Hike to Torre de Estellella

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Some people call them torres, which is Spanish for tower. Some people call them the watchtowers. But the real cool people in the know, call them atalayas. I will call them watchtowers…. even though I’m still cool. 🙂 At least I think I am and that’s half the battle, right?

A loooong time ago, Mallorca had a bit of a pirate problem. Who didn’t in the years 1200 – 1600s? Seriously. Especially with the famous Redbeard pirate (aka Hayreddin Barbarossa) hayreddin barbarossa and his brothers. In 1530 Barbarossa captured the castle of Cabrera and set up camp there to use as his base. They would storm towns in Mallorca and if you were lucky they would only steal your possessions and burn your home. Not so lucky, they were killed or taken as slaves. Due to the constant menace of pirate attacks a series of lookout and defense towers were built across the island.

There were 84 towers built in the 16th century on the island but only about 50 them still exist today. Some are in good to great condition and some are deteriorating rapidly. The majority of them were built without foundations, the towers generally had between two and four levels and can be square, rectangular or circular in shape. The entrance was several meters above land and was reached by a rope ladder.

Joan Binimelis from Manacor designed a simple communication system of smoke signals during the day and fires at night. With it, neighboring watchtowers could be alerted, and the information was passed from tower to tower to the Almudaina in Palma.

I see these watchtowers all around Mallorca and while I knew they existed to warn villagers, towns, etc of pirate attacks I love learning even more about how they worked and when they were built. You can usually check out most of them. Some you can enter but most are closed up and you can just walk around it. Kinda like the one I like to hike to in S’Estanyol. I wrote about my hike to the lighthouse here but you can extend that and hike about 20-25 minutes more and get to the Torre de Estellella. It’s a non-strenuous walk along the coastline and the end site is worth it. Think of the history! The pirates! The people watching for those silly pirates! Arrggghh.

Here is how to get there:

S’Estanyol is a small town in the southeast of Mallorca, to arrive you would follow the MA-6015 to the end (arriving at S’Estanyol) and turn right. Park at the end of the road, after the S’Estanyol Club Nautico and get ready for your hike. Walk along the beach and you can either stay on the coastline or walk on a path through the pine trees. They smell so good! Follow the FAR signs. FAR is lighthouse in Catalan (faro in spanish). Just keep following that and soon you will arrive at the rocky coast where you will find this beautiful lighthouse.

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We always like to stop here for a beer. A picnic is a wonderful idea too. To continue onto the watchtower just keep along the water walking away from S’Estanyol and towards Cala Pi. The path will curve to the right and soon you will have the watchtower in sight.

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And the view towards the sea ain’t too shabby either.

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If these walls could talk. I would love to hear the stories!

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And there you have it. If you are in my neck of the woods please stop by Torre de Estellella. We would love to see you. Don’t forget the camera and some sunscreen! See ya there.

RESOLUTIONS 2017

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Resolution time, guys. Did you make one? Some?

How about these for you – 17 things to do in 2017

1. Travel somewhere you have never been before

2.  Learn a new recipe

3. Make a goal list – this month, next 6 months, this year, 5 years, life

4.  Take a social media break – a day, a week, a month!

5.  Go for a hike

6. Dance!!!

7. Go out of your comfort zone

8.  Go to or host a family or friend reunion

9. Go to a concert of someone that you have never seen before but you love

10. Throwing kindness around like it’s confetti

11. Learn a new language (that one I feel like I work on daily)

12. Laugh more!

13. Paint (ps – that’s my painting at the top!)

14. Give your place a full cleaning – organize and throw stuff out!

15. Find a nice dark place where there aren’t any city lights and star watch

16. Stop drinking soda. Drink more water.

17. Love the one you see in the mirror. That’s YOU, silly.

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Twas The Night Before The Spanglish Christmas

I thought this was muy adorable, I hope you do too!

(ps – I don’t know the author. If you do, let me know. gracias!)

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE (SPANGLISH) CHRISTMAS

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‘Twas the night before Christmas y por toda la casa,
Not a creature was stirring-Caramba! Que pasa?
Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,
While hanging the medias with mucho ciudado
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado
To bring all children, both buenos y malos,
A nice batch of dulces y otros regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my pies like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados
Were eight little burros approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
“Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Berto,
Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!”
Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,
Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his real suit de gala,
He filled all the medias with lovely regalos-
For none of the niños had been very malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone como viento.
And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad,
Merry Christmas to all, y Feliz Navidad!

Spanish lesson numero uno

Alright, how about a Spanish lesson for the blog today!? Dedicated to the Spanish verbs of “to be”, and I always seem to get it  wrong. Time to get it right mi amigo!

For our one verb of “to be” there are two Spanish equivalents/usage/translation/what the fuck have you. There is SER and  ESTAR. And for moi, it is difficult to remember when to use which one.

Though they both have the same meaning, they are used in different contexts. Remember that in English, this verb conjugates to is/are in the present tense (we are, they are, he is, etc). Even in english, this verb has different meanings, it just so happens that the same word is used. Take for example:

  • The dog is brown.
  • The dog is sick.

The first example indicates a basic characteristic of the dog, its color. The second, however, indicates its condition. In spanish, these different meanings each have their own verb:

  • El perro es marron
  • El perro está enfermo

In the first example, we use the verb ser because we are describing a basic condition of the dog which is fairly permanent (its color). In the second, we use estar because we are describing its condition, which is probably temporary.

Now, just so we all remember, let’s review the present tense forms of these verbs

Ser

  • soy
  • eres
  • es
  • somos
  • sois
  • son

Estar

  • estoy
  • estás
  • está
  • estámos
  • estáis
  • están

Now that we know the conjugations, let’s look more in-depth at when to use each. Note that this is not complete, but should give you the general picture.

Ser

  • the time
  • place of origin
  • occupation
  • nationality
  • religious affiliation
  • possession
  • relationship of one person to another

Estar

  • geographic or physical location
  • state or condition
  • progressive tense

Further rules

  • ser is always used when followed by a noun
  • the difference can change the meaning of an adjective (El profesor está aburido – the professor is bored, vs el profesor es aburrido – the professor is boring)

To try and help you remember, think of estar as being for temporary conditions (for example, health, mood, location are all things that will change) and ser for things that are more permanent (hair color, place of birth, etc).

And there you have it, happy conjugating!


Fire and very cold temperatures

Fiesta de San Sebastian was last night in Palma. And dude, was it cold. It did warm up in the vicinity of throngs of people and fire but still, freaking cold for Mallorca. My first time to celebrate San Sebastian and it won’t be my last. Policia blocked off Paseo Maritimo and the parade took place there. Not really sure if the Mallorquins would actually call it a parade but it was quite a show.

The second I arrived to Paseo Maritimo this guy walked out from the shadows in full attire of the devil WITH a chainsaw. He started it up right beside me and I almost screamed. I tried to casually step to the side hoping this was part of the fiesta and not some mad psycho killer. But I did hear some screams when he stepped into the “parade”. Scary yo.

Check out the pics, unfortunately I couldn’t capture the hundreds of people running up the stairs to the cathedral, each with a lit torch in their hands. So cool. Then came the part where the bishop (San Sebastian?) fought with the dragon and somehow they projected the entire side of the cathedral with what looked like flying bat people. Seriously hope some of you can see San Sebastian 2012. Til then ….

Happy San Sebastian Y’all!! Peace.  -mallekk

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