Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Fibonacci is a great new café, bakery I discovered in Palma. They have amazing breads, 14 different kinds, including a 100% spelt bread that is supper delicious, and healthy. Another personal favorite is the wheat and honey variety. Everything is baked in-house, fresh every morning.

Fibonacci is owned by two Norwegian couples who decided to settle in Mallorca a couple of years ago. They are well on their way to opening store #2 in Portixol to be followed soon after by store #3 somewhere in the heart of Palma.

They have a chocolate cake that does justice to the word indulgence and the most perfect cup of coffee on the island. Other delicacies include rolls dusted with coconut flakes and a custard center, chocolate chip bread rings, cinnamon pastries and of course plain and chocolate croissants.

The name of this great café and bakery was inspired by the Fibonacci numbers, a sequence of numbers that are first mentioned in ancient India. The name Fibonacci itself comes from an Italian named Leonardo of Pisa who introduced the numbers to Western European mathematics in 1202. His nickname was Fibonacci. The Fibonacci numbers are used in many mathematical formulas and have practical applications in business. For example they are used in financial market analysis. The Fibonacci numbers are also mentioned in the popular book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.

So what exactly is a Fibonacci number? It’s really pretty simple. The first two numbers are always 0 and 1 and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. For example a sequence can go like this: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8, etc.

You can find them at:

Monday, December 7, 2009

20 Million Year Old Caves

What would you have to say if you were 20 million years old?

Last week I visited the Caves of Drach, aka, Dragon’s Cave on the eastern side of Mallorca. Drach means dragon in Catalan or Mallorquine. I recently found out the two are actually the same language. The first inhabitants of Mallorca gave the dragon three qualities, evil, sort of a devil, a symbol for strength and the sentinel or protector of a treasure.

The Drach Caves are cave formations created some 20 million years ago and have been visited by tourists for many centuries. An example of these visits is two tourists from Barcelona who went there in 1878 and got lost inside and nearly died of starvation. It’s most famous visitor was a geographer from France named Martel. He visited the caves in 1896 and discovered a large, until then unknown chamber with a large lake. The most impressive of the lakes in these caves is this lake discovered by Martel, named after him, Lake Martel. It is 230 meters wide by 177 meters long and is considered one of the largest underground lakes in the world.

The caves are full of interesting rock formations with many stalagtites and stalagmites and column shapes created from the coming together of the two. Some of the rocks protruding out and forming interesting shapes are pure white in color and we were told they are pure calcium. The various rooms in the caves have cool names like Asian City, The Window and Cave of the French.

There are other lakes in the caves too with names like the Blue Cylinder and Diana’s Baths. A tour guides takes you through the caves in about 40 minutes and for a grand finale there is a 10 minute classical music concert on lake Martel, given by musicians who go by in a canoe.

The water in the lakes have some salt content even though they have no connection with the sea, at least not at the present time. The depth of the water varies from about 3 meters to 9 meters. At the end of the tour you get to exit the caves taking a small boat ride crossing part of Lake Martel.

When the guide told me the caves were about 20 million years old I wondered what they would say if they could speak? This is an akashic record I would love to read. In Hindu mysticism, akashic records are believed to collectively make up the book of life where all knowledge and experiences from all time are recorded. Some describe them as the collective consciousness of the earth. Every being, object and mineral is believed to have a contribution in this book. I stood there trying to absorb even a tiny little bit of what these caves might know and have recorded in their akashic records.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I recently read that Michael Smith, the interior designer of many Hollywood stars, the same one who was hired by the Obamas to re-decorate the White House, was hired by Grupo Cappuccino to decorate their latest location on Paseo del Borne in Palma de Mallorca. Grupo Cappuccino is a very successful Mallorquine restaurant group owned by Juan Picornell. Cappuccino is a unique concept that incorporates a classic coffee house by day and a popular bar by night. They serve light meals, fresh juices as well as delicious desserts in addition to a wide variety of coffee drinks and a full bar drinks menu.

Today I paid my first visit to a Cappuccino and went there for lunch. I went to the one closest to Deia in the quaint village of Valldemossa. I was especially impressed because they even had cream for my coffee, a rarity in Spain since the Spanish are used to drinking their coffee black or with milk, but never with half and half or any type of cream.

