Blog

Island people

Book now
See all news

Blog

Spring in Midwinter

21/01/2022
white and pink almond flower

During the month of January in Mallorca a small meteorological miracle takes place known as the January calm, or las calmas de enero” in Spanish, a brief, euphoric spring in the heart of winter. At this time of the year the sea level is lower and the calm days are a result of high atmospheric pressure. The daytime temperatures increase and the sea level drops between 20 and 40cm. We are blessed with sunny, still days accompanied by calm seas that are like a millpond. This coincides with a spectacle that links natural beauty and human intervention as the first fruit tree of the year comes into flower. As the first cereal shoots start to emerge, the almond trees begin to blossom and are covered in elaborate rich brocades, with delicate, vaporous flowers that will become sweet fruit in summer. 

 

Mallorca is covered in a blanket of pink and white tones during this period that offers us a glimpse of spring. As in Japan or the Jerte Valley with the flowering of the cherry blossom, seeing the almond blossom in bloom is a magnificent sight that instils in us a sense of new beginnings. Discover more about our island by staying at Inturotel where you’ll be able to witness small miracles of nature just like this.

 

Almond trees picture

 

Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s great artistic geniuses, had a special relationship with trees in blossom and for him they represented an awakening, new life and hope. He demonstrated his fascination for them in his work Amandelbloesem (Almond Blossom), painted in honour of the birth of his nephew.

 

Like Vincent (who suffered from a bipolar disorder all his life, experiencing periods of severe depression that forced him into isolation), on a global level we are all going through a difficult period, of social isolation, introspection and in some cases unwanted solitude. More than ever, we need to have hope and faith that the situation will soon improve and that once again we will be able to enjoy our social events and trips to the sun and sea of Cala d’Or in Mallorca.

 

Seeing the almond blossom fills us with optimism and a desire to make plans for the warmer weather, such as enjoying the countryside, the mountains and the beach in a celebration of the senses that represents leaving this long winter behind us and holding out hope for a better future.

 

Almond trees and sunset

 

The almond tree, the tree of lovers

The almond tree is the tree of lovers and its blossom symbolises love, death and resurrection. There is a Mallorcan saying that goes: “Flor d’ametller, amor vertader” (almond flower, true love). Below we explain the reason behind this saying.

Almond trees typically grow in warm climates and studies show that they possibly originated in Central Asia and North Africa from where they were introduced to Greece and Rome. Mythology explains their origin through the beautiful yet sad tale of Phyllis and Acamas.


Phyllis, a princess of Thrace, was in love with Acamas, a handsome young soldier who was sent to fight in the Trojan War.

At the end of the war the soldiers returned home. Every day Phyllis went to the port to await her beloved’s ship, but the days passed and he did not return. On the ninth day, convinced he would never return, the princess died of sorrow.

The goddess Athena, grieved by what had taken place, turned Phyllis into an almond tree. The next day Acamas returned, having been delayed because of damage to the ship in which he was travelling.

 

On discovering what had happened, the heartbroken Acamas embraced the tree and Phyllis responded to his embrace and his pain by adorning her branches with beautiful white flowers.

Since then, the almond blossom has symbolised how love overcomes all, even death, or that the flowers are a comfort for those we love. Almond blossom means eternal life.  

 

Forest with almond trees on a sunny day

 

A typical Mallorcan landscape

Come and wander along the rural tracks near our hotels on foot or by bike, without rushing and taking everything in. You’ll discover that almond trees are not usually grown on their own, but rather in Mallorca they are planted with carob trees and to a lesser extent fig trees, with them alternating along the symmetrical rows of the fields.

 

Looking up you’ll be enchanted by the pink and white blossom of the almond trees and looking down the earth is like a green carpet flecked with the cheery yellow stains of the Bermuda buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae). If you’re really quiet and go for a walk very early or late on in the day you might spot a hare, partridge or rabbit scampering by.

 

The branches of the almond tree provide home for birds such as the black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), the Sardinian warbler (Sylvia melanocephala) and flocks of goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) that eat the small insects and parasites that invade the trees. Running and hopping over the fields of green carpet you’ll see quick and nimble white wagtails (Motacilla alba).

You might get to hear the fleeting flight (like the buzzing of an insect) of the song thrush (Turdus philomelos). And high up in the intense blue sky you might spot the majestic flight of a red kite (Milvus milvus), a sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) and flocks of crows.

 

Almond tree flowers

 

A pleasant activity that many locals participate in is making bouquets from some of the most beautiful branches to bring the promise of spring into the house. You can create a small “ikebana” (living flower), the Japanese art of flower arranging. To do so you need to select a single branch or various branches of a species that is in season, in this case the almond tree. When choosing your branch or branches, it is important to consider the vase or container that you are going to use, as the shape and distribution of the flowers and buds must be in harmony with the container and the space in which it is positioned (preferably in the entrance hall to greet visitors with this natural world in miniature). Provided you only take a small branch you won’t harm the tree or the farmer. Every flower that is picked represents one less fruit in the summer. 

 

wood table with almond tree flowers and scissors

 

Did you know that the almond flower is edible? It has a bittersweet taste that means the flower is highly prized in oriental cuisine as it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. It is used in soups, infusions (very good for the digestion) and desserts. In Mallorca, however, it is the fruit, the almond, that is the star and an essential ingredient in delicious sweet and savoury recipes.

 

Recommended routes for contemplating this paradise.

