AGM 2013

UIB 2012 – John Parkhill 

The UNESCO World Heritage Site: Majorca’s Serra de Tramuntana 

Summer School at University of Palma: 2-7 September 2012


 Sunday 2 September 

Evening Get together

 An ice breaker session was held with all students split into groups. This has always been a feature of previous summer schools but this year was particularly enjoyable as the various tasks and activities were more fun but still effective. 

During the week of the school, 2 new types of activity had been arranged for the students: -


·         The groups set up for the ice breaker session had to perform a group sketch later in the week in front of everyone, incorporating a list of words issued which were relevant to the school’s theme

·         A competition sheet was also issued to everyone which had to be completed on an individual basis and returned, the subject was  the Mallorquin language and phonetic alphabet


Monday 3 September 

Formal opening of the summer school with a presentation on the Serra de Tramuntana. Dr Montserrat Casas (Rector of Palma University) made a brief speech as did Dr Carme Orte (Director of the programme). This year, transcripts of these speeches were issued to all students. Dr Orte urged that all students should participate in the various activities and that we should be travellers and not just tourists to the area. 

This was followed by a recital from the senior choir. A short reception was held immediately afterwards in the gardens of Son Lledo. 

There was free time during the day and in the evening a guided tour of the old city of Palma took place ending with a visit to the art gallery of La Caixa to view the work of Camarassa, a local painter who had studied in Paris but returned to Majorca. 

Evening Get together 

A demonstration of Balle de Botte and other local Majorcan dances was given including traditional costumes and all students performed some of the various dances.


Tuesday 4 September 

We were taken by bus to do a short walk in almost the middle of the Serra de Tramuntana range near Lluc. No sooner had we started the walk after leaving the bus in the car park and passed the restaurant, when unfortunately it started to rain. However we persevered but after about an hour the rain got heavier and we returned to the restaurant for hot coffee, chocolate and in some cases a “reviver”.

The bus then took us to the Sanctuary and Church of Lluc where we had our lunch and spent time in the Sanctuary, church and museum. 

We also visited the Interpretive Centre where a number of audio-visual presentations gave an excellent overview of the natural and cultural heritage of the Serra de Tramuntana and lasted some 2 hours.

Evening Get together

This was the Scottish Night, which had been agreed with Barbara Ordinas and now seems to be quite an institution at the summer school. 

The entire Strathclyde group brings something to the “table” literally, whisky, Drambuie, various sweets and biscuits and a large selection of small souvenir gifts for the other delegates and our hosts.

The highlight of this night has always been the Scottish dancing display but now includes the participation of just about everyone. This year we did even more dancing than usual and managed to get almost everyone up by exchanging partners.

A special feature, which emerged last year and continued this, is the poetry and singing recitals given and special mention, thanks and congratulations have to be given to Stevy and Mary Reilly in particular, for their superb contribution.

Wednesday 5 September 

The day started with a classroom lecture on the relationship of the Archduke Louis Salvador of Austria with the island of Majorca. A member of the local Archduke Society, Dr Carlo V Grignano di San Carlo y Brebbia, presented it. He also gave each attending university, a poster-sized portrait of the Archduke and I collected this on behalf of Strathclyde University.

Lunch was taken in Valldemossa en route to visit the Monastery of Mirimar, which was the first estate acquired by the Archduke. After visiting the buildings with a guide who gave a talk on the estate, we took a short walk to one of the viewpoints (miradores) established by him, so that people could have a view of the sea and land to enhance their experience of the area. 

Evening Get together

Tonight we were guests for a Mallorquin evening and our hosts provided superb hospitality with traditional foodstuffs and wines, songs and stories.  

Thursday 6 September 

Today we took a bus to the most south westerly point of Majorca and then a boat to the isle of Dragonera, which was once attached to Majorca and is really one end of the Serra. This is a nature reserve on which no one is permitted to live; even the wardens effectively work office hours.

