strolling palma de mallorca & spanish treats

Palma de Mallorca is a charming city filled with narrow, winding cobblestone streets, lovely sun-drenched buildings with iron railings, charming little squares (placas) and a view of the sparkling mediterranean sea...ah, bliss.

We spent a day randomly wandering the city and found a few gems.  First we stumbled on Basilica de Sant Francesc, a gothic cathedral that was built between the late 1200's to the 1700's.  We had it all to ourselves and it was so peaceful.  After we left the church we continued our exploration to the area around Placa Major, one of the main squares.

On the plane to Mallorca I sat beside a girl that was originally from Mallorca, and she was telling me about a great cafe to get ensaïmades near the square (Ensaïmades are a Mallorcan specialty).  She repeated the name a few times, but my language processing for Spanish is slow, so I didn't quite get it.  Anyhow, there was also a cafe I had highlighted in our guide book, so we headed there.  When I saw the sign for Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo I realized that it was the place the girl had told me about too.  I love it when things work out like that.

Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo was perfect - it's been a cafe since 1700 and is the oldest cafe in Palma.  It's filled with dark wood, antiques and marble and it has a little terrace outside and large shuttered windows.  There were a few tables of both locals and tourists but it was very peaceful and quiet in there (in the early afternoon, anyways).  We both ordered an ensaïmada and another pastry the waiter called 'mallorcan pizza'.  I think it's funny that every culture has their version of pizza :)

The pizza had tender, flaky crust topped with roasted red peppers for me, and peppers & onions for Trev.  We both enjoyed them, but I was definitely more excited about the ensaïmades...mine was topped with apricots and Trev had one with vanilla custard and a light dusting of cinnamon.  The dough they're made with is delicious - it's soft, light and airy with just a hint of sweetness.

After we finished our treats we both ordered almond ice cream; a house specialty and rightly so!  It was sooooo good.  The almond flavour was good with a hint of vanilla & cinnamon in the background.  It wasn't overly creamy, which was good because it was more refreshing and you could feel a faint graininess from the ground almonds used to make it.  I was actually a little sad when my spoon reached the bottom of the cup.

We also visited La Catedral, a beautiful landmark right along the waterfront.  The cathedral is one of the largest in Europe, built between 1300 - 1601.  The cathedral is known for Gaudi's renovations, including a spectacular altar piece and it has beautiful stained glass that casts colourful patches of light all around the church.

We also spent a few hours in Palma on the last day of our trip, because it was windy and too cloudy to go to the beach.  We spent a bit more time looking around, then went in search of some lunch.  We ended up at Forn des Teatre, a cafe just down the steps from Placa Major.  I wanted tapas for could I leave Spain without having tapas?

We ordered a few dishes and enjoyed some olives & cold drinks.  The patatas bravas were served with a very garlicky aioli and some sauteed peppers - pretty tasty.  We also tried some calamari and it was super fresh and tender.  Our favourite was the bacon wrapped dates - I loved the sweet, soft dates with the salty, crispy bacon - yum.  Their baked treats & pastries also looked delicious, but we were just way too full.

Palma was full of lovely sights and delicious food.  It's a great city to just wander around in - it's small enough that you can walk everywhere and stop for a treat at one of the little cafes that are all over the place.