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Discovering Mallorca: La Granja de Esporles

Sometimes the very best discoveries are those made by chance. And such a chance recently led us to a jewel of Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountains – an ancient palace surrounded by the most lush gardens and grounds – of which we previously had no knowledge. Almost like entering a kind of Lewis Carroll surreal wonderland, we came upon La Granja de Esporles in a densly forested turn in the road as we entered the mountains near Valldemossa. Through an opening in the vegetation, a grand building decorated with a series of elegant arches framing an open portico came into view. Around it, a mix of floral gardens, free formed parklands and formal lawns were just about visible. And in the air, a distinct harmony of birdsong became even more evident than normal. We knew that we had to park the car and discover more.

The lush surroundings of La Granja

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Reaching the front gate, the surreal feeling of this wonderland grew stronger as we encountered people dressed in traditional Mallorquin costume. Only a camera in their hand and a cash booth for tickets betrayed a sense of modernity, but beyond we were once again plunged back into the past as we toured a house packed full of the artisan crafts – lenguas fabric, pottery making, wine production – which are famous across the island, and beyond, the sense of surreal unease increased as we toured a cellar full of medieval torture instruments and childrens’ dolls with two heads…

From the ancient to the surreal…

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The pure light of reality flooded down upon us as we entered gardens abundant in flowers and larger than life trees. But this was a better kind of reality – a kind of bucolic nirvana in which birds gave out almost tropical sounding calls, and the air was suffused by the fresh dampness given off by a nearby 30metre tall waterfall. Meanwhile beyond this watery masterpiece, sun-dappled forests were enriched with further touches of wonderland, as we encountered baby donkeys asleep under trees, and mountain goats strolling fearlessly across our path. Had we entered paradise?

Freely roaming animals, a vast waterfall and other touches of paradise…

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Paradise or otherwise, La Granja is a former lorded estate today owned by the Segui family and opened as a museum in order to promote recognition of traditional Mallorcan crafts and to share the kind of blissful manor house living which was once possible on the island when you had pockets full of money to match. Amongst the natural beauty and a house packed full of history, a horse gala showcasing the incredibly skills of Spanish horses (rearing up on hind legs, trotting to rhythm and so on) rounded off a thoroughly fantastic, much unplanned discovery. Now we are looking forward to the next secret we stumble upon on this ever intriguing island.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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