Life on Mallorca - from Scotland to our Rural Mountain Retreat
I’ve lived on the island of Mallorca for over seventeen years, arriving from Scotland after falling in love with a Mallorcan. We lived in a rural area known as Es Pla – the fertile plain at the centre of the island - and during my first few years there I learnt the language by immersion, gave birth to three boys and had a crash course in Mallorcan culture including wine making, becoming familiar with the old tales called Rondaies and the folk tunes sung to the traditional drum the ximbomba. We grew our own fruit and vegetables, had solar panels and water from our own well and I began to develop an English language school using art, music and drama, working only with Mallorcans in the local area.
When the children were older we moved from the countryside to the small market town of Sineu which has a huge weekly market dating back for hundreds of years and I began to see Mallorca in a different light, and to understand how the incredible tourist industry fuels the island’s economy. We bought an old traditional town house that had lain empty for a hundred years after a fire, and began to renovate it - raising the roof, bringing light into all the rooms, clearing the beautiful old courtyard and filling it with flowers, doing much of the work ourselves. I continued to develop my business turning it into an English Theatre School and putting on ambitious productions of musicals working with the more international group of students I found living there.
One day several years later we stumbled across an amazing unspoilt finca in the mountains near the north east coast, something I had dreamed of for many years. Set in the Natural Park and therefore protected from many aspects of modern life while being just a few miles from the ancient artisan market town of Arta – it was a dream come true and we felt we had to buy it and move there. As part of this move we turned our lovely town house in Sineu into a holiday home which caters comfortably for up to five people and is a wonderful base in the centre of Mallorca from which to explore the island.
The finca was developed in the 1970s as a pioneering eco community, and we have lovingly restored all these aspects of it – from the compost toilets and solar panels to the mountain top swimming pool, from the reed pond to the vegetable garden. At the same time we have brought it up to date and created accommodation for ourselves as well as two comfortable self-catering apartments with en suite bathrooms, one is for two people and one for six. Holiday makers who love nature, silence, trees and stars can come on holiday and rent one or both of these self-catering apartments, and we will be there to advise them, sometimes to cook for them and share our home grown produce, or help them arrange their holidays. In future I would also really love to see artists, musicians, dancers and makers coming here to run workshops at the finca where we can arrange for wonderful meals and accommodate eight people in our apartments as well as having areas for larger groups to camp.
We have been living on the finca since 2016 and so we are still at an early stage in our part of the story of this little piece of paradise. There is always a lot of work to be done, there are always challenges to overcome, but already we have had visitors from all over the world who have had a wonderful time here and plan to come back, we have had BBQs, live music and dancing, treks down the mountain to secluded beaches, night skies blazing with stars, baby chicks hatching, and so much more. People are meeting like minded people here and formed lasting friendships - and the journey has just begun.
Lizzie Graham is the owner of a few One Off Places on the Balearic island of Mallorca. She has a three bedroom townhouse in the town of Sineu, and two apartments (one sleeps 2 and one sleeps 6) on a rural finca near the market town of Arta. In the words of one of their guests: `The place itself is a virtual Garden of Eden. Not even the proud crows of the rooster, the drum like tymbals of the cicadas or the song of the frogs could stir this roaring silence among limestone mountains and the thick nestle of mediterranean fauna.`