The Island of a Thousand Faces

Componet’s medieval walls, enclosed around an ancient town of tranquility and provincial thoughts, reminded me of Montelupone. And like in Montelupone, my sister and I stood out like figs in a basket of lemons as two young black American women with the confidence and audacity to parade around a remote town on a semi- remote island.  But the literal figs that grew in the backyard of Iman’s in-law’s trees were all I needed to ignore the stares of curiosity and apprehension. Spain is notorious for it’s staring. I had almost forgotten.

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Ibiza satisfied my college life, but Mallorca fed my soul as a young adult. It was a pleasure to see my best high school friend Iman with her new husband and his loving Catalan family. I got a kick out of hearing the Spanish we know so naturally referred to as Castellano as it joined the tri – lingual conversations across the table with Catalan and English.

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However, beyond the relaxing meals of pan boli con jamon, pizza with persimmon and peaches, and tortilla, were the boundless faces of the Island’s natural landscape.

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The wind caught her dark wavy hair as it swept across her bare tan shoulder and floated upwards toward the sun. He watched her with captivation as she gazed out into the horizon, standing amongst the circumferential breeze and salty splatters of the sea. With each buck of the sea, the boat beneath them followed, and although he had to hold on to keep from falling, Marisol’s balance was unwavering. The mark of someone native to the Mediterranean’s strength.

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Those are the words I wrote after a day on Josep’s boat to the remote beach of Na clara in Mallorca, Spain. The boat’s approach to the beach was what I remember most. After a half hour in a tranquil silence with the sound the motor and vertiginous wind to pacify us, I remember what was once an anonymous cliff in the distance had now become a lively mossy green and red faced mountain in front of me. Each layer of earth became clearer as the surface became closer and the boat became slower as the sea became an emerald pool.

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I’m not a swimmer, but there was something about the water’s clear blue stillness that had me itching to dive in. Luckily, it was only waist high and there were no under currents so treading or floating in the deeper parts was easy.  This saved me from slight embarrassment when Iman offered us a life vest and Josep stared back in disbelief when I accepted it a first, before changing my mind and toughing it out on my own. No time for fear here!

Just beyond the Island’s beach lined edges are rolling mossy hills that offer stunning views of the sea’s immensity. We ventured to Island’s highest point where the dark blue of the sea meet the light blue of the sky and went on forever. Even the tumultuous cliffs and crashing waves below looked beautiful.

Walks along deserted dirt roads turned into blackberry picking sessions as you spotted the pea -sized fruit spout wildly along the path.

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Towards the end of our trip we spent time in lovely, Vallademosa, a picturesque village of winding stoned roads shaded by festive streamers that hang from and unite rooftops. The narrow streets are enclosed by ivy-lined houses with flowers in almost every windowsill.

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A trip of mine is no trip of mine without some shopping which required a venture into the city of Palma.  We picked the rainy day to explore Palma and despite my appreciation for all the beach fixes I had been getting,  I couldn’t help but feel just a tad more comfortable amongst the hustle and nosy streets. However, as much as Palma is a city, it preserves the breezy, carefree, and relaxing culture of the island.

The Cathedral was the centerpiece of the ancient city. Its mosaic facade stirred up images in my head of medieval princes basking in warm air and sipping from the well of the church’s elegant courtyard.

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All in all, at the center of the venn diagram that links Mallorca’s many astonishing faces, Catalan culture, and the joy of catching up with an old friend, was the inspiration to pursue creative goals and focus on self discovery — a passion that’s often reignited for me by the one and only: Travel.

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