The atmosphere was elegant, yet casual. There was a cozy fireplace off in the corner keeping the air at the perfect temperature in contrast to the crisp air outside. Next to the fireplace you could choose from a variety of magazines and books to peruse as you're having your coffee. The cakes were displayed in a case and they had wonderful varieties like blueberry cheesecake, warm chocolate cake, almond cake, and apple pie. I had a roasted chicken sandwich on a seeded baguette with lettuce, tomatoes and olive oil followed by a delicious blueberry cheesecake and a perfect americano coffee with cream.

Cappuccino is also well known for its good taste in music. They play different tunes in French, Spanish, English and Portuguese, featuring great lounge music from artists like Chet Baker, Lizz Wright, Pete Mo, Charlie Haden, and also alternative, indie and folk/pop singers like Gary Jules and Alex Parks.

The ceiling had dark wood beams and there were modern, colorful paintings on the light colored walls. The lighting seemed to be just right, soft but bright enough to see the features in the room and the delicacies in front of you on your plate. The room was filled with round wooden tables and chairs. There were also bench chairs across the window-covered front wall. The furniture was reminiscent of a 1950’s classic coffee house style. I look forward to visiting the new Cappuccino on Paseo del Borne when it opens next year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flying through the streets of Valencia

Last week I made a quick trip to Valencia for a few days.

I met up with some friends and ate at what has become the usual spot I go to, a little bar/tapas place called La Rentaora. Rentaora is a woman who cleans by the hour and there are paintings on the wall depicting this imaginary woman scrubbing the floors. The place is tiny, accommodating about a maximum of 25 people, with a large bar to the side taking up at least 1/3 of the space. On this visit I ordered the same dish I was introduced to before, a melted brie with violet jam. It’s to die for, absolutely delicious! The violet jam is somewhat of a mystery because I have since looked for it in several stores and the people I asked said they have never heard of it. I was hoping to indulge in this Valencian specialty during some evenings at home but for now it only remains possible to enjoy this delicacy when I go to Valencia and pay a visit to La Rentaora.

The best part of the evening was cycling through the streets of Valencia with a dear girlfriend visiting from San Diego and two other new friends. It’s a cool feeling dashing past pedestrians and cars, jumping on and off sidewalks and roads and flying through the old town of Valencia on a bicycle. Oh and the whole evening started at about 10:30 pm, typical of Spanish time. The biggest challenge was that there were four of us and only three bikes so we had to improvise new ways of adding on a second person to a bike set up for only one. At one point in the evening, the bike carrying two took a tumble to the side. It looked like one of those cartoons where the characters fall and it looks so painful, but afterwards they just get up, dust off, laugh, and keep going. Thank goodness I wasn’t on that bike! I’m looking forward to going back to Valencia just so I can go flying through the old town at night on a bicycle.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making Ceramics by the Sea

Joanna lives in Deia, Mallorca and is a ceramics artist. Originally from Chicago, IL she left 30 years ago after graduating from university. Since a very early age Joanna was around sailboats, sailing with her family on Lake Michigan and later doing charters in the Caribbean. This gave her a taste for the sea and living a simple life on the islands.

Joanna says she always knew she wanted something different than the typical life of a housewife in Chicago. She has always shown respect and concern for the environment. She wanted a simple life and especially to get away from the weight of American consumerism. She dreamed of a life on an island by the sea and the mountains where she could focus on creating art. So, in her mid-20’s she flew down to the Caribbean and posted signs up offering her services as crew on a boat. She worked a few odd and end jobs on boats until she got a job as a cook on a luxury yacht headed for the Mediterranean. She was commissioned to cook “healthy” food for the crew and owners, which suited her well since she was a fan of healthy shakes, muesli dishes and lots of fish and salads.

Her employer cruised all over the Mediterranean throughout the summer season. Like many other yachts, her's ended the season in Palma de Mallorca. One day Joanna decided to take a drive into the mountains to a little town called Deia, not too far from Palma. The visit proved to be a prelude to her destiny as she met her husband on that trip and has never left. She and her Austrian born husband created a life together in Deia owning various successful restaurants and a ceramics business. They also had two children. Today, a lot has happened since 30 years ago. Joanna is no longer married to the Austrian man and now has a lovely Norwegian boyfriend. She still lives in Deia and runs the ceramics business. Her customers come from all over the world and her pieces are displayed in various top hotels around the island.

