Palma de Mallorca: from Breasts to Buildings…

Palma de Mallorca: from Breasts to Buildings…

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We have never seen as many breasts as in Mallorca. Firm breasts, soft breasts, large hanging breasts, crispy brown breasts… seriously: l’embarras du choix!

 

Commonly called Ballermann in German, Mallorca is known to be a mecca of hedonism and excess. A sunny Spanish island which attracts British and German tourists all year round. Some fly to this island to party or to rest. But most of them show up to get tan and drunk. And in the heat of the Majorcan summer, men like to exhibit their steroid-induced muscles, and women show off their synthetic breasts. No. We did NOT go there to flaunt ours. Nor to get drunk.

 

When we booked our flights to Mallorca, our friends and family (with only one exception) cried out: Why Mallorca? It’s just like Fuerteventura: there is nothing interesting to do on this island! Well, on some (very rare) occasions we need to go abroad to do nothing. Nothing cultural and nothing intellectual. Nothing but to catch some sun rays and salty waves for a couple of days. We needed to rest, get rid of the stress, and refuel with energy before traveling south for our month-long trip through the wintery Peru and Bolivia.

 

 

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As soon as we landed on the Balearic island, we knew we wouldn’t manage to stay put for long and do nothing. Those of you who have ever tried doing yoga or meditation, certainly know how hard it is to embrace the art of non-doing. Suddenly, we agreed that we’re too young to rest. Suddenly, we’re too energetic to lie on the beach. And definitely too lesbian to have all these half-naked bodies ambulating around us. So, we decided that it was time to get dressed, and visit Palma de Mallorca, the island’s capital.

 

When the bus approached the old town of Palma, the bogus breasts got scarce and made way for historical buildings. What a relieve! The closer we got to the city centre, the richer the façades. When the bus stood still on the leafy Passeig de Born, we both stared out of the window like two peasants dropping anchor in a big city.

 

 

 

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Amazed by all the sumptuous tall buildings, we were caught short by the grandeur of the Cathedral La Seu when we climbed out of the bus. Built atop the former Citadel of the Roman city, this 13th century cathedral is undoubtedly the most emblematic building in Palma de Mallorca. At first, we thought that its sandstone façade – a Catalan Gothic style mixed with northern European elements – might look imposing. But the inside of the building is even more remarkable: with its 61 stained glass windows, La Seu is always inundated with colorful light rays.

 

Can you imagine how we felt? Flying to an island to catch sun rays at the beach, and ending up being dazzled with rays of sunlight inside a building… One thing is sure: you can try putting us on the most desert island, we always find a way to explore a cultural site and take in a history lesson.

 

 

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Speaking of history, we had no idea that Palma de Mallorca would offer such a great amount of Catalan Modernist architecture. Of course, Gaudi’s Art Nouveau started in Catalonia – especially in Barcelona. But in Mallorca, the first example of Modernismo appeared as early as 1902. Designed by Lluis Domènech i Montaner, Palma’s first Modernismo building was to become the city’s first luxury hotel called the Gran Hotel. Today, it houses the famous art gallery Fundacio La Caixa. As well as an artsy bookstore and a restaurant serving delicious local specialties.

 

The Spanish variant of Art Nouveau was actually imported to Mallorca thanks to a group of local people who returned to the island after emigrating to mainland Spain in the mid-19thcentury. In fact, until the early 19th century Mallorca was mostly an agricultural island. When an orange blight destroyed a great number of citrus orchards around 1860, many farmers left the island to find a job elsewhere. As soon as they became rich, they returned to Mallorca at the beginning of the 20th century. As nouveau riches, they were eager to show their success by building houses much bigger than those of their families’ and friends’ who never left the island.

 

 

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Since luxury real estate became a thriving sector, many young Catalan architects moved to Mallorca. And thus imported the architectural style that was trendy in Catalonia at that time. Gaudi also stationed in Mallorca for a decade to work on several parts of Palma’s Cathedral. His presence on the island certainly influenced many local architects of the early 20th century as well.

 

Bathed in sweat while strolling through the narrow paths of Palma, we soon returned to the beach area to cool off. We knew that we were supposed to rest in Mallorca. But we both felt appeased after our cultural trip in the city. Now, we could finally attempt to meditate and plunge into the art of doing nothing. Isn’t it weird how a small amount of history and architecture could help us ignore the multitude of fake muscles and sunburnt breasts hanging out at the Majorcan beaches?

