Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday 5 May 2017 - Puerto de Pollença to Timperley

Top picture - early morning in Puerto de Pollença.  

It was overcast and warm as we set off for the 7.05 bus to Palma - there's not another one until 8.30, which could have been a bit tight for our 11.45 Jet2 flight.

Anyway, that wasn't too onerous, and it gave us plenty of time to enjoy some more excellent coffee and chocolate croissants outside La Parada by the bus station in Palma. Nearby they were setting up about 200 games of chess, beside which hordes of uniformed (if only by way of distinctive baseball caps) children were gathering to compete.

See next picture.

Palma airport has ripped us off with horrendous food prices too many times, so today we avoided that issue by sourcing a tasty lunch from a patisserie just off Placa Espanya before catching the bus to the airport.

Having finished Tove Jansson's delightful story, The Summer Book, about a grandmother and granddaughter who spend the summer on a Norwegian island, I've moved on to Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse books. I've seen the TV series but never read the books, so here goes, and this journey provided plenty of time to enjoy getting into the first book, Last Bus to Woodstock.

I never realised that Lewis was older than Morse!

We were in Manchester by early afternoon - lovely weather so we got the tram to Wythenshawe Park and walked home through the meadows by Baguley Brook from there.

The view of the Bridewater Canal from Timperley Bridge is mundane, but it's home, and we like it.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Thursday 4 May 2017 - Lluc to Pollença via Camí Vell

This is the final stage of the six (or so) day walking route along the backbone of Mallorca, known as GR221. We followed the official low level route, rather than going over 1104 metre Puig Tomir. Our route is described in walk number 24 in June Parker's Cicerone guide that was updated by Paddy Dillon in 2006. Essential literature for anyone planning a walking holiday in Mallorca.

Cloudless skies greeted us once more from another late rise. Well, the bus to Lluc (pronounced 'yeauch') didn't leave until 10.30, so why rush to dispose of the giant chocolate croissants we found yesterday in Palma.

The driver of the 10.30 bus was a patient chap. He had to be in order to negotiate the hundreds of bicycles grinding their way up to the 600 metre pass. I noticed that some of these bikes were state of the art road bikes but others looked a bit chunky. They had auxiliary power units! I wonder how long it will be before we see Lyn leading Robert up this hill on her electric bike?

The walk was an easy 17 km stroll from the café at Lluc Monastery on good tracks and paths. When we lost the view we gained the aroma of the pine forest. An eagle soared above the Monastery at Lluc, and again later over Pollença. Chaffinches waited impatiently for the crumbs from our a la carte lunch on a stone picnic bench in the forest.

Some men were repairing the stone walls beside the track, on which a large grasshopper sunned itself until provoked by Sue's camera lens to fly away.

Four Czechs were encountered, on their last day of five on GR221. They had been 'sleeping out' and were tired but pressing on quickly given the prospect of ice creams in Pollença. We wish them well.

A wait for the bus gave Sue and me time for cold drinks before spending another evening with Paul, whose wine needed finishing before we hit the streets of Puerto de Pollença, where Can Pescador supplied us with an excellent paella.

Today's pictures:
Outside Lluc Monastery 
A view from our path
Dinner - looks like earth, but is actually a superb paella

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wednesday 3 May 2017 - A Day Out in Palma

9.15 bus - an hour to Palma and La Parada cafè for refreshments.

The 14th century cathedral (pictured top), one of Europe's tallest Gothic structures, is nothing short of imposing, both inside and outside.

Equally imposing is the Palau de l'Almudaina, directly opposite the cathedral. The museum and public rooms were interesting, and I was pleased to see that a lot of the building is still in use as a legislative and military headquarters.
 
Lunch at Bar Coto Dos. Tapas rules ok.

A stroll past expensive yachts and cruise liners, then up a hill to Castell de Bellver, a grand 14th century royal fortress, royal summer residence and later royal prison (a former king's widow and sons were imprisoned here for most of their lives).

It's a wonderful place, with fine panoramic views that may feature in some future slideshow. For now though, we have to make do with the lower picture, taken in the central courtyard of this magnificent building.

The 3 km walk back to Placa Espanya took us nearly 5 km. The Garmin GPS download will no doubt reveal why in due course; the lack of a map didn't help.

The bus to Puerto de Pollença didn't arrive, so we got on one to Alcudia. This bus then became full, so there was irritation amongst queueing would be passengers. Meanwhile the Puerto de Pollença bus arrived, very late, and set off whilst we were still trapped on the immobile Alcudia bus. Anyway we got to Alcudia and were immediately whisked off to Puerto de Pollença by the ever efficient number 2 bus.

Meanwhile, Paul had enjoyed a hilly 70 mile bike ride and was waiting, bottles of wine in hand, for the meal that we managed to concoct within a few minutes of arriving home.

A good time was thus had by all...

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tuesday 2 May 2017 - Cala de San Vicenç and Puig de l'Aguila

After another long sleep (ie lie in) the easy agenda for today involved a walk from the apartment. It was a simple decision to choose to stroll over the Coll de Siller to Cala de San Vicenç for coffee and cake, then on up a beautifully constructed quarry track to enjoy splendid views from the 214 metre summit of Puig de l'Aguila.

The last bit of ascent was on a rocky, cairned path bordered with the lovely scent of rosemary.

Panoramic views were again the order of the day. The descent back to Cala was rewarded with an excellent lunch of crab and prawn sandwiches with chips and salad, at the Marinas restaurant.

