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Monday, 11 November 2019

Treasures in the mountain - Valldemossa

July 2019

Valldemosa 
Steeped in old world charm, Valldemosa lies in a valley in the midst of the Tramuntana mountain range and is the highest village in Mallorca.  It's a small village, with approximately 2,000 inhabitants, but home to thousands of visitors during  the course of the year. 



The last time I had visited Valldemosa was with my Mum, just over thirty years ago, so for me it was a poignant trip down memory lane.

Views of the plains of Mallorca and
 on to the Mediterranean 
Set in beautiful countryside, with panoramic views of Mallorca and the Mediterranean, it is a popular destination for tourists and hikers.The picturesque streets of Valldemosa are decorated with an abundance of brightly coloured bunting, giving you a feeling that life in the village is one long fiesta.  

Decorated streets of Valldemosa 
It's the sort of place that is perfect for sitting in the shade, with a glass of wine and tapas and watch the world go by.  Which is exactly what we did before exploring the streets and soaking up the views!












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Valldemosa's claim to fame is that Chopin and George Sands stayed at Real Cartuja de Valldemosa, the infamous Carthusian monastery where they spent a winter in 1836 and where George Sands wrote 'A Winter in Majorca'.  The monastery is open to tourists and houses the piano that Chopin used whilst in residence.  I think our claim to fame maybe that we were possibly the only tourists who didn't go in the monastery!





Santa Catalina shrine




Valldemosa is also famous for being the birthplace of Santa Catalina Thomas, the patron saint of Mallorca. Walking past the houses through the village, most have a plaque by the front door which depicts Santa Catalina.  Whilst exploring the backstreets of the village, we came across her birthplace which has been turned into a shrine. Situated in an unassuming position, the shrine is made of carved stone, set in a beautiful gated garden. At first we didn't know what it was as there are no markings or plaques and only by doing a bit of research did I find out its significance. 

Palau del Rei Sanç 
The other place of note in Valldemosa is the Jardins Rei Joan Carles. Set between the monastery and Palau del Rei Sanç (Palace of King Sancho) they provide tourists with shelter from the blazing sun and tranquillity from the hustle and bustle of the streets. A mixture of cultivated plants and foliage intertwined with intricate ironwork, set against clear blue sky, the gardens were quite beautiful. 






Jardins Rei Joan Carles




I spent some time in these gardens, thinking about the last time I'd been in Valldemosa with my Mum and how little had changed in the village, but how our lives had changed so much in the last 30+ years. If anyone had told me then that I would be living on a boat, sailing the Mediterranean I would have laughed in their face. But, as my Mum always said, follow your dreams and live your life to the full and that's exactly what we plan to do!