Santa Catalina is revered in many places in Mallorca. She is one of three saints who are called the Patron Saint of Mallorca. In our world of the North West corner she is our Saint and has her birth place in Valldemossa.
In Puerto Soller the Santa Catalina Barrio is where the houses jostle together for space and were once the homes of the fishermen and those who lived from the sea. These days local people still live there side by side with the most amazing house renovations of a fishing village anywhere. Houses with indoor heated pools and elevated bedrooms are an architects delight here. From the outside they look just like any other village by the sea, but all is not as it seems behind the front door.
All walks upwards eventually find the St Catherine’s Oratory. These days known as Museum of the Sea or the Mallorcan Maritime Museum. The reason for the difference in names is that a couple of years ago the Consell of Mallorca took over the Museum to make it one of a group of Maritime Museums.
The current Mayor is not happy about this and is striving to get it back under local control. If that happens, I daresay it will become the Museum of the Sea again. This is a place worth visiting and is known very well by local school children. Their local maritime history is all gained from here.
It was in the company of the youngest granddaughter that I climbed the steep streets to end up at the lookout post over the sea. This is a place well used for weddings and vow renewals. Many of the lovers leave a padlock fixed to the railings to swear eternal love. This is a place in the memory box of many local people and visitors from afar.
We shared the photo opportunity with a couple, Anne and Elmer, from Florida on honeymoon. The groom had taken a picture with the mermaids overlooking the sea at this point, in the past. He used the picture on his profile for a Dating App. This is the way he met his wife and she wanted to visit Mallorca to see the very place this picture came from.
It was a very sweet story and it was sad that the mermaids no longer have pride of place on that patio. They married last week, and he is now showing her the places in Mallorca he loves.
This is the peak of the Barrio walk but the amble down the little squashed streets is all part of the charm. Many of these houses do not have gardens or balconies so the people just take a chair and sit in the lane outside their house. Street life is what this place is all about. Locals are very concerned about those who go in and shut the door behind them. This is one of those places which never used to shut or lock their doors. They are saddened to see the elaborate alarm systems attached to many of the houses now.
A straight walk down the hill or a right turn to one of the little hidden staircases which lead to the next level is the choice now. Then you arrive at the quayside of the high-end restaurants of the area. At that point, for us, it was a turn left to the Marina Tramuntana. All very smart these days with a high-end restaurant in the middle surrounded by the fishing fleet and their drying nets.
The car parking here is run by the Ports Authority which means you pay for parking (if you can negotiate their clever machines) seven days a week until 9 pm. So many are caught out by this because car parking away from the sea front in the Puerto is delivered on a different scale by the Town Hall. La Base Bar sits on the furthest end of the dock just before you fall into the sea. Open for locals, visitors and yachties alike from 7 pm every day.
Santa Catalina Barrio is a favourite for many looking to buy or rent long term. All the charm and delight of your own fishing village is here in this very proud neighbourhood. They are passionate about the sea, fishing, traditions and fiestas. Local politics and the protection of Puerto Soller is high on their agenda. No film set village here but a new generation living the slightly updated life of generations gone before. Come and see for yourselves what I am describing – it is all waiting for you.