It was a relatively easy walk from there back to base, via cairned paths over the Coll de Siller in the presence of the area's ubiquitous feral goats.

We were back home for beer o'clock, for which we were joined by Paul from parkrun, who has flown in for a few days of what he wouldn't but I would describe as 'extreme road biking'. We met up with him again later at Osteria N15 for an excellent meal in Puerto de Pollença's main square.

Today's pictures:
Cala Molins at Cala de San Vicenç
The view to Serra del Caval Bernard from the finely constructed path up Puig de l'Aguila - can you spot the arch/window?
The view back to today's and yesterday's routes from the summit of Puig de l'Aguila

Monday, 1 May 2017

Monday 1 May 2017 - Alcúdia and Puig Sant Martí

After a long lie in, our valid excuse being that we were up early yesterday AND we are one hour ahead of UK time, we enjoyed a pot of tea that didn't quite taste as much of dirty dishwater. Could someone have washed out the kettle using lots of washing up liquid?

Then the local Spar shop provided breakfast. Just like home! The Spar shops are really quite similar, and very close to us both here and at home.

The 352 bus that runs every 15 minutes took us efficiently to Alcúdia for a walk around the walls that offers good panoramic views from its high points. Before we knew it we were outside
Can Polit restaurant and were enticed in (well, to a table in the sunshine) by its offer of a mixed Majorcan tapas meal. The restaurant was busy with a mixture of pensioners, grizzled cyclists on their lunchtime break, and families with pre school children taking advantage of the cheaper fares available outside school holiday time.

Duly satiated, we then embarked on the more energetic phase of our day. Mostly pavements took us to Playa Alcúdia and to the end of Avenida Pere Mas 1 Reus. On a bench opposite the ruby and white Edificio Siesta apartments, we scoffed the last of our provisions before braving a crossing of the bypass and, helpfully guided by route description number 41 in Charles Davis's Discovery Walking Guide, heading steeply up a pathless watercourse to the 268 metre summit of Puig Sant Martí. Yesterday's asphodel was vaguely still in flower; today's must have been caught by warmer sunshine as it had all gone to seed. There were a few other flowers amongst the scrub but it was wise to concentrate on making progress safely on ground studded with exposed rock and gnarly boulders.

Kestrels and paragliders competed for our attention high above us.

The summit consists of bare rock overlooking vertiginous rock faces up which, unbeknown to us at the time, a German climber was ascending. After yesterday's slither I took great care to pause whilst admiring the great panoramas, whilst descending safely to a lane at the col between our higher southern summit and the lower northern one which is adorned with telecommunications towers.

Then it was a gentle stroll, with the German climber precariously perched above us, through lovely pine woods interspersed with mountain bikers, back down to the bypass.

Across the road we came to the impressive grotto of Cova de Sant Martí. Sadly it was enclosed in a locked compound so we couldn't get in. Beyond that, a winding path through olive and pine woods brought us back to Avenida Pere Mas 1 Reus, along which a supermarket was found. Dinner provisions thus sorted, a bus stop at the end of the road was reached simultaneously with a number 2 bus that returned us to base.

Salad and burgers in the apartment were delicious. We thought the burgers would give off some fat and shrink a little. Not a bit of it - they remained an inch thick and were very tasty.

Our day's walking totalled about 15 km with 300 metres ascent, plus another few km by way of an after dinner stroll along the sea front.

Photos are pretty self explanatory - Alcúdia, summit of hill, dinner.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday 30 April 2017 - The Bóquer Valley

An easy journey from Manchester courtesy of Jet2 and Mallorca buses saw us at the apartment in Puerto de Pollença by about 2pm despite 'losing' an hour and strolling around the music laden pedestrian precincts of Palma for an hour or so.

It's so nice to avoid the hassle of hiring a car, and to have time to buy pies in the centre of Palma. We had no idea about the pie contents and were delighted to find it stuffed with ham and peas.

This is a hand luggage trip, so it took very little time to unpack and then head off on the short walk up the Bóquer valley to the stony beach at Cala Bóquer (pictured). It probably took me more time to clean up afterwards, as a result of my finding the only damp patch for miles around and undergoing a slither that coated all my clothes and my rucksack in a layer of light brown slime. I can't remember ever having to conduct such a comprehension laundry session on the first day (let alone hour) of a holiday.

There are supposed to be rare birds up here, and we did pass some long lenses. But we also encountered lots of noisy locals. The only bird of note that I saw looked like a cross between a greenfinch and a yellowhammer.

As you ascend the valley, an 'eye' appears up on the ridge to your left. There's a possible extension to the walk that rises towards this 'eye' or arch. We didn't bother as I was covered in slime and may have made the rocks slippery. I note from our guide book that on a previous visit on 3 June 2010 (no doubt recorded in this diary) we enjoyed the same walk with Al, Hazel, Andrew and Kate. We didn't go to the arch on that occasion either. (Given Sue's recent 'interesting' attempts to witness that family's passport applications they may struggle to go abroad again!)

Anyway, on the way back from our 6 km jaunt that was actually 8 km due to us setting off in the wrong direction along the esplanade, we had a successful diversion for beer, olives, crisps and water (the tap water in Mallorca tastes like used dishwater).

There's no other food in the apartment so we enjoyed dinner at the highly rated Little Italy restaurant, just round the corner.

So, Where are we now?

That wasn't difficult was it? We were up at 4.30, but pleasantly installed in the apartment by soon after 2 pm. 

Sunny and warm...