Exploring the grounds of Lluc

9th of January, 2022

After a great night of sleep (it was extremely quiet in the Monastery!), we wake up around 8.00 from the sounds of the café on the plaza. A very good breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant. We pay the 4 euro parking costs at the reception and put our luggage in the car. It is time to explore the grounds of Lluc.

All around the Sanctuary, sculptures of the prominent Majorcan artist Joan Bennàssar, are visible. The exhibition is called “The road to Lluc, Shelters of Love and Good Will”.

It is the work created by Joan Bennàssar in a year full of uncertainties and with the motivation to bring hope to those who come to Lluc after making such an effort to get here. This exhibition follows the traditional path, that begins in Inca, passes through Selva and Caimari, crosses Escorca and reaches Lluc, meandering through magical corners of the Serra de Tramuntana, as the path is the perfect metaphor of life. The work arises from the conviction that living means live together in harmony and that there is no progress without ethics. It is connected to the work Human Reasons because it reinforces effort, love and individual offering to the collective future.

From the Plaza del Lledoner, a stone path leads up to the spot, where the Holy image of the Virgin was found.  It is called the Mount Rosario Route, but also the Camí dels Misteris. A short hike of around 30 minutes, but definitely worth the climb.

We pass a small cemetery, though we can’t reach it, as the road is blocked due to fallen stones.

The five stone monuments are impressive. We admire the three bronze reliëfs, representing the mysteries of the Rosary (joy, pain and glory). At the end of the path, the Cross is overlooking the Monastery and the valleys of Lluc and Aubarca. The cold wind is strong here on top of the mountain!

We quickly descend to a warmer atmosphere and visit the interior patio ‘Jardí de les Magnòlies and the central courtyard.

The Botanical Garden is small, but contains around 200 different species, all from the Balearics. Pieces of art and funny constructions  are placed between the plants and along the narrow pathway.

There is no time anymore for a visit to the museum of Lluc. Today we have to drive through the mountains to the capital Palma, where we booked a hotel for our last two nights. The hustle and bustle of the big town will be in strong contrast with the serenity of the Sanctuary!

The Tramuntana Mountains

 

 

 

 

Impressive Santuari de Lluc

8th of January, 2022

Around 9.30 we are on our way to Santuari de Lluc in the Serra de Tramuntana. We have another 4 days to explore the island and decided to stay one night in the Monastery and 2 nights in the attractive capital Palma. Lluc is just a 45 minutes drive from the village, where we have been house sitting. After Inca, the road is crawling up the mountain. It is still very quiet on this Saturday morning, although we do have to watch the cyclists!

We find Santuari de Lluc in a valley on a height of 525 meters. The name Lluc derives from Lucus, which means ‘sacred grove’. According to the legend, a young shepherd found the statue of the Virgin of Lluc, the Black Madonna (La Moreneta), on the mountain. On this spot a chapel was built in the 13th century, which formed the origins of Santurari de Lluc. In the 14th century a hospice was created to accommodate all the pilgrims. In the 17th century the Basilica was founded and nowadays a museum and botanical garden are also part of the Santuari. Lluc is still a very important pilgrimage meeting point and spiritual center.

We park the car at the spacious parking place just outside the grounds of the Monastery and cross the Plaça dels Pelegrins, towards the impressive entrance. Our room will be ready in the afternoon, but we can leave our luggage at the reception. After a quick coffee on the plaza and a visit to the tourist information centre, we start our hike; “The volta a la moleta de Binifaldó”. Today is windy and around 8 degrees. We even have to wear gloves! Here, in the Tramuntana mountain range, the climate is different than central Mallorca!

The route will take us through a lush pine and holm oak forest, along lime and charcoal kilns, via impressive karstic landscapes and even via an old Roman highway. We start from 474 meters and the highest point is 700 meters. It should take a rough 3 hours, but it takes us much longer! Many pictures are taken and we fully enjoy the different scenery.

Very impressive are the exokarst formations, that have been shaped over thousands of years by the rainwater, in combination with the carbon dioxide in the air. During the last half an hour we have to watch our step, as we descend over huge stones, back towards Lluc.

The grounds of Lluc are at this time of the day full of visitors. We grab the luggage and go to our room, through the very quiet and spacious corridors. The room is basic and we got some sheets to make the bed! We do have our own bathroom and the view from the window is wonderful!

At 17.00 a service starts in the Basilica and just a handful of people are present. We have a quick glimpse inside and after, go for a drink in the bar beside the Sanctuari. Now, in winter time, it closes at 6.00 p.m and the dining room in the Monastery does not open until 7.00 p.m. We are tired and cold and ask the waiter if we can sit down by the fire in the restaurant. No problem at all and he finds us a nice table and quickly serves us some lovely Spanish wine, tasty olives and delicious bread with a strong aioli! We booked our room including the dinner and we get a three course meal. Nothing fancy, but definitely tasty!

Tomorrow, we will visit the Botanical Garden and walk the ‘Pujol des Misteris’ on Mount Rosario, where ‘La Moreneto’ was found.