Anything But Paella

Art and about in Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is a fascinating city. It has so much to offer no matter what your taste, and on our latest visit we found some great locations for fans of art, both contemporary and of the street variety.

First up is the fascinating Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum. Set inside part of the city’s fortifications, there is plenty to see just by wandering around the surroundings and the nearby streets. Some of the sculptures are amazing whilst others may well have you scratching your head trying to figure out what they are or what they represent! Inside the Museum (Tuesday to Sunday, €6 general entry but pay what you wish on Fridays) the entrance fee is easily justifiable. There is no permanent exhibition, so check out what the four temporary displays are. On our visit we were blown away by something called mail art, not something we had heard of before, which had been a way of getting around censorship around the world. The architectural concept drawings of Havana, Cuba, were very interesting too. The “Flowers for Franco” photographs were a stark reminder of the Valley of the Fallen before the dictator’s body was exhumed and relocated recently. Finally, the “Memory of Defence” exhibit was thought provoking, with the barbed wire sculpture particularly poignant.

Those that know me well will be surprised by this next part. Get up early (yes, EARLY!) and wander the streets before the shops open, and you are in for a treat. Many locations have amazing designs on their shutters, and it is well worth exploring even the narrowest of alleyways all over the city.

Finally, we discovered the Santa Catalina district for the first time. It is definitely where we will head to next time we are in the city. There are plenty of quirky sights there including the most attractive pizza takeaway you’ll ever see in the base of an old windmill. We loved reminiscing about a trip some years ago to Cuba in the amazing La Perla de Habana restaurant. The food was fabulous and we really felt we were back in the Caribbean! Just over the road is a wonderful craft ale pub, Cerveceria Tramuntana. Their use of bottles, labels and bottle caps for decoration is almost as amazing as their beers. The artwork behind the bar was pretty special too. Keep your eyes open for an art gallery or two as well. You won’t be disappointed.

It’s funny how your perception of a city changes. Palma was never our favourite place, but thanks to a couple of work-related trips to Mallorca, we now find ourselves eagerly anticipating our next hop over to the capital of the Balearics.

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