Pathways and passages – I

February is a significant month:  I first published on Fiona’s Favourites this month, two years ago.  So after browsing through the photographs of my 1999 trip to Spain, for my last post, and thinking about time, I thought it useful to look back on what was, in some ways, was a rite of passage for me.

At the time, a few months before I met The Husband, I was in a very weird space.  That stay in Palma de Mallorca was the first real three-week holiday of my working life.  It was also a time of reflection and resolve.  When I looked at the photographs, last week, I realised that they were, in their own way, full of pathways and passages.

All were taken with (I think) a 35mm point and click camera which had been lent to me.  However, I’ve not scanned them either from the originals, or from the negatives (don’t exactly know where those are), rather I photographed them with my current camera and then tidied them up a little.  Very little – a lot less than I thought I’d have to.

Plaça del Banc de l’Oli, on the way to Carrer de l’Oli, where I stayed.

Hostal Peru, I was told, was a house of ill-repute.

Checking the plaça out on Google Maps, the building is still there, with its curtained windows, sans the sign, and the square looks a little more respectable than it did seventeen years ago.

Carrer de l’Oli

The street, in the Old City of Palma:  the building in which I stayed (on the fourth floor). The flower shop below is reflected in the windows across the way.  It was in a little spice shop down that road, to the left and up Carrer del Sindicat, that I bought my spices.

This was the view from the room in which I slept.


This old Roman house is where I had my first (of many a) cup of café con leche (coffee with milk), and which I passed regularly on my way to the Mercat de L’Olivar.

Gran Café Cappuccino, Carrer de Sant Miquel, Palma de Mallorca

Valdemossa fascinated me for a range of reasons:


The cobbled roads and the colours of neat homes with front doors that open directly on to the streets, each flanked with happy pots of flowers including geraniums which are, incidentally, indigenous to South Africa.


How long have these homes been here, I wondered, with their brilliant colours – the stones, wood, paint work, and more so, the fossils embedded in those walls?


The balcony gardens that one looks down on as one walks where Chopin and his lover, French writer George Sand did when they had sojourned in then vacant Carthusian Monastery.

CarthusianMonasteryGardenI was there in April, into May, so the beautiful monastery gardens were only just beginning to come into their own.

Equally fascinating was the trip from the village to its eponymous port.


The Virgin Mary watches over travellers between the village and the harbour;  she is perched so high up in the mountainside, I’d have missed her had I not been a passenger.


At the end of that precipitous road is the Mediterranean Sea and Valdemossa’s harbour with its boathouses carved into the cliffs.


Bunalbufar intrigued me, not just because, like Valdemossa, the village is perched atop the cliffs and it’s a proverbial day’s journey its the port below, but because of the terraces:  built by the Moor conquerors and not merely in evidence but still maintained and cultivated with citrus, olives and vines. From the deck of a bistro, aptly named Bella Vista, one can just glimpse the port at the bottom of the valley below.

Part of the answer to my question about the age of buildings, I discovered after trudging up the hill to Castell de Bellver.  This is the site of the island’s main fortress, and home to the ancient kings of Mallorca.   Elements of the building date back to before the birth of Christ, and like buildings on South Africa’s Robben Island, it has an interesting history, having served among other things, both as a royal residence, as well as a prison for royal and political prisoners.


This deep, tiny window looks from a room that might well have been a cell, down the battlements to the Mediterranean.


Another South African link: I was surprised, on my regular walks to the nearest Internet cafe, to pass this shop:  Biggie Best, an iconic South African home design company.


This 2000-year old olive tree in pride of place in the plaça, outside the post office and which, I think, had once been a court:  another sense of life, then and now.


I walked along many pathways and passages in Palma and around Mallorca.  At the bottom of the last hill that I climbed in Mallorca ….


this field of spring flowers.


© Fiona’s Favourites 2016

23 thoughts on “Pathways and passages – I

    1. Thank you, and I’m glad. I surprised myself when I looked at these with a somewhat more critical eye! I have a hankering to go back, understanding that it’s not really going back, but re-visiting.

  1. I loved your Mallorca posting and what a good heading. I’ve always loved that island and it also brings back so many happy memories of family holidays there!

  2. Such great memories Fiona and absolutely stunning shots. If I loved to travel, Spain would definitely be on my list. Such great architecture there. The field of spring flowers is just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. 😀

    1. Thank you!

      You know, Sonel, I hadn’t realised that I had done so well – they were just “happy snaps”. What has made me think is that they were all on film, not digital. Then photographing the photograph and doing the odd enhancement. I was quite pleased if I say so myself.

      Back to Mallorca – it was fascinating. The architecture is so interesting – both in the city, the villages and in the countryside. And such a sense of long history and time.

      I didn’t get to Barcelona which, I believe is Spain’s most beautiful city. My dream is a circumnavigation of the Med. Gib to Gib. Perhaps. One day….

      1. Well, for film they are excellent then Fiona! One of the reasons why I love digital so much is because you don’t have to pay for the ‘mistakes’. I would have paid millions by now. 😆 You can be quite pleased and I can see you are an excellent photographer. 😀

        It bet it was and I would have found it fascinating as well.

        I pity indeed but yes, maybe one day. Let’s dream on. ♥

        1. Thanks so much. My interest in taking pictures (I hesitate to say photography) has been encouraged by The Husband. I wish I could spend more time taking photos….

          I did chuckle to myself when you said that your washing had been neglected – many of my photos are between cooking, working and chores!

          C’est la vie….

          1. LOL! I know the feeling, but believe me when I say that you are an excellent photographer. 😀

            Yes, time is so short when we do the things we love.

            hahaha! Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! 😆

        1. All good, but busy in my day job, so I’m not able to pay as much attention to my blog, bloggers and blogging as I’d like, and which is why I’ve not dropped by, lately 🙁

          Gotta pay the bills though…

  3. These are fantastic photos. And what a good idea to photograph a photo, something I never thought of, so I am going to check out my old photos! My first ‘grown up’ holiday outside of Ireland was also to Mallorca, we stayed in Arena, but I think we more interested in getting a tan, and checking out the boys, than scenery and old buildings, in those far off Days!!

    1. Thank you!

      You know, I discovered it because I didn’t like how they came out when I scanned them, and this really worked.

      On my visit to Mallorca, I was seriously off men, and it was generally not beach-going weather. That said, I’m not really a fan of spending days on the beach in the sun, well, actually, my fair English skin isn’t…. 🙂

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