I’m so glad we came to Mallorca in May. When I think of Spain, I think of a hot and dusty holiday to Salamanca when I was 12. It was a treat, as I had never been abroad before, but it was a brutal introduction to how unforgiving the summer sun can be.
This time we visited at the beginning of May, and chose the valley of Soller in the west of Mallorca. I came expecting to take photos of the architecture, and duly did, but I think what captivated me the most was the ‘mortar’ between the bricks, so to speak – the verdant plants and trees which cocoon the local houses and villages, especially at this time of year when the landscape is still lush from the winter rains.
Soller is surrounded by mountains. The barren vertiginous rock is in stark contrast to the semi tropical vegetation of the valley floor. Oranges have been grown here for hundreds of years and are renowned for their sweetness. Giant cacti and palm like trees are everywhere, and flowers both wild and cultivated tumble over walls and out of terracotta pots. I don’t think I have ever seen a green so intense as that of the orange trees, especially when the sun pours through the leaves.
Early morning and late evening are the best moments to appreciate the sweet fresh fragrance of orange blossom and lavender, as the sun relents and the plants can take respite. The stone irrigation channels built by the Moors hundreds of years ago still cross cross the landscape and ensure that the valley’s precious crop of oranges can flourish, a permanent interplay of plants and water. The liquid amber of the local honey flows like molten lava, and the walnuts taste so sweet.
I came to Majorca thinking about interiors and architecture. But I left with the vision of a Garden of Eden, where nature’s gifts abound.