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Posts tagged ‘Cappuccino Grand Cafe’

Mallorca Sketchbook: Resting on La Rambla

La Rambla is easily one of my favourite streets in Palma de Mallorca. Long and abundantly leafy, this civilised avenue keeps cars to the side so that its central avenue can be the preserve of perambulating locals and a host of flower sellers whose daily offerings issue a dreamy perfume at all times of the year. The avenue is also appropriately the location of a good number of cafés and tapas bars, and there is nothing quite nicer on a warm day that sitting out in the dappled sunlight which reaches the elegant pavements through the trees and enjoying a coffee or wine.

It was on one such outing that I recently took out my sketchbook and, armed with my trusty staedtler pens, made this little sketch of a small square just off the floral avenue. Just a typical corner of this city I now call home, it contains all of the features that make Palma such an exquisite Mediterranean destination.

Resting on La Rambla (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Resting on La Rambla (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Norm’s Autumn Banoffee at Palau March

As the green leaves of summer turn gradually to shades of auburn and brown, it’s time again to reflect on that sunny island of Mallorca, where the higher temperatures of summer live on, and the sun’s midday warmth embraces all locals and visitors alike with its life-enhancing optimism. But even Mallorca and the Mediterranean is not immune from the seasonal momentum of the planetary system, and as evenings draw in before winter descends, and the sunlight hours diminish, the locals and Norms of Mallorca’s capital Palma look to the cosier pursuits in life.

And can there be anything cosier in the emerging autumn than a late afternoon tea, with a slice of Cappuccino Grand Café’s classic banoffee pie, consumed while sitting on the comfy sofas of the Palau March café under the colonnades ofthis elegant city palace? This little Norm certainly does not think so, and indulging in the very height of afternoon delight, he sips upon his coffee and digs into his oozing caramel-filled banana and cream tart with a gusto which is more than justified when exposed to such an exquisite dessert. His little heart beating to the sumptuous sounds of Cappuccino’s jazzy sound track, and his eyes otherwise entertained by the unbeatable views of Palma’s historic centre beyond the colonnades, this Norm is all set up for an autumn afternoon of insurmountable delight, and is frankly the envy of all of us who can not be there with him.

Norm at Cappuccino Palau March (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Norm at Cappuccino Palau March (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

My little Norm painting is acrylic on canvas and currently hangs, so I gather, in the stunning Ibiza Botafoch café of the Grupo Cappuccino. Now that’s got to be a double whammy for this little Norm.

Check out more Norm paintings in the new Norm galleries of my (almost) completed new website.

© 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.

Norm cocktail in the Port of Andratx

It’s been a bit quiet on The Daily Norm front this week, as behind the scenes, the Norms and I are scurrying around working hard to redesign and develop my art website which, when it is finished, should provide the perfect partner to this blog, acting as a permanent platform to show my artwork to the world. So while the hard work continues in the offices of The Daily Norm, and as the chillier autumn evenings start to draw in, its surely time to pay one of our Norm friends a visit, over in the warmer climes of the Mediterranean, where the summer extends, that much longer, into the darkening autumn days.

Norm at Puerto Andratx (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Norm at Puerto Andratx (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

To the island of Mallorca, and onto the stunning little Puerto Andratx, a naturally enclosed semi-circular marina, flanked on all sides by steep green hills leaving only a slight cerulean slice of horizon visible. In this idyllic little port, where fishermen still cast out their nets and store their fishing paraphernalia on the dock side, and where little cafes and restaurants are lined along the still lapping waters and cobbled harbour walls, the persistently chic Cappuccino Grand Café has acquired itself the nicest spot of all, directly next to a little harbour arm, where old wooden boats bob up and down, and the omnipresent sunshine sparkles like a discotheque over the surface of the water.

There, on rocking chairs set out alongside the sea, this hedonistic Norm is soaking in the ultimate pleasures which this cafe paradise can provide: a lavish location, melodic jazzy music, warm midday sun, and a cocktail in her one, well manicured hand.

