Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Friday 3 May 2019 - Back in Timperley

I left readers last night, shortly before our visit to Stay, and after forgetting to mention Dot's successful AMD trip to Manchester.... no injection required - next visit to Tariq in a month's time. Great...

I've taken this opportunity to insert a map of yesterday's 13.5 km route, and a couple of snaps taken in Stay restaurant.

We've had an uneventful journey home, where it has been damp enough for the foliage to come on apace.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Thursday 2 May 2019 - The Alcúdia Peninsula

Annoyingly, I've just found the missing draft from yesterday. Duh! Hopefully today's entry won't take so long!

The forecast of cloudy weather drew Sue and me to the lower summits of the Alcúdia peninsula. A combination of walks 2 and 3 in the Cicerone guide, amounting to 13.5 km, with about 1000 metres ascent, and taking about five and a half hours.

Meanwhile, Robert and Lyn enjoyed a 40 mile bike ride from Sa Pobla.

After a cool start from a parking area near the coast just before a sign telling us it was 300 metres to Bar S'Illot, fleeces were soon removed. 

Almost immediately we noticed lots of Wild Mallorcan (aka 'Quality') Goats. They are brown animals, always horned, and a little smaller than domestic goats that have turned wild. The Billies have fine twisted horns and long, thick beards.

After a gentle ascent to Coll de na Benet the 100% humidity triggered drops of light rain for a while. Today's second picture shows the path to the Coll, with the summit of Talaia d'Alcúdia showing high on the left.

We paused for lunch just after passing below the minor summit of Puig des Boc. Crips and sardines. A bit of a come down from our cycling fare. 

Despite the mist, there were lots of people on this hill today. An excellent winding path soon saw us to the summit of Talaia d'Alcúdia, where we lingered for some time in a sheltered spot after taking a selfie, just above a watch tower. 

There were mountain bikers traversing this 446 metre peak. Quite a few of them. Not one of them was actually cycling. This  must be one of Mallorca's few mountain biking areas, though given that they were all pushing or carrying their bikes we questioned why they were bothering.

Our traverse took us down a steep, rocky path to a gravel track. At a hairpin bend on this track, a thin path led to a viewpoint from below Penya Roja, from where the bottom picture was taken. By now the weather had cheered up and the summits were free from cloud.

After this taste of Walk 2 in the Cicerone guide, we returned the same way to continue with Walk 3, past the Ermita de la Victòria, where refreshments may be available, and thence along a pleasant narrow path to a busy youth camp near where the car was parked.

That left us plenty of time to return home, enjoy beer and tea in no particular order, and get ready for a meal out at Stay restaurant. (It's a tradition.)

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Wednesday 1 May 2019 - The Manacor/Arta Circuit

First draft disappeared again, so I'm having to change the modus operandi. This entry will be brief, the first effort having been lost.

On another lovely day, we managed to rendezvous with Robert and Lyn at Manacor. Just as well, as our bikes were better suited for travel in the back of their big van than in our Hyundai 120. We hadn't realised it was a public holiday today, and together with lots of others Sue and I got trapped on the wrong side of Alcudia by roads closed for a bike race, delaying our rendezvous by half an hour or so.

After setting off, we managed to cycle about 150 metres before caffeine deprivation caused us to pause at the station café. Very nice it was too.

Our route to Arta was along quiet undulating lanes, steadily rising to a high point before a final thrilling 5 km plunge to our destination.

Chirping birds accompanied us all the way. Sadly we couldn't see them, let alone identify them. The flowers that littered the verges were plentiful and easier to identify. By way of example, poppies and broomrape are shown in the top two pictures.

Lunch at Lamardevin in Arta was excellent, in a quiet garden at the rear of the property.

Then we embarked on the 29 km journey back to Manacor along a disused railway line that we've ridden on several previous occasions. The gravel track is slower going than tarmac, but more enjoyable. Sue, Lyn and Robert are pictured on the track.

As is usual on this ride, we stopped at Bar VB in Sant Llorenç for some welcome ice creams. By now, the locals were becoming slightly inebriated! Today's final picture shows the scene in Sant Llorenç's main square.

After that it was an easy ride along the gravel track back to Manacor, where Robert skilfully navigated us back to the van and our car. On the gravel track I nearly ran over a small snake.

Today's ride covered about 58 km with 500 metres ascent, taking around 7 hours.

