October 30, 2015 Eddie Shanahan


It is a perilous drive from Puigpuyent through rising corkscrew passes and hairpin bends, past layered terraces and walled estates that hang from the spine of the Tramuntana to the village of Elporles.

It is autumn in Majorca. The hills are lush with grasses, the olive trees laden with fruit. Leaves turn on the harvested vines. Nature knits its richest colours -saffron, lime, copper, emerald and fiery crimson – into an alluring patchwork across the lower slopes and valleys. The peaks of these ancient mountains rise defiantly stone faced.

”In dappled side streets, canopied by broad leaved trees,…Esporles is a living picture postcard… conceived in another era…”

In the fold of the hills the road widens alongside a ‘torrent’ as you enter Esporles.

Only the whisper of the water breaks the sound of silence as I step from my car. The door closes like a thunder clap in the quiet. I notice a tiny green bridge spanning the water course. It points to hewn steps and up to where the sun casts shadows, like discarded jigsaw pieces, along narrow streets and twisting lanes.
Silence pervades, broken once by the delighted chuckle of a baby behind louvered windows and later by the rattle of cutlery as it is set for lunch.
Down the long street another bridge, draped in bougainvillea, beckons back across the torrent to a shady stretch of cafes, bars, delis and restaurants. At the end is a long ‘square’. This is the heart of village life. In dappled side streets, canopied by broad leaved trees, parents chatter, children play. Even here excitement is whispered or so it seems. A sense of quiet heralds the afternoon.

Esporles is a living picture postcard. Terracotta urns overflow with rosemary and hibiscus under stories of iron balconies and olive shutters. Window boxes explode with white tipped scarlet, purple and pink flowers. Tiny shops, conceived in another era, accent the wonder of the place. Every stone has its own elegance.
Once in a while the eye wanders to catch a glimpse of greying olive wood, stacked for the approaching winter.

In the tiny shops and craft ateliers a mix of sign language, broken English and bad Spanish makes for good humour, great commerce and a promise to return. Cafe menus are rarely offered, instead the ‘carte’ is spoken softly as the day lingers or the dusky evening drifts in.
No need to hurry here in Esporles, the most peaceful village on earth.