I asked Joanna where she gets her inspiration for her art? She said most of it is definitely from nature, from the various plants all around, the mountains and the sea. This is apparent in her creations since often her pieces have flowers and greenery painted on them. She still lives a simple life, in a relatively small house, for American standards. She takes pride in driving a small car, when she's not walking, and generating a low carbon footprint. And she continues to love creating ceramics surrounded by the sea and the mountains on the beautiful island of Mallorca.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trawling For Clues In The Sea Of Life

I recently spoke to my friend, Arturo Rhodes, who is a painter in Deia. Arturo is originally British but like many of his co-patriots, he came to Mallorca many years ago and never left. Captured by this beautiful land, its scenery, it’s ambiance and the tranquility of this village, he has made an art form out of living a good life by the sea in the little village of Deia. He las lived in Deia for about 30 years.

Arturo lives in a cool two story house perched up on a terrace above the Clot, which is a neighborhood in the village of Deia. Although he has a car he walks to many places in town. From where he parks his car, Arturo has to walk on a dirt footpath that winds around and later goes up about 3 sets of stairs before he reaches his house. He tells me that’s how he stays in good shape. Like most houses in Mallorca, his house is made out of stone. It has large picture windows bringing in lots of natural light, and it faces east with views also to the north and south. He has his studio up on the right hand side of the second story of the house.

Arturo and I spoke about where he gets inspiration for his paintings. I was sure he was going to say nature, the ocean, his imagination or characters he has met. He surprised me when he said he constantly looks for “clues.” He looks for “clues” in things he observes, conversations, dreams, images. You could say he is always trawling for clues in the sea of life. He sees a broken glass, a ball thrown into the street by a child, a red scarf, and then he sees a word written on a sign and puts all of this together into a package to create a painting. What a way to paint! Arturo is known as being a surrealist painter from the same style as say a Magritte or a Salvador Dali. His paintings often put together a known, familiar object with the unknown or unknowable. Or, he takes common images and puts them out of place from the norm, from where you would expect to see them. You could say Arturo's paintings challenge you to see life in a different way.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hotel La Residencia Art Exposition

Last Friday, October 30th, Hotel La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca hosted the opening of its art exhibit entitled “Collective Exposition in Honor of George Sheridan.”

George Sheridan was a British music composer who lived and worked in Deia and was considered a dear friend and mentor to many artists in this village.

Hotel La Residencia sponsored a contest among local painters and commissioned each of 32 artists to create an original painting with a music theme in honor of this late composer. What a great way to honor a late artist of this village and promote its current talent. A listing of the 32 artists is at the end of this post.

The collection will be judged by a panel of three judges and a winner will be announced by the end of this year. The prize will be the display of the winning painting in the gallery of the hotel and 1,000 euros to the painter.

Many in Deia and the surrounding artistic community attended the opening. All the paintings will be on display in the gallery for viewing until the winner is announced. Almost all paintings are for sale and a price list can be obtained from the hotel.

It was my first outing to an art exhibit in Mallorca and I really enjoyed it. I'm always amazed at the mix of people on this island. You often meet someone born in Denmark, of a Spanish mother but who grew up in Germany! It seems like no one is simply from one place. Everyone is a complete mix of nationalities, which makes for a richness of culture you don’t find in too many places.

Artists: Alice Meyer Wallace, Frances Baxter, Charlotte Mensforth, Jean-luc Charbonneau, Colin Hunt, Geoff MacEwan, Pamela Aldridge, Kerstin Unger Salen, Susan Robinson, Mariana Alzamora, Diana Palaci, Gioia, Eva Kircz, Ernesto Magnind, Phil Shepherd, Adell Blackmon, Leila Ward, Antoinette Mansker, Richard White, Alan Hydes, David Templeton, Elna Ernest, Jaime Colorao, Daniel Alzamora, J.J. White, Arturo Rhodes, Fliss Templeton, Lesley Woodward, Matias Durhssen, marta Mata Malas, Sallie Quirk, Miguel Oliver