Friday, 25 April 2014

A Winter in Mallorca by George Sand

Majorca has always been a popular place to visit, partly because of its climate. The winters especially are very pleasant. However, the beauty of the island is also a reason to visit.

The most famous tale of the winter time is George Sand’s A Winter in Mallorca. She came here with her lover Frederick Chopin during the winter 1838-39. It was said that the climate would be good for his tuberculosis. Unfortunately, this was not one of the best winters. It was cold and humid and in those days there was not much heating to talk about. The couple finally rented cells in the Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa and thus made this little village famous. The monastery, which today is a museum, hosts the cells where the couple was staying. There is a slight confusion on which cells they were using. Cells 2 and 4 claims to be the ones they were staying in, but a visitor says he visited them in cells 4 and 5. One of the cells contains the Pleyel piano, which is the actual piano that Chopin was using. Here he composed various Preludes, one Polonaise, his Second Ballade and The Third Scherzo. In the monastery you will also find an old pharmacy, monks cells and a beautiful library as well as a section on Ludwig Salvator and of contemporary local art. It is well worth a visit. The garden outside is a pearl and must have been a lovely place for them to rest.

George Sand was very active and took long walks to discover their surroundings. She gives a good description of life and nature on the island. One must take some of her comments on the locals with a little pinch of salt. They had a lot of problems upon arrival and were met with some hostility, which gave an everlasting negative view on the people and the island from her part. However
that was, this is certainly not the case today where people are warmly welcomed.

Next to the monastery is the Palace of King Sancho. King James II, who was Majorca’s first monarch built the palace for his son who reigned from 1311 to 1324. The house is furnished and also hosts some small exhibitions and a small garden.

Valldemossa itself is a small village and it is pleasant to stroll around its small, dwindling streets. There are shops, restaurants and cafés and you can easily spend a few hours in the tranquillity of the place.

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