Post # 6 of my Mediterranean Adventure Series – Mallorca Spain!
The fourth port on our Norwegian Cruise Line Mediterranean Cruise was Mallorca (pronounced “My-orca”). We pulled into port at 1:15 in the afternoon and had to be back on board no later than 7:30 pm. So, it was a late start, which allowed me to sleep a bit later and have a relaxing site down breakfast in the dining room.
What do I have to do to get someone to cut my banana for me every morning? hahaha
The port was in Palma de Mallorca, which originates from an old Latin phrase “insula maior” that means “larger island”. The Romans and Spaniards would use this phrase in ancient times to refer to the island because Mallorca is the largest island in all of Spain. Over time, the phrase was mispronounced – the British pronounced it Majorca while the rest of the world pronounced it Mallorca, causing it to eventually have two spellings for the same island. I Googled the two spellings and read that Majorca is the Anglicized version of the Spanish spelling Mallorca. Interesting! As stated earlier, it is pronounced “My-orca”. Mallorca is in the Western Mediterranean and is part of the Balearic Islands.
Views as we pulled into Palma de Mallorca
The shore excursion I chose was a bus tour through Palma, time exploring the village of Valldemossa, and a stop at Bellver Castle – a medieval fortress with a distinctive circular shape.
Mallorca is famous for it’s pearls – both natural cultured pearls and exquisite manufactured pearls. So, it was wonderful that the free time spent in Valldemossa included access to a high quality pearl shop with some of the most stunning pearl jewelry I’ve ever seen…..and, a discount for the cruise ship passengers. I didn’t get myself any pearls – I have pearls that are very special to me, including a nice string of Mallorcan pearls. But, I did get a small pair of cultured pearl earrings for each of my great-nieces – neither have pierced ears, yet, but these will be their first nice set of pearl earrings when they are ready!
Palma de Mallorca
The following are views of Palma from the bus and of the country side of Mallorca on our way to Valldemossa. Palma is a resort city and capital of Mallorca.
We passed many almond and olive orchards along the way.
Our time in Valldemossa began with a walking tour of the most famous landmark in the village: Valldemossa Charterhouse. The original complex dates back to King James II of Mallorca who built a palace for his son, Sancho. It became known as the “Palace of the King Sancho”. In 1399, all the royal possessions of Valldemossa was yielded to Carthusian Monks and turned into a monastery. Saint Catherine of Palma – Patron Saints of Mallorca – was born at the monastery in 1533 and died there in 1574. The monks made changes and additions to the complex and resided there until 1835 when it changed to private ownership.
After the Monks were expelled from the property in 1835, individual cells became available for rent. Composer Fredric Chopin and his lover, French writer Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym George Sand rented a three room cell with a garden in the winter of 1838-1839. Chopin composed many of his great works while living there and Sand later wrote “A Winter in Majorca”.
The bust is of composer Fredric Chopin
After the tour of the Valldemossa Charterhouse, our guide showed us the pearl shop that offered the discounts for cruise ship passengers, where they gave us a little talk about Mallorcan pearls, and then left us to explore on our own. It was another brutally hot day in the high 90s, but there was a nice breeze and lots of shady areas to get out of the heat, so it was actually quite pleasant. I wandered around the village and relaxed with a cold bottle of water. It was a lovely day and I enjoyed Valldemossa very much.
Our stop at Bellver Castle was brief…..it was built in the 14th century for King James II of Mallorca and is one of only a few circular castles in Europe. It was used as a military prison in the throughout 18th century and into the mid-20th century and is now a tourist attraction and home to Palma’s history museum.
We got back on ship in time for dinner before the evening’s entertainment. Dinner was a mixed review in the main dining room…..the roasted butternut squash soup and the salad with candied walnuts and sliced pears were really delicious!!! But the prime rib was awful…..I couldn’t cut it – hurt my hands trying and the one bite I could tear away from the main piece took forever to chew…..so I ate the potatoes and crispy onions and left. They asked if it was alright – I lied and said yes, I just didn’t feel hungry. Should-a told them but I know they would have felt bad and tried to make me something else and I was fine with what I had……
The evening’s entertainment was AMAZING……another epic Beatles show, but this time it was in one of the clubs – the Cavern Club, named after the original Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles used to play before they got super famous! It was cozy and nice to see the group up close in that setting. I sat with a couple other ladies – both from England – who told me they were huge Beatles fans “even though they broke up before we were even born”……hhhmmm – talk about instantly making me well aware of my age! hahaha
The show ended about 11:00 and I thought I was exhausted, but due to a coke at the show and being all wound up by the music, it was well after 1:00 am before I was able to close my eyes and get some sleep. Another awesome day!!!
Next port I’ll write about will be the last two — Barcelona and Corsica.