surpasses what ever can be made up at the movies..
On the way back to Valdemossa you may want to stop at
Restaurants -In Valldemossa:
The one at the hotel is considered a very good one.
Recommended at the town center which is a 5 minutes walk from the hotel
Coming out from dinner at restaurant - de Sa Miranda, we run, at town's center, into Carrie (42) and Michael (57) - an engaging couple from Palm Beach.
Carrie's story about her half sister -Rose- who was given for adoption at birth by her non married, 18 years old ,at the time, mom, at the coercion of the mom's strict Jewish parents, reminded me ,again, of how real life surpass the movies.
At age 6 Rose moved to Israel with her adaptive parents, and the real mom (now 70) and Rose (now 55) some how manged to locate each other, only 2 years ago, after years of both searching for each other.
While you are at the area don’t miss the additional villages while driving up North West through the spectacular UNESCO Heritage Siera Tarmutana" mountain region, about which I also wrote when we previously drove through it, because of the splendid breath taking vistas the region offers ,a mixed creation of mother nature and men-made.
The tall pointy mountain ridges and hanging cliffs drop vertically down into the sea, and are populated by scattered small most quaint villas and hung over local stone made villages,.The land around them is neatly groomed into winding cliff hanging men -made terraces, on which between the densely wooded pine trees, also olive trees, vines and fruit orchard grow as well.
Being driven by David felt again more like dizzy " Mr. Tod Mad Drive".
The winding roads over the sea connecting the spotted villages throughout the mountains and over the very deep valleys, are very narrow and trail right at the edge of the steep droops. Luckily the stunning views were well worth distraction
Date: March 16th/2018
Place: From Valldemossa in the East to Canyamel in the West
Having a fantastic breakfast at the hotel Valldemossa 's open air terrace, overlooking the pastoral enchanting surroundings, on a sunny cool crisp morning, is the closest to a Nirvana experience one can get, and which one can not have enough of.
The Fernanda Family - the hotel’s owner resides in a private estate, situated on the valley's slop, just across from the hotel. It is surrounded by wonderful citrus trees which grow on a cascade of terraces, once were the property of the monastery above.
After another mid morning stroll throughout the town’s winding allies, were the streets are garnished with the blossoms of fragrant orange trees, and the low story stone houses are decorated with shy cyclamen flower pots, and just before the flow of daily tourists would swell and spoil it all for us, we checked out of the hotel, and headed toward Canyamel -on the east side of the island.
Driving down off the spectacular mountainous scenery and continuing on the main hwy east, lead us through the traditional rural low flat landscape of the island.
If you into golfing and compelled to park your helicopter, at your vacation destination spot,, you would be glad to stay at La Reserva Rotana estate.
The very narrow road leading to the estate, about 4 miles off the main M-15 hwy toward Manacor, wiggled through remote beautiful agricultural countryside.
Thank G-d the GPS was invented, otherwise we would have been searching for the place till now.
Thrown, in the midst of nowhere, on the island’s eastern coast, this once upon a time 17th c working farm house -Manor, overlooking the valley, is well hidden.
20 year ago It was converted into a charming 22 rooms boutique hotel/ restaurant. and it took us completely by surprise.
The large estate is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport – but you can land your helicopter on premise, as well as enjoy luxurious comfort stay, wonderful staff, excellent food, tennis courts, a gym, an outdoor pool, bikes and a fitness circuit in the woods. A private 9-hole golf course, free of charge is reserved exclusively for hotel guests
The estate is now owned by the Swiss/German Theller family, who had a knack for hunting safari game in Africa, and then decorating the rural hotel’s public sitting areas, with the dead animal’s heads staring hanging off its walls.
The place was introduced to me by an acquaintance, - Suzanne - from Sydney, whom David and I met during a previous visit to Barcelona, and who follows my travel posts.
Susan is married to an Israeli - Dror and their son trains and studies at the Mallorca’s Rafa Nadal International Tennis Academy by Movistar at Manacor.
Suzanne kindly responded immediately to my latest post, when reading we were traveling in Mallorca, sharing about her plans to also visit the island, but regretfully arriving only a day after we were due to depart .
Thus, on the way to Canyamel, thanks to her responsiveness, we stopped to check the place, and encountered the friendliest Rutanda hotel’s Director named Guillem Servera Marcelo. Guillemservera@reservarotana.com
Guillem, recommended us the best restaurants of the area, made for us reservations, and since we are Californian, directed us to take the 15 minutes drive, to Petra - best known as being the birthplace of Mallorca's most famous son - the Franciscan Fray - Junipero Serra.
The Mallorca Petra - California Connection
Fray Junipero Serra.
Born in 1713 he became a priest in 1730 and worked as a missionary in Mexico from 1749 to 1763. At the age of 54 he was sent to California; the missions he established there grew into some of the USA's largest cities including San Diego and San Francisco.
We walked through Es Barracar - the oldest neighborhood in the town where the house of Serra's parents lived and where he was born. There is a statue of him in the center of town square bearing his name, as well as a fountain where he was baptized (in the church of Sant Pere) and a plaque outside the same church, describing him as 'explorer missionary hero civiliser’.
Unfortunately the museum devoted to Serra's life and work, which we were eager to visit was closed. It is only opened daily but Sunday from 10:00am-14:00
This sleepy town of Petra, is also known for it's pinkish colored sandstone houses, alluding a resemblance to the original archaeological Nubian Petra site in Jordan.
It is a heritage rural town surrounded by agriculture landscapes with many historic places, emblematic buildings and beautifully kept fields with traditional crops: cereals, cluster tomatoes, melons, almond trees and olive trees…
Canyamel - Estern sea side
A small, relaxed coastal resort on the most eastern points of the island.
