Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 9 November 2019

Saturday 9 November 2019 - Hotel Anacapri (Room 101)



8.00 Breakfast outside the Posada
9.00 Leave for Malaga airport in the minibus
11.00 Bus to Granada
13.30 Granada bus station
13.45 Bus 33 to the Cathedral
14.00 Lunch by the Cathedral before heading 100 metres east to Room 101

We were sad to leave Canillas, as was the supermarket owner who made up our last tuna baguette sad to see us going. The walking season here is drawing to a close. Collett's trips now take a break until April.

The 10.45 bus claimed to be full, despite only a handful of people getting on at the airport. But the next bus had space. Best to book tickets, we decided, so we now have them for the return journey. €11.75 per person per two and a half hour journey.

Fine views of the snow capped Sierra Nevada from our seats at the front of the bus.

Once installed in Room 101, we enjoyed a little sortie into the streets thronged with tourists. Sadly the Cathedral was shut to visitors. We headed on a 2 - 3 km circuit. It's a hilly city. We soon felt weary.

So we are now just chilling out before seeking some rehydration fluid and a light meal. I am still conscious of having over eaten last night - Gustavo's tapas and barbecue was delicious, but I helped myself to too much!

Later, after the first attempt to send this posting failed due to trying to post four pictures rather than three, we enjoyed prawn and chicken salads in huge bowls at La Vinoteca restaurant, a few metres away from the hotel. Our persistent failure to find the entrance will be long in the memory!

Today's pictures:
Room 101
Granada Cathedral
A typical street in Granada

Friday 8 November 2019

Friday 8 November 2019 - Acebuchal



Today's 'hard' walk, whilst eschewed by Tom and Cary, saw 17 of us going with Mick to another Fabrica de Luz - this one the other side of Competa, some way down a gravel track.

We started through a ford then along a continuation of the track, before heading up a steep, narrow, scratchy path, eventually reaching a col, Puerto Paez Blanca, at 750 metres.

On the way, a couple of mountain bikers, a couple of walking groups, fringed pinks and a lone ibex.

A gentle descent on a good path led to a ruin - Venta Cebollero o Cebollera - our first lunch stop, where butties from the hotel or the supermarket were despatched. Our flask of tea went down well. Nobody else has that luxury.

A narrow path on an old mule track beside and sometimes inside a dry river bed led us in another 45 minutes or so to the hamlet of Acebuchal. This hamlet was once used by partisans in the civil war, following which Franco sought revenge by evicting all the residents and removing the roofs of the houses.

In the 1990s some descendants of previous residents, Antonio and his wife, decided to renovate their old family home, and they encouraged others to do likewise. By 2005, the hamlet had been restored, with some difficulty and at a cost. Since then Antonio has opened a restaurant and acquired a couple of properties that he rents out. The restaurant is very popular. Initially a summer amenity, it is now a year round attraction.

Coffee/beer/tea and an assortment of cakes provided us with an ample second lunch in the busy restaurant in this attractive hamlet.

An easy track led back in an hour or so to the stepping stones across the river, beyond which transport awaited to return us to the villa in Canillas for the last time on this trip. Lovely views of Competa en route, good views all day in fact.

We then gathered outside by the pool. Some swam, others consumed wine and told bad jokes. It was all very jolly.

I'll concoct in due course a separate posting with this week's routes, and add more photos. Today we walked about 13 km, so far as I can guess.

Tonight our group of 26 will assemble for the last time for an evening of barbecue and tapas, before some folk leave for Malaga early in the morning while others of us will still be fast asleep in bed.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Thursday 7 November 2019 - Cerro Verde



After an excellent meal at El Pilon in Competa - thanks to Lisa for that recommendation - we returned last night under moonlight with Tom and Cary for the two mile walk back to the Villa.

Today just 11 of us signed up for Mick's circular route from Fabrica de Luz to the 1326 metre summit of Cerro Verde and back.

The minibuses took us up 3.5 km to the start, where there was a hydro electric plant in the 1950s for ten years before it became a sawmill, (and now it's a summer campsite), leaving Canillas at 9.30 after our usual al fresco breakfast in the sunshine.

