Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Patios, Petra, & Villafranca de Bonamy

Tuesday 5 June 2007
Today I got to tour the patios of Palma. I took a lot of pictures and hope to put some of them on the internet soon. I learned that these patios were once semi public places although they were built and owned by the city´s wealthiest people. The large doors that opened to the street were almost always open. If they were only slightly ajar it meant that someone living in the house had died. If there were lots of flowers it meant that a child had been born. The kind of flower indicated the sex of the child. Most patios had wells. People who did not have a well came to the closest well for water. People were also free to enter to seek shelter from rain or heat. During the mid 20th century tourists began to picnic in the patios and leave trash. The owners began closing the doors. The city then paid owners of patios to install steel grates so they could open the large wooden doors and still keep people out.

There are often knockers way out of the reach of a person on foot. These were for people on horseback. Horses and carriages entered the patio area. There were offices, called estudi, on either side of the entrance to the patio. They were used by the men to conduct business and sometimes by single men to entertain ladies. Other rooms on the ground level were used as workshops. The center of the patio was originally open to the sky, but some were covered with glass in the 19th and 20th centurys. Each patio a large staircase leading to the second floor of the house where the family lived. This staircase was out of limits to the public. The third and fourth floors were often used to store merchandise.

I toured the second floor of Can Marquès on Monday. The rooms were arranged around the patio. Some guests were entertained in the room into which the staircase entered. Moving in a counterclockwise direction, the rooms were progressively more private. Very special guests were invited into the second or even the third room. The fourth room was the master bedroom, and the fifth the children´s bedroom. The next room a private family dining room, and then the kitchen, followed by a couple of rooms used by servants. One of the houses I visited recently sold for 19 million euros.

After the tour I bought some groceries in Merkat L'Oliver. I found some allspice. I had been looking for it for a week. Here it is called pimienta de Jamaica, or Jamacan pepper. I bought broccoli, red bell peppers, cucumbers, an avocado, figs, and tomatoes. I returned to Angel´s condo, and after a nap, warmed up the chicken I had cooked yesterday, cooked the broccoli, and some rice. When Angel arrived home at 1600, I served the chicken on a bed of rice, and placed thinly sliced green garlic and red peppers on top of the chicken. I served the chicken with a salad as well. Angel was impressed with the chicken and the presentation.

After we ate, Angel took me to Petra where we visited the birthplace of Father Junipero Serra, and a nearby museum. They have photos of all of the missions and have built models of every mission in California and Baja California. The birthplace of Junipero Serra is a humble 2 story stone home. On the first floor is one large room where people worked and ate, a very small bedroom, a small kitchen with a fireplace, and a stall for livestock. There is a stone pig shelter in the back yard. The second floor has a large work room, and a small bedroom.

After visiting Petra, Angel called some friends, Silvia and Francisco. We went to their home in Villafranca de Bonamy, a small Mallorquin village. There are few people on the streets in Mallorquin villages even in the evenings. Silvia and Francisco have a beautiful new home with hardwood floors, a modern kitchen and laundry, a beautiful patio with a teak table and chairs. They have a large master bedroom and two offices. He is a policeman and she is an anesthesiologist in the hospital where Angel works. We were offered coffee and Mallorquin liquor. Angel chose the coffee, and I the liquor. I tasted three kinds. Two were very sweet, and the third a raw distilled wine of high proof. They invited us to lunch and dinner Saturday afternoon and evening. When we returned to Angel´s condo at 2030, Angel prepared some pasta. I grated some Mahon cheese to put on the pasta and made a salad. The cheese went very well with the pasta. I washed the dishes and went to bed at 2300 after another wonderful day in Mallorca.

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