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Posts tagged ‘Beauty’

Mallorca My Highlights – Part Two: The Second Year

Sometimes I find the thought of Mallorca almost unbearable; that I had such a paradise on my doorstep, that now it feels so far removed from my reality. The ease with which beauty was so readily embraceable; the speed with which it was taken away. The silky smoothness of fresh air as it filled the lungs. The sound of the waves as they nudged gently along the shore.

Yet had I stayed for longer it would have been a paradise lost. A true skill of life is in knowing when the leave the party. Linger too long and the magic is spoilt, and with it the memories are tainted.

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Happily the renewed distance from my beloved Mallorca serves only to enforce the perfection of our two year residency, to allow me the chance to reflect fondly upon a life altering adventure which enabled a level of displacement of which few people can boast. Yes we worked, but we also lived, and the weekends, the evenings, even the mornings in the sun were like an extended holiday. Like we were cheating time.

So in this second collection of Mallorca photos, I look back over our second year on the island, a year in which there was still much to discover and during which the creation of photos went hand in hand with the flurry of artwork I created.

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This may be my final reflection on my two years worth of photos, but it won’t be my last post on Mallorca. For the island has more than earned its place in my heart, and will continue to inspire me. In my reflections, I will relive the turquoise sea and the earthy smell of blood red earth. In my ears I will hear the gentle bells of sheep on a mountainside. And from my hand the palette of Mallorca will play out in my creative output, as the qualities of that great chapter of my life furnish me for the remainder of my story.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. 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. 

September Sunset over the roofs of Palma

They say that the beauty of Mallorca has something new to offer, whatever the time of day, and whatever the season. And even though, as the summer turns to autumn, a decisive air of melancholy fills the air, the beauty of an island in flux is everywhere to be seen. This is no more evident than in the skies of an evening, when the sun descends to leave behind a trail of such magnificent sunsets that the eyes can barely comprehend the beauty before them.

On so many occasions in the last few weeks, I have witnessed such a sunset in a fleeting moment, with only an iphone camera to capture it. However last night, I was lucky enough to catch this incredible show just as I popped up to the rarely used communal terrace on top of my old town apartment block. With its unique vantage point over the old rambling rooftops, a startling silhouette of Santa Eulalia church and the cathedral beyond, and the peaks of the Tamuntana mountains in the distance, this terrace-top view is beautiful at the best of times. But last night, as the sun sank and left a trail of firey pinks and flaming yellows amidst puffy wisps of wafer thin clouds, it was truly a sight to behold. And I am so thrilled to have had my proper camera with me, so that I could share it with you.

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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.

Discovering Mallorca: Exquisite exclusivity in the Embarcadero of S’Estaca

I should warn readers now that the photos you are about to see may make your eyes saw from their exposure to beauty. For few readers of The Daily Norm in the last few months can doubt the breathtaking natural beauty of the island of Mallorca I call home. But even paradise has its highlights, and the little port, or Embarcadero of S’Estaca is pretty much as good as it gets.

Nestled in a tiny cluster of rocks at the foot of the steep craggy cliffs of the Tramuntana Mountains, S’Estaca is a breathtaking coastal estate first owned by the notorious Archduke Salvator and subsequently by the even more famous Hollywood star Michael Douglas together with his exwife. While the glamorous Mallorquin finca he now calls his home is strictly off limits to most but a lucky few, the tiny little landing port of the same name can be enjoyed by the wider public, or at least those adventurous enough to traverse the steep cliffside paths stretching from the Port of Valldemossa.

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Those who make it will discover what is easily one of the most stunning little ports I have ever encountered in my life. With just a few fisherman’s huts clinging to the cliff like birds nests, a semi circular landing platform on which local fishermen still sit to mend their nests, and surreal rock clusters like an illusion straight out of the mind of Salvador Dali, S’Estaca is the epitome of picturesque. And what perhaps tops it off is the water: naturally enclosed by the rock forms encircling the bay, the water is as clear, as turquoise and as stunningly beautiful as a manmade swimming pool, but with all the enticing extras that only Mother Nature can afford.

This is beauty at its most unbeatable.

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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.

