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Posts tagged ‘Balearic Islands’

Discovering Mallorca: Pollensa Revisted

Living on an island so ripe with beauty tends to make discovery of the new a prerequisite. But there is something to be said for rediscovery too. How many times have I returned to my beloved village of Deia for example, and found some new reason to love the place on each visit? And so, having avoided returning to the little Tramuntana town of Pollensa because I had subconsciously listed it as “done”, I was surprised to find that when we headed back there last weekend, more through necessity than anything else (i.e. the sun had disappeared rendering the planned beach day a non-starter), I fell in love with the town afresh.

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Sometimes overlooked by its altogether more glitzy port, the town of Pollensa is a true diamond in amongst the mountainous rough of the Northerly tip of Mallorca. Built very consistently throughout in a warm ochre stone, and containing its fair share of quaint cobbled shopping streets and bustling leafy squares, Pollensa is a perfectly formed little Mallorca town, free from many of the modern pollutants which have marred many of the island’s coastal resorts. At its centre, the 18th century Nostra Senyora Del Angels church may look fairly plain from the outside but hides a startlingly ornate interior complete with multi-coloured ceiling frescoes and glittering ornamentation.

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Behind it, the greatest attraction of all is undoubtedly the town’s Calvari steps, a staircase of some 365 steps rising up against the mountains which form the backdrop of the town and which lead those with sufficient energy to complete the climb to the Calvari Church and some of the best views of the town.

With an effortless swagger, we ascended the Calvari steps with far greater ease than on our first trip to the town some 4 years ago (thanks no doubt to increased gym efforts and lamentably fewer cupcakes) and there reflected on the success of this return trip to Pollensa, bemoaning why it had taken us so long to rediscover it. For as these photos show, all of which benefit from a pleasingly creamy antique-style filter, Pollensa is a town loaded with atmosphere, and which makes for the perfect visit, no matter how many times you choose to go.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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.

Across the Water to Menorca, Part 3: Ciutadella

When we saw the weather forecast for our weekend in Menorca we were on the verge of cancellation. We even went so far as to check the cancellation charges, as rain descended upon the Mediterranean. Could it be possible, we asked ourselves? Surely it couldn’t rain in Menorca. But as it was, we decided to go, lured by the promise of hotel pampering and a change of environment, and as it happened it didn’t rain all the time as the weatherman had promised. In fact for at least 60% of the time, the sun shone delightfully.

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Consequently, our experience of Ciutadella, the beautiful second city of the island in which we based ourselves was something of a mixed weather bag, as we dodged rainfall, spent our time in more cafés and restaurants drinking wine than could perhaps be justified, and constantly revisited the same sights in the hope of capturing the best photos of the famous pink-tinged sandstone which characterises the city. The collection which results is therefore one which shows not only the beautiful city, one filled with little cobbled lanes and impressive palatial buildings, but also the weather conditions which changed its character. I especially love those photos when the buildings are almost illuminated by a hazy sun, but where the promise of a menacing dark rain storm looms in the background.

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Whatever the weather, there is no doubting the charm of Ciutadella as a holiday destination. Far prettier (in my opinion) than Menorca’s primary city of Mahon, it’s hard to see Ciutadella as a city with some 20,000 inhabitants only. However, there is something truly cosmopolitan about its main square surrounded by baroque and classical facades and an impressive town hall built on the ruins of an old Moorish Alcazar, not to mention it’s imposing cathedral whose box like character looks like a large lump of peach coloured soap, complete with gargoyle detailing and a not displeasing perfume of incense.

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The city also benefits from a very beautiful little port which takes advantage of a natural inlet which creeps into the city from the nearby outer coastline from where the views of Mallorca are truly stunning. Back in the centre, this small city can be enjoyed at its bustling best around the popular Placa Llibertat Market, or in the crowded little arched shopping arcade, Ses Voltes, all white washed of course in the Menorcan fashion.

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The Market of Plaça de la Libertad

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Come rain, come shine, Ciutadella is Menorca’s gem. A little historical focal point on an island otherwise characterised by its uninhabited open spaces and utterly unspoilt natural beauty.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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.