Lovely paths led steeply through pine woods laden with scratchy gorse, all the way to the summit trig point. On the way up we encountered a brand new fire break, the crushed rocks glowing white in the sunshine.

The only people seen on today's walk were a team from the Parc Naturel who were stripping the ground in another fire break. It's four years since the last serious fire; such events can be contained by the fire breaks and by water helicoptered from a nearby reservoir that came into view as we ascended.

Despite an imminent rain shower, from our banana break on the summit we could see the mountains of North Africa in the distance. Ravens circled over the nearby lower but less accessible peak of Cerro Atalaya. We could see down to the venta where we had lunch on the Silk Route.

An interesting rocky descent down a loose path took us over the only steep ground of note that we have encountered all week. Everyone managed fine despite a bit of light rain.

Despite being in pine woods for most of the day, views were generally very good, thanks to the sparseness and the dwarfness of many of the trees.

Lunch was taken beside the rocky path. Then we continued past caves that may once have been inhabited. This is an area where partisans opposed to Franco had some strongholds, and there are also some towers built by Franco's men in an effort to track down those partisans.

These days ibex roam the hillsides. We were lucky enough to spot a small group of them.

One cave definitely was occupied until not long ago - by a bee keeper. There would have been bee hives and vegetable patches, where there is now a sweet chestnut farm, with a walnut farm just a little lower down the valley.

The valley remained rocky and narrowed, with the path crisscrossing a small stream via slippery rocks, eventually emerging at the parking spot at Fabrica de Luz, where the small campsite that operates here in the summer was definitely closed today.

The minibus we'd left there only takes 8 passengers, so Mick took 8, and Sue, Cary and I strolled the easy 3.5 km back to Canillas.

A 16 km walk in total for the three of us, with around 1000 metres ascent, taking less than 6 hours - we were back at the villa around 3.30.

Another really excellent walk.

Today's pictures:
Top - firebreak view
Middle - summit trig point
Bottom - looking back to well named Cerro Verde

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Wednesday 6 November 2019 - Nerja



Collett's staff have Wednesdays off, but Mick took a few people to Granada, and 14 of us were taken by hotel minibus and taxi to Nerja, where half a dozen of us took a trip down the show caves.

These caves have been formed over 800,000 years, and there is evidence of human occupation from as long ago as 24,000 years. However, at some point the entrance was blocked and they disappeared from sight. That was until 12 January 1959, when five cavers bludgeoned their way through the rocky entrance.

They found a cavers' paradise, part of which is now the show cave that we visited, and most of which is the subject of further studies and exploration.

It's like an underground cathedral. An annual concert is held in the vast auditorium. There are all manner of cave formations.

The tour took about an hour, after which we were taken to nearby Nerja town, where coffees on the prom preceded a visit to the museum. Here, we were informed about the history of Nerja and the nearby caves.

Nerja has existed for a very long time, but for one reason or another the ancient villages were destroyed. The present town was founded in 1633, but was pre-dated by a number of towers that were built as part of an effort to repel attacks from the English and others.

The place has a rich history and is the start of the Silk Route that we encountered a couple of days ago. In that posting I inferred that the silkworms came from North Africa, but it seems that silk actually came from Nerja and Maro (where the caves are) due to an abundance of mulberry trees, on the leaves of which silkworms fed.

These mulberry trees were eventually replaced by sugarcane in the 1580s, before the current town was established. Later, a magnificent aqueduct was built, as modelled in the museum.

We found a sandwich and ice creams for lunch on the prom, with views of a beach and of the nearby Almijaro mountains (bottom picture), after which it was time to leave the pigeons and parakeets and return for a 4pm rendezvous with Gustavo and a 40 minute journey back to Canillas.

Posada La Plaza's restaurant is closed tonight, so Cary, Tom, Sue and I will fend for ourselves at a restaurant in Competa recommended by Lisa (our decorator).