Discovering Mallorca: Palma’s secret city

Regular readers of The Daily Norm will remember that I am utterly captivated by the charms of a cemetery. It’s not a morbid fascination – far from it. For me, cemeteries are amongst the most beautiful and thought-provoking places you can visit. Somewhere to escape the noise of life, to reflect on the emotional strength of people’s devotion to their families, and to admire some of the most startling sculptures you are likely to see in a small compact space. I have been to many cemeteries in my time, not least here in Spain where the mix of sunshine strained through shady cypress trees is particularly poetic. But if the cemeteries I have seen here before were works of poetry, the municipal cemetery in Palma de Mallorca was nothing short of a masterpiece of theatre.

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Located close to the outer ring road, the cemetery is not exactly walkable from the centre of town, and as a result, it was not until now, with a hire care at our disposal, that we were able to pass by. But this cemetery was worth the wait. Never in all my life have I ever seen such a vast collection of intricately crafted, magnificently devotional sculpture and stunning architecture in such a compact space. The cemetery is probably the biggest I have ever been in, but it is also amongst the most crowded, and row after row and row after row of tombstones are loaded not with simple flat graves, but elegantly and theatrically decorated with stone crosses, angels and other elaborate sculptures so that the result is a veritable forest of ancient stone.

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And most magnificently of all are the series of lavish little side chapels which line the perimeters of the cemetery. Utterly elaborate, constructed in a number of styles from baroque to classical and even 20th century modernist, this collection of buildings looks like an ancient empire, resembling the kind of spectacle which may have been found when entering a roman forum lined with temples.

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But that was not all. For beneath ground level, a secret staircase led down into what was probably the most spectacular aspect of the whole cemetery – a vast double horseshoe-shaped catacomb itself lined with tombs from floor to ceiling, flooded with light from holes in the ceiling, and slowly sprinkled with dust gently falling in the rays of sunshine. It was like something from Indiana Jones, and with road names engraved in latin we felt like we have been catapulted centuries back to an ancient civilisation.

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It was only when we emerged back into the heat of the Mallorca day, the sounds of the nearby ring-road resounding nearby, that we realised we had just found Palma’s secret city.

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.

A weekend in Fornalutx (Part 2): Cemetery and Citrus Trees

The area of Soller is famous for its citrus groves. It must be something to do with the lush fertile slopes of the vast mountain scenery which allows this area to become punctuated by lemons and oranges, and the result is not only a vast bounty of citrus based products made in the region every year, but a landscape which is made stunning by the perfume of orange and lemon blossom and by a palette of yellow and orange fruit. The little nearby village of Fornalutx is no exception in the citrus stakes, and if there was one aspect of the little mountainous haven that I adored above all others, it was the orange trees which were so bounteous in the surrounding landscapes, and whose blossom filled the air with its exquisite spring perfume.

The stunning citrus scenery surrounding Fornalutx

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It was on a walk amongst the orange groves on the afternoon of our arrival in Fornalutx that my partner and I discovered what has to be my second favourite aspect of the town: a tiny cemetery set atop an outermost hill of the city, overlooking its sea of terracotta roofs and surrounding mountainous landscape. Of all the places that could be a person’s final resting place, this must surely be one of the best. Perfectly appointed, beautifully symmetrical with a central chapel flanked by two robust cyprus trees, and with decorative gravestones surrounded by palms and colourful flowers, this place of rest made for a super-tranquil utterly beautiful place of contemplation even for us living.

The tiny cemetery of Fornalutx

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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.

Mallorca Moments: Late afternoon along the Bay of Pollensa

It has to be one of the most sensational spots on the island of Mallorca if not in the Mediterranean: a perfectly tranquil walk along a seaside path; the almost completely still waters of a natural bay gently caressing the shore, and over its surface, pine trees which lean ever closer as though staring narcissistically into their reflection upon the sea.  This is the idyll which is the bay of Pollensa (or Pollença in Mallorquin); a naturally protected beautiful harbour on the Northern coast of Mallorca. It is a bay which benefits from the very best of geography’s creative magic: cerulean blue crystal clear water; a backdrop of mountains making the sea appear more like a lake; and a happily coinciding seaside walk which allows visitors to enjoy the tranquility of the spot directly next to the sensuously shore-lapping sea.

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These photos were taken one tranquil afternoon, when the sun broke free of the clouds up ahead as it began its gentle plummet to the horizon and beyond. The still conditions and the golden light were just perfect for photography, and the result is a set of photos befitting the utmost beauty of the place.

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.