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9 posts from December 2011


Palma, a city with a long history 5, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca)

Toni 2Name: Antoni Vives Reus

Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca

Near Porto Pí we find the el Terreno neighborhood. Its beautiful and panoramic views to the bay of Palma and to the Bellver Castle make it a privileged location, earlier for spending the summer and later for accommodating the first tourists during the 1920 and 30s. We should not forget mentioning that a colony of British tourists will establish there and will open their own Anglican chapel, an English club, a school and a set of commercial services with British products. There spent large stays some illustrious visitors of the time such as Santiago Rusiñol. By time the Gomila square, will become the cosmopolitan center of Palma's life, with its emblematic restaurants and night clubs. Some of them, such as Tito's opened up in 1935 and still exist. However, many of them ended up closing down. All the artists and important figures of the International social life of the time ended up at Tito's, which contributed to putting Palma in the spotlight.

P1010022No wonder the first hotel of the island opened its doors in Palma. The Grand Hôtel, located between the Ramblas and the Paseo del Borne was unveiled in 1903 offering all comforts and luxury of that time: power, central heating and room service, inspired to the quality of the César Ritz model. Its exterior architectural design reflects the modernist splendor of the time, while the interior was decorated with murals by the famous Catalan artists Joaquín Mir and Santiago Rusiñol. Starting with the Grand Hôtel, all the accommodation facilities of the island attaining a certain quality started to be called hotels. This change in terminology also had some impact on the way tourism business worked and was created.

Mis fotos 154


Hiking and visiting the fabulous Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca with CIEE, by A Morgan, May 10 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

After my Easter break travelling around Seville and Paris, now it´s back to life as normal. Normal as in I´m now only staying in one beautiful city as opposed to moving between many every couple of days.

This weekend was pretty low key, but I had a lot of fun. On Saturday, I went hiking. We did eventually make it to our starting point, but the map that we had wasn´t too good. For example, "You will come up on an abandoned monastery; when you do, follow the path to the left." Sounds all fine and good until you get to the monastery and there are 5 paths to your left. Hmmm. Either way, we walked around, found a little rock cove/beach and went in the water for a while, hiked some more, and really did have a great time.








Monday, I went with one of my classes to the Catedral, Baños Arabes, and the convent of Santa Clara. I swear, I´ve been in every major cathedral in Europe, but still haven´t seen the one here! It was beautiful, of course, and I liked having a tour from my professor, so we could learn a bit about it  (everywhere else you have to pay for stuff like that, so I declined), but at this point, I think all of the beautiful churches I´ve seen in the past few weeks are all mixing together.

Catedral 11

The gardens in the Arab Baths were really just ruins of what was once there, so that´s not too much to write home about either, but my favorite part was te Santa Clara convent (weird, right? but wait)The nuns of this order are not allowed to be seen by the world-they NEVER leave their cloister, but they do certain work from inside. One of these is that they make little sweets that people can buy, and this was one of the strangest/cutest things ever! So, you go into this little room, and ring a bell. Then, a nun comes down into this little room, where you can´t see her but you can talk. there´s a little rotating table (think a lazy Susan in your kitchen). You tell her what you want, put the money on the table, turn it, and when it turns around again, whatever you ordered is right there! It was something completely original-so cute. After that, I had my intercambio, and then went home for dinner with the "family".


sneaky rotunda thing :D


Palma, a city with a long history 4, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca)

Toni 2Name: Antoni Vives Reus

Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca

The great nobility palaces of Palma in 16th, 17th and 18th centuries also witness its importance in those times. Voyagers may admire their embellishments in portals, large windows, cobblestone and roofs. Many of them come with large internal patios, with lights and shadows, including magnificent stairs and cisterns full of character.

Mis fotos 146Es Call, the ancient Jewish neighborhood of Palma, is preserving a marked historical character in spite of the passing of time. Its streets can be found between the church of Santa Eulalia and the basilica of San Francisco, even though initially they had a larger span. This quarter had an important role because it hosted the homes and stores of craft and jewelry of the "xuetas", the last converted Jews of the 17th century.

One should not forget that Palma is a maritime city. Its most ancient harbor was located in the Porto Pí area, just at the end of the contemporary Paseo Marítimo. There we find one of the oldest lighthouses of Europe, used to support navigation but also to warn the city against dangers coming from the sea by means of a code of flags and signs. Porto Pí will also come to fame at the beginning of the 20th century as one of the favorite summer places of Palma dwellers. During the months of hotter weather it became a healthy habit to move to that area to enjoy the breeze and some swims.