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Tuesday 5 November 2019 - A Circuit via Salares



Today, thirteen of us set off on the longer walk under Mick's careful supervision, on a 14 km circuit via Theo's bar in Salares.

Let me try to name us all: me, Sue, Cary, Tom, Bern, Cheryl, Val, David, Paul, John, Martin, Tom and Tony. So now I can name at least half of our group of 26. The others may be Gordon, Karen, Sharon, Wendy, Carol, Anna, Jacob, David, Joyce, Kate, and three more (I've failed).

The terrain is becoming familiar. Ups and downs on mule tracks and gravel tracks, through pine woods, olive groves and mixed woodland of holm oak, orange, lemon, avocado, walnut, almond and sweet chestnut - to name but a few.

After seeing some deer on yesterday's 15 km saunter, all we saw today was some wild boar diggings. It's the hunting season, so perhaps they are making themselves scarce.

It was a reasonable day for bird spotting, with Griffon vultures, Sardinian warblers, Pallid swifts, and grey wagtails all in evidence, not to mention Theo's very chatty canary. Thanks go to Tom for identifying these birds.

Both groups met in Salares at Theo's bar, where a selection of tapas for €8 per person included bread, cheese, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sardines and some very tasty tortilla, as well as soft drinks and home made wine.

This was a nice lunch, and good business for Theo, who must find it hard to make a living in this village of only 85 inhabitants. The village, let alone the bar, is apparently on the endangered list.

Those on the easy walk were then taken back to Canillas by Gustavo, who runs the Posada la Plaza hotel.

The rest of us returned over a picturesque Roman bridge, past hedgerows with flowers such as fringed pinks. There aren't that many plants in flower, but if you look carefully you are surprised. Unfortunately we don't have our flower book with which to identify them...

Back at Canillas soon after 3 pm, some of us adjourned to a café, whilst others took to their beds before we reconvene at 6.30 for 'Office Hour', when Thursday's walking options will be revealed, followed by another tasty dinner - feta salad then pork for me tonight, spinach and sole for Sue, who spent the afternoon in the jacuzzi.

Today's pictures:
Approaching Salares
The Roman bridge at Salares 
Outside Theo's bar 
(Note that 'technical issues' restrict me to three images per posting, so I'll post more pictures later.)

Monday 4 November 2019

Monday 4 November 2019 - The Silk Route



19 of us today, plus Helen and Millie (Collett's staff), enjoyed a sunny day at around 1000 metres.

A short bus ride to Las Colmenillas, just above Competa, set us on our way up a hillside of olive groves. Views opened out in all directions, from the nearby mountain range to the coast.

After a while, we reached an old mule track that led to a ruined building, Antigua Venta de los Pradillos. This section was on the GR249 route. It's an ancient trail that forms part of the route between Malaga and Granada, whence silkworms were transported after being imported from North Africa.

The views to pine woods, olive groves, and to the coast near Nerja, were lovely. A great place for lunch, sourced again for €1.60 each from the local supermarket.

An easy stroll back along the mule trail for 3 km was followed by a descent back to our villa in Canillas by soon after 3 pm.

Whilst I simply chilled with C J Sansom's 'Lamentation', Sue went for a swim and a jacuzzi.

The food here - at the Posada La Plaza restaurant - is excellent. Paella tonight.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Sunday 3 November 2019 - Cuevas de Agua, and some wine tasting



Breakfast was outside Posada La Plaza on a warm morning.

18 of us then gathered in the Plaza with Helen and Millie, whilst 8 more assembled with Mick for a short walk to Competa.

Our 'long' walk saw us rising high above the village to a fire break, then back down via lunch in an olive grove with fine views over the neighbourhood.

Back at the Villa by 1pm.

2 pm - Helen and Millie piped us along the Competa road that we explored yesterday, as far as Bodega, a small winery. A marathon wine tasting session followed. Rosé from the Roma grape, then, from Bodega, a dry Muscatel, then a sweet Muscatel from a later harvest after more sun to sweeten the grapes - the locals favour this one, and it's the King's favourite - then a dark, sweet wine achieved by pressing the raisins. Delicious!