26 Oct Laura Marcos Bagshaw in Mallorca
We moved to Mallorca in August 2013. Previously we had been in Barcelona since 2006. We were living just outside of Barcelona on the Maresme Coast and we moved to Mallorca because my husband is from the island and his whole family live here. We decided to make our lives easier by having family nearby – my family are all in UK. Also, the family own a British school on the island and we wanted our daughters to go to it, as well as being able to grow up near their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles here.
We live in a lovely small town called Santa Maria del Cami. It is close to Palma but surrounded by beautiful countryside, vineyards and a stunning mountain range. It has the charm of a traditional Mallorcan village with a lively Sunday market. The area is a wine growing region too which is always a draw!!!! We chose the town as it is ideally located for us. It is near to the children’s school and close to Palma. We like living outside of the main city but within a short driving distance, so we have the best of both worlds. I like bringing up my children in a place where there is a community feel, which Santa Maria has.
Our move to the island was very smooth but I think there are two main reasons for this. Firstly we had already lived in Spain for nearly 8 years so it was not a huge culture shock coming to Mallorca and secondly, my husband is from Mallorca and his family are here so it has been a kind of home from home for us over the years and obviously a very familiar place for our children. Our 2 eldest daughters were 5 and 2 when we moved. They settled in very quickly – they were young enough to be able to adapt easily. Meeting other parents from school helps enormously when moving to a new place.
Our social life revolves mostly around the international community but we like to get involved in the local traditions and fiestas. Our neighbours, most of whom are locals from Santa Maria, are very friendly and love telling us about the place.
Our girls go to The Academy, a private British school in Marratxi, not far from Palma. My mother in law founded the school in the 1980s. It is an excellent school and very popular; and whilst I am of course biased I can see how happy my girls are there. It is a very unique school as it is a family business and you can tell that from the minute you walk into the grounds. It is on an old Mallorcan farm – originally the family’s home – and the beautiful grounds and environment in which to learn are really lovely. it is a very nurturing school focusing on the individual talents of the pupils. For me, the fact that the local schools teach in Catalan is too limiting in the international world we live in. I also dont like the rote learning system used in Spanish schools and the amount of homework given at such a young age. On a good note, private nurseries and schools are generally more affordable here compared to the UK.
The main differences between life on the mainland and life on an island are that in order to go anywhere you have to literally ‘get off the island’ – be it by boat or by plane. But to go further afield a connecting flight is normally inevitable – direct flights aren’t available to many places. Also, having lived in big cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and London for many years, I got used to a certain anonymity. Here on the island there is no such thing!! There is a huge international community and everyone seems to know everyone else – I bump into people wherever I go; at the supermarket, in the city, at the airport, at the beach. But that’s not always bad thing!!
Since moving here we have had a third daughter. She was born just 4 months ago and she is absolutely delightful! It’s wonderful for us to have a little baby in the family again and her big sisters adore her. Life however is bonkers with 3 children – full on – but to be honest it was pretty busy with two so the more the merrier I guess! And with a third baby she really does just have to slot in as there is so much going on with the other children. Nap times just happen wherever and whenever around the twice daily school run. Evenings are ‘interesting’ at the moment – trying to juggle feeding a baby, dinner for the bigger girls, homework, bathtime and bedtime can be a challenge but you can only do your best hey!
I think children have a pretty amazing life here. Children are an integral part of Spanish society and they are welcomed everywhere. They can play outside pretty much every day of the year. I do think kids activities and sports clubs start too late here but that’s the Spanish way of life. I was at a soft play park recently and I noticed it closed at 10pm!
On the negative side, I do think the school day is too long in Spanish schools – 9 to 5pm and I think they are set too much homework from a young age. I would like to see more modern park equipment…a couple have cropped up locally recently which is brilliant. They have soft flooring and plastic slides so less hard falls and no burnt bottoms on scorching metal slides in the heat of the summer!
I couldn’t live without the beautiful beaches and countryside on the island and of course, the weather. I love the fact you can be outside so much with so many brilliant places to go to. I also couldn’t live without a nice cold glass of cava with a paella lunch by the sea. Heaven!