A Mountain Drive to Alaro, Bunyola & Valdemossa and Folklore at La Granja
From here I drove back out into the plains near Egleitas and made my way back into the Tramuntana mountains to stop in the town of Valdemossa, a very popular tourist destination that attracts dozens of tour buses on a daily basis. Fortunately it was pre-season, and the hordes of tourists had not yet descended on this scenic village.
Doorknocker on an old wooden door
Valldemossa is most famous for having been the residence of composer Frederic Chopin and French novelist and early feminist George Sand during the winter of 1838 to 1839. The Royal Carthusian Monastery of Jesus of Nazareth is also a major draw in this town. To add some celebrity pizzazz, the American actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have a large property close to this charming village.
The Royal Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa
Large trees line the pedestrian main street where locals and tourists enjoy a relaxing rest in the shade on many outdoor patio cafes and restaurants. I continued my walk down the hill on the main street towards the town’s parish church which was originally built in the 13h century. Valldemossa is the birth town of Santa Catalina Tomas, a much revered saint who is depicted on many of the decorative tiles that are installed next to entranceways throughout the entire town. The church itself is quite unique due to the square balcony that is installed high up on the church’s tower.
The Church of Valldemossa with its unusual square balcony
I managed to get all my souvenir shopping done in some of the many attractive trinket shops in town. With my chores completed, I sat down on the outdoor patio of a local bar, ordered some tapas which included my favourite: fresh Mallorcan bread covered with a typical tomato spread, accompanied by olives. The friendly waitress chatted with me about the town and the local lifestyle.
Mallorcan bread and tomato spread – a tasty snack
By about 3 pm I had to move on since I planned to visit one of Mallorca’s most popular tourist destinations: La Granja, a folklore museum that is housed in a large wooded country estate near the village of Esporles. The estate was originally founded in the 10th century and has survived virtually unchanged since the 18th century.
View from the arcaded walkway of La Granja into the countryside
The expansive mansion has a beautiful courtyard with arcaded walkways and is surrounded by a magnificent garden with statues and fountains; a river runs through the property as well, a rarity in Mallorca where most of the streams are dried out in the summer. The inside of the mansion features a salon, children’s bedrooms, adult bedrooms from the Renaissance era, a library, a medical room and dining rooms, all equipped with original period furniture.
Luxurious dining / billiard table at La Granja
The work areas include the kitchen, the dyehouse, equipped with a loom that illustrates the ancient skills of clothmaking and fabric dying. Costumed interpreters are available to demonstrate various skills; a lady in traditional Mallorcan attire was sitting at the loom, demonstrating ancient weaving techniques. The estate was primarily dedicated to agricultural production, and at one point had more than 100 workers.
Flute player at La Granja