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2 posts from February 2014

02/13/2014

De Soller a Deia, by Kathleen Davin, CIEE Palma de Mallorca, fall 2013

Kathleen davinName: Kathleen Davin

Semester: Fall 2013

School: Cornell University

Well it finally happened. I finally experienced cold weather in Mallorca. Or around 55 degree weather, which is still pretty cold by our standards.

Yesterday, we left the sunny familiarity of Palma, for an overnight hiking excursion with our group. We started our Saturday afternoon in the Puerto de Sóller right on the water. From there we hiked for a few hours and arrived at a refuge right next to a lighthouse. The views were spectacular and we had a great night of chatting, playing card games, and star gazing while dreaming of hot tubs and hot chocolate. The wind and cold were pretty harsh since we were right on the water, but it was a welcome change from the heat.

After a good night of sleep (sleeping on the top bunk in a room full of about 20 people), we left the next morning to complete our hike to Deiá.  We ate lunch in the town of Deiá, grabbed a hot coffee at a café, and jumped on the bus to head back to Palma. We were all pretty exhausted and had a large cloud of homework looming over our heads.

It’s been a pretty jam packed weekend. Friday I went on a field trip with my Entrepreneurship and Innovation class to a waste management facility of all places! I expected to hate it, but it was probably one of the most interesting companies I’ve ever visited. Named Tirme, the company was one of the first “zero waste” garbage facilities in the world. Because of the tourism Mallorca sees during the summer, they generate a huge amount of waste during those peak months. Tirme focuses on separating all this garbage and converting it all to something reusable. It was incredible to see a company on a small isolated island in Spain value sustainability this much.

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So much basura at Tirme!!

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A view of Sóller from above and the lighthouse next to our refugio for the night

Definitely an exciting weekend!

02/06/2014

Sangre, sangría y santos, by Kathleen Davin, CIEE Palma de Mallorca, fall 2013

Kathleen davinName: Kathleen Davin

Semester: Fall 2013

School: Cornell University

The past couple weeks have been a great chance to explore Palma, relax in between travelling adventures, and of course brush up on my Spanish. I’ve been spending a lot of time at meetings with my “intercambio” (a local language partner), enjoying some Spanish movies and books, and I even started a job tutoring English. The tourists have started to filter out of the city as the cold weather comes (cold meaning around 70 degrees Fahrenheit!). It’s been great to relax at the beach and go for walks around the city without all the crowds.

This weekend marked a holiday weekend for Spaniards. Obviously, Thursday was Halloween, but more importantly Friday brought All Saints’ Day, and Saturday, All Souls’ Day. For most Spaniards this is a chance for them to honor their dead by going to the cemetery and spending time with family. We also discovered, that Halloween is celebrated a little bit differently here than in the US. Instead of the Americanized costumes that have veered away from scary towards more funny and provocative, the Spanish really go all out with the gore. On Thursday, we went to the last open night at one of the most popular discotecas in Palma, Tito’s. Literally everyone in the club was covered in fake blood, scary makeup, and terrifying masks and costumes. 

Yesterday, a few friends and I headed out to Sollér, a picturesque village on the water that is really popular on Saturdays for its outdoor market. We took the oldest train in Palma to get there which took us on a scenic route through mountains and small towns. Once in the town, we explored the market and grabbed a coffee at a great café. Then we made the long trek to the Port of Sollér where we unfortunately failed to accomplish our original plan of getting kayaks, as they were closing down for the day. We did, however, enjoy chatting and relaxing on the beach. 

A few friends and I have made it our goal to go church hopping every Sunday night. Last weekend we went to mass in the Catedral. It was a great chance to listen to some new Spanish and enjoy the beauty without all the tourists. Who knows…maybe I’ll try out a Catalan mass at some point! Right now the extend of my Catalan includes the alphabet, your basic greetings and members of the family, but it’s getting there! If not, it’s still really interesting just to see the similarities with Spanish and struggle completely with the French-like accent.

Anyway, between seeing sunsets at the beach, drinking café con leches for hours at cafés, and learning new things every day about Spanish and other cultures, I can’t complain! 

Hope you all had a fun Halloween! Can’t believe it’s already November!

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