Now this is surely the way to spend an autumn day.

© 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 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.

Marbella in May: a photography experiment (ii) – Cappuccino Cocktails

You join me on the second post sharing my photos from a little weekend’s experimenting with my new Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V camera in Marbella, Southern Spain. By lunchtime on day one of our stay, I was already at ease operating this simple to use camera, and taking full advantage of its excellent 20x optical zoom facilities.

Today’s photos see me catching the mellow halcyonic lunchtime atmosphere in the sun drenched pine tree sheltered garden patio of my favourite of all cafe-bars, Cappuccino Grand Cafe Marbella, which is situated in the beach side grounds of the plush Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel.

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Sitting in the sunshine sipping upon a cool glass of Albariño wine and indulging in that always satisfying past time of people watching, I became captivated by the vividly colourful cocktails, green bottles and fruity rose wines being carried around by the crisp model-like waiters.  With a long zoom at my disposal, I was able to capture the kaleidoscope of colourful thirst-quenchers, their jem like glow augmented when shimmering against the potent midday Marbellan sun.

I love the ability of the camera to focus out the surrounding diners, concentrating on the vivid colours and the clarity of light. And of course I have to thank Cappuccino for providing the most chic of all surroundings as inspiration for these simply satisfying images.

© 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 IX) – Day 5: Picture-Perfect Pollença

What is about to follow should carry a health warning. A place which is so inexplicably stunning that photographs can barely carry the burden of the beauty that they must nurture between their two dimensions; a landscape of such paradisal similitude that words alone can barely acknowledge the almost unfathomable idyll of this earthly heaven. What is about to follow is the town and port of Pollença on Mallorca’s Northern coast.

Since first seeing a photo of  the port of Pollença, its faultless panorama of distant misty mountains behind a crystal aquamarine sea, in a booklet advertising the various branches of my favourite of all cafés, Cappuccino Grand Café, I knew that I had to visit. But tucked away in a little natural marina, surrounded by vast rocky outcrops and large irregularly shaped mountains, and situated at the very Northern tip of the island, Pollença seemed to me as it looked: an almost unobtainable dream-town, far from reach, and always left to another trip. But on this triumphant return to Mallorca, I was determined to make the journey to this paradise on earth, no matter the effort it took, and in so doing feast my eyes on the town which had inspired writers like Agatha Christie, and artists like Anglada-Camarasa, while also enabling me to tick the final Cappuccino of Mallorca off my list – the last of the café’s branches in which I would unapologetically indulge.

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As it turned out, Pollença wasn’t all that difficult to get to from Palma. All it took was a direct bus service from Palma’s main transport hub in the Plaça España and a journey of around 1hr 15 mins (at the cost of around 6 euros each, one way). The only downside was that the buses weren’t regular. We took a bus at around 12.30, but were restricted to taking a return bus at around 19.15 (since the only one in between would only have given us just over an hour in the port) – however this extended stay gave us time to explore the town of Pollença in addition to the port, something which I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Now I won’t lie. When we reached the port and got out of the bus, I wasn’t sure we had arrived in the right location. Assuming the port to be something of elysium, I was surprised when we were dropped off in a busy run of the mill seaside resort, with souvenir shops and restaurants aplenty. My partner and I exchanged seriously sceptical glances – maybe we would have to take that early bus back after all. But we shouldn’t have worried. Just a short stroll eastwards out of the centre and the beach starts getting nice – really nice. The waters make you want to rip off your clothes there and then and jump in the crystal cerulean elixir, the soft golden sand tempting you to roll about in its soft embrace, feeling its tiny clean granules slink and slip their way between your toes and into every fold of your clothes.

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But of course we resisted, for what we saw, looming in the distance like a heavenly mirage in a dessert was Cappuccino, in a location every bit as splendid as the photographs suggested – set in a decadent old hotel directly overlooking the waterfront, and benefitting from tables jutting out to sea on a little decked pier, a pier on which, to our great fortune, a table in the front line seemed to wait for us, beckoning us to sit and enjoy what must have been one of the most stunning views I have ever enjoyed over lunch.

