An April 2001 trip
to Mallorca by Spicer
Quote: When most Europeans think of Mallorca, probably the first thing to come to mind is overcrowded beaches, drunken tourists, high rise hotels and inflatable beach toys. Well, Mallorca's got all that, but having worked there for about five months I found that it had a lot more up it's sleeve.
There's good walking all over the island; one good trek is to the summit of Puig Tomir. You can see the whole island stretch out before you, with black eagles circling around the crags. Look carefully and you can see the old snow holes - old-fashioned refrigeration devices.
Mallorca makes alot of it's own wine, the main wine growing area is in the centre of the island around the town of Binissalem. You can call one of the 'bodegas'and then visit to buy or taste at source.
The only good cycle spares shop that we could find was in Pollensa old town, just round the corner from the bodega.
Accomodation in the north especially is very hard to come by in high season. Having said that, it's still worth checking the mainstream tour operators for late bookings of their villas - if there's a group of you you can get some fantastic deals on lates or cancellations.
If you are staying in one of the resorts like Puerto Pollensa, then hire a bicycle for the week, they're pretty cheap and it's legal to cycle on the pavement so it's safer for you - just watch the pedestrians!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 17, 2002
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 18, 2002
Attraction | "Sail & Surf"
If you're into windsurfing, and are experienced, then head down the bay towards Alcudia, where the winds are generally stronger and launching is better. In early or late season you can get strong 'Tramontana' winds, which can pick up quite large waves, especially in Alcudia bay. Avoid these conditions if you're still learning!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 17, 2002
Outside of Palma, the only good cycle spares shop that we could find was in Pollensa old town, just round the corner from the bodega which is toward Puig de Maria. There were road and mountain bike spares there, also the guy who works there was helpful and knew the area pretty well.
The north and west of the island is good for serious road biking with steep winding climbs and stunning views. Mountain biking options can be limited because a lot of the trails are privately owned, but there is good downhill terrain near Lluc monastery and we found some good off-road in the Victoria Park on the peninsula north of Alcudia bay.
If all this sounds a bit too sporty for you, then hiring a sit-up-and-beg type shopping bike has got to be a good healthy way of getting around town, but again watch the traffic - I'd think twice about letting kids in my care out on the main roads.
There are routes for all abilities, here are a selection:
easy - Boquer Valley - walk straight from the town centre in Puerto Pollensa where within five minutes you are in the hills and away from mainstream Mallorca. You will wind through a spectacular valley with mountain goats to greet you, and arrive at the lovely Boquer Bay. There isn't much shade so go early in the day and enjoy a cooling swim. Take a plastic bag with you and help to clear some of the rubbish away that others have left.
intermediate - Puig de Tomir - an hour and a half climb rewards you with an incredible view of the entire island. We parked up at Lluc Monastery although you can enter the walk a bit nearer. Highlights include spotting balck eagles and discovering the old ice-making snow holes.
advanced - Torrent de Parreis - although any reasonably fit person can do this hike, the main problem is route finding, so I would not recommend this walk without a local guide unless you are an experienced climber/boulderer. It is roughly 7 km in length and starts off gently with incedible views of the gorge below you. Once you drop into the gorge there is no turning back until you reach the end at Sa Callobra beach where you can feel suitibly heroic. Do not attempt after rain as the gorge will be flooded. You will need to arrange your transport carefully as it is a one-way walk unless you are an able climber and wish to return up the gorge.
For all walks a guidebook is highly recommended, there are several on the market.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 31, 2002
The build-up locally is palpable, flags start appearing on farm houses and casa's in the area - one type with a yellow crescent, the other with black and red squares. The symbolism is deep-rooted in the town and island's history, when the Christian population withstood the invasions of the Moors in the middle ages.
The festa itself takes place over several days, but it culminates in two evenings of mayhem and excitement. The first night is for the young people, and stages are erected around the centre where live music plays throughout the night. Local bars set up extra counters on the street and the place is awash with high spirited but friendly locals drinking and dancing. We found the hierbas drink to be particularly potent!
The cafe Espanyol on the main square was at the centre of the celebrations and was still rocking at 6.30am.
The second night is a more symbolic affair and the main action is at the local football ground where the townsfolk dress up as either Moors or Christians and stage a huge mock battle complete with shotguns, cannons (firing blanks we hoped!) and scimitars. When history is repeated and the battle is won by the Christians everyone makes a beeline for the town for more drinking. Shoe stealing seems to be a feature of the festa as well, and although we couldn't quite see the significance we joined in anyway.
It all culminated in a pyrotechnic display accompanied by a blaring techno sound-system, parading through the streets, to join up with a finale fireworks display then a quick dash to get to the front of the taxi queue home!
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and heartily recommend it to anyone who needs a break from the sun and beaches.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 1, 2002
Do be very careful when barbequing as it gets very hot and dry in the summer and you want to keep the flames inside the barbeque!
Brighton, United Kingdom