In February, Palma is like a beautiful woman wearing no make-up on her day off. The sky’s blue is rather a shade of light grey, and the tall plane trees look strangely naked without leaves. The city seems to slow down, and many restaurants and shops display signs in their windows that say tancat (Mallorqui for ‚closed‘), while their owners take a couple of weeks vacation, or renovate their premises. With only few tourists around, it’s this time of the year I love to stroll through marvelous Barrio de la Seu.
And pay a visit to S’Hort del Rei – the medieval garden at the bottom of the Almudaina Palace, unnoticed by many passers-by. To me, the garden is a true urban oasis: a majestic arch inviting you in, bubbly fountains with impressive water basins, a long over-grown pergola lined with wooden benches, tall palm trees giving shade to blossoming flower-beds, fancy marble statues, and a secluded pond, home to a pair of swans. Set against the palace’s ancient lime-stone wall, it feels like being in a historic movie-set.
That’s no surprise: the king’s garden was built by the Arabs, who reigned Mallorca about a thousand years ago. It was used to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers for their sovereigns. After they had reconquered the island in 1229, the Spanish kings cherished the fertile garden, too. Actually, it wasn’t until the 1960s, that it was redesigned to promenade and saunter…. For me, S’Hort del Rei is the perfect place for a rest. When the sun ist out, grab a coffee on your way and sit down on one of the benches. These days, you might have the place all to yourself. Enjoy the magic of the moment, and imagine you’re a queen, today.
Av. Antoni Maura/Plaça de la Reina
winter: 7.40 am – 8.30 pm
summer: 7.40 am – 10 pm