Sadly the bikes have now been returned to Rent March. We've enjoyed tumbet (like ratatouille with potatoes on top) and pork fillet for supper. The wine and beer stocks have been further depleted.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Tuesday 30 April 2019 - A Bike Ride from Port de Pollença

This was Sue's first bike ride on Mallorca. I think she enjoyed it. Her bike was hired for just one day, but it hasn't been returned. She's using it again tomorrow. 

We chose a scenic, low level, route of about 87 km, with 900 metres ascent, taking nearly 9 hours, including some lengthy breaks. The sun shone intermittently throughout, and despite one or two seriously dark clouds, we avoided any rain.

Having picked up hybrid hired bikes from Rent March (€46 for two good bikes for two days), we set off along familiar lanes to the church of Sant Miguel near Campanet. The mountains on which we are just as likely to be found provided a fine backdrop for the first picture of the day.

Continuing through Campanet to Moscari, following minor roads that resemble English country lanes, we paused for coffees after about 26 km.

More minor roads took us through Binibona, Caimari and Mancor, before we skidded to a halt at the excellent Bar Mayorga in Biniamar. Beers etc and luxurious cheese and Parma ham baguettes, shown in the second picture, set us back €22. No wonder the place was busy. 'Menu of the Day' looked excellent. A smart kitten spent a long time coercing Sue into feeding it slivers of cheese from my discarded crusts.

From this roughly half way point, we headed back in an anticlockwise loop through Lloseta and Inca to Sa Pobla, a pleasant town with narrow streets and a main square full of schoolchildren on a 'book day'.

Here, the Placavuit café supplied tea, coffee and cake on what turned out to be another long break. Great chocolate cake.

A short section of not so pleasant main road deposited us at an entrance to the Parc Naturel de s'Albufera, where the gravel tracks made for a good contrast with the earlier tarmac.

We mounted a viewpoint above the trees and watched bird life and adventurous cows. Egrets, Kites, Kestrels, various Gulls, Pigeons, Swifts, Swallows and other birds of prey were seen from this elevated position.

Back at ground level we continued slowly through the park. We were delighted to spot a rare Crested Coot, communing with a bog standard Coot, from one of the bridges over a wetland channel. As I was unable to get a good picture of the coot, I took one looking back to the mountains in the west of the island. See third picture down.

Flowers don't move like birds, and since there are no wild haggi here (they thrive on orchids) we went on a hunt for more camera fodder in the form of orchids. As usual in this particular spot, Bee Orchids were soon discovered - see bottom picture.

Then it was off to Alcudia and thence to home, via pleasant back lanes and Rent March.

Back at base, after the obligatory beers, vegetable curry dominated the evening.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Monday 29 April 2019 - The Bóquer Valley

We started the day with an excellent breakfast at Hotel d'es Puig, which we reccomend, then a climb to the church in Deià. The church wasn't open, but Robert Graves, poet and novelist who died here in 1985 at the age of 90, lies in the cemetery and a large group was admiring his gravestone.

From here we got a good view of yesterday's route, particularly the descent from Puig Caragoli. This is the section of mountainside directly above Sue's head in the top picture.

The canon may be in working order, but given the names of many places in Mallorca, the Arab invasion was completed some time ago.

An easy scenic drive to Port de Pollença brought us to the familiar sight of Edificio Mar, where we enjoyed elevenses with Robert, Lyn, Chris and Gerry, before adjourning for a long lunch at El Posito.

Chris and Gerry, having been kicked out of their room by me and Sue, then got the bus to Palma; Robert and Lyn went for a bike ride, and Sue and I strolled back to Edificio Mar, past luxury boats in the harbour (third picture).

We then summoned the energy for a 6 km stroll with all of 200 metres ascent, up the Bóquer Valley to Cala Bóquer. The fourth picture shows the view over the bay. Unusually, the place was deserted, apart from a few goats.

After lingering over attempts to identify a diving bird, we returned by the same route. Last time we walked this route I managed to find the only bit of damp for miles around, and I returned covered in mud. This time my injuries were consistent with a headlong dive on a steep gravel path...

There's debate about the curry planned for dinner. We are all still full of lunch. How about a bit of salad

Sunday 28 April 2019 - The Archduke's Path from Deià

I've just accidentally discarded this almost complete posting, so please excuse the brevity!

This was one of the best day's walks we have had on Mallorca, a really brilliant day out.

