Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Destination Life: Mallorca a place of epiphanies



PHS editor Michelle Styles explains why Mallorca will always hold a special place in her heart.
Lighthouse at Cap de Formentor
Mallorca or to give it, its English spelling -- Majorica has long been the unfair butt of  many -- often portrayed as little more than sun, sand, sex, booze and high rise hotels and appealling to a certain type of package holiday tourist. However, like Corfu and a number of other places, Mallorca is far more than



that. there are reasons why it boasts of many upscale tourists and hideaways for the seriously wealthy.  Being the largest of the Baleric islands, parts of it remain unspoilt and it caters for all tastes and pocket books.
The main cheap and cheerful accommodation is centred around the one city of Palma while the various movie stars and literati tend to head for Deia on the South West coast. There are a number of upscale villas to rent around Pollenca. Further to the east, you get into where Mallorca's gentry derived from -- old estates and local industries such as glassblowing and Mallorca pearls. Further still, you get back into mega resorts and villas that tend to be favoured by the Germans. Flip open any Country Life property section, you will see villas for sale in Mallorca. So the downmarket cheap and cheerful image that some people have of Mallorca is just plain wrong.
For those who really want to get away, there are plenty of hills to walk in. The birdwatching is simply fantastic. And if you or your husband bird watches, it means an early start or a late afternoon trip when the crowds are less.
The roads along the North coast can be scary -- winding with huge drops down to the sea.  One of the more famous routes is out to the Cap de Formentor. The road starts off inland and you do past a lovely pine clad beach of golden sand. Situated on the beach is the 1930's luxury hotel -- Hotel Formentor. But the real scenery is further along the twisting narrow road.  out to the lighthouse. It is here that Eleanor's falcon roost and you get the contrast between the rocky cliffs, the dazzling white of the lighthouse and incredible of the sea.
Beach by Hotel Formentor
Another winding road takes you up to the monastery at Lluc.  Again the scenery is magnificent. One doesn't speak about suicidal drivers who pass on blind bends.  One is simply grateful to reach the monastery in one piece. The Monastery houses Our Lady of  Lluc which has been Mallorca's most important place of pilgrimage since the 13th century. However, worship in that area has gone on since prehistoric times as the local holm-oak woods were considered sacred. The Romans named the area Lucus or scacred forest. To help the inhabitants fully convert to Christianity, a brightly coloured statue of Our Lady was discovered by an young shepherd boy who happened to be named Lluc.  Convenient, yes? Anyway, the monks immediately declared the image to be *heaven sent* and the place has remained a place of pilgrimage ever since. The pain peeled off the statue in the 15th century and the statue is now called  La Moreneta (the dark skinned one). There is a generalised viewing every day during the 11 am mass where the boy's choir -- Los Bluets sing. It is attended by a gaggle of tourists as well as believers...There is something of Disney or a cuckoo clock about the way the statue is revealed during the mass...It is also possible to see the statue in the museum at other times.
Pollenca with its 365 steps to the Calvry church
When I visited Mallorca, we stayed in a villa near Pollenca, in the North West. Set in its own gardens with lemons, the villa had its own pool and a magnificent view out to the mountains. It was a wonderfully relaxing place and it was where I decided that I really wanted to write for Harlequin. (It was also the point where I realised that self-catering is simply moving housework to another location but that is another story...) Although I had had an epiphany in hospital, it is when I experienced the rugged scenery and saw the magnificent villas tucked away, that I thought wouldn't it be fun to write about all this. Why shouldn't I give it a go? Then somewhat prophetically, I discovered a Mills and Boon historical at the villa. It was set in Cornwall and I thought -- oh I am not sure I do historical! So I tried first with contemporary and then  I finally went over to my real love -historical.
I do recommend Mallorca for a relaxing and inspirational holiday. It is a place to find unexpected peace and direction.

Partly as a result of her visit to Mallorca in 2002, Michelle Styles writes historical romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Her latest books can be viewed on her website. She has a free Online Serial starting on 15 November 2010 on eharlequin to celebrate the NA publication of her Regency duo -- A Question of Impropriety and Impoverished Miss Convenient Wife.

5 comments:

  1. Lovely post and beautiful photos, Michelle. Mallorca sounds wonderful!

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  2. Michelle, you took me back in time. My dad had a contract in North Africa when I was a child, and we went to Palma de Mallorca several times for short vacations. I was young, but I do remember the little shops, cobblestone walks and peeking into the amazing courtyards of some of the villas. In fact, I still have the 'dancer' doll that I got tucked away in a box somewhere. Thanks for the memories!

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  3. Mallorca seems so nice and the photos are wonderful!

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  4. I am pleased you loiked the post.

    Mallorca is a wonderful place.

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