This week, our letter theme is Z, for Zoology.
We’ve been featuring pictures we’ve taken of animals in our travels, on four continents – and the final image in this series (and this particular run through the alphabet) is of a swan in Mallorca (or Majorca, if you like) – an island off Spain’s Costa Del Sol.
Mallorca’s probably best known as home to a squillion expatriate poms .. and as a tourist destination to middle-aged Brits for decades.
But of course it has a long, proud history
The first prehistoric settlement of the island dates back perhaps eight thousand years – it was conquered about three thousand years ago by the Phoenicians, then the Romans, then the Vandals, then the Holy Roman Empire – and then the Moors, who ruled for about 300 years, on-and-off.
But in the 1200s, James of Aragon conquered the whole of the Balearic Islands, and it remains under Spanish rule to this day.
I mention James of Aragon for a reason (we’ll get to the swan soon, I promise) – because in about 1229 he started construction of the Cathedral of Santa Marie of Palma.
It took nearly 400 years to complete, and is on the remains of a Moorish era mosque.
The cathedral is a fascinating structure – unlike almost any other of the era (see the Catalan wikipedia entry for details…https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catedral_de_Mallorca) – and around the outside, there are wide balustrades and lobbies.
And (I promised I’d get back to the swan) some lovely reflective polls, home to a number of water-fowl.
The Jardines del Rey, or S’Hort del Rei (Kings Garden) features a brace of white swans .. apparently, there used to be a pair of black swans but one died and the other descended into depression so had to be taken to a home for widowed swans. Isn’t it nice to know that there is such a thing as a ‘home for widowed swans’? Bless, as my daughter would say.
Anyway, in the Kings Garden at the cathedral (which is also known as La Seu) there are also ducks and other birds – but the regal swans are the main attraction.