And so there, listening to the tranquil jazz of Pepe Link’s Cappuccino soundtrack, back on their finest albariño white wine, and tucking into yet more samplings from their faultless kitchen, we were in such an ecstacy of pleasure that for a time, we actually went silent. How on earth can life be so beautiful? Is it truly possible to be sat in front of a earthly view of paradise, benefiting from the full strength of a glorious Spring day’s sun, when only a couple of hours away in the UK, it was snowing?!

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Our disbelief at the beauty of Pollença’s Cappuccino was only augmented further when, taking the “pine walk” along the almost 180 degrees curve of the bay, we found ourselves ambling along a path dappled with sunshine as it bled through the branches of lush, hanging pines extending over the sea, contrasting in deep verdant tones against the pure paradisal blues of those waters. I have never seen sights like it.

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While we could easily have stared at the port of Pollença all day, time was inevitably ticking fast, and with only 2 hours until that bus back to Palma, we thought we had better visit the town of Pollença itself. Situated around 6km inland from the port, Pollença is a small labyrinthine town which benefits from a stunning situation against a backdrop of foreboding granite mountain cliffs, rising like a volcanic explosion out of the ground behind the town. At its centre, a charming Plaça Major is full of bustling little cafes and nobbly looking trees, while all around, little narrow streets are flanked by green shutters and cosy stone houses. But undoubtedly the most stunning sight of Pollença, and something which for us was completely unexpected, is the Escalera del Calvari, a steep straight 365-step cypress-lined stairway which leads up to a simple chapel and some pretty spectacular views. The staircase is understandable the town’s most treasured landmark and makes for something of an aweinspiring sight when you turn out of the Plaça Major and see the steps looming in the distance.

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Of course as soon as we saw the stairs, we knew we could not leave Pollença without reaching the top, and that is exactly what we did, bounding at first up those steps before slowing down to an agonising but thrilling climb, turning every few steps to see the view of the town, transforming from stone houses to roof tops, flanked more and more by the bigger and stunning mountains as we got higher – all the way to the top where the view, stretching all the way out to sea was just phenomenal.

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And it was up there, at the top of the Calvary stairs, that I had a realisation of just how perfect this trip to Mallorca had been, each day an adventure of some new and beautiful location, a trip on which Palma had become like a home to us, and Mallorca had opened its arms to us in a gastronomic, artistic and historical embrace. And here we were, each day getting better and better until, at the very end, we climaxed at this highpoint of the trip, both physically and metaphorically, at a high point of the island, looking over the roof tops of beautiful Pollença, and with a trip of truly treasured memories now behind us.

And as for the journey down – while yes, it felt almost symbolic, forewarning of our return home to reality the following day, we were also able to stride confidently, knowing for certain that this will not be our last ascent of that stairway, nor our last adventure on this wonderful island. With so much more to explore, and such joy in the repetition of revisiting those places we have loved so much, how could we not return to the incredible island of Mallorca?

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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. 

Mallorca (Part III) – Day 2: Port d’Andratx and Es Baluard

“The colours, the colours!” I hear this phrase go round and round my head as I explore the magical island of Mallorca, as though through repetition, I may begin to make sense of the kaleidoscopic ravishment on my senses which comes of every colourful inch of this incredible Balearic beauty. Is it just the contrast from grey, industrialised London which makes the exquisite azure of Mallorca’s seas so ultimately seductive to the eyes, or is it true that here in Mallorca, the seas are more crystalline and cerulean than any other Spanish coast? While I’m used to being enchanted by the blue skies and sandy ochres of Andalucia, I have never seen turquoises like these along the Costa del Sol.

From the sea, to the sky, so rich a sapphire that it cannot help but pump optimism into the hearts and minds of every person shining beneath its reflective glory. And also reflecting in that sanguine light are the verdant greens of Mallorca’s lush landscapes, bounteous in swaying palms and plump prickly cacti, fragrant wild herbs and the perfumed blossom of almond and orange trees.

