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G + 15 : Saracen Towers Back Again

The Bay of Foradada which we visited today - The drop-off is quite steep

When sailing into Soller Harbour yesterday, we noticed the Saracen Towers again which kept us company on the trips from Genoa to Apulia in 2020 and 2021 respecitvely. The Italian and Corsican coasts are dotted with them. They were watch towers agains the Ottoman Corsairs under Admiral Heyrettin Barbarossa who showed up unexpectedly with 30 to 60 galleys to raid an island, village or town. These 6'000 to 12'000 men could easily sack any settlement that was not heavily fortified. The corsairs raided the Spanish lands around the Mediterranean mainly in the 16th century. French possessions were exempt since France was in a strategic alliance with the Ottoman Empire. We did not see any Saracen Towers on the French Riviera over the last two weeks.

Saracen Tower near Port d'Andratx in the South-West of Mallorca

People living around the Mediterranean were not rich. Wealth was concentrated in a few large towns like Rome, Naples, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. The Saracens though did not come for stealing goods. They preyed on people to sell them in the slave markets in Northern Africa. They wanted boys for the Mameluke armies, girls for harems, women of all ages as house maids and men as galley slaves. Men opposing were decapitated. Older people were left behind without food for starvation and telling the horror story of the raid.

Saracen Tower to the Noth of Soller Harbour

The Saracen towers were tall and well fortified - they could not simply be taken. The entrance 10 meters above ground. The towers were permanently manned by 3 or 4 people who could alert the population. People would then drop everything and flee inland until they reached one of the Spanish castles that would give them shelter. The stories about fights around these Saracen Towers are legendary. Often the Ottoman pirates tried to sneak up on them at night whilst their galleys were waiting behind the horizon. Not many attacks succeed. The system was usually effective. The number of raids dropped sharply where Saracen Towers guarded the coast. Raiding empty villages netted no slaves so the Ottoman Corsairs sailed to easier and more lucrative targets.

View from the Terrace Shoulder down to our Bay - the Picture is from Google Earth

We left Soller Port before 8 am. Our destination for tonight was Port d'Andratx where we are going to meet a few friends from our banking days. On the way we stopped at the Bay of Mirador de sa Foradada. The casa and hotel were about 250 meters above sea level. After the Paella last night, we thought it was a good idea to exerciser a bit and walk up there. Took one hour up and one hour down. So totally worth it. The view from there was spectacular. The Tramontana mountain must get a lot of rain during winter. After the steep ascent, there were "trough shoulder" like terraces one finds in once glacierized Alpine valleys. The terraces were full of fruit and olive trees.

The Olives are not ripe yet - they lack Water - it must

be raining in September and October

There were lots of people crossing our path on the way up. They came by car for a day trip to the Tramontana coast. Not surprisingly, we heard a lot of German. There are about 30 million visitors every year in Mallorca, a good 5 million of them from Germany. They come here since the early 1970s. Mallorca has 20'000 permanent German resident. What made it possible were cheap charter flights that were offered first from Dortmund and than from many other German cities.

The Coast around Foradada is rough and beautiful

These holidays were extremely popular. The Germans benefited from the "Wirtschafts-wunder" after the Second World War. They were tired to spend a full day in a car on the

motorway to reach the Adria. Word got around. More and more Germans joined the trend. The Mallorquins spotted the business opportunity and started learning German. Visitors from England form the 2nd larges tourist group. The service industry is now entirely tried-lingual. It is not rare to meet a waiter or taxi driver who fluently speak all three languages. Want to eat German food here? No problem. German beer? No problem either.

By 5 pm we arrived at Port d'Andratx - we just came for a look. We want to stay outside

We finished the day by anchoring in a bay close to Port d'Andratx. It was full of local boats - entire families took their ship out for a Sunday on the water. it will be quiet though tonight. Since 5 pm, the boats start returning. We stay and look forward to Spaghetti Vongole and Sangria made by our chef Cleo - with white wine instead of red.

Our Bay for Staying Tonight. As I write this Blog, most Boats return to Port d'Andratx

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