Mallorca Map Commission Part 2 – Palma

If I thought the first of my Mallorca maps was a complex undertaking, with its representation of iconic Mallorca filled with the towns and terrain that characterise that Mediterranean gem of an island, then things weren’t going to get any easier when it came to commencing the second of the two commissions undertaken for Cappuccino Grand Cafe this Summer. This time round it was the capital city of Mallorca (and the Balearics) Palma de Mallorca which needed to be put on the map, as it were, a requisite for Cappuccino’s Mallorcan representation, seeing as the popular café chain has some 5 restaurants and two takeaway branches in the city alone.

Map of Palma de Mallorca (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Map of Palma de Mallorca (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

But quite asides from illustrating the cafés characteristically prime locations, the real dilemma for me, when I set about designing the map, was how best to represent the stunning city of Palma in all its architectural and nautical glory, while ensuring that the illustrations of the Cappuccino cafes did not become overshadowed. My solution was to focus on the areas and the architecture which makes the locations of the Cappuccino cafés so desirable, contributing inexorably to the simple joys of visiting one of their branches, sipping a coffee in the vicinity of the ancient Palau March for example, or overlooking Palma’s yacht-crammed marina; and to otherwise reflect the great mass of this sprawling city with simplified terracotta blocks, these hinting at the architectural maturity of the city, while also resembling the terracotta floors which are characteristic of the Med. However, I suppose the pièce de résistance of the map for me is my representation of the River Borne, cutting through the Western half of the city as it makes its way down to the marina beyond. I could not resist the temptation to give this map a surreal twist, lifting the river like a satin ribbon, out of its river bank, undulating and flapping through the air as it approaches the sea.

Cafes in the Borne and Palau March

Cafes in the Borne and Palau March

The Cappuccino HQ at San MIguel

The Cappuccino HQ at San MIguel

The Colon takeaway

The Colon takeaway

The Weyler takeaway

The Weyler takeaway

The Borne - detail

The Borne – detail

The Paseo Maritimo Cappuccino

The Paseo Maritimo Cappuccino

The result of all this is a map which must surely represent a satisfying climax of my Balearic maps, and one whose result is the self-evident result of hours of laborious and detailed work. But with Mallorca, Ibiza and Palma under my belt, the question has to be: where will my map making take me next? With their capacity to capture the essence and character of a place, while reflecting the topography and geography of a location, I have now realised the potential that a map can have for artistic illustration, while reflecting an accurate representation of location and terrain – and frankly, I cannot wait to explore the medium further.

Detail of the cathedral

Detail of the cathedral

Detail of the Marina and the River Borne

Detail of the Marina and the River Borne

The Cappuccino Brand Fusion placed in an iconic modernista shop sign (now home to Colon takeaway)

The Cappuccino Brand Fusion placed in an iconic modernista shop sign (now part of the decor of the Colon takeaway)

Detail of the Cathedral roof and nearby arab baths

Detail of the Cathedral roof and nearby arab baths

Detail of the Es Baluard museum of contemporary art

Detail of the Es Baluard museum of contemporary art

You can see all of my Balearic maps in the Cappuccino Grand Papier, available online, and in everyone of the cafés irresistibly indulgent branches. What other excuse do you need for a weekend in the sun?

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mallorca Map Commission Part 1 – Mallorca and Ibiza

I never made a secret of the fact that I love Cappuccino Grand Cafe, the expanding café restaurant business which has taken the island of Mallorca by storm and is now gradually expanding across the sea to Ibiza, mainland Spain and the Middle East. In fact my love affair with the cafe, which begun in their sumptuous beachside Marbella branch, first manifested itself in my painting of Norms dining at Cappuccino Marbella, a painting which was later featured in their first issue of the Cappuccino Grand Papier, the suitably glossy homegrown publication which was published in May.

Imagine my excitement then when Cappuccino then commissioned me to hone both my artistic skills and my love for the café by illustrating a series of maps of the cafés across Mallorca and its elegant capital, Palma, to be featured in Cappuccino’s second magazine this summer.

Excited, I boarded a plane from rainy England to the sun drenched Balearics at the end of last May so that I could properly research each and every detail of the many Cappuccinos the island has to offer. I’d be lying if I said it was an arduous task, exploring as I was not only the many stunning and unbeatable sites the cafe inhabits across the island, but also sampling their rich and varied continental menu in each location. Full of ideas, I returned home to the UK in earnest, opened up my large drawing board, and got to work.

