The rain that revealed Mallorca

Abigail Summerville
September 19, 2017

It rained two out of the three days that I was on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Our tour guide said that it only rains this much on the island about once every five years.

All of the students on the trip were upset that we wouldn’t get to lay out on the beaches that Mallorca is known for. However, the rain proved to be a blessing in disguise. Instead of only visiting the obvious attractions, such as the beaches, we got to visit the more isolated parts of the island.

After exploring the largest city of the island, Palma, on Friday, we drove inland on Saturday to see a small town completely enclosed by mountains. The mountains were different than any I’ve seen before, with steep open cliff faces daring you to attempt an ascent and olive trees climbing up the sides.

To get to the town of Sóller, we had to drive through a tunnel cutting into the mountains. And on the other side, the small village appeared, tucked between the mountain ranges with a “safe port” leading out into the sea.

Walking through the streets of Sóller, it looked as if the town was unchanged by time. The old stone buildings had vines of colorful flowers climbing up them, and the street vendors in the town center sold handcrafted jewelry and sheepskin slippers, both made from whatever materials the sellers could get their hands on from the island. We also visited an old olive oil factory in the town that has been passed down through many family generations and uses machinery over 100 years old. The owner explained the process of making olive oil and then treated us to the classic Spanish meal of tomato bread with olive oil.

The next day brought more rain, and we again drove inland, but this time to Valldemosa to see the Cartuja monastery. This small town was also built in a valley, and looking out over the land below from a monastery window, I could see every shade of green in the vineyards, gardens and olive trees below. The monastery itself boasted beautiful outdoor patios and gardens full of grapes, cacti and fountains. As well as decorative ceiling art and beautiful old furniture with bright red cushions and golden-framed floor-length mirrors.

On the last day of the trip, we did get to tan on the beaches that we had been longingly looking at from our tour bus’s window the days before. But the beach is not what I’ll remember from this trip. I’ll remember the taste of Sóller olive oil and monastery grapes, a bride in a beautiful dress walking into a small-town cathedral and thousand-year-old twisted olive tree trunks.

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Abigail Summerville

<p>I'm excited to meet local people who have lived in Barcelona their whole lives who can tell me all about it- the history, culture, food, architecture, and the best places to visit. I'm also excited to meet the other students in the program and make lasting friendships. And I LOVE adventures, and can't wait to travel around Spain and to other countries as well.</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Washington and Lee University
Arlington, VA
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