Discovering Palma: Bellver and the Bosque
Palma de Mallorca is a city as diverse as the entire island of Mallorca itself. From stunningly unspoilt medieval and modernista old town to sprawling industrial port and modern suburbs, Mallorca is a city with many faces. But asides from its iconic cathedral, its second most distinctive landmark is surely its castle, the Castell de Bellver, sat majestically upon the most westerly of hills overlooking the city. I never fail to enjoy casting my eyes in a westerly direction on any random afternoon, for always silhouetted against the sinking sun in this most satisfyingly shaped of castles: one of the best remaining examples of a rounded gothic castle left in Europe, and featured in my most recent (and first) of Palma paintings.
Taking time, as we do, to explore this magnificent new city we now call home, my partner and I recently headed to the castle of Bellver, attracted not only by its rich historical heritage, but also by the lush forest or bosque which surrounds it. Extending for acres around the castle and covering the hill like drizzled icing atop a moist victoria sponge, the bosque is by far the greenest expanse available for Palma locals to enjoy, and with its dense vegetation and rocky untouched landscape, it is a bucolic paradise in the midst of a sprawling metropolis.
Having walked through the forest, enjoying dappled sunshine and all number of naturally occurring mediterranean plants, we reached the castle which looked even more stunning close up, with an unbeatable blue sky its harmonious backdrop. Asides from admiring the castle’s unique rounded architecture and the uniquely slim arched bridge which joins its main turret with the main structure of the building, the best aspect of this visit had to be the views afforded from the castle. Bellver indeed – for these are beautiful views of Palma which simply cannot be equalled from down at sea level.
Bellver Castle: inside and out
Views to write home about
Collections of Roman sculpture inside Bellver castle
Nonetheless, down from the hill we eventually trekked, only to find Palma’s old centre every bit as beautiful from up close as it had been from up on that hill. The cathedral’s ocre structure glowed peach like in the dying sun, and before it the blue sea sparkled as it transformed into a steady golden mass. Beautiful Palma – I could carry on admiring you forever. And I hope to do just that.
A city to be admired, from up close, far away and especially at sunset
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