Beach of Alcudia, by A Morgan, April 14 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

This past Sunday we spent the day at the beach in Alcudia, which is in the northernmost part of Mallorca. We´d all heard that it´s the most beautiful beach on the island, and we´ve finally been having good enough weather to be spending more time at the beach, so we decided to go there!

When we arrived, we  first went to the market, which seriously had everything. It was an open air market. For example, should you feel so inclined, you can buy your bras and underwear here. Or watches, or your dishes, furniture, groceries, jewelery, kids´toys, clothing, etc. I exaggerate not when I say that everything you need for life was here. Kind of strange, but really cool! I´ll definitely be back to get gifts for some people (as well as a coffee cup or two).

After this, we finally went to the beach. It was beautiful and sunny and everything that beaches in Mallorca tend to be. I thoroughly loved it, but I have to say that Illetes is better, in my opinion. There are usually way fewer people there and no tourist shops (though if you forget your sunscreen, you´re just out of luck). 

After a couple hours, it was time to head back to Palma, so we walked around and made our way to the bus stop. Nothing uneventful here (we actually successfully used public transport ftw!)


Palma, a city with a long history 3, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca)

Toni 2Name: Antoni Vives Reus

Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca

Mallorca's Cathedral can be considered as the most authentic and representative Majorcan landmark, given its exceptional dimensions as well as historical and artistic qualities. Many tales and anecdotes exist on La Seu, however one trait often goes unnoticed to eye of the visitor: its separated bell tower alone deserves our attention. Its interior contains several jewels among which we choose to mention one. We refer to n’Eloi, as Majorcans call it, with its 1200 pounds and two meters of diameter, and requiring several people in order to toll it. Its special grave sound, on holidays, is recognized with pleasure by the Palmesanos.

CathedralAnother aspect that is worth mentioning of this monument, is the renovation carried out by the Catalan architect and visionary Antoni Gaudí at the beginning of the 20th century. In the renovation project, the central choir would disappear, a few stained glass windows were opened, the high altar was decorated with ceramic inserts, and a collection of forged iron chandeliers were hanged on the slender columns of the Cathedral, according to Modernist rules. Said changes did not receive a welcoming acceptance by the stagnant society of the time and the architect left in despair, leaving unaccomplished much of its creations in the Seu.




At the beach in Palma de Mallorca, by A Morgan, April 1 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

Today has been yet another fabulous day in España :D Because it´s Friday, I didn´t have classes, so I got to sleep in, and leisurely have my breakfast. Then, I decided to do some yoga. Wonderful. After chilling for a while, I decided to go to lunch at this vegetarian restaurant near my house that I´ve walked by many times, but never tried. It. was. fabulous. Because it´s transition from winter-spring, they made me this special salad with quinoa, fresh winter fruits and vegetables, and spring fruits and vegetables! So delicious, and pretty :)



After lunch, I met Chelsea to go to the beach (all of our friends are randomly in Germany this weekend! what??). (Yes, friends back in MN, it´s April 1 and I spent it at the beach :D). This beach is absolutely goregeous; you have to walk down a ways, becuase it´s in a "valley-esque" type space, but then it´s just sand and clear beautiful water-amazing. The weather was perfect, but the water is definitely still too cold to go in, but it was still nice; sitting by the ocean, reading, and chatting with Chelsea :). We also made a new friend-this little boy was playing in the water, trying to catch fish in a net, and we were helping him find where they were. He was so cute!

Funny little side anectdote-I know it´s normal and expected for people to wear..less on the beach here than back home. That I was ready for, and not weirded out by at all. The thing that was a little odd for me was the people playing nude tennis..hmm definitely wasn´t expecting that!
I have a little bit of exciting news that comes from a couple of scams- Like I said, all of my friens (Except for Chelsea) are in Germany this weekend. We decided that that´s a scam and we need to go somewhere. Anyway, Chelsea and I decided to look at cheap flights, and found some to Scotland for that weekend, so in two weeks I¨ll be in Glasgow! I´m so excited!

