Visiting La Granja on Island of Mallorca, Spain + Spectacular Evening with Marvin Hamlisch
Island of Mallorca Tour
La Granja not only has a rich history but is located in a lush part of the Island well supplied with fresh water. A spectacular evening was planned for our final night on the Island.
The first part of this day tour started at the charming village of Valldemossa where we were introduced to the Carthusian Monastery. It was the location of which Chopin and George Sand had their notorious affair of several months duration.
Another point of interest where we were allowed to spend some time was at Son Marroig where the Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria lived. He not only resided at that particular spot of great beauty but other locations as well on this most scenic Island that he came to love and appreciate.
Through his literary efforts he became known as the "discoverer" of Mallorca and his life, while eccentric, was an interesting one of which we were made more familiar.
Just being driven around this beautiful Mediterranean isle was a pleasant experience. Every turn of the road offers more scenic splendors.
What we were about to learn regarding La Granja was not only interesting but a bit horrifying as well.
What made this area special for settlement was its great abundance of subterranean water. Being an Island surrounded by salt water, fresh water was of prime importance to people, animals and the plant life grown for nourishment in order to assure their survival on Mallorca.
Ruled by the Moors from the tenth to the thirteenth century, La Granja became famous for its mills.
Jaime I who conquered Mallorca in 1229 developed a feudal system on the Island. It became divided into four parts.
Count Nuno Sans became the first ruler of the area which included La Granja.
The Count gave this land to the Cistercian Order in 1239 and they remained there for almost 200 years. The first convent of their Order was established on the Island and was eventually expanded to other locations.
La Granja was next occupied for about the same length of time (around 200 years) by the Don Mateo Vida family.
The Fortuny family next owned it and today ownership has passed to Don Cristobal Segui Colom.
During much of that history, the people who lived in La Granja were totally self-sufficient.
Among other things they did the following:
- Raised animals
- Wove their own cloth and sewed
- Preserved food
- Did Iron-smithing
- Shoe making
- Candle making
- Pressed olive oil
- Made wine
- They even made perfumes!
So what was horrifying to learn about and observe you might ask?
La Granja had a dark side. Cells had been built underground which had been utilized as torture chambers. The gruesome instruments of torture are still on display.
It was terrible to think of those racks and other sinister devices used on people who inhabited that part of the Island at one time, but obviously it did happen.
Today La Granja is set up as an interactive museum. Craftsmen and women are dressed appropriately and are busy carrying out the normal tasks that would have been done throughout the centuries.
The weaving of cloth, cooking and other chores take place right in front of visitors.
One can help themselves to food made right there. Samples of wine are available.
Old style machinery in the basement of La Granja
One is directed to follow arrows which lead from one room to another. This is a self directed tour and one can spend as much time as one desires in each part of the residence looking at the furnishings and things that would all have been made on site.
The forged tools, the baskets, the pottery, the linens, furniture and decorative items help to comprise the contents of this interesting museum known as La Granja.
In walking around the extensive grounds one could spend much time just simply enjoying the scenery.
Amidst this backdrop of colorful blooming plants in this verdant area of Mallorca well furnished with water, one also sees the pigs, ducks, deer and donkeys which helped provide labor and sustenance to the people living there.
All the components necessary to make La Granja totally independent and self-sufficient are to be found in this part of the Island. And if the working resident people were unwilling participants there was always the torture chamber to keep them motivated!
To borrow a movie title...The Good, The Bad & The Ugly are all available to be viewed (and in the past, experienced) for visitors to La Granja on the Island of Mallorca.
La Granja in Mallorca (Good overview of the grounds)
Would you have wanted to live under a feudel system at La Granja?
Our Last Evening on the Island of Mallorca
My husband and I had enjoyed not only this particular day but all the days we had gotten to spend on the Island of Mallorca while intermittently being flown back and forth to Barcelona for Olympic events and also sightseeing adventures.
That final night was an extravaganza that capped the entire vacation off in grand style.
We met the others in our group at Palma de Mallorca's Civic Center which resembled a Roman courtyard and building with adornments of columns, statuary and the like.
Our photo was taken in the courtyard surrounded by centuries old buildings.
The menu that night was the following:
Supreme of Sea Bass with Orange, Steamed Potatoes, Cold Vichyssoise, Center of Beef Sirloin Grille, Tomato Provenzal, Peas and Bearnaise Sauce, Las Companas White Wine, Glorioso Red Wine, Carta Nevada Champagne, Liqueurs and Coffee It was a feast!
To cap off the evening entertainment, Marvin Hamlisch performed for us. The winner of Tony, Academy and Grammy Awards he put on an absolutely delightful show.
His specially created song "From Palma to Barcelona" was humorous and memorable for those of us who were experiencing the flights back and forth for many days of the past week.
These memories of the Island of Mallorca, Barcelona, the Summer Olympics and so much more will last a lifetime for us.
Much beloved American born composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch died on August 6, 2012 at the early age of only 68. His famous songs and musical scores will continue to live on through the ages as his memorable legacy.
He received numerous awards including the Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Golden Globe and Pulitzer Prize.
Marvin Hamlisch came from a musical family and was a child prodigy. So the majority of his life was spent in the creation of songs and music for films, theater and symphony halls as well as other musical events.
Conversations with Marvin Hamlisch
Location of the Island of Mallorca
© 2009 Peggy Woods