Sugar cane used to be grown in this part of Mallorca during the 18th century and this where the name Canyamel is derived from which refers to sugar cane and honey in ancient Latin
Canyamel Hyatt Hotel
Though I would have much preferred to stay at the quaint, authentic more intimate Rotana hotel, the fact that we gained 2 free nights at the huge Canyamel village complex at the Park Hyatt luxury retreat resort, determined a decision to stay there.
it is in total dissonance with the surroundings rural landscape.
This “gran lux” a Miami or Cancun American architecturally similar style resort, offers ultimate facilities including: heated floors, Japanese style multi jet toilets, vast, elegant grounds and most importantly for David, a near Olympic size heated salt water pool,
Its rated sprawling golf resort is most attractive to affluent golfers, but since we are not, this resort is not our cup of tea.
Great diner at
Can Aurelio restaurant in Costa dels Pins
Date: May 17th/2018
Place: Exploring Mallorca's East Cost driving South
The drive south, along the eastern coast line, revealed a delightful scenic variation of rural landscape, Mediterranean vegetation, charming traditional port towns, attractive beach resorts, captivating coves, caves and caps, as well as hordes of bikers.
The eastern beaches are hewn out of coastal cliffs that run up towards exquisitely beautiful coves.
In between the pine groves along the coastal and hilly inland, long stretches of rural low land displayed agriculturally cultivated fields, fantastic Squid (Chazav) flower blossom, and carpets of blazing yellow bushy low and mustard daisy bloom.
The snap shot scenery, imprinted in my head, of docile Lams roaming in the vast pastoral green meadows, was perceived by David in a form of served Lam-chops..
The island is most attractive ground for fearless nutty bikers.
Mostly men, dressed up in trendy sportive black biking outfits, and consumed with death wish, race in packs like mad dogs on wheels, up and down the steep curvy narrow roads, risking their lives, by either getting bumped into, or be thrown off the narrow lanes shared with the speeding motor traffic.
On the drive south from Canymel, the first town we stopped at was:
Pine Tree Coast is situated on a slope running down to the sea from the island’s Mountains. It has a multitude of coves, the best known of which are Sa Marjal and Es Rajolí. They are great to visit for a quiet beach and for snorkeling and diving.
It is mainly a privileged residential area with many luxurious villas hidden among the pines, and is famous for its architecture, its well known artists celebrities, and heads of industry having their summer residences.
Once a small natural harbor and a charming little fishing village, Port Cristo has become a family friendly beach town resort, positioned at the end of a long, sheltered inlet, only 20 minutes drive from Manfor. It is known for its Dragon Caves attraction.
After exploring together the beautiful rocky sea inlet shore, David decided to take an open air walk on land, while I chose to explore the underworld, touring the
famous caves, which I recommend.
Within the caves is Lake Martel, which is said to be one of the largest underground in the world. The one hour tour included, in addition to the 200 visiting lingering tourists, a classical music performances on the lake and a lake boat ride.
Tours of the cave are every 2 hours on hour from 10am-5pm during the winter and every hour during the summer months.
Nearby, more modest caves are Coves del Hams, the ‘fishhooks’ shape of the stalactites and stalagmites.
If you really into caving, you may want to also know of the Arta Caves
in the area, which I didn't visit
This fishing village, once the port for Felanitx, was named in honor of Christopher Columbus.
The attractive small port is set inside a deep natural harbor, with boats around the quay and pastel-coloured houses lining the Waterfront, each with its own landing-stage.
Until the late 19th century Porto Colom was busy supplying wine to France.
The Felanitx district is famous for it’s wines, grown in the Pla & Llevant vineyards.
Slightly inland Santanyí is pretty, rural authentically fortified walled city wall with Porta Murdada (gate) still stand as symbols of past generations’ fear of the constant Moorish invasions and threats of pirate attacks taht plagued the town.
Its Saturday is market day worth visiting.
Cap Salines - the most East Southern tip of Mallorca
A beautiful bluff, stretching out along either side of it, are wonderfully unspoiled beaches, with a lighthouse dating back to 1863.
Ses Salines is a small town dating back to the Bronze Age, and one of the nearest towns to the Cap. It got its name and fame from the production of salt, by the invading Romans.
We had lunch at a local popular fish restaurant in Ses Salinas called
Bodega Marahona - Casa Monolo
On the way back North driving up the highest inland vista point in the area, we were smitten by the 360 degrees spectacular views seen from the terrace of
Santuari de Sant Salvador - And old Sanctuary Monastery
A popular place of pilgrimage, this old hermitage, built in 1348 is located 509m above sea level at the highest point of the Serra de Llevant near the town of Felanitx.
The senior house of Mallorca's monastic order and the last to lose its monks in 1992.
Date: March 18/2018
Place: Departing Spanish Mallorca to Lisbon - Portugal
If you - my dear women friends, into jewelry, you may want to know of this
Majorcan known designer of original leads brand of handmade Jewellery, inspired by the history of Mallorca.
Fortunately or unfortunately (depends who you ask..) I learn of her and her work, just before our departure, but what I saw I liked. Shop
One additional point of interest we manged to get acquainted with, at the last minute before departure, close to the Hyatt was
Torre de Canyamel -Canyamel Tower
The historical best conserved defense tower, is located next to the main road, was built in the 13c and is emblem of Canyamel Valley.
It belonged to different landowners throughout history until 1867, when it was eventually bought by a family, whose descendants are the current owners dealing also in farming and cattle raising.
In 2009, the doors of the tower were reopened as a museum promoting cultural, musical and artistic events.
The estate offers also a restaurant's cuisine remained faithful to presenting traditional Mallorcan dishes,
We enjoyed very much touring the east side of this beautiful island and definitely could have stayed for more, alas needed to move on.