The municipal district of Felanitx, just a few metres from the Inturotel hotels, has one of the best-preserved rural landscapes on the island. You will find beautiful walks through areas of special natural interest right on the doorstep of your room.  

 

The walk to Cala Mitjana and Cala Sanau is dotted with farmland where almond and carob trees grow and native breeds of sheep graze. If you continue walking you can follow the coast to Cala Estreta and you’ll go past the old ‘marés’ sandstone quarries along the cliffs.

If you’re travelling by bike, we recommend going from Cala Sanau along the Cala Ferrera road towards S’Horta. Before you reach the village take a little track that leads to Portocolom via Cala Brafi. It is a wonderful route. And for the most daring we recommend an energising dip in the calm transparent waters of any of these coves. Even though the water is still cold, taking a swim at this time of year has been shown to have many health benefits.

 

The Can Marines path takes you to the little village of S’Horta passing by fields of almond and carob trees, flocks of sheep with the sound of the birds in the air. From there you can continue to the “Els Horts” area and walk through orchards with the Santueri Castle watching over you in the distance.

 

Another lovely walk starts in Es Carritxó and takes us via Binifarda to the Santueri Castle with spectacular views over Mallorca’s southeast coast. You can see Portocolom, Portopetro, Cala d’Or and with the help of binoculars even your hotel. You can also enjoy beautiful views of the Sant Salvador monastery.

 

ikebana

 

We highly recommend visiting our district during the flowering of the almond blossom so that you can experience it in person. Our Inturotel Esmeralda Villas Freestyle are the perfect option for enjoying it all at your own pace even before our hotels open their doors for the season.  

 

All of us at the Inturotel team look forward to your visit and hope you have a wonderful holiday.

 

 

Blog

Discover Mallorca’s prehistory at Closos de Can Gaià
19/08/2022
Discover Mallorca’s prehistory at Closos de Can Gaià
“Closos de Can Gaià” is an outstanding example of a Mallorcan prehistoric archaeological site. It is a short distance from Portocolom, an old fishing port that has kept its traditional seafaring charm, and it is close to coves and natural spaces where you can enjoy the Mediterranean and just a few kilometres from Cala d’Or and your inturotel hotel.   A Mallorcan prehistoric archaeological site Here you can find a small village that was inhabited between 2000 and 700 bc, where five prehistoric naveta (little ship) houses are currently preserved from an original total of at least 10. These houses take their name from their distinctive shape, which resembles the keel of an upside-down boat. But what were navetas? What were they used for? Navetas, or naviforms, were the houses of the communities that inhabited the Balearic Islands during the Bronze Age. They were made of dry stone, without any type of mortar or cement, and had a roof made of wood, branches and compacted clay and an elongated horseshoe floor plan.     Who lived in these houses? This might be one of the hardest questions to answer, as these homes were built thousands of years ago and were inhabited for over seven centuries in some cases. We now believe that each of them was home to what we call a “domestic or residential group”: in other words. people who shared a common space where they did their everyday activities (sleeping, eating, working, etc.) and who were not necessarily a family in the contemporary sense of a group of relations.   What was life like in a village 3,000 years ago? Obviously, it was different to now, but this did not necessarily mean it was worse. We have to do a process of archaeological imagination, based on the large amount of scientific data obtained over almost 100 years of archaeological research. We are in a Mallorca that had a much smaller population, was less built-up and where navetas were almost the only monuments that stood out in a landscape that combined wooded areas with open areas for growing crops and pasture for livestock closer to the villages, forming a patchwork landscape.     What can I visit at the Closos site? The site is open all year round and entry is free. There is a self-guided itinerary through which you can discover how the prehistoric communities of Mallorca lived over 3,000 years ago. There is also a reconstruction of the prehistoric botanical landscape, which allows you to explore the environment of the past and the relations these societies established with nature. Finally, there is a children’s area with prehistoric and archaeological themes where they can have fun, and comfortable picnic tables where you can rest and eat.   Guided activities for learning about history in Mallorca You can combine your visit to the site with a wide range of activities for everyone. Would you like to go on a guided tour led by the archaeologists who work on the site? Or would you like to learn to shoot with a sling or make a bronze axe like in prehistoric times? You can even become an archaeologist for the day by taking part in the excavations. If you are interested in any of these options, contact us in advance through our social networks (@ProjecteClosos) or at the email address clososgaia@hotmail.com The Closos site is managed by Projecte Closos, an initiative led by Felanitx council and the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB), which was launched in 1996 with the aim of making archaeological heritage relevant to 21st century Mallorcan society. With the support of the public, we protect, research and publicise this site to make it a centre for local, sustainable development from the perspective of culture, the environment and people      Combine your historical visit with a pleasant bike ride Take advantage of your visit to the site to enjoy a pleasant bike ride through the beautiful scenery on the way. The Marimonte Mallorca team are waiting for you at inturotel resort with all of the equipment needed for your ride. The site is 8.5 kilometres from our resort. This means that the ride to your destination takes about 45 minutes, following the road from Can Marines to Sa Vileta (the first houses of S’Horta) and then on the Cala Marçal road towards Portocolom. On the way back, we recommend passing through “Els Horts” (the market gardens of S’Horta) with its beautiful views of the clifftop castle of Santueri. You will fall for the land and the people who live there.   Don’t miss out on the experience of visiting an open-air museum of prehistory on your next trip to Mallorca with inturotel!  
Exclusive advantages
TOP