My trip to Silvana Mallorca, at the foothills of the magnificent Serra Tramuntana mountains was somewhat unexpected. The opportunity came at short notice, and I thought: ‘Yes why not, I’d love to escape this awful Yorkshire weather.’ It’d been a particularly dismal winter.
So one morning in late February, I left Manchester airport in the dark, cold and wet to board my flight to Palma. A few hours later as we flew through the clouds and I saw Mallorca below, my heart sang. I’d forgotten how beautiful the island is and I became overwhelmed with the bright light and glorious sunshine.
Jacqueline Abbott-Slade, who runs Silvana with her husband Martin, picked me up from Palma airport. We drove for about half an hour past old Mallorcan farms and orange orchards to a converted farmhouse near the village of Selva.
Jacqueline asked me: “What do you need Hannah, what would you like to do while you’re here?”
I realised I had no idea. All I knew, once I got there and felt the atmosphere, was that I wanted to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I really appreciated that we didn’t have a set timetable. I realised it had been years since I’d had the opportunity for a break without having a strict timetable to adhere to, it was so liberating.
So what did I do? Well, Jacqueline made casual suggestions for each day and we played it by ear – it was fantastic.
On first arrival, I immediately noticed the stillness of Silvana and the surrounding area. I could hear birds singing and trees blowing in the wind, and apart from that silence – no cars, no people, nothing. It had an instant calming effect on me.
A home away from home
There are various accommodation options at Silvana, I stayed in the newly renovated apartment adjacent to the main house and Jacqueline and Martin filled the fridge with delicious Mallorcan produce for me to enjoy. It’s a welcoming and homely space, with all the mod cons you’ll need and its own private balcony.
There’s a small stove in the living room and I spent each evening reading next to it. Listening to the crackling of burning wood gathered from the permaculture farm, and enjoying periods of reflection.
Jacqueline showed me around their extensive gardens, orchards and outdoor areas, including a pond teaming with wildlife and a meadow filled with unusual fruit trees and wildflowers. It reminded me in some ways of my childhood adventures growing up in the Pennines exploring old farms and nature spots. Yet there are numerous tropical plants, flowers and trees, native to Mallorca that fill the varied landscape.
One morning I ventured down to the bamboo grove, which is next to the river, and I sat there for a while meditating. I’d been struggling with my meditation practice for some time back at home. I found that in such a peaceful place it was very easy to disconnect from my thoughts and allow the experience to unfold. Another beautiful space is next to the pond, although there are so many peaceful, private places it was hard to choose.
There’s a purpose-built yoga studio underneath the apartment and I relished spending time practising my regular Hatha routine. Several different teachers for both Yoga and Pilates, are available on request at Silvana, if you’d like the opportunity for a directed private class.
I had a wonderful massage in the therapy room. Jacqueline is a massage therapist and reflexologist, with over 20 years of experience. It was a light massage that focuses on various energy points in the body. I had no idea how physically uptight I had become, I had been holding myself tightly and I felt my whole body slowly melting into the bed with relief at her touch.
Part of the family
Silvana is also a family home, Jacqueline and Martin have six children between them (although only one remains and the others have left the nest), and I could really feel the warmth of this. I felt like I was part of the family, they made me feel so welcome in such a kind and natural way. I felt safe, secure, welcome and considered.
So, in a nutshell, I spent time outdoors meditating and reading, I ate delicious food, I had a therapeutic massage, I practiced yoga, we went walking, and we went to a lovely vegan restaurant in Palma. All very simple but significant pleasures.
I found that I didn’t use my phone, or computer, I just didn’t want to. The call of Facebook and other social media, normally so powerful in my apartment back in the UK, no longer seduced me. I just wanted to be still, with the sun on my face, listening to the enchanting sounds of nature, and to just BE. I could do this and it was effortless.
I felt such an intensely deep connection to nature and back to myself whilst I was there, it was a truly invaluable experience and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I shall certainly be returning. I know that I have a place, where I can go and relax, be myself and find sanctuary.
Silvana Mallorca specialises in individual tailored retreats, couples retreats and can also facilitate small groups.
For more information please go to Silvanamallorca.com or email email@example.com