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No greater are the vivid colours of this sunshine paradise more alluring than in the snug natural harbour of Port d’Andratx where we ventured today. I remember so well being seduced by this picture-perfect little port when first holidaying on the island with my mother. After hiring a car and negotiating both a left-hand drive vehicle for the first time and the rather speedy roads of the island, as well as narrowly escaping the unsavoury Magaluf peninsular (which we almost ended up in after taking a wrong turning – god forbid!), Andratx brought something of a antidotal calm after the hair-raising journey. And then of course, down on the port, we found a d’Andratx branch of my beloved Cappuccino Grand Café, this one boasting a winning position next to the harbours edge (I shouldn’t have been surprised – Cappuccino always manages to bag the best locations on the island). I was in love. So having returned now to Mallorca with my partner, the Port d’Andratx was a must-visit location, even car-less as we were.

The Port d'Andratx

The Port d’Andratx

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The port wasn’t exactly straightforward to get to using public transport. Well, that’s not quite true. We only had to take one bus (the L102) all the way there from Palma, but what on the map looks to be a very short journey was stretched to a full 1hr 20mins each way owing to the twists and turns this busy little bus took in and out of towns along the way. Still, the alluring Mallorcan landscapes, dotted with their iconic old windmills and benefitting from a stunning backdrop of rolling hills on one side, and sparkling seascape on the other, made for an apt diversion, and soon enough we made it to the Port d’Andratx.

It’s one of those places which can’t fail to take your breath away. A cosy natural harbour with its share of crystal aquamarine waters, still the home of a working fishing fleet whose charming paraphernalia of fishing nets and buoys recline languorously on the harbour side in the sun. The port is littered with little restaurants and boutique shops, while around the corner from the port’s main artery, the coastline becomes progressively more craggy, almost surreal in its rocky formations, reminding me of the kind of curiosities which may turn up in a painting by surrealist Salvador Dali. The only slight blot on the landscape is the speedy development of what look like identical almost flat-back villas, rather scarring the naturally green hillsides besides the harbour with their coarse open balconies, maximising on view, but lacking any architectural charm.

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That aside, the Port is a paradise, and none of that paradise was lost on us. Heading to Cappuccino Grand Café and finding fortuitously one table left in the sun, as though awaiting our arrival, we sat down for a lavish long lunch of fresh sushi and smoked salmon sandwiches and numerous glasses of exquisitely chilled sauvignon blanc. Is there any greater pleasure in life than this?

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Rather tipsily after lunch (and so not recommended!) we ventured upon the craggy coastline, exploring what I fear may have been a private beach (albeit that there were no signs) and there finding the most stunning scenery of all – where the cerulean blues were tinted cobalt by the rock forms beneath, where lush greenery clung onto rocks exhibiting a thousand different geological colours.

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But all too soon our time in Port d’Andratx came to an end, restrained as were were by the rather limited public holiday bus timetable. But by the time we arrived back in our adopted home of Palma, the evening sun was still able to charm us with its warmth, and we headed to the roof terrace of the architecturally impressive Es Baluard museum of contemporary art for afternoon tea.

Es Baluard is located within the perimeter walls of the Sant Pere bastion, part of the Renaissance walls that surrounded the city of Palma until the beginning of the 20th century.  Masterfully designed by architects Lluis and Jaume Garcia-Ruiz, Vicente Tomas and Angel Sanchez Cantalejo and opened in 2004, the building presents a harmonious relationship between old coarse renaissance walls and the clean sharp lines of contemporary architecture. I adore the use of bare, smooth concrete, cold linear steel and sharp clean glass which coexists so sympathetically with the ancient walls. The building is in itself worth a visit, such are the large areas of ramparts and terraces on offer, all of which can be explored for free, and which present the visitor with some superb views over both the historic centre of Palma towards La Seu, and also westwards over the harbour and up to Bellver Castle.