The top two pictures were taken on the ascent through sun dappled forest past charcoal burners' sitjas and beehive shaped bread ovens to a col, Col de s'Estret, where we enjoyed a first lunch.

The charcoal burners left over 100 years ago, so it was quiet here - just a few Germans to chat with.

We then ignored a 'permit required' sign and took a 3.5 km excursion on a loop that included the third picture, of the Archduke's magnificent path, and drew us over Talaia Vella, a 871 metre summit topped with a shuttered rifugio, then past a trig point at 858 metres to a Mirador with a fine view down to Valldemossa some 400 metres below us.

The rest of this extra loop was through pleasant mixed woodland, full of chirpy chaffinches. Two young goats strolled past, intent on finding tasty foliage.

After a second lunch at the same bench, we continued along the Archduke's Path, hugging the crest of a rocky ridge, all the way to a 925 metre summit, one of several visited today, Puig Caragoli. Site of today's final picture. There were numerous folk on this section of path. A large bird of prey circled ominously overhead.

The descent to Deià isn't recommended in poor weather, and even in today's 'perfect' conditions the cloud came down for a while after we had got down. 

We made the mistake of blindly following another group, instead of relying on our guide book's instructions. One of that group questioned where he was at the same time as I did. Having the map, and our exact position, on the phone was a great help. Sue and I retraced our steps to an obvious point where two cairns indicated the route over a band of rocks. Our friend from the other group was left to chase after his errant friends. We hope they got down ok.

After that it was relatively straightforward if you meticulously followed the cairns.

Weissbier o'clock was soon after 5pm and was most welcome, as were our salads and a bottle of house rosé at Pamboleria Can Javi a bit later.

Today's walk was a little over 17 km, taking us 7.5 hours. I reckon about 1100 metres ascent. Viewranger gives 5000 feet of ascent, but I think that's a bit high.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Saturday 27 April 2019 - "Three Villages + One Thundering Great Climb"

Charles Davis, in his "Walk! Mallorca" book, pulls no punches in naming walk number 10, which starts from Soller.

Jet2's 6.30 flight from Manchester, and some not so Thrifty car hire strategy that beat the queues, got Sue and me and our hand luggage to the sun drenched main square of Sóller by noon, even after losing an hour to Spain.

We sat outside a restaurant with bowls full of tasty tapas, recalling our last visit here, when we received a drenching of a different kind.

The walk is pretty straightforward. If you follow the instructions. We failed on this count and took 'an alternative route' to the Camí de s'Alzina Fumadora. That was fine until we caught sight of our objective, the C-710 road, but had to struggle over fences and through a thicket to reach it.

We had enjoyed ice creams in the square at Fornalutx, a nice village full of overweight cyclists, and had passed orchards bulging with oranges and lemons. 

Eventually we reached the road, where a left turn took us down to the Mirador de ses Barques, a fine viewpoint high above Port de Sóller. The top picture was taken from here.

Our route back to Sóller took us through Biniaraix, a hamlet with an attractive main square. (Second picture.)

Having encountered very few people thus far, the final stroll into Sóller was littered with other walkers. We passed the fine church in the main square for a second time. This time with hardly a pause, apart from the third picture, as we hastened to gather our possessions and head off to the Hotel d'es Puig in the nearby town of Deià. We had walked about 15 km in 4 hours, including about 500 metres of "One Thundering Great Climb".

Lucien had upgraded our twin room booking to a suite with a massive double bed as we are here for two nights. We are on the GR221 walking route, so although the hotel can be busy, many visitors stop for only one night.

A visit to Trattoria Italiana found us enjoying a lovely meal, after an obligatory toast to Sheila's mum Dorothy, recently reunited with her long departed husband. "Cheers Dorothy."

We watched the recently arrived swifts swooping and whistling whilst imbibing their own suppers, as the colours on the steep mountainside in front of us turned from a bright hue to a deep orange, as the sun sank slowly beyond the horizon.

There should be a slideshow at the end of this trip, given the limitations placed on mobile postings such as this one. Bear with me - at least I can just about keep up doing it this way.

Finally, I should mention that a visit to the cataract surgeon, Tim de Klerk, yesterday, resulted in my mum Dot being discharged. In four months she has gone from being nearly blind to being just one line in the chart from having good enough vision to be able to drive. Luckily for other road users she sold her car several years ago! She still needs ongoing AMD treatment from Tariq Aslam, but that is no great inconvenience.