Semester: Fall 2013
School: Cornell University
What a week! I’ve been here for over a month now, but this was the first week where I felt like I finally spent longer than a week in Mallorca. Now that I feel more settled, it was so great to do some island exploring and catch up on some much needed R&R.
Going back to Wednesday, we finally got to see the inside of La Catedral, Palma’s most recognizable landmark. The cathedral sits on the Meditteranean and dates back to the 13th Century (but wasn’t completed until 1601). It was full of history, and in my opinion was one of the most interesting Cathedrals I have seen thus far in Spain because it mixes so many different architectural influences from across the centuries. After the Cathedral we went next door to take a guided tour of the Royal Palace of Almudaina.
The picture below shows some of the restoration of La Catedral from the 1900s in which Antoni Gaudi was the principal architect.
Friday afternoon our group attended a cooking class where we made and ate paella and panellets (a typical Mallorcan almond cookie made for Halloween). The best part of the class was that I finally got to meet my abuela! She’s a Mallorcan chef and teaches cooking classes when she’s not spoiling me with an endless supply of food.
The next day we literally spent the entire day exploring the island. A private van took us through La Sierra de Tramuntana, a mountain range that forms the northern coast of the island and is scattered with great lookouts of the Meditteranean and cute seaside villages. We started the day in Esporles, visiting La Granja, a historic farm with barnyard animals, living quarters, a chapel, and the creepiest part, a torture chamber in the basement. It was an interesting way to see how a farm like that worked hundreds of years ago.
After half a day at the farm, the van took us up through the mountains which was quite a winding ride, but worth it in the end. We stopped at a couple lookout points, La Torre de las Almas, Deía, and Estellencs where my host family actually has a vacation house that they go to every weekend.
Torre de las Almas, where we climbed to the top
After an exhausting day seeing the sites, I joined a couple friends for a night at the theater to see a play called “Yo me bajo en la próxima, ¿y usted?” It was a two man show and though a lot of the jokes went completely over my head it was really awesome to see a play in a completely different language and still be able to enjoy it.
And speaking of Spanish going completely over my head, tonight I went to mass with my host family to hear my brother sing in the choir. The church was incredibly beautiful and although it was difficult to understand the majority of the mass, it was familiar enough that I could follow along. Afterwords we went to a fantastic café where they had handmade ice creams and local Mallorcan pastries. It was so great to have some bonding time with my host family–the kids are too cute and even my abuela joined.
Definitely a great week on the island, with even more adventures to come! Hasta luego!