8 June 2016


Time for a train ride. I do have a special card that gives me half price fare! - and it’s time to visit a Museum!

I plan my journey online: the possible places, the time, the stop, the price, how far I have to walk to the Museum. The choice was made. “I’m taking the train to Petra!” I’ve always wanted to visit that town – a small Mallorcan town of under 3000 inhabitants, and see the Museum and house of Fray Juniper Serra. It’s such an interesting part of history. If you ‘Google’ Juniper Serra, you can read about his life and his mission. You will read that he was born in Petra, Majorca in 1713 – just over 300 years ago. He lived and studied in Palma and as a young Franciscan monk and missionary he journeyed to California and established several missions, both in upper and lower California. These have become important cities – San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Monterrey, Santa Barbara, San Diego……

The train ride was so enjoyable – sat, relaxed, enjoyed the Majorcan countryside, tried to take photos. When I arrived in Petra, I set out towards the center of town, (the high church steeple marks the spot) not knowing just where I was going. It wasn’t long until I saw an arrow – “Casa de Fray Juniper Serra” and I walked in that direction until I saw another arrow, and continued until I reached the museum. [Should I mention that hubby always stops and asks. Wifey never or seldom does!] A kind young lady greeted me in Mallorquín, (the language spoken here). “Bon día. Com anam? Has vingut a visitar el museu?” We continued – or she continued. I basically nodded and said, “Si” “No”, but I did understand what she was telling me. I felt quite proud of myself. But the time came when I said, “Spanish now, please!” She explained the layout of the museum and where I should begin.

The main floor held exhibits of the missions begun in California with models of each one. Paintings of the missions hung on the wall. Information was posted in Spanish, Majorcan, English and German. Glass cases in the center contained writings, documents, maps, objects from those years – arrow heads coins, pottery, documents.

Up the stairs to a small chapel. Large portraits of each monk, governor and entrepreneur who had been a part of the California missions lined each side of the chapel. So interesting! Many years ago I  had visited California, had stopped at some of the Spanish missions. but I had no idea these explorer-missionary-monks had left from towns across the island of Majorca -                                                  .

 The lady then took me next door to the house – a 300 year old dwelling – where Juniper Serra lived for a time. It was all very old, very dark but as I walked through towards the back, it opened onto a beautiful garden. But first, at the front was the wide entrance – where food products and animals were brought in; a small kitchen to one side, next to a bedroom and across the way, right in front of the bedroom, was the stable, where the donkey stayed! Can you imagine! “Often one of the children would sleep here beside the donkey so he would be calm!” my guide told me. Upstairs, another bedroom and a large room which was a combination nursery and ‘work room’. The mother could rock the baby with her foot while she spun yarn - or she might spend her time making ‘ropes’ of garlic and peppers just picked from the garden. These were hung up on the wooden beams to dry. It was also the place where the typical Mallorcan sausages were prepared after the killing of the pig. That event was a big family or neighborhood affair. All so interesting.

Should I add that I took a wrong turn on my way back to the train station? There were no arrows nor signs to guide me. I had no map! This time I DID ask – first a lady who would have led me astray, then four older gentlemen sitting on a park bench who pointed the way down a walkway between the trees. I did make it – just before the train arrived! 

Back to Palma – 50 minute ride. Happy! A nice little ‘escape’ one morning in Majorca. 

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