I’m back with another city recap from my amazing honeymoon adventure. After a relaxing day at sea (I’ll get to a recap from the boat later!), Ian and I arrived in Palma de Mallorca. Palma de Mallorca is located on the southern shores of Mallorca overlooking the Mediterranean. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain and it is a beautiful city.
We started off our tour visiting a really cool castle. It was a bit of an anachronism because it was a circular Gothic castle and the two styles rarely intertwine. It had a lot of Gothic arches and Roman-style artwork. Notably, the heads were interchangeable on the statues signifying that maybe they’ve had one or two different rulers in their time!
Next up we headed to a pearl factory where they did the mounting of the pearls. I think it was mostly a tourist trap to get people to buy pearls, but I got lucky and Ian got me a beautiful pearl necklace, bracelet and earring set! I’ve never owned pearls (I wore my Mom’s for the wedding), so I was very excited!
After the pearl factory, we walked across the street to a bull fighting ring. It was built in 1929, but was built to look much older. It actually looked like a little Colosseum. Turns out they only fight bulls now about five times a year during major celebrations. I’m not sure I could stomach watching a bull fight, so I was OK that nothing was going on while we were there. On the downside, there was no toilet paper or soap in any of the bathrooms – a theme that would continue throughout Spain. I’m worried their financial situation may be even worse than they’re letting on!
From there we got back on the bus and headed to the center of town to tour the Cathedral. It was one of the coolest Cathedrals I’ve seen. Outside, it had fountains and gardens, which are traditional symbols of Arabic wealth from the time when it was turned into a mosque. There was a giant water spout out front and a manmade lake built recently when a highway was added between the water and the Cathedral because the residents still wanted to see the reflection of the Cathedral in the water.
The exterior walls are built entirely of sandstone – an unusual building material for a cathedral. It also has the largest rose window in the world – 12 meters across. Twice a year its reflection lines up directly underneath a smaller rose window on the far side of the Cathedral above the entrance at 8:30 a.m. if it’s sunny on February 2 and November 11 – we just missed it!
It was a ‘living’ Cathedral so they weren’t attempting to keep it in a preserved state. They had new art exhibitions in the Chapels that were very interesting and a bit controversial with some of the older members of our tour group! What was funny about that was the main altar remains unfinished because when the bishop who commissioned it died, the new bishop was uninterested in having it finished because he didn’t like the artist and thought what is now considered a traditional altar was too flashy and an unnecessary use of money. They still hold masses there as well.
We headed back to the boat for lunch and attempted to go back out to the beautiful beaches since I was determined to put my feet in the Mediterranean, but were thwarted by cruise staff who said they sold out of shuttle tickets even though we were never told that was a possibility. I was none too happy at the time, but we made the best of our afternoon and headed back to the ship hot tub instead and laid in the sun for a little while. All in all, another pretty great day!