For me, arriving in an unknown place is intimidating. I do a LOT of homework in advance and usually know how to get myself to the first hotel and whether I need a citycard or transport pass. Typically, I usually even know what sites I want to see. But I know I look like a deer in headlights when I get off the plane/train and search for the exits. I resemble a whole family of deer in headlights as I look outside for the local bus or way to the metro. And once I start walking to reach the spot where luggage and I will sleep, it might as well be the whole herd.
That’s why I LOVE hoho (hop-on/hop-off) tourist buses. I acclimate to the entire area on a round-trip ticket and it’s usually the first thing I choose to do. I rarely get off on the initial circuit and since the ticket is good for a whole day, I make maximum use of it by getting to the sites I don’t want to walk to as the day progresses.
In the case of Palma, for just a few more euros, I could get a two day ticket on the hoho bus. I’m glad I did because the entire circuit was about 2 1/2 hours long, partially because of two sites that were outliers. One was the Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro, a smallish museum partially housed in the structures Miro used for his studios. He and his wife were residents of Palma and active in that community for over 30 years…Pilar was Mallorcan and Joan had Mallorcan roots but was born in Barcelona.
To be honest, I am no fan of Miro. Until last year, I thought the artist was a woman and until now, I thought the name was pronounced like the “Joan” in Joan of Arc. On my sightseeing list, this place had the lowest priority, the highest admission price, and the most distant location. Despite all this, I decided on that very first hoho run to jump off and take a look, justifying it because I didn’t want to have to come this far again if I ran out of other sightseeing things to do and felt an obligation.
So, the somewhat surrealist male artist Joan (pronounced like the Spanish “Juan”) Miro did much more than paint weird canvases. His “doodles”, which are no better than a kindergartener’s stick figures, can fetch thousands of dollars. His sculptures, also bizarre, focus a lot on women, birds, and moons maybe? Hard to tell. He “fell” into lithography and experimented in that media until deciding to move to concrete, textiles, and drawing on the walls of his studios. Unconventional doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I’m glad I went. I learned a lot and I like that. I confirmed I don’t like Miro’s art. I concluded I don’t understand Miro’s art. I took a lot more photos than I thought. I would have bought a postcard collage if it was on sale. And then I hopped back on the hoho and listened to the earbud narrative while being blown to smithereens on the top deck as we traveled along the port road. It was a great beginning.
Check out my photos and my choice of captions for various Miro works below.