By Daniel Casciato
Hola and Bonjour!
I wanted to share my recent overseas trip in this week’s and next week’s ‘WhereYaAt’ column. About ten days ago, my wife, daughter, and I embarked on a 7-day cruise where we set sail on the azure waters of the Western Mediterranean.
Our exciting cruise began on the delightful island of Mallorca, Spain, before taking us to the culturally rich city of Marseilles, France. These destinations present unique histories, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant local flavors guaranteed to enchant any traveler.
Mallorca, known for its stunning beaches, charming villages, and the Sierra Tramuntana mountain range, offers an unforgettable experience. We started our tour through the spectacular valleys and passes of the Tramuntana, drinking in the beautiful landscapes around every turn.
Our first stop was the serene village of Valldemossa, nestled over 1300 feet above sea level. Frequented by artists and writers for inspiration, Valldemossa’s appeal was evident the moment we stepped out to explore its charming streets. The town’s legacy intertwines with the renowned composer Frederic Chopin, who spent time here and inspired the annual Chopin Piano Festival.
If you ever get a chance to visit, don’t forget to try the famous “coca de patata,” a delicious potato cake local to Valldemossa!
Our journey continued along the breathtaking coastal road with picturesque views of the mountains and the sea, presenting a beautiful tableau of Sa Foradada, Son Marroig, and quaint villages like Deia and Llucalcari.
The day ended in the fragrant Soller Valley, famed for its citrus trees, before briefly orienting Palma’s highlights and returning to the port.
The cultural renaissance of Marseille, France’s second-largest city, awaited us on our next stop. Our exploration began at the city’s historical heart, Vieux Port, a bustling maritime hub since the 6th century.
Next, we admired the architectural grandeur of the Palais Longchamp, a magnificent monument celebrating Marseille’s connection to the waterway network in the 19th century. This masterpiece is more than just a fountain; it’s home to the city’s natural history museum and Musee des Beaux-arts.
Undoubtedly, the jewel in Marseille’s crown is the breathtaking Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. Standing proudly on the city’s highest point, this stunning basilica, built atop an ancient fort, captivates with its green limestone façade and intricate Neo-Byzantine design. The 30-minute exploration of the Basilique, the very symbol of Marseille, was nothing short of extraordinary.
We concluded our Marseille tour at Cap Croisette, where time seems to stand still. Strolling along the peninsula, the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea etched an unforgettable memory in our hearts. We stopped at a cafe for a late lunch before returning to our ship.
Both Mallorca and Marseille offer a wonderful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making them worthy first stops on our incredible cruise journey. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week as we explore more enchanting Mediterranean gems!