Postcards from Valldemossa, Part I

Mention Valldemossa to anyone in Mallorca, and their eyes go misty. The village has held sentimental sway over people for hundreds of years; the composer Frederic Chopin wintered there in the 19th century, and countless other musicians, writers, and artists have fallen in love with this ancient town tucked away in the Serra de Tramuntana. As one bartender put it to me, “To not see Valldemossa makes your whole trip incomplete.” 

Needless to say, I was already mentally geared up to visit Valldemossa and highly anticipating our day trip to it. When we wound our way slowly up the mountainside and around the bend, the sweeping view of the village did not disappoint.

Valldemossa has several lovely points of interest, most notably the Real Cartuja, a royal palace and Carthusian monastery dating from the 1400s. You can’t miss the church tower peering over all the other buildings in the valley, and classical music lovers will note its ties to Frederic Chopin. He actually composed some of his works in a prison cell of the monastery, inspired no doubt by his ancient surroundings. Naturally of course, there is also a museum dedicated to the composer in the monastery. There, you can catch a glimpse of Chopin’s life at the time he lived in Valldemossa, perusing letters and personal artefacts. The owners of the charterhouse (now privately owned and no longer a religious house) also maintain the piano on which Chopin composed and played during his winter on Mallorca, a priceless piece of history.  If you’re crunched for time though, like we were, there’s enough to see in Valldemossa just by wandering through it. Despite the village’s main avenues being relatively full with bikers and tourists, Valldemossa has so many little alleys and corners tucked away it’s easy to escape from the crowd. Its lanes are enchanting, and to wander around them exquisitely peaceful. Thoughtful details abound; catch them on a window frame, an artfully arranged display of plants, a beautiful doorway.  But don’t skimp on the main thoroughfares either. They are expansive promenades for pedestrians and cyclists, and many of the cafes and restaurants have outdoor seating where you can soak up some of that Mallorcan sunshine. They’re the perfect place to sit back and watch the day go by. After all, no one seems to be in a rush in Valldemossa!
(photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

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