This blog has two days in one, and that will be it until I return to the Isle of Man. And, although I have only been away less than a week I am homesick for the varied vistas and landscapes of the Isle of Man. The mountains of Mallorca are beautiful but one walk looks much like another and all our guided walks have led us around the mountainous outskirts of Sóller and there is only so much of that an IOM islander can take, however stunning the views may be. For me, variety is the spice of life.
And it has been so so hot, I have spent every day soaking wet from head to foot, so, today I have abandoned the group and elected instead to do nothing – although, as you well know, doing nothing does not sit well with me, so I shall no doubt engage in my usual wanderings at some point.
On Wednesday, I forewent the boat trip to the next cove, feeling a need for solitude. My Garmin watch is also playing up so I wanted to see if I could get a replacement battery in Sóller. It was great to get the boots off, give the feet an airing and wear sandals for the short walk around the hills to Soller. I called in at the Port de Sóller tourist information to find out which paths to take – only they weren’t much use as they couldn’t furnish me with any sensible footpath maps. I was however pointed in the direction of footpath no 4, De Figuera, an ancient track leading past a 400 year old house with a tower created for the woman of the house, and featuring many terraces of olives groves, lemon and walnut trees.
At this point, my track left the tarmac and went to the right, through more olive groves. As I dropped off the hillside I was delighted by a surprise view and the path changed from a wide dirt track to a normal single person footpath.
The footpath was well-marked right up to the roundabout on the main road at Sóller, but what I wasn’t warned about was that although the footpath itself is 3 miles there is still a further 1.5 miles of road walking into the centre of Sóller. I often feel it is interesting to see the hidden suburbs of towns, and in this case, I seemed to be walking through the car repair area! There was garage after garage, more than we have in the whole of the south of the Isle of Man. I went past a museum and made a mental note to return once I had found the battery shop, though by the time I had done that, the museum had shut up shop for the day – at 1pm! I didn’t get my battery though the shop assistant was very helpful and told me what to do. I couldn’t find any park to sit in to have my lunch so sat by the tram station to eat and then returned to Port de Sóller. Sóller does have rather splendid plane trees.
Yesterday’s harder walk started from the hotel with the focal points being the Mirador, a popular scenic viewpoint overlooking the coast and Sóller alike,and Fornalutx, an impressive well-kept village only a stone’s throw across the valley from our drinking hole in Binianarix a couple of days before.
We started on another footpath from Port de Sóller adjacent to the one I had taken on Wednesday, only this one was a lot prettier, a stony footpath with wet vegetation overhanging in many places. This might often be considered a hindrance, but given how hot it was, it was a welcome relief when the leaves brushed onto the skin and clothing and dropped its load on us. This was a shorter path than the one I had taken, but surprisingly the two joined up once round the hill. After stopping for a refreshing orange juice, we started our climb.
Nothing is especially steep or difficult, it’s more that the ascent just goes on and on, and in this heat it was necessary – at least for me – to have several drink and wipe-down stops. Others too were finding it heavy going, and yet others were happy to continue at a reasonable pace without a break. The leader ordered a 10 minute break which was well received by those of us in less of a hurry. To me, if we are out for a full day, there is no reason to rush, especially when it is so very hot and humid.
I want to stop and stare and not walk blindly on without gazing from side to side, as in the photo above. Taking a step away from the path I was able to appreciate this particular view all by myself. Most of the ascent was along stony tracks through light plantations of holm oaks as we gained height. At the Mirador, the views were enthralling in all directions. There is a restaurant here with a wide terrace and equivalent views.
From here is was all downhill on good paths to the pretty village of Fornalutx, with its colourful flowers and sandy stone houses. It has a small central square and you can imagine this having been a meeting point for locals and lovers for centuries and now for tourists in the two bars.
From here it was a short walk into Sóller and the tram back to Port de Sóller. We passed another washhouse, so I gave my hair a good soaking and it felt great; goodness what I looked like, but I was past caring. And as the sun went down on our walk, we had a final peek of our high peak of the week as we made our final descent, shown peeping over the slightly lower hills in the cover photo.
It was a good walk, final distance about 10 miles with about 1800 ft of ascent and the same amount of descent.
I shall sign off now from Mallorca and normal service on the Isle of Man will resume next week. I hope you have enjoyed this short interlude. If you want to read the Isle of Man blogs just click on the Easy, Medium & Harder buttons on the side and you will find only Isle of Man walks!
Adios de Mallorca.