Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Puerto Pollenca. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puerto Pollenca. Show all posts

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

Friday, 4 May 2018

Friday 4 May 2018 - A Walk Around the S'Albufera de Mallorca Natural Park

14 km, 0 metres ascent, 3.5 hours.

A rainy day.

We stayed in all morning while it drizzled outside. I had a long snooze.

After a bread and cheese lunch, Sue and I headed off towards the Alcudia Peninsula with a 400 metre peak in mind. But the peak was in cloud and the rain fairly robust, so we settled for a walk around the nature reserve. It turned out to be my most energetic outing of a fairly lazy week.

The second picture shows our red route number 3 around the reserve, the principal interest in which is the birds, but there is further interest in the flora, and in fauna - we spied a small rat, and some fat carp.

Birds seen on this ramble include many that we failed to identify, but here's a list including a few others seen this week:

Blackcap - a pair in our garden
Black-winged Stilt
Carrion Crow
Eider Duck
House Sparrows (very chatty)
Little Egret
Marsh Harriers (a pair hunting in the reserve)
Pied Wagtail
Swifts, Swallows and Martins flocking to grab insects near an observation tower
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Numerous LBJs and warblers

Our walk was mainly in light drizzle, on a good variety of paths, through woodland and beside reed beds and farmland, but we finished with a rainless hour or so that enabled our waterproofs to dry off nicely. It started raining again as soon as we finished around 5.45.

The Black-winged Stilt has already been featured, so today we have a couple of flower pictures -  a Marsh Orchid (maybe - our flower book is at home), and Orchis apiera which Sue says is a Bee Orchid. We also saw Serapias parviflora but you'll have to wait for a picture.

Robert and Lyn returned to base shortly after us after a soggy bike ride, and we then embarked on a bid to consume all the edibles in the apartment, boosted today by the purchase of a large bag of lamb chops to accompany the rosemary picked up by Sue on Puig Massanella. So it was 'Lamb a la Massanella' for dinner.

Later, after Sue and Lyn had again been thrashed at cards ("it's a game of luck"), we enjoyed a final showing of the 'Weetabix movie' produced by the genius of Chris Fielding. A classic.

We go home tomorrow.

Thursday 3 May 2018 - Dinner at 'Stay' Restaurant

Followers of Robert's 'Brexton Travels' blog (please go to it and leave a comment - it will make his day) will realise that his life is dominated (if not by Lyn) by foodie experiences. He has hollow bones.

So I left it to Robert to record last night's excellent meal at Stay (via Sue's ipad thumbnails).

Home made spaghetti with crisp chicken breast, raisins, apples and curry sauce

Fillets of fresh sardines, aubergines and prawns in batter served with sauce tartare

Stuffed mushrooms 'bonne maman' on wild mushroom sauce, fresh vegetables and potato

Fillet of sea-bream dorade, Majorcan style with white wine sauce, spinach and potato

Special dessert of the day

Long chat with three people behind a glass barrier, one of whom was celebrating a 70th birthday.

Can you tell? It's raining here this morning. ...

Sue's Big Adventure on Puig de Massanella

Here's Sue's report on yesterday's Big Adventure, with some thumbnail images courtesy of her ipad. 

"Puig de Massanella...
.....Is Majorca's highest climbable mountain (due to Puig Major being a military zone) at 1364m. Yesterday's forecast was ideal so the Berlingo and I ran the gauntlet of the mountain road to Soller again, this time slowed up by a Jet2 coach which allowed a cyclist to pass me on the ascent!

I made a 10am start after parking on the road at the Coll de sa Batalla, up a shady track, soon losing the sound of cars, replaced by bird song. A charge of 6 euros was made by a man in a kiosk, who was accompanied by a friendly little dog, Luna. Only ten or so people had already passed through.
It was soon warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt, as the path climbed steadily. A brown broomrape had thrust three stalks out of the soil on the path, and higher up, the rosemary was covered in blue flowers.

Engraved stones helped with route finding, replaced by numerous small cairns on the narrow path through thinning trees. The views grew, of nearby wooded hills, across the southern plain to Palma and the south coast. The trees thinned and around 1160m was a stone staircase leading down to a cave, with two further stone staircases leading to the Font de s'Avenc. A Danish man I'd met earlier had a torch, enabling me to see the font. The water was delicious!

A steep ascent up sharp limestone followed, and gained the plateau below the summit. Stinking helleborines and sage were growing amongst the rocks, accompanied by several brown goats.

The summit ridge was fabulous, with views to the mountains to the west and the blue reservoir, east to the Formentor peninsular and the bay of Alcudia and south to the plains, Palma and the sea. I was the only British person amongst the dozen or so people on the summit.

A very impressively deep snow pit (maybe 80m) about 10m away from the summit made my Danish companion admit his fear of heights.
After lunch at this eyrie, the two of us set off together to find an alternative descent, via the Coll des Prat. The route was easily located, but descended a ridge which couldn't be described as knife-edged, but required care and appeared to be a popular ascent route. An easy path led to the col in an open valley which is traversed by the GR221. 

Just below here was another, shallower, snow pit near the ruins of a farm building. The winding path down the open valley was wide but full of loose stones, but the views ahead were a good distraction. Lower down, the path became a track through woodland and it then wasn't long until I passed the kiosk again. "You were quick" said the man, who I told that I was looking forward to a cup of tea. "I prefer beer" was his reply!

The wooded track shortly returned me to the car at 3.35, and I was back at our Port de Pollenca abode at 4pm, at the same time as Martin, Lyn and Robert, for tea on our sunny veranda.

A fabulous mountain day (and one I'd happily repeat, J&R)."