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Palma de Mallorca: from Breasts to Buildings... © Travelwithmk.com

 

Palma de Mallorca: from Breasts to Buildings... © Travelwithmk.com

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Mei is a 30-something Archaeologist, born and raised in Luxembourg. Besides traveling, she loves eating sushi and stinky cheese (although not at the same time), as well as listening to Kerstin's funny stories while driving on long road trips. She's afraid of heights, but adores panoramic views. Her favorite places are those she chose to live in: Paris, Greece, San Francisco.

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20 Responses

  1. Himanshu
    | Reply

    Never heard of Palma de Mallorca, so thanks for introducing me to a new place which has so much to explore. Catalan Modernist architecture looks great and of great heritage value. Love to see your hatred towards Majorcan beaches

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Haha! Thanks Himanshu. If you want to explore a place with tons of Catalan Modernist architecture, we’d recommend you to go to Barcelona though. Mallorca is nice for a weekend getaway if you’ve already visited Barcelona.

  2. melody pittman
    | Reply

    I did not know that about Mallorca! Wow! What an education I’ve received. We had a few exchange students from Europe several years ago. Our students from France and GErmany both had vacation houses there.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yep, we met some French citizens in Mallorca, who told us that they had vacation houses there. But before going to the island, we didn’t know that there were also quite a lot of French vacationers! Some of them said that they stayed for 2-3 weeks, which really surprised us!

  3. Mel Butler
    | Reply

    I went to Mallorca a few years ago on a girls trip and l loved it. It was such an unexpected surprise. Palma was where l was and those restaurants were yummy. Cathedral looks and sounds pretty.

  4. TheGreatAmbini
    | Reply

    Palma de Mallorca really does look like the architecture in Catalan. This really made me laugh at the start with the breast related chat. I bet you are glad that you explored- I get itchy feet if I’m in the same place trying to do nothing too.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Oh yes, we got SUCH itchy feet by staying at the beach! So glad that Palma turned out to be a quite interesting city, full of unexpected places to explore!

  5. cynthiagraner
    | Reply

    I love stained glass windows and can’t even begin to imagine what a building with 61 would look like on a sunny day! It must have been beautiful. It’s always interesting to see how the ebb and flow of one’s citizens affects the culture and art of a community. Leaving and coming back with new ideas – it’s like the epitome of why we travel.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yep! We travel to learn more about the places. And there’s no better way than to see and experience the places yourself, right?! 🙂

  6. Ray
    | Reply

    You just ruined (in a good way) my vision of Mallorca! 😅 Although I haven’t been there Mallorca always has been spoiled party place in my mind. Never thought of it as such as rich cultural and architectural city! 🙏

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      If you ever get a chance, do check out the city of Palma! And we’re actually glad to have ruined your vision of Mallorca! haha… Well, like you said: in a good way, of course! 😀

  7. Carolina Colborn
    | Reply

    And I would like to add everything Rafa Nadal as another sight to see in Mallorca!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Haha! We’re not tennis fans, we didn’t even know about Rafa Nadal! 😀

  8. Danik
    | Reply

    Mallorca was my first ever country I visited outside the UK when I was 16 and havent been back since but would love to as I think I got lots to check out (I only stayed in an all inclusive resort in Alcudia in the north of the island). Never checked out Palma and would love to check out the famous cathedral. Maybe a quick cheap frills long-weekend break pour moi next year? 🙂

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yep, a long weekend would be perfect to check out Palma. The beaches in the northern part of the island are more beautiful than in the southern part (around Palma), but there are definitely better destinations in Europe for beach vacations. So do go to Mallorca, but for the architecture and culture in Palma! 😉

  9. What an interesting perspective on Mallorca. I have not been there and would not have known what to expect. It’s nice to know there is a bit of history and culture there in addition to the “hedonism and excess.”

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, if there wasn’t history and culture in Mallorca, we would probably have left the island after two days. 😀

  10. Nic Hilditch-Short
    | Reply

    Mallorca is somewhere I visited as a kid and has always been somewhere I swore I would never go back to. As you say, it’s known for being full of drunk English and German visitors who we really don’t identify with! But it’s a shame really because it looks like we should give it another chance as there is so much more to do and see and it really does look beautiful.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Palma de Mallorca would actually be perfect for a long weekend trip. The beaches are OK, but there are better beaches in other parts of Europe. 🙂

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