That´s all I´ve got for now, here are some pictures of the beautiful beach!





pretty sure this is the best way to spend my time




someone actually lives here. ridiculous




Palma, a city with a long history 2, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca)

Toni 2

Name: Antoni Vives Reus

Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca

Moreover Palma has always been a great social center. It stands out as urban center with its neighborhoods, streets, squares, stores, palaces, patios, churches, convents, fairs, celebrations, markets and foremost people. It also stands out as the base of important institutions, organizations and corporations. Overall a city full of history and life.  It is understandable that many Majorcans refer to it a "Ciutat", as a location with a depth of nuances.

Plaça majorThe travelers from 19th century, with their exceptional descriptions and illustrations, kept praising the historical and artic heritage of Palma. They were impressed with such a quantity of landmarks and spots full of history and culture. Because of their peculiar characteristics, singularity, and of course their beauty, these buildings came to bear a special value for the famous visitors, who in turn became their true discoverers. No wonder the spectacular gothic geometry of light and shade of the Cathedral, the slender and stylized columns of the Lonja, the beauty of the Consulate of the sea, the splendid baroque facade of the City Hall as well as the circular shape of Bellver Castle, have become a true target of pilgrimage for visitors.

BellverThe palace-fortress of the Almudaina is one of the most noticeable civil gothic constructions of the city, which origin goes back to the birth of Palma. Its privileged location, between the cathedral and the "s’Hort del Rei" garden, make it one of the few landmarks still preserving Arab architectural traces. In ancient times, this used to be the residence of Muslim Walis, till 1229 AD. A few years went by before King James II ordered its reconstruction. Other of the scarce Muslim remains in Palma are the Arab baths. Only one establishment in Serra street is left of the five once existed as mentioned in the Llibre del Repartiment of King James I.  The majority of studies agree that, given their size, they were probably not the most important, especially compared to Arab baths still preserved in other cities of Spain. Linguistic borrowings are another important witness of Arab influence, often unnoticed in our culture. Many words and place names are enrooted in the Arab period. Many of these words start with "al", "ben" or "bini".



An American Diner in Mallorca? by A Morgan, March 28 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

My morning class was cancelled, which was nice. I went to the American Diner to "study" for our test on Wednesday. We ended up looking at our notes for about 30 seconds and then just enjoying the food and talking for a couple hours! Good times.

The owners of the Diner are American-one woman from Texas and one from Chicago. This place is real authentic, and there are road signs everywhere, just like in a real diner. They´re all in English, which is very funny, because the Spainards don´t understand what they say. I took pictures. Read for your own amusement :)

Dinner 2


Cooking class with CIEE Palma Spanish class, by A Morgan, March 19 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

On the schedule for today in Palma de Mallorca: Cooking Class with our CIEE Spanish class :D I was so excited when I saw that on my CIEE Palma de Mallroca Spring Schedule! I love to cook, so I was so ready to get my chef on. The plan was that we would be learning how to make authentic Spanish Paella and Flan! Even better, the "teacher" is a chef in a fabulous Mallorquin restaurant in Palma. I don´t know if it get much better than learning to cook from someone like her.

Now, it ended up being less of a cooking class per se, because mostly we just watched her cook everything (kinda like the Food Network live, I suppose), but it was still great. The food was good-my favorite was the Gató, which is an almond cake (this is very important to pronounce correctly, because if you say the emphasis wrong, it means cat!).

We did make Paella, which was fabulous. At first I was nervous, because she had already made a huge pan before we arrived, and it was full of all kinds of things that I don´t eat, like rabbit and pork. But, the second one that she made, which was the one where we watched and learned, she only put seafood in it, after learning that I don´t eat meat, which I really appreciated. I was so excited for my first Spanish paella, and I didn´t want to miss out. It was all good, though. We also made flan, which was super easy: There are only two ingredients: eggs and sugar. It´s a very Spanish dessert, and very popular, but I didn´t like it much; the texture was pretty questionable..

We ate in her beautiful dining room which had a great view of the city, and it was really nice. We had to leave, though, right after eating, because she had a prince or something coming for dinner (ok, I´m not sure if it was the prince, but it was someone important).

After lunch, Chelsea and I went to Carrefour, which is the Walmart of Spain (and pretty much just as unpleasant, but what can you do? If you need toothpaste...). She ended up buying a paellera, the special pan for making paella, so she can make it when she goes back to the states. No worries familia, I don´t plan on coming home without one either! I am very excited to make this for real when I get home!