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Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

Discovering Mallorca: Botanical Soller

Were I forced to choose between a beach and a garden, I would take a garden any day. For as enticing as the charms of a beach may be, it is the dappled shady paradise created by a sunny, richly planted garden which for me represents earth’s most sublime elysium. While the island of Mallorca may be famous for its beaches, the proportion of gardens is far lower. Having paid a visit to pretty much all of those beautiful gardens which do exist, amongst them the lush Renaissance terraces of the Raixa, and the arabic tilled patios of the Alfabia Gardens, I had one left on the list to enjoy – the Botanical Gardens in the citrus rich mountainous valley of Soller.

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Soller’s Botanical Gardens did not disappoint. Created in 1985 as a centre for the conservation, study and understanding of Mediterranean flora, the garden is carefully split into diversely collected plant zones, from the cacti of the Canaries to local Balearic fruit varieties. And while many consider the Spring as a perfect time to make a visit to a garden, the autumn turned out to be a fine alternative, blessing our visit with an exquisite caramel light, and enabling for the enjoyment of a ripe harvest of shiny pink apples, ruby red peppers and yellowing citrus.

Surrounded by the dramatic landscape of the Tramuntana mountains, and benefiting from the coverage of numerous tree varieties, the garden was filled with both inspirational views and sun dappled corners made for meditative enjoyment. My favourite corner had to be the wetlands area, where a pond full of bountiful waterlilies was alive with the diving dance of dragonflies, whose rare and occasional pause on a leaf or bulrush enabled a truly unique appreciation of this fragile and elegant creature.

As ever, a garden proved that in life, the best moments are those which enable us to pause and appreciate the beautiful little things that occur naturally all around us.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Mallorca Moments: Post-work beaching

Life is deeply enriched by the smaller moments, the spontaneous unplanned hours of wonderment which make a day unexpectedly special and are subsequently recalled with as much fondness as the very best of meticulously planned holidays. Such moments can happen anywhere, from finding a cosy new candlelit cafe with a single empty table waiting as relief from a wintery rainstorm, to the sudden impulse to take a walk which leads to the discovery of a hitherto undiscovered magical corner.

Last night, I enjoyed with my partner one such unplanned magical moment. We had a choice between going to the gym or going for a walk. The weather had been good as ever, as a fiery orange sun had been burning high in the Mallorca sky all day and was only now cooling. So a walk it was, and in a moment’s inspiration we decided to head to the beach, to paddle and admire the water’s sparkling majesty.

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But once down at the water’s edge, we found the May waters to be so seductively warm that we dived right in. And there was the magical moment. Wading out to see with a silhouette of Palma’s stunning cathedral on one side, and a magnificent liner cruising into the Port of Palma on the other. Meanwhile, as the sun began to sink, the waters were infused with a golden light, like swimming in a melting pot of precious metals.

We emerged from the sea enlivened by our seaside dip and excited by a further treat which lay in wake…a frozen yoghurt layered with fresh fruit and laced with sticky white chocolate and apple syrups. The cherry atop a large serving of the good life.

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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.

Move to Mallorca: First days

If I could describe the sensations, thrills and excitement of moving to a new life in the heart of the old town of Palma de Mallorca with an analogy, it would be to compare it with the overwhelming exhilaration of entering a department store at Christmas, full of sparkling temptations, gleaming pleasures, grand architecture and flashing lights across every square centimeter: a treasure trove of excitement so intense that your body quivers with anticipation and shakes with the indecision of not knowing where to explore first. Such has been the irrepressible thrill of moving to Mallorca, to an apartment set within a maze of streets so intensively packed with the charms of Spain and the prettiness characteristic of any historic quarter that we can barely breathe for happiness.

Palma viewed from our apartment

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Not only are we like children around a Christmas tree when it comes to exploring our airy new modernista-style apartment, but look outside the window and the bleak busy grey road view of our previous London home is replaced with a burrow of streets lined with apartment blocks painted in every colour of an artist’s palette, enhanced with ironwork balconies, lamps and other decorative embellishment, and brought to life by the residents who lean from their balconies watching the world go by, hanging their washing out to flap away in the warm autumn breeze, or putting out their little caged birds and fluffy puppies to breathe the optimistic fresh air of the new day. With so much to look at out of our 8 balcony windows, and such a plethora of vantage points to watch the constant day to day buzz of this bustling little quarter of Palma, I am reminded of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where James Stewart’s character would sit day by day living vicariously through the many lives he could see unfolding amongst the apartments opposite his own.

All the charms of Palma

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But of course far from living vicariously off others, our greatest pleasure has been to leave our new apartment and explore the charmingly charismatic streets of this region and beyond. A mere 48 hours into our new life, we have sampled the local fluffy pastry, ensaimada, over a creamy coffee, riffled through a shop’s worth of traditionally made baskets and weaved furniture, strolled along the golden sandy beach and alongside the popular boat-filled marina of Portixol,  scraped clean a huge pan filled with a moist and richly caramalised seafood paella, gulped down a good glass or three of chilled white wine in the surprisingly hot Autumn sunshine, strolled around huge deserted churches lit by flickering candles as though awaiting our visit, and shopped more than we ought in order to add some local touches to the London interior schemes we are importing to Spain.

…and here’s a few more

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There has been so much to see and do that I could split these mere 48 hours into a panoply of Daily Norm posts. But to do so would be to deny you, the reader, the full impact of a city ripe with a resplendent array of visual treasures, and consequently in posting photos of the first two days, I am bringing you a sampling of many treats we have discovered as we began our new life in Palma de Mallorca last weekend. And what a life it is set to be…

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 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.