Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Thursday 21 April 2016 - Walking Route 77 - Torre d'Albarca

After the drizzle had stopped, Sue and I went on quite a long drive to beyond Artà, whence we headed to Cala Estreta. 

The sun came out as we walked down to the beach, then on beside the sea to the old watch tower on Morro d'Albarca. It's in fine condition, with a narrow spiral staircase and a rickety wooden ladder leading to a large circular viewing platform with an old cannon barrel. This provided a fine spot for lunch away from the Germans, whose athletic prowess barred their means of progress up the narrow staircase.

The gadget recorded a 14 km bimble, the exact route of which will be shared with readers in due course. It followed route 77 in the Cicerone guide, plus a few embellishments, to and fro along the coast. 

As on previous days, I've attempted to load some pictures to tell the story.

Another long drive by a circuitous route via Inca saw us back at the apartment by 6.15pm, a few minutes after R and L, who had enjoyed a 35 mile local ride.

It's the last night for Sue and me, so we all went to Stay (top restaurant), for some more top grub. Robert took lots of photos for his 'Brexton Travels' blog. Watch this space...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Wednesday 20 April 2016 - Alaró-Orient circular walk

This is walk 35 in the Cicerone guide. The route we took was probably about 15 km,  with up to 1000 metres ascent, taking around six hours at a leisurely pace. These are estimates as the Garmin Gadget was left behind.

Sue and I enjoyed expensive coffees in the square before setting off through Alaró's suburbs to reach a pleasant rising roadway signposted all the way to S'Escaleta. En route, one of the signs led us away from the narrow road and from then on we were on a rocky path, mainly through evergreen woodland.

In good weather with increasing cloud, this was a popular route. We met a good number of other walkers, mainly German. Notably rude.
 
We didn't visit the village of Orient, turning instead to the path to Castell d'Alaró, beside which a convenient plank served as a lunch bench.

The afternoon was spent on well maintained and signposted paths, as they form a section of the GR221 route that traverses the northern and western ramparts of the island.

The castle is reached through an elaborate gatehouse. The 'castle' comprises a very old sanctuary (pilgrim church) and some restored buildings that provide basic accommodation and food and drink. Many Germans, presumably walking GR221 and staying here tonight, were milling around, albeit the time was only 2.30.

We milled around ourselves, admiring the fine views from the 821 metre summit of Puig d'Alaró.

It was an easy walk back to Alaró, along well built tracks, past some climbers - the summit ridge is surrounded by steep cliffs - and occasional walkers, runners, rare orchids, other flowers and birds, and cyclists on both mountain and road bikes.

We were back first. Showers. Lyn and Robert arrived back just in time for beer o'clock, after which we were soon tucking into the mountainof wine and food that seems to have accumulated here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tuesday 19 April 2016 - Costitz to Sanctuary de Cura and back

A 72km circuit with Robert and Lyn on another lovely blue sky day.

Lyn saw Hoopoes. I saw a dead snake. Robert saw flowers. The off road cycle track was excellent for our machines.

Elevenses, at around noon, outside Can Sant Café in Algaida, saw me enjoying some superb melt in the mouth chocolate cake.

Then we went to Llucmajor, after which Robert led us around, rather than up to, our objective. After retracing a scenic 5 km,  we wound our way slowly up to the sanctuary. By now it was 2.30pm. Time for lunch. Ok, but less than inspiring and not very hot. Good views of the entire island from this 534 metre summit.

A long descent to Montuïri was enjoyable, albeit a bit slow due to the buffeting wind.

Afternoon tea and cake was taken here at 4.30 in a nice café into which we took our bikes. Robert (ahead as usual) was literally dragged off the street to prevent a competitor getting our business. More chocolate cake.

We eventually found an enjoyable cycle track for the last lap of today's ride, including a steep ascent back to the van.

Then we dashed back home as my rental bike - a Trek hybrid - had to be returned to Rentmarch by 7.30pm.

Whilst L and R went shopping, I found Sue finishing her second beer back at the apartment. She had been up to the 1118 metre summit of Puig des Tossals Verds - walk number 30, with embellishments. Not without incident. She had a bad morning and didn't start the walk until 1pm. Mallorcans, Germans and Cyclists had all been blacklisted. As a committed European, I found this rather disconcerting. It seems Mallorcans had blocked her original route 29 and had also been rude to her in a 'parking incident'. Germans - virtually the only other people out walking - had been rude, and Cyclists, the life blood of the island at this time of year, had caused her to have to drive in first gear.

"Have another beer, Sue."

We then had a lovely evening, and a fine meal - possibly because I kept out of the kitchen (except to wipe the floor after the messy cooks were long gone).

As usual, the pictures should give added flavour. Click on them for bigger versions.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Monday 18 April 2016 - Caimari and Ses Figueroles

Sue and I parked just off the main square in Caimari and enjoyed a coffee outside the café before setting off at 11am on our 17km walk. The last time I was in this café was the day of a royal wedding from which some of us were ardently trying to escape.

A quiet, sunny lane took us past a friendly tortoise and an unlucky snake, then through Binibona to a rough road from which a narrow path past lime kilns led up the valley on the walk described on page 139 of the Cicerone guide updated by Paddy Dillon in 2006. 

Route number 25 in that book, taking about five and a half hours and climbing a good 600 metres.

The path was pretty rough in places but easy to follow up past a ruined farm with a renovated well.

The Coll de Sa Batalla was eventually reached. Drinks and ice creams at the café by a petrol station, together with hundreds of cyclists. We saw no other walkers today, but lots of Asphodel.

The route back down to Caimari was on the excellent GR222 path - a brilliantly paved track in the style of the Archduke's pathways near Soller.

Shopping took place. Yesterday Robert dropped a bottle of wine. Today it was Sue's yoghurts that went crashing to the ground.
The meal wasn't affected. A stroll was necessary later.

The evening passed. Very quickly. Hence the brevity of this entry, but the photos should convey the flavour of the day.

Goodnight from Puerto Pollença.


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sunday 17 April 2016 - A Circuit from Puerto Pollença

After a leisurely start, Robert, Lyn and I set out in blue sky weather for a 72km circuit taking from 10.30 to 4.15pm.

We first visited Bruce at ProCycle to buy a new map, Robert's sweat having effectively destroyed the old one..

Then we enjoyed lovely views towards the mountains as we progressed towards Campanet and on to lukewarm coffee outside a café in Moscari. 

Our route then by-passed Inca to reach sa Pobla along the Ma-3422 road. The market was in full swing but we found a nice outdoor bar off the main thoroughfare for lunch, during which Robert succeeded in picking his nose with a giant bottle of Estrella!

Returning to base via the Parc Natural de s'Albufera (bird reserve), we paused on a lookout point for chocolate bars whilst a distant eagle soared high above.

Croaking frogs, stonechats, egrets, swifts and a variety of ducks entertained us as we pedalled slowly through the reserve and onto a pleasant series of quiet back roads into Puerto Pollença. 

Meanwhile, Sue had arrived courtesy of Jet2, found her Vanrell car, and driven to Alcudia for a walk before turning up in our sunny garden, demanding a pint of tea with menaces, at around 5.30pm.

As yesterday, the pictures give a flavour of the day.