The finished Mallorca Map (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

The finished Mallorca Map (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

The maps were not easy. The level of detail required to properly represent the various cafe locations as well as the Cappuccino brand and all its food took many painstaking hours of work over a series of several weeks. But I was delighted with the results. Yet despite finishing my maps back in June (and July for Palma – check that one out tomorrow), they’ve been the art world’s biggest unveiled secret until their publication in the Second Edition of Cappuccino Grand Papier this August. And now, finally, I can unveil the maps to you in all their many details.

On today’s post I present my map of Mallorca, the idyllic Spanish island from where Cappuccino Grand Cafe was born, and with whom the Cappuccino brand is now synonymous. With branches in the Port of Pollensa, the Port of Andratx, Puerto Portals, Palma Nova, Valldemossa and a great many more in Palma itself, there was plenty of detail to capture on my map. Using icons which characterise the various locations across the island, such as the famous Real Cartuja monastery in Valldemossa (where Chopin and George Sand famously spent a miserable winter), the sumptuous pine trees of Pollensa, and the fishing nets of Andratx’s fishermen’s port, I packed my illustration with both geographical indicators, and of course that all important coffee cup symbolising the location of the cafés.

Valldemossa detail

Valldemossa detail

Puerto Andratx detail

Puerto Andratx detail

Puerto Pollensa detail

Puerto Pollensa detail

Palma detail

Palma detail

Meanwhile for the map’s title, the brand of Cappuccino is surrounded by a glorious cornucopia of some of the chain’s most iconic offerings, from classic cocktails to its irresistible creamy banoffee pie.

Puerto Portals, Tahini and Palma Nova detail

Puerto Portals, Tahini and Palma Nova detail

Windmills and sea salt detail

Windmills and sea salt detail

Cappuccino Fusion detail

Cappuccino Fusion detail

And such is the pace of Cappuccino’s current expansion that even while I was designing my map, two new cafes were opened on the nearby island of Ibiza. So a small bolt on map of Ibiza was to follow, including the two new cafes which are perfectly located on the waterside of the island’s stunning Marina Ibiza.

Ibiza (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Ibiza (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

So without further ado, I leave you to check out the maps. Return to The Daily Norm tomorrow, when I’ll be profiling the second of my Mallorca maps – a focus on the beautiful capital city of Palma. In the meantime, you can see the maps in all their magazine glory in a digital version of Cappuccino Grand Papier. Take some time to flick through – it’s a great magazine!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mallorca in May – The elegant streets of Palma

The weekend before last, I was lucky enough to travel back out to the beautiful balearic island of Mallorca to discuss various exciting artistic commissions. The trip came only 6 weeks after my last stay on the island, and I was ecstatic to once again sample the delights of this magical Spanish island, to savour its delicious food and its chic restaurants, to fill my eyes with the stunning views which traverse both the island’s mountainous landscape and surround its craggy coast with picture-perfect view points, and to fill my nose with the heady scent of its floral Spring.

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While the weekend was a busy one, the occasional opportunity to walk around the island’s gorgeous capital city of Palma reminded me of just how elegant a place it is, and no more so than in May, having undergone the verdant changes which accompanying the warming days of Spring. Thus, already beautiful buildings were now dappled with golden sunlight, strained as though through a kitchen colander between the gaps in the fresh verdurous leaves of trees and ample flowers beds which have burst into life across the city. The lengthened lighter evenings provided an extended period of warm buttery light with which to admire the city’s many squares, fountains and palaces; while ancient religious monuments, elegant wrought iron balconies of modernista masterpieces, and the exquisite street decor that makes Palma such a joy to behold can all be enjoyed with double the pleasure, as these fine architectural details are further reflected in long summer-extended shadows.

