It’s siesta and I am sitting in the dappled shade that splits Calle Fabrica in two. You would be forgiven for thinking that Santa Catalina was anything other than sleepy but having already made one trip here this morning I know that this wondrous part of Palma has multiple personalities.
Earlier, this whole area, with its stunning in-door market at its heart, was a hive of activity emitting a contagious buzz. For some, this is a time to leisurely contemplate the day over endless coffees and with such a variety of breakfast options on offer, who could blame them, but for most, this is just the start of another working day.
The ‘criss-crossing’ streets of Santa Catalina with its jumbled up jigsaw buildings is a montage of contrasting colour, genre and ideas. Rustic railed balconies look down upon bistros and restaurants, as they jostle for position amongst, boutiques, funky furniture stores and chandlers; proof that this is indeed a living part of the city servicing both visitors and residents. Many of the street scenes are now common place across Europe and cafe culture in general but its Santa Catalina’s character that makes it stand out from the crowd. A character that is both traditional and international, chic and eccentric that allows you to plunge into its culinary diversity from sun up to sun down.
In the market alone one can indulge in oysters, sushi, traditional breads, local cheeses and fare as well as tapas from ‘stand up’ tapas bars . At a weekend the crowds from the market’s bars can swell and spill out into the street, increasing in numbers as they merge with other groups from surrounding cafes and bars. Spontaneous and relaxed, the streets soon adopt an impromptu carnival air.
In a few hours Calle Fabrica will be a sea of determined bodies looking to satisfy their thirst, hunger and curiosity but at the moment the only suggestion that Santa Catalina may have an alter ego hiding behind its doors and shutters is the music that is now dripping down from the terrace above me. Somehow though the ‘Stones seem way too energetic in this afternoon heat but as if it were a signal, signs of life begin to appear from the dormant doorways as preparation starts for the long evening ahead.
It’s only once its streets are illuminated one can appreciate just how colourful the Santa Catalina menu on offer actually is; with a globetrotting choice that embraces foods of the world as well as traditional and new Spanish cuisine. The alternatives are such that you could easily have a starter in one, main in another and dessert elsewhere with a few drinks and cocktails in between and still not have blisters from your new holiday shoes.
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