Nan’s Day Out to the Castle

By Shirley Roberts

I am so aware, as I write this, that many readers wish they were me today.  All three of my granddaughters are here in Majorca and all of us able to go out together.  So many reading this are in the UK, Germany, Sweden and the USA. We all have different restrictions in our lockdowns. In the UK many have not seen their families for months and are desperate to hug their grandchildren.  I tell my tale today, knowing how very lucky I am that they live here and, at present, I can see them regularly. I am even in their family bubble and allowed to visit.  I am blest…

Today our ‘Nans Day Out’ was taken as the rain at last stopped.  We saw glimmer of sun and headed for it through the Soller tunnel and beyond. A view of our world stretching for miles in the sunshine was our brief. The cars on the other side of the road were traveling towards Soller to climb the mountain in search of the last few remnants of snow.  We were heading for one of the top views of Palma.  Off the motorway at the Son Dureta turn off and round the backstreets for the climb up to Bellver Castle.

Bellver woods are the lungs of the City and densely wooded. The area is topped by Bellver Castle.  The building is of a very specific design around a perfectly circular floor plan. A Gothic style building around a central floor space with four towers representing the points on a compass. The castle has been both a Royal Palace and an overcrowded prison. Its history from 1300 can tell many tales.

In the world of 2021 my girls and I wandered the woods and looked out to sea over the harbour in Palma.  The views are magnificent from this point and why the site is on the Palma Tourist Bus itinerary. The beautifully situated castle is home to so much in our generation.  I have attended concerts and weddings here and been part of cultural welcomes to visiting dignitaries.  It is the place where people are taken for a first glorious impression of the City of Palma and out to sea. A castle with no roof means that stargazing whilst listening to beautiful music being played in the summer is just wonderful.

On our trip the granddaughters and I reminisced of younger Bellver trips when they were small enough to use the playground.  Or the trips we bought our long departed dog, for walks. Or the picnics in the shade when it was too hot to do anything but sit in the woods cooling off. Bellver is the name of their school for the oldest two and the stories of trips came in thick and fast.

Bellver is one of those places which unless you live nearby you never find.  Few of my Soller neighbours would think of a trip to the woods in the middle of the City.  Yet it offers so much and is one of those oasis places where you know many other walkers are around but you never see them.   It has many exits and this is what makes it the back garden for so many in the area.  Tricky to really lock the gates of the park at night and many a teenager has scaled the wall after being locked in.

We walked the walk and talked the talk and then it was time to head back to the mountains. Oldest granddaughter leaves us this week and heads back to University in Sussex.   When she gets there it is lockdown city in a student house with her friends.  The other two get on with their lives here, one at Bellver International College and one in the Port of Soller school.  Life goes on and they are getting used to wearing layers of clothes in school and taking in additional blankets.  What a strange world they return to after these Christmas and New Year holidays and our one special Nan’s Day Out.

We all hope the next time Lucia comes back to Majorca at Easter that we will all have had vaccinations and that life will be approaching normal.  In the meantime, we make the best of every day and are grateful for health and family.

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