Of all of our 9 days in the Mediterranean, I think our day at Palma De Mallorca was probably the slowest.
And I’m sure a bunch of you are scratching your heads, humbling “Palma De What?”
Palma De Mallorca is the capital city of the island Majorca found in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Eastern Spain. Many Europeans travel here in the Summer for their beaches.
Our cruise ship docked near Ctra del Arsenal (don’t be fooled by other cruise posters—you will not be docking near Camino de la Escollera). This port was a little unique in that a transfer was provided to the city center via a bus for 3 Euro a person.
You could also just take a taxi but either way you will want some kind of transportation (you are 3.5 miles from the city center). Once the port had our bus full (which didn’t take long), we started on our 15 minute journey.
The bus dropped us off right in front of Parc de la Mar, which was really convenient since it was one of the stops of my list.
We started first by exploring the sea wall made from stones.
We crossed the street to begin exploring Parc de la Mar, a seaside park with a lake that overlook’s Palma’s famous La Seu Cathedral.
One of the coolest features of this Parc is that the lake often contains the reflection of La Seu.
The park was full of cool archways and out coves.
You knew we couldn’t resist these cheesy pictures.
As we walked further west in the park, we were met by the grand size of La Seu. From here, we were able to get some amazing overall shots of the cathedral.
This Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral was built on the site of a pre existing Arab mosque at the request of King James in the 1300s.
James specifically chose to build the cathedral on top of a mosque to demonstrate that he had seized Majorca from the Arabs and was returning it to the Christians. The irony, of course, is that since this was a mosque first the altar is built facing Mecca, not Jerusalem.
Above you can see the Main Façade of the building. The only portion of this wall that survived the earthquake of 1851 was the portal, which was built in the 16th century. The surrounding features were rebuilt in 1852 in the Neo-Gothic style.
Above is the bottom portion of the Main Façade which depicts the Virgin Mary. You can see that she is surrounded by symbols: the lily, the well, the gateway to heaven, the rose, the lam, the fountain and the ivory tower.
At this point, we attempted to go inside of the Cathedral, only to be turned away. They don’t open until 10am.
We decided to circle around the rest of the city center to see if there was anything else to see.
We took a few pictures of some architecturally interesting buildings but nothing really seemed to appeal to us.
None of the shops were open so we literally were just walking up and down the streets.
Eventually, we decided to head back over to the Cathedral area to check out Royal Palace of La Almudaina, a 1st century Arab fortress turned into a 14th century Palace.
We started on the backside of the Palace, working our way through the gardens before going to the entrance.
The garden contains very modern fountains and sculptures, which juxtapose the 13th century Palace in the background.
The neatest part of the garden was the pond at the southern most tip, complete with doves.
We then walked up the stairway to the front of the Palace to purchase our tour tickets and audio guide for 4 Euro per person.
We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside but I can tell you that it’s a fascinating Palace that has remained relatively intact. Most of the rooms have complete sets of furniture and beautiful artwork. The Palace even has its own small Chapel to St. Anne. Since the Palace has been added to and renovated in nearly every century since 1st, it has a full array of architectural designs, with something sure to appeal to everyone’s tastes.
Once we finished our tour of the Palace (which was quiet and slow paced—not that many people opt to tour it), we walked across the square to the Cathedral, which was now finally open.
Since the Cathedral is the main attraction in Palma, expect to wait in line for tickets and to fight large crowds once you are inside. Admission is 4 Euros and they definitely appreciate exact change.
When you first arrive inside the cathedral, you are ushered through a series of rooms with precious artwork and sculptures on display.
There was tons of artwork but we really didn’t get a chance to admire it because there were so many people packed into these rooms. We just wanted to get out into the open cathedral.
After you walk through the rooms, you enter into the main cathedral.
The cathedral contains 20 small chapels around the perimeter.
Above our some examples of the chapels found on the left hand side of the church as you face the altar.
At this point, we made it to the back of the cathedral to get an overall shot. From here, you can see that the church is mainly lit by sunshine streaming through the large stained glass rosette above the altar.
Above is a picture of the high altar in the front of the church. You can see the outline of a huge wrought iron canopy created by Antoni Gaudi.
Immediately to the right of the high altar is the most modern chapel in the cathedral…I also found it to be the most disturbing.
I was taken aback by how massive this church was (well not St. Peter’s massive but still pretty ginormous). I actually sat down in one of the pews and just observed my surroundings while Mr. A took pictures.
It’s hard sometimes in these beautiful cathedrals to not get caught up in taking a thousand pictures.
You get so focused on taking the perfect picture that most times you miss the point. Instead of absorbing God’s presence, you are giving the person next to you the stink eye for getting their hand in your shot.
So I just took a break from it all and sat there and watched. It was one of the best decisions I made all day. I observed God’s sunlight shining in through the stain glass window drenching all the inhabitants inside. It was like his fingers reached down to touch us all.
That is the memory I wanted to leave this cathedral with.
When Mr. A finished up his picture taking expedition, we decided to head back to the cruise ship. We had visited all there was to see in the center city and we really just wanted to go back to the ship and relax. Seven straight days of sightseeing had finally started to take their toll.
With that we walked back over to the bus and caught a transfer back to the cruise ship. It was nice to end a day without my feet aching and my brain drained.
If you are stopping in Palma, be ready for a quiet day. I definitely recommend visiting La Seu but you also might want to make a fun lunch reservation. There’s not a whole lot to see in this town so having other plans to fill up your day will make your experience more enjoyable. Or you can always head back to the ship early for a nice nap. That’s what we did
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