On a cross street from La Rambla, among restaurants, cafes and shops, Björn and Carina Arkhult own a small apartment. From the balcony you can see the narrow streets and alleys between the church and beautiful buildings. A staircase leads up to two of Palma’s most popular bars, Babel and Café L’Antiquari.
– I really like these stairs. The atmosphere is great in the evening. People are socializing and the street musicians are playing. There is something about it that reminds me a bit of the Spanish steps in Rome, Carina says and laughs.
Her husband Björn agrees.
–There are a lot of street musicians around here. Sometimes the music is so amazing that I just go down to sit and listen. But sometimes I sit on the balcony and enjoy the music from there.
At eleven o’clock the music stops. After that, the musicians are not allowed to play.
It is a wonderful contrast between day and night. The buzz and noise during the day, the peace and quiet at night.
An apartment without maintenance
Björn and Carina travel a lot and they have children and grandchildren in both Sweden and Australia, so they knew from the start that they wanted an apartment that did not require much maintenance. A home where they can come and go as they please.
– We call this our little Mallorca hub, Carina says with a smile.
The apartment is a studio of 25 square meters and is decorated all according to the rules of compact living. There is storage space high and low and furniture that is easy to move around. A curtain attached to the ceiling separates the sleeping area from the kitchen and the office.
– Sure, it’s small, but we live in the center and have the entire city as our living room.
The Palma cuisine right outside the door
Björn looks down at the street from the small balcony and sees the owner of one of the popular bars down the street.
– “Francois! Buenos dias!”, he shouts and waves to the man who is about to get the terrace furniture in order.
The restaurants and cafes in the area are more or less an extension of their own kitchen.
– We only eat breakfast at home, then we usually go out to eat. The choices are so many in this area.
Sometimes the nearby coffee shops also work as a temporary office.
– The wifi in the apartment is so strong that I can sit down the street at one of the cafés and still be connected. That way I can take the job with me, says Björn.
Experienced “the real” Mallorca
Before 1997 Björn had never been to Mallorca and was under the impression that it was a touristic charter island, but during an EU project in that year he was given the opportunity to visit the island and was also guided by students from the Art Academy.
– I got to see another side of Mallorca, they showed me the “real” Mallorca, and I loved it! I felt immediately that I wanted to bring my wife here.
And he did. Again and again. Björn and Carina visited Mallorca every year after that. In the beginning they rented various apartments through Rent a Home. They started thinking about buying an apartment but decided to research the island thoroughly before they did.
– We did not want not to buy something right away, we wanted to make sure we knew what we were looking for, Carina says.
Björn and Carina reasoned their way to where they wanted to live and figured that “either you live by the beach and go to the city, or you live in the city and go to the beach”.
– And since we spend more time in Palma than we do on the beach, it seemed like the natural choice to live here.
When they found the apartment in the central part of the Old Town, they knew it was the place for them. It was small, central and newly renovated.
– We want it to be as easy as possible, Carina says. When we leave, we just lock the door until we come back the next time. We do not need to worry about anything.
Palma by foot or bike
While Carina and Björn go to Mallorca every spring, summer and autumn they never get tired of what the island has to offer.
– We discover new things every time we come here. New restaurants, new markets and new villages and places to visit. You just cannot get bored!
The flower market in Costitx is a favorite. They also spend a lot of time at the Tennis Club in Santa Catalina, where they swim, do yoga or just eat a nice lunch and meet friends.
– We really like the way of living here, and that everything is so close. You can get around almost anywhere in Palma on foot or by bike.
Text: Maria Strömqvist
Photo: Ida Carlsson