We were given a talk on the island before walking to a viewpoint in the north east of the isle and you could see where it had once been joined to Majorca.

Lunch was had picnic style, together with a swim or paddle in the clear water of the harbour or beach area before getting the last boat back.

Evening Get together 

Yes, yet another social evening, how can we maintain our stamina? 

If last night was good this was even better and hosted by the Spanish delegates and their honorary members from Sheffield University. More traditional food, more traditional wines but a brief lecture before tasting, more local liqueurs and some most enjoyable culture by way of songs and recitations. 

Each group performed their sketch, all different but very entertaining and showed how much participation there was. 

By this time, not of the night but the week, it was certainly wearily to bed. For future seminars it should be stated not to bring a book as you will not be able, never mind have the time to read. It is a summer school with a cultural and social programme, a very social programme

Friday 7 September 

The last day. Where did the week go?

We started with a classroom lecture on the dry stone walls of the Serra. You will never look at a dry stane dyke in Scotland in the same way again nor will you think we have the monopoly on this type of construction. 

Just time to have a coffee or something in the excellent student restaurant, cafeteria does not do it justice, before onto the bus and we head for the far north of the island and Pollenca. 

Here we had a guided tour of the town centre followed by lunch, before having to make an individual decision of which of the afternoon’s activities to do. Either be dropped off to spend the afternoon in the Port of Pollenca (shopping, cafes, and relaxation), or continue on the bus to see the northern most tip of the island, Cap Formentor. 

Much as the siren call of the Port appealed, a number of us opted to go the extra miles and were well rewarded. The bus dropped us a relatively short walk to the viewpoint where we were at the very north of Majorca and the other end of the Serra de Tramuntana. 

If you have followed this narrative then amongst all the various activities, you will note that a number of us have been at both ends and the middle of the Serra de Tramuntana. It would be lovely to go back at some point and see the other bits in between but just to experience this worthy World Heritage Site in the sun and rain has made it truly an experience.  

The Serra de Tramuntana really does belong to us all. 

After these heady sights, it was back on the bus to collect the others from the Port to go to the sports centre in Pollenca for a shower and change of clothes, before the reception in the Town Hall in Pollenca. The Mayor and other dignitaries greeted us and we were presented with our graduation certificates. The certificates may not be of degree or doctorate status, they are however a worthy acknowledgement for the recipients of a Summer School at Palma University. 

A brief social period, wine and more food before back on the bus to return to the Residencia.

Evening Get together

The last one. Here we were greeted to, and do not think for one minute it is getting boring, really the best spread of the week. A buffet on the terrace, tables set, wine poured and the delegates looked after like royalty by the UIB student team, Liberto, Lluc, Maria, Laura and Seide AND Barbara Ordinas (programme organiser) and Carme Orte. 

Now, you will remember my earlier comment about the individual competition, a copy. I am pleased to say that out of the 5 prizes, which were all the same, first, second and third were taken by Peter Cairns, John Parkhill and Anne Cairns respectively, with fourth and fifth going to Cipriano and Blanca. 

At the end of the evening (and in the morning) it was not so much farewells but rather,” hopefully next year…….?”.





Mallorca - Summer University for Older People
University of the Balearics  (UIB)

To view UIB photos of this event click here



Campus of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB)

4 September – 10 September 2011

The theme of this year’s fourth Summer Senior University was ‘Gastronomy and Culture of the Balearic Islands’. This offered an interesting recipe of learning experiences and social opportunities for the entire group of fifty four students from different European countries. The programme consisted of a menu of workshops and excursions, bringing together the old ways of food production and the new science and technology approach of grape crops and wine in the fascinating workshop presented by UIB’s Dr Hipólito Medrano. The workshop was about a native grape variety called Malmsey: Rescuing an old Majorcan Malmsey. ‘Malvasia de Banyalbufar’.

This native grape variety, had over many years, been attacked by multiple grapevine virus. Applying biotechnology by ‘in vitro’ meristem tip culture under aseptic conditions enabled different explants and later potted plants to be obtained over a three year period.

