A Night (Hot and Humid Morning) at the Museum
This Wednesday, July 19, 2023, we found ourselves set for one of the hottest days of the summer. Temperatures set to reach around 37C / 99F at 11:am and remain as such until around 2:00 pm. With humidity of 75% and nary a cloud to reflect the stinging sun, we were fortunate enough to have already had planned some time inside the nice air-conditioned Museo Baluard, a museum housing modern works and exhibitions developed by active artists.
Museo Baluard is built within and around a portion of the still intact old city walls that formerly surrounded the entire portion of the old city. Today, the walls that ran along the coastal stretch of the old city remain and are well integrated with the modern city.
Each group was accompanied by an ‘amigo español’, who are local residents who spend time with us on a once or twice weekly basis throughout the program. Accompanying my group was Mar, a local Spanish literature student, who met us at CIEE Palma and walked us to the museum. While only a 10-minute walk from the center, any time outside on a day like Wednesday is like swimming through hot molasses. We stopped for only a short picture with the city walls flanking them as well as lovely urban forestry adorning the background.
The museum exhibitions consisted of a broad assortment of media from: fabrics and thread spun to imitate books, journals, calendars, and other forms of human record keeping; to metallic sculptures and mobiles that recall Alexander Calder and Miró; to a room with floor-to-ceiling photographs of natural settings and beige-brown wall-to-wall carpeting meant to simulate the soft floor of a forest clearing. Outside of the room was a collection of many existencialist works of literature, of which a student noted she thought were generally cliché and overrated (I tend to agree). Though art museums (especially those of the modern variety) often don’t pique the interests of high school youth, I would say it was safe to say that everyone ended up enjoying their time in the halls of Museo Baluard.
We finished our visit by popping up to the terrace which is on top of the old city walls themselves and offers some of the most impressive vistas of the city. To the east and north, you see the Cathedral, the Almudaina Palace and the terracotta roofs of the old town. To the west, you see the hill upon which Castell de Bellever (Bellever Castle) sits, one of only a few circular castles in Euripe, which we will be visiting in short order. And, to the south, you see the masts of sailboats, in the port, with imposing cruise ships, container ships, and passenger ferries deeper in the background and surrounded by the turquoise-blue waters of the Mediterranean.
After the museum visit concluded each group was asked to draw a scene they remembered or a view that stuck with them from the museum’s terrace. My group and I headed to a nearby ice cream and pastry shop to sit and draw. Pictured you will see a collection of my students impressions from the museum visit.
Hasta la próxima,
Alexander E., 17, spent four weeks practicing his Spanish language skills in Palma de Mallorca. Read about his early experiences with language immersion on program.
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