Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Moors and the Christians


The valley is very quiet this morning - sleeping off hangovers and excitement from yesterday, the day of Es Firo, when the local people remember the day the Moors reached the town of Soller in 1561. The Moors were driven out of Spain, as every historian knows, by Ferdinand and Isabela in 1492.







But not so well known is the fact that they mounted dozens of attacks on the Balearic Islands for hundreds of years thereafter. They arrived at every port on the island - Plama, Alcudia, Pollensa, Andratx and all have similar festivities when they remember this historical affront.


But the best of them all is Es Firo in Soller - so put it in the diary for next year. It is always the second Monday in May. See you there!
 

Monday, 28 April 2014

EASTER CELEBRATIONS IN SPAIN

You can be forgiven for asking yourself, "The Klu Klux Klan in Spain? Why?" Even though I have seen this spectacle several times since moving to Spain ten years ago, I still find it a chilling, scary sight. So, is there a connection? From research I carried out the morning after going down to Soller to watch the Easter Procession, I find there is apparently none.

The adoption of the long robes and the pointed hat in Spain, known as "capirote" goes back to mediaeval times and follows the costume adopted as a sign of penance in the "Nazareno" tradition, that is from Nazareth in the Holy Land. The masking, anonymising effect of the "capirote" is supposed to signify shame at sins committed in the past at a time when believers beg God’s forgiveness.

The Klu Klux Klan, on the other hand, dates  its origins back only to 1914. So why did the KKK founders adopt this strange garb? I can only speculate that one of them had witnessed this spectacle in Spain and thought, as I did, that it was scary - which is exactly the effect they wanted to portray as they sought to spread their  vile and racist message through the southern states of America and beyond.


So let's not confuse the two. I noted there were mothers and children as young as five taking part in the ceremony last night, hardly the types you associate with the KKK. The costume is bizarre, dramatic and seeped in the deeply religious traditions of Spain and nothing more.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Another successful Olive Weekend at Ca'n Reus 


We had a good turnout this year for our latest, the sixth Olive Weekend at Ca'n Reus.  Exactly 20 people came.

There were showers on Saturday but that did not put a dampner on the cookery class where we were shown how to perfect chocolate olive oil mousse (see the picture) by the Michelin star cooking team on the island.


Sunday was sunny for the annual St. Antonio Animal Festival in Fornalutx where horses galloped through the village and the priest blessed the animals who paused and stopped for his attention.

We walked to lunch at the Mirador, taking care to bless any animals we met on the way (see picture of Danny Woolf and her friends) and tucked in to magnificent Mallorquin fare - potato croquettes, suckling pig and almond cake.

Do book with us next time. The next Olive Weekend will be on October 31st. See you there!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Our special Romanian guests...



Georgiana and Diana from Romania
August has been difficult with temperatures in the high 30s most days. But guests at Ca’n Reus may have been surprised to see no drop in standards – not least due to our guests from a Children’s Home in Romania who have been staying with us for the past week. Although they were staying here as guests, they were determined to help. Every morning the 12 year old girls, Georgiana and Diana, would help lay the tables and 12 year old Albert and 13 year old Marcel would sweep the terrace.






Marcel's meatballs went down a treat!
Marcel is a super cook who plans to be Romania’s Jamie Oliver one day. (When I visited their home in Romania last year, he showed a copy of the Jamie Oliver cookbook, his most treasured possession, translated in to Romanian!) He cooked French toast and omelettes for breakfast and, in the picture, that is Marcel in an apron with his back to the camera having just prepared the most delicious Romanian meatballs for a dinner for 22 people!







The boys Albert & Marcel
But it was not all child labour here at Ca’n Reus. They went to the beach, to Aqualand, to the Aquarium, on our boat, to the swimming pool, they ate kilos of ice cream and still had time to make lots of friends from among our guests and the many Romanians who live on the island.

They leave today and I don’t know what we shall do without them. We have had so much fun introducing them to Ca’n Reus and showing them the island. I hope their first trip abroad was as memorable for them has been for us.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Strawberry Daquiris!

