Palma De Mallorca is the capital and largest city of the Balearic Islands in Spain. The name of the island originates from an old Latin phrase ‘insula maior’ that means ‘larger island’. In ancient times, the Romans would use this term to refer to the island because Mallorca is the largest island in Spain. Over time, the phrase was mispronounced and corrupted. The British pronounced it as Majorca, while the rest of world simply referred to it as Mallorca.
Today, Mallorca is one of Europe’s major holiday destinations. It is a city of modern hotel chains and flashy shops, yet still retains much of its old architecture. Football is a passion on the island, with the Real Mallorca team competing at its home playing field, the Iberostar Stadium. The island is famous for its many olive groves, which has led to the development of olive tourism on the island.
We took a bus trip to Bellver Castle, a Gothic style structure built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca. It is one of the few circular castles in Europe. Its circular floors, with round towers attached, was inspired by the Herodion Fortress in the West Bank in Jerusalem. After serving as a residence for the Kings of Mallorca, the castle was then turned over as a military prison throughout the 18th to mid-20th century. After crossing the draw bridge over the moat, and into the castle, our group started the steep climb to the very top of this fascinating structure. We arrived breathless – but truly awed by the magnificent view of Mallorca and the Mediterranean.
As we bounced along on the bus ride back to the ship, I thought about the hard day’s ‘work’ that traveling sometimes requires– and applauded how even the most elderly traveler on the cruise seemed honestly enthusiastic, grateful and in awe of the world we were experiencing together. It made me think of a wonderful quote by Mark Twain, regarding the importance of traveling for all: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
All photographs except #2 taken by Ryan Oksenberg