Architectural fusion at Es Baluard

Architectural fusion at Es Baluard

The cafe terrace

The cafe terrace

View from Es Baluard

View from Es Baluard

View over Palma's marina

View over Palma’s marina

Inside, the museum presents a consummate exhibition space, all the more impressive when considering that Palma is the capital of the Balearics, but not of the whole of Spain. The collections revolve and change, but we were lucky enough to time our visit with a display of Picasso ceramics, and a large collection of prints and paintings by one-time Mallorcan resident Joan Miró, as well as an assemblage of impressive Mallorca-born artists. My favourite of these was undoubtedly Joaquim Mir, whose landscapes and snapshots of Mallorca perfectly captured the extent and variety of those same scintillating colours which have so entranced me in Mallorca, evidence that those vivid brilliant colours have inspired generations of artists, to which I can now be added in number.

Concrete fuses harmoniously with the renaissance walls

Concrete fuses harmoniously with the renaissance walls

Es Baluard's contemporary glass

Es Baluard’s contemporary glass

La Seu and a contemporary art sculpture

La Seu and a contemporary art sculpture

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Our first full day in Mallorca was at a glorious end, and the hedonistic pleasures of a long hotel bath soak awaited. Of course there was still dinner to go, something which deserves a post all of its own. So please return to catch up on that tomorrow, as my journey across Mallorca continues. Until then.

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. 

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. 

Manet Norms at the Cappuccino Grand Café – Part II: Decoding the Manet’s

Yesterday I launched my new painting onto the public stage – Manet Norms at the Cappuccino Grand Café. Having stemmed from an idea to recreate Manet’s masterpiece, Bar at the Folies-Bergère, I felt that an insertion of the painting into my Cappuccino landscape would only work if the other Norms too were based on Manet paintings. One look at Manet’s oeuvre revealed a host of images which were ripe for reconstruction within my Normy café scene. Like many of his impressionist colleagues after him, Manet was a pioneer of painting real life, scenes capturing the French society all around him, from lonesome drinkers supping upon a plum brandy, to day trippers out on the coast and a child fascinated by the plumes and puffs of the steam railway. All this Manet captured to perfection, and feasting hungrily upon his works, I transformed a great many of them into Norm customers at my café when presenting the thriving, bustling atmosphere for which Cappuccino Grand Café is famous.

So without further ado, here are all of Manet’s original paintings followed by my own interpretation as featured in my new Cappuccino café scene. Despite being some 150 years apart, these characters slip effortlessly behind the elegant marble tables and botanical celebration of Cappuccino’s terrace in a café which exudes sophistication, and retains the feeling of glamour and recreational hedonism which was intrinsic to venues such as the Folies-Bergère back in Manet’s day. Parfait!

Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Edouard Manet – A Bar at the Folies Bergère (1882)

My reimagination of the Bar at the Folies Berger…

Those bottles…

Argenteuil

Edouard Manet – Argenteuil (1874)

My Norms, loosely based on the figures in “Argenteuil”

The Luncheon

Edouard Manet – The Luncheon (1868-9)

The Luncheon-based trio of Norms

Le Chemin de Fer (The Railroad)

Edouard Manet – Le Chemin de Fer (The Railroad) (1873)

Norms, complete with the little sleeping puppy

The Balcony

Edouard Manet – The Balcony (1868-9)

Not on a balcony, but the same trio as Norms

Man writing in a café / “Chez Tortoni”

Edouard Manet – Man Writing in a Café / ‘Chez Tortoni’ (1878)

Writing just the same “Chez Cappuccino”

Chez Le Pere Lathuille 

Edouard Manet – Chez Le Pere Lathuile (1879)

Love is in the air, at least for one of these Norms…

La Prune (The Plum Brandy)

Edouard Manet – La Prune (The Plum Brandy) (1876-8)

I hope the Norm writing will join this lone drinker for a date

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2005-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work 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.