As ever, my camera never had much of an opportunity for rest as the enhanced beauty of Mallorca in May inspired a series of new immortalised moments. Here are just a few shots of the elegant streets of Palma.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mallorca (Part I) – Day 1: Banoffee bienvenido back to the good life

Mallorca, the biggest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is too often mistaken for being the haunt of booze-loving Brits, in pursuit of 24/7 clubbing, imported fish and chips, and roasting themselves red in the sunshine. Sure, that horribly embarrassing stain on the island presents itself in the form of the town of Magaluf and its immediate surrounds, but being that the town is on a self-contained peninsular, it can be very easily avoided. In the meantime, the rest of the island presents some absolute gems, natural landscapes which are so stunning, colourful and gigantic in scale and spectacle that the phrase picture-perfect doesn’t quite cover it. Meanwhile, in a semi-circular bay south of the island, the Mallorcan capital of Palma is a cultural hot bed, a city of effluvious and dynamic gastronomic, artistic, architectural and historical offerings and which, for the capital of a small island which is only 59 miles across, is quite incredibly self-sufficient in state of the art transportation, contemporary accommodation, boutique shopping and served by an ample airport close by.

Flying across mountainous Mallorca

Flying across mountainous Mallorca

It was to Mallorca, and more specifically its capital, Palma, that my partner and I went this Easter, escaping the unseasonably depressing frost-bitten lows of the current UK climate, welcoming in 2013’s official summer-time with temperatures which more appropriately beckoned in the summer season, and weather which showered gold sunlight upon an already magnificent city.

Day one was more of a half day, but that’s not bad. Despite getting up later than I would otherwise drag myself out of bed for work, and after ambling along to the airport for a midday flight, we were in Mallorca at 3pm local time, stripping off the layers of winter gloom, both clothing and spiritual depression, as we emerged into the glowing sunshine.

A short bus ride (made longer by the fact that we weren’t overly sure where to hop off) took us central to our hotel, the super chic Scandinavian owned Hotel Tres, where two roof terraces and a glass-sided plunge pool forged into the side of the terrace gave us ample platform to gawp at the stunning city-centre view of the immense gothic cathedral, La Seu, and gaze in wonder at the potent blue sky.

La Seu seen from the roof of the Hotel Tres

La Seu seen from the roof of the Hotel Tres

Palma viewed from above

Palma viewed from above

The pool of the hotel

The pool of the hotel

La Seu

La Seu

The hotel's inner courtyard

The hotel’s inner courtyard

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Our welcome to Palma was affirmed by a trip to the nearby Grand Cafe Cappuccino under the sun-drenched colonnades of the Palacio March. Cappuccino, my favourite cafe chain, which emerges from Mallorca but can also be found in my beloved Marbella and Valencia, is bound to feature often in my account of Mallorca. For we intend to make a point of sampling as many of the chain’s exquisitely atmospheric branches across the island as possible, whether they be by the beach or in the city centre. For Cappuccino is a café of consistently high quality, with a soundtrack compilation by Pepe Link which is effortlessly cool, mixing cool jazz and bossa nova with trendy club vibes in the evening. The service is always smooth, and the height of efficiency and the waiting staff easy on the eyes. And above all things the coffee and the food is well worth travelling to Mallorca for.

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The umbrellas and atmosphere of Cappuccino Grand Cafe

The umbrellas and atmosphere of Cappuccino Grand Cafe

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So there it was, under the hazy sunshine of an early Spring evening, that we were served what we had long been waiting for – two glasses of white wine, a plate of super-fresh sushi (sure beats airplane food) and the ultimate in dessert indulgence – an oozing, abundant, creamy and crumbly banoffee pie, a plate of such spectacular hedonistic pleasure that in that moment, as the cool caramel, smooth banana, heady cream and buttery biscuit base hit our palates, we were welcomed back to the good life, the ultimate in Spanish sun-drenched pleasure.

Worth travelling the world for

Worth travelling the world for

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That incredible oozing banoffee

That incredible oozing banoffee

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Welcome to Mallorca, the sunshine island, of crystal clear waters, lush mountainous landscapes, and a hearty Spanish vibe. Many posts will surely follow as I share with you my diary account of the trip, and above all things my vast panoply of photos. I therefore hope that through The Daily Norm, you too will journey with me straight into a Mallorcan summer, taking your first virtual holiday of the Spring.

I leave you with a few more photos of our walk that first afternoon, seeing the magnificent cathedral of Palma from up close and all around, revelling in the vivid blue skies, and gazing over to Bellver castle at sunset. There is much to follow…so see you there!

The cathedral up close

The cathedral up close

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And from the side

And from the side

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Stunning gothic details make La Seu particularly distinctive

Stunning gothic details make La Seu particularly distinctive

Bellver Castle

Bellver Castle

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2013 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.