Friday, 7 December 2012

Majorca, part thirteen - Valldemossa



After Soller, and all the excitement with the trams etc, we drove off into the mountains again and made our way towards Valldemossa. This town is famous for having its own saint - Catherine (or Catalina). Here is some text explaining all about her;


Santa Catalina Tomás

The thing about Santa Catalina Tomás is that she is not a Saint from the bible, but an ordinary everyday person who later was beatified by the pope, in her case Pope Pius VI in 1792 and ever since Santa Catalina Tomás has been celebrated in Valldemossa once a year. Santa Catalina Tomás has had a prominent place in the moral teachings of the children and particularly the girls of the island.
She was born, and lived in Valldemossa, but annual homage is paid to her in Palma and in Santa Margalida as well, The fiestas held in her honor were known until recently as Sa Beateta, or Sor Tomaseta, and are now referred to in Mallorca as Processió de la Beata or Procession of the Blessed.
In typical Mallorcan style the entire town is transformed in the middle of July into a noisy, colourful mass of people paying annual homage to their beloved patron saint. The Beata procession leaves the local parish church at 21:00 h following the usual fun activities associated with fiestas across Spain, mainly revolving around the enjoyment of good food and fine wine to the accompaniment of traditional music and dancing.
The vibrant procession features a number of splendid floats that are artistically decorated to represent momentous events in the life of Santa Catalina. Following each float are groups of the people of Valldemossa dressed in traditional folk costumes as peasants and devils. Finally, at the back of the procession is the girl, or young woman representing Santa Catalina The entire parade slowly winds it's way down to the town square through the narrow streets of Valldemossa, which are beautifully adorned and lined with thousands of people, both locals and visitors from far and wide. . Today there is hardly a single residential dwelling in Valldemossa that does not carry a ceramic tile with motives of Santa Catalina's life for protection and blessings for which the inhabitants pray
. Legend has it that little Catalina was orphaned at a very young age, she was taken in by an uncle in the finca of Son Gallart just outside of Valldemoss, here she grew up as a house maid and Shepherdess. A hermit, father Antonio Castañeda, later took her under his wing for spiritual teach- ings. She then moved to Palma to work as a maid and intended to become a nun but since she lacked proper religious training none of Palma's convents or monasteries accepted this simple farm girl into their congregation. Catalina supposedly prayed to be taken in and was ultimately accepted, finally having the choice of three monasteries from which she chose Santa María Magdalena run by Augustinian nuns where she took her vows in 1553.
The procession of Santa Catalina or La Beata is easily counted amongst the five or six most important annual fiestas on the island of Mallorca.

The road hugged the coastline as we carried on. Some of these properties ere right on the edge. Super views out to sea, but we couldn't see any access to the water (there didn't seem to be any beaches??).

Looking over the village of Deia, a place popular with the rich and famous. Google the place to find out more :-) 
Here's just a snippet of what I found when I looked;

Quote; Many cultural figures have become residents of Deià over the years, including Princess Diana, Bob Geldof and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Recent celebrities that purchased in this area include Anna Friel and Pierce Brosnan.
Property in Deià is relatively difficult to come by, due partly to its exclusivity and partly to its understated beauty, simplicity and tranquillity. A typical three bedroom property for sale in Deià itself will therefore be priced at around €1m and upwards. Balearic-estates.com has handpicked the selection of the most gorgeous properties for sale in Deia and invites you to the website for a gallery of photo

Looking over, you can see - no beaches!

The streets were typical of these little towns, clean, lovely to look at, and busy with locals out and about. Sue & I love this 'cafe culture', and just wish WE had the weather to support it for longer during the year in the UK.

We had no idea what this was about. Just a quirky cafe owner? This 'doll' stood looking out of the upstairs window.


Also, something we'd never seen before - BEANS used as a table decoration!!!!

This selection of gourds was on show at the edge of the cafe. Why? We had no idea. They looked like plastic, but they were real. I never knew there was such a selection!


The usual 'you are here' map was in evidence.

We decided we HAD to visit the church and shrine of St Caterina. We were limited for time, so had to hurry but I saw this super shop display. It really catches the eye, don't you think?

The church steeple came into view - we were going in the right direction.



These streets are just lovely, and SO relaxing to walk along. I dare say they are heaving with tourists in the height of the season, but today they were tranquil and a pleasure to wander.

Valldemossa church, sadly locked so we couldn't look around inside. That, we find unusual, as most places are open for you to just wander in.

The place was full of these pretty little courtyards and corners, lovingly planted and tended.

We also noticed, not one, but ALL of the houses had a plaque on the wall concerning Santa Catalina (St Catherine). 
These are just two of them (they all had different designs).




I mean, just LOOK at this street - it's a joy to the eye, and so inviting to the feet.

I spotted something through a door - what was it?

This - the shrine of St Catalina. This WAS open, so we wandered in. It was quiet and very serene in there. The ONLY way to talk was in a hushed tone.

Inside, below the statue of her, was this sealed box. I know the photo is bad and blurred, but it somehow felt wrong taking it. Don't ask me why, it just did. I don't even know what the object was, but my guess is some holy relic, maybe even a part of St Catalina, a bone or something? Even with the power of Google, I can't find out what it is.

It was time to make our way back to the car. We passed a shop FULL of hanging cured meats and other artisan items. I was all for buying some, but first , a picture to show you.

"NO PICTURES, NO PICTURES", was the cry from the guy inside.
"NO SALE, NO SALE", I retorted!

We passed this beautiful house, one of many.

As we left the village, we looked back at it. What an imposing looking place, sat as it was, rolling down the hillside.



Our final view of Valldemossa in the setting sunlight.

Time to drive back now, tomorrow, our last day, would be a beach day, we think.



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