A European certficate of virus free plants was awarded. The grape crop is now under expansion and contributing to the landscape recovery in the Serra Nord area. This workshop went on to explore the aromas and flavours of wine through a tasting session.

The group enjoyed the rich cultural heritage of the Catalan language and a demostration of ‘ball de bot ’- a typical folk dance of Majorca along with sampling the flavours and aromas of locally produced wine, oil and pork, all of which sustain local employment and the economy of the area.

The official inauguration of the Senior University was delivered by Dr. Montserrat Casas, Chancellor of the University of the Balearic Islands and Dr Carmen Orte, Director of the Open University for Seniors and the finale took the form of an entertaining concert performance given by the senior choir of the UIB.

The ‘Route of Wine’ included an excursion to the farm house and traditional cellar of Son Vives located in Banyalbufar in the Tramuntana Mountains. This was an opportunity for students to extend their understanding of locally produced wines while contemplating the beautiful sunset with a full glass in hand! http://www.skybluemallorca.com/public/Son_Vives_Wine_Estate.cfm

The ‘Route of Oil’ took the students on an excursion to Fornalutx and an opportunity to view the oldest olive groves on the Island. In Fornalutx the students visited the oil mill of Can Xoroi, which was recently restored by the Consell de Mallorca. http://www.ajfornalutx.net/)

The excursion continued on to Caimari where there was an excellent guided tour of a modern industrial oil mill accompanied by an explanation Majorcan olive oil production. It was interesting to note that during the production process all parts of the olive were used in an eco-friendly way thus eliminating any waste products. http://www.soncatiu.com/

Maridages and Tasting : Porcella, Sobrassada, Ensaimadas UIB lecturer, Jaime Jaume led the absorbing workshop on Black Pork which was followed by an excursion to a free-range Black Pig farm and further learning about the extensive production system. To round off the ‘Route of Pork’ the students wished each other a bon appetite! as they enjoyed a delicious meal of local cuisine ‘porcella’ - roasted pork accompanied by local wines and excellent company.

Other learning tasters included an excursion to Felanitx and the factory at Can Manxa where the sobrassada sausage and other typical products are made. This concluded with a hands-on practical workshop for aspiring cooks on making ensaimadas. These two ingredients added zest to the learning on maridages and tasting. http://www.canmanxa.com/

Olivar Market The final day of the week-long activities brought a guided tour of the Olivar Market and an

an opportunity to savour the typical Majorcan products on sale along with lots of food for thought on what local delights to purchase.

A Celebrity in the Making: Jim Rafferty was again in demand when he was filmed for Palma TV. Jim has become the Scottish and Spanish voice and face of the UIB Senior University and a wonderful ambassador for the 3Ls.

Graduation Ceremony The closing session of the Fourth International Summer Senior University was held in the beautiful Son Lledó’s Gardens, where the students were presented with their Diplomas and the winner of the UIB gymkhana was announced-the Unicorn Group had won the challenge!

Farewell Dinner The dinner was a cold buffet consisting of a splendid selection of locally produced meats,cheese and vegetables accompanied by white and red wines and a sharing of final ‘good byes’and the parting of friends old and new.

Graduation Ceremony: Diploma Awards

A Vote of Thanks on behalf of the University of Strathclyde was delivered by Stevy Reilly and translated by Jim Rafferty. Stevy thanked all the staff and their helpers at the UIB, for a wonderful programme of lifelong learning opportunities and as always their tremendous hospitality. To the 54 fellow students from across Europe he expressed thanks for their company, friendship and kindness.

Vote of thanks: Stevy Reilly and Jim Rafferty

To view the UIB gallery of photographs log on to:


Thanks also goes to Alix McDonald, Community Engagement Manager, at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, for supporting and facilitating the 3Ls participation in this enriching and unique learning experience.

Dr Carmen Orte: Director OU Seniors, UIB