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Thursday 3 May 2018 - A Circuit from Port de Pollença, via Campanet, Ciamari, Coll de sa Batalla, skirting Lluc, and Pollença

67 km, 1478* metres ascent, 6.5 hours.

A lovely warm, sunny day.

Sue went off to wrestle yet again with the traffic on the Lluc road. This time she had a Big Adventure but managed to reach the 1382 metre summit of Puig Massanella (Cicerone route 27a/27b) and survived with the aid of a Danish man's 1:25000 scale map, our own 1:40000 version having been found wanting.

Robert, Lyn and I set off on our bikes from the apartment and took Lyn's favourite back road, past the church of Sant Miguel, to the outskirts of Campanet. There were lots of cyclists about. There's a café by a right turn, and as we'd done over 20 km I insisted on a coffee break.

We moved on easily to Caimari, where another right turn landed us on the Coll de sa Batalla road, with a climb to over 500 metres. The switchback road is well surfaced and well graded, enabling us to crack the climb without undue exertion in around 45 minutes.

There were what seemed like hundreds of cyclists at the Coll, where somewhat bizarrely there's a petrol station, but plenty of tables free at the Can Gallet restaurant a minute's ride down the hill towards the monastery at Lluc.

Spanish omelettes for Robert and Lyn, and spaghetti carbonara for me. Everyone was very happy.

There were minimal undulations then, before the road swept relentlessly down to Pollença. Hundreds of cyclists were racing down, but I got stuck behind a tractor.

Lots of fine views requiring photo stops that kept letting the tractor get away...

Robert and Lyn eventually caught up with me (but not the tractor) and we sauntered into the centre of Pollença in search of ice creams. The usual stall in the main square was shut, and everyone else we tried had sold out, so we continued along the back lanes to Port de Pollença, where our cravings were satisfied, albeit the flavourings were rather bland.

Sue had returned from her Big Adventure, with more cuts, by the time we pedalled up to the apartment around 4.30. Plenty of time for tea and biscuits before I took my rental bike back to Rent March and we prepared for our one restaurant meal of the trip, at 'Stay'.

*1478 is 'Viewranger speak' - it is far to high.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Wednesday 2 May 2018 - A Circuit from Manacor, via Artá and a Disused Railway

61 km, 785 metres ascent, 6 hours.

Cool but sunny today, though much warmer in the afternoon, when fleeces could be dispensed with.

Sue went off to summit Binifaldo and Menut (Cicerone route 23) and met an orchid man/guide with two clients.

Robert, Lyn and I took the van to Manacor and repeated a lovely route that we enjoyed two years ago.

Pleasing back roads with fine views of the Mallorcan countryside took us some 25 km to Artá in the morning. The first two thirds of this included some gentle ascents - nothing strenuous - followed by a very pleasant descent into Artá.

After a route finding decision we luckily came upon the main thoroughfare and soon settled down for lunch in the breezy courtyard of Café Parisien. We sat at the same mosaic table as we did two years ago, but we chose food other than the tartiflet that Robert recalls me giving a low rating on that previous visit.

Then the disused railway back to Manacor offered a leisurely 29 km of earth and gravel surfaced track with no vehicular traffic. I recall fighting against the wind on our previous visit, but today it was mostly behind us, offering frequent free wheeling opportunities.

The old railway track has been converted to a fine cycling/walking route in the style of the Middlewood Way and the Monsal Trail. It goes quite close to the sea on its undulating journey, offering fine views and many trackside flowers to admire.

A diversion to the centre of Sant Llorenc des Cardassar for ice creams provided entertainment for Lyn when a man nearly as tall as Robert arrived, dressed in Clown Yellow with a hole in the backside of his shorts.

Suitably refreshed, we whizzed the final 10 km back to the van, and by soon after 6 pm we had joined Sue, rehydrating on our patio.

Trout fillets were the stars of tonight's repast. Thanks to Sue for organising that - her day on the hill was shorter than our day on the bikes, although she had to drive at bike speed for much of her way to the start of her walk at Lluc Monastery.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Tuesday 1 May 2018 - A Visit to a Flower Fete in Costitx

A slow morning was enlivened by some fine chocolate croissants from the local Spar shop and a bit more excitement from my current 'read' - Dissolution by C J Sansom.

I tried again to install the Bloggeroid app that I've failed to make work in the past. I failed again, getting as far as drafting a posting but finding no way of actually sending it! The main benefit would be the ability to put photos in the text, rather than have them all at the top of the posting. Never mind.

After elevenses at home we set off in our two separate vehicles to Costitx. The jam of traffic entering the village discouraged the cyclists, Robert and Lyn, so they headed elsewhere. Sue and I battled on and after twenty minutes we were happily parked in a field given over to vehicles for this public holiday fete.

The traffic free streets of the hill top village housed stalls of all descriptions. We queued again for a dubious looking cheese roll, but gave up when the man making the rolls decided only to serve locals. The Spar shop next door wasn't so fussy, so we enjoyed a sparse but adequate lunch on a bench in the children's playground next to the church.

There were flowers strewn everywhere around the village, made from all manner of different materials, from metal to wool to actual real life flowers.

There wasn't a bicycle in sight, even outside the bar where peletons would normally be refuelling.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around, including visits to galleries of not to our taste artwork, and a natural history museum 'stuffed' full of birds and butterflies.

Our drive home at 3.30 took us into a storm that Robert and Lyn managed to avoid on their 20 mile ride. As we drove home the outside temperature plummeted from 19°C to 11°C as we passed numerous bedraggled pedalers on the way into Port Pollença, and our plans to stroll around town with ice creams were shelved until another day.

Dinner tonight, sourced from Lyn's favourite supermarket, Lidl, a place I avoid like the plague, is a take on a traditional Mallorcan dish (Hairy Bikers version) called Tumbet.