Mallorca, Spain (2017)¶
In the fall of 2017 my family took me to Mallorca. Even though it is also known for the chaotic German and British tourists, there is a lot of nice landscape for hiking as well as the Mediterranean Sea. We had booked a holiday house in Can Picafort.
The cheap flight that we had booked took us to La Palma in the evening. As we were six people my parents booked an airport transfer and we got picked up in a large taxi. The ride was surprisingly fun as the driver engaged in our conversation. At the Köln-Bonn Airport wer did not have to wait long until we could check in our luggage and go through the security check.
The flight itself was uneventful, the fun started when exiting the plane in La Palma. Even though drunk tourists were to be expected, I was still taken by surprise that a group of young German men carried a five liter party keg of Kölsch beer. As I left for the restroom I overheard them or a similar group notifying the others vocally that they had to urgently pee. Judging by the moaning sounds from the stall they had already made a big dent into that party keg on the flight. These are the moments where I am a bit embarrassed to share the nationality.
Outside the airport we called the car rental service and got picked up. The cheap rental services are usually a bit away from the airport and you need to take a shuttle. Once there it took ages until we got our cars. Then we need to drive to the other end of the island in the dark. Google Maps navigation routed us through smaller and smaller roads until we got a gravel one. We turned around and eventually made it to the holiday house. There a huge platter with fresh fruit and vegetables was waiting for us, a very pleasant welcoming gift.
I really like the beach, so after putting the suitcases into the bedrooms I went for a walk to the beach.
On the subsequent days we had many trips to the beach. As there are many hotels in the first and second row at the beach, it was crowded with people. I usually walked a bit along the beach until there were no hotels any more, it got much less crowded there. The water was nicely warm and bathing was a pleasure. After half an hour of swimming it got a bit cold, though.
Some fifty meters off the shore was cluster of inflatable rafts that one could climb onto. They wanted some 10 EUR per hour for it, so we passed. On one of our last days of the trip the took it down as there either was a storm or the season ended altogether.
One day we did an excursion to Alcúdia. There is the newer part of the city near the beach and this is where we started. There are endless ice cream places and similar venues, as well as many palm trees.
Towards the evening we walked to the older part of the city. The walk itself was along a rural road and we breathed a fair share of car emissions. Eventually we got to the center and it is amazing.
We also got to walk on the old city walls. Besides the guardrails being too low for my taste this was a very nice trip.
Then we went back in the dark to the car parking lot. In contrast to the cities where it never really becomes dark, I was glad that I brought my flashlight.
Mallorca is known for great hiking and cycling areas. Though I brought my bike helmet, I did not rent a bike there. One day we went to go hiking in the natural park east of Alcúdia. I had found this route online and we wanted to try it.
Before that hiking trip I assumed that it would be boring as you only cover around 12 km in the trip and would not get to see much of the landscape. I preferred cycling as a means to see the landscape. Boy was I wrong!
The trip started with a car ride to a parking lot near the hiking trail. The little car engine was squealing with the steep roads but there was no way around that. Driving little cars at their limits is much fun and way cheaper than having a powerful car and trying to get close to is limits.
At the parking lots they had restrooms but no soap, so I considered carrying a bit of hand sanitizer on the next such trip.
The trail was a solid mix of stones and sand. I only had my very sport shoes with very flexible sole so I could feel every stone with my feet. The paths became worse over time and looking back I would have liked to have the hiking boots that I bought half a year later on that trip as well. Still having the “wrong” shoes was not a big problem after all.
Quickly we gained enough height to have a magnificent view over the bay:
As we went higher the view just got more amazing:
A little later we got to a part with a very steep cliff, which looked very dangerous. In retrospect I am very glad that nobody got hurt. Also I judge it as reckless that I did not carry a first aid kit on the trip. The little incident on the bike trip to Köln and now being an official first aid person at the institute has changed my view of this.
The view at the top was magnificent, though:
This was the moment where I started to like hiking! We ascended the mountain further until we eventually reached the top. There were a bunch of other tourists, a weather station and goats.
From there we descended on the other side of the mountain. Going down usually is harder than going up, especially with street shoes. The part we descended through was really steep and had a winding path. At one of the switchbacks there was a very steep drop.
I cannot understand how others have been standing there and calmly enjoying the view; presumably I am just scared of heights.
After we have descended from the top, we were in a somewhat sense forest with a picnic place for hikers and visitors. A path to the sea that one could see in the above picture also passes though there.
From there on the route lead us through mostly even terrain. There were markers with the route on every intersection, sometimes just a red arrow with spray paint somewhere. The vegetation became denser as we lost height, I found it amazing that vegetation can grow on this dry rock at all.