Palma Diary, February/March 2019 – An Englishman abroad
Day 6 – Thursday
Today I’m going to Sóller. The Sullerica brewery does tastings on Fridays, but they’re closed tomorrow as it’s a fiesta, so I’m going to pay them a visit today. During the season, the old wooden train meanders from Palma to Sóller, but the bus is quicker and cheaper, and the scenery is nearly as spectacular.
The brewery turns out to be just around the corner from the bus station and I am welcomed by Maria, who shows me around and tells me a little of their history whilst I take some photos. I return to the bus station and have a coffee in the café next door while I wait for the bus back to Palma.
Tomorrow is the National Day of the Balearics, a public holiday. It’s hardly known about outside the islands, but it’s a big event here and the fiesta in Palma begins today and lasts until Sunday. I wander down through Plaça de la Drassana to take a look and there are rows of stalls in either direction as far as the eye can see. To the left, they continue on both sides of Avenida de Antoni Maura and through Parc de la Mar, opposite the cathedral, where I find that Marta from Forastera has a stall. I stop for a drink and a chat and she tells me that Sven is over on the other side with the rest of the brewers.
I stroll down Paseo de Sagrera, parallel with the seafront, and sure enough, further down is a row of brewery stalls – Cas Cerveser, Forastera, Món, 4 Alqueries, Ralf, Toutatis, and Sa Cerviseria.
After a few hellos and a couple of beers, I make my way up to Parc sa Feixina, a large open space with fountains, which is normally quite tranquil but today is packed with food and drink stalls and a stage has been set up at the bottom of the square.
I have a roast pork sandwich with thick rustic bread and then browse the stalls, stopping for a couple of montaditos and a glass of red wine. As I head back down to the square, it’s getting dark and a band is starting to perform. They’re knocking out some old school rock and blues and I find my foot tapping, when I suddenly realise it’s the Pa amb Oli Band, whom I’d wanted to see for a long time. The front man is David Templeton, the artist, and the bass player is Tomás Graves. You can be forgiven for not being familiar with Tomás, but his father was the prolific author and poet Robert Graves, possibly best known for I, Claudius. Whilst Tomás has only written three books, he still ranks as one of my favourite authors and I am thrilled to meet and talk with him after the gig. On the way back, I excitedly tell Marta, Sven and Tristan and they understandably look somewhat bemused.