Yalina with her famous daquiris
The weather is now settled for at least the next five months - long, sunny days and warm, balmy evenings. 

There are some disadvantages, however. Well, only one. Nick and I walked from Soller to DeiĆ” yesterday and concluded that it might be the last walk of the season. It is getting too hot for walking for us, though that does not seem to deter the younger of the hotel guests. 

We have one British couple here who are determined to complete all nine of my walks listed in the hotel information pack in the week they are here and, by the end of today, they will have done it.  The older generation, like Nick and me,  prefer to spend the days by the pool, on the beach or on our little boat. Funny thing about boats, isn't it? However hot it is on the shore, as soon as you get a hundred meters or so away, there is a cool, refreshing breeze.

But the best thing about the summer, for me, is the evenings. I just love sitting under the stars and in the warm until the early hours of the morning. Nick and I are doing our weekly BBQ and the Bar Sa Placa in Fornalutx has organised a programme of Thursday night live music which is pulling in the locals and hotel guests alike. We had the "Old Cats" last week and the "Blue Devils" come next. The bar owner, Jaime, has been clever enough to engage the services of one of our employees, Yalina, a Cuban from Havana, for these nights. She mixes the best Mojitos and Daquiris in the business. On Thursday, Yalina treated me to her speciality - Strawberry Daquiri, which was delicious. I can easily forgive her for making me turn up for breakfast duties on Friday mornings a little worse for wear!


Come and join the fun!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Winter in Mallorca, olive weekends, renovation...


WINTER IN MALLORCA is great. Since I got back here from my London chores in mid December, the sun has shone almost non-stop. We have taken long hikes in the mountains and have taken the little boat out. We sit outside for lunch and even have sundowner drinks on the terrace.

Last weekend's Olive Weekend was a great success. Our guests included Britons, Americans, Germans, Indians and a glamorous Iranian lady journalist thrown in for good measure. It was fun, very international with lots of good talk besides the scheduled olive picking, olive oil making and cookery class. 

We had a Spanish Classical Guitar concert in the entrada of Ca'n Reus on Saturday evening by Antonio Miranda. whose sophisticated and professional playing successfully blends classical with modern jazz. My husband Nick and I have become Antonio groupies and are going to a jamming session by him and fellow musicians at the Jazz Club in Palma next week.

But now Ca'n Reus gets down to some serious work. For the next month, we have only two rooms open while the roof is repaired and insulated, new air conditioning units are fitted in to all rooms, two bathrooms are being renovated and everywhere gets a lick of paint. As I write this, I am sitting in a pile of dust and packing boxes but the workmen promise me all will be finished on schedule.

What’s more, Can Reus is finally getting round to launching its online booking system. It’s designed to be interactive; all guest will be able select the room and dates they prefer instantly from the website. The system also uses PayPal to ensure a fast and secure payment.

By the time we reopen completely, in time for Valentine's Day, we shall be in fine shape...

Hope to see you all here soon

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Olive weekends: past and future...

The October Olive Weekend was a great success. Great company, fabulous weather, good walking and excellent eating. The concert by Philip Lange in the candlelit entrada of the hotel was an additional, romantic treat of exceptional musical quality.




The winter months are wonderful here. As I write this, the sun is streaming in to the hotel from the terrace, the sky blue and the grey, rain sodden skies of England (where I was yesterday) feel blissfully far away.

January and February seem like the most depressing months in Northern Europe, but I have good news - we have another Olive Weekend coming up in January.



We call it the Soller Valley Experience because we combine the olive picking, eating and walking with the local annual village animal festival. There will be a BBQ and bonfire in the village square and, on the Sunday, the priest blesses the full range of village animals from canaries in cages to dogs on leashes and handsome stallions racing through the cobbled streets.

It is great fun and reminds me of what living in Spain is all about – fiestas, fun and lots of sun.

Do join us!

The details are on the hotel website.

Sue