Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mallorca Day 55 - my last day here.

Today was my last day here as I leave tomorrow morning.
The church bells are quite insistent on a Sunday morning. They ring, off and on, for almost half an hour. No way you are going to forget to go to church.
Cat just outside our door, waiting for the sun to reach him. I am looking forward to seeing Rasta.
Heather had asked for a picture of the spooky looking trees in Soller, when they start to leaf out but I didn't get around to getting that shot. This is the trees in Port de Soller, now in leaf.
The lone Canada Goose is still around. Maybe he is a year round resident.
On my walk around the bay I watched this catamaran as they struggled to get the anchor up and then sailed out of the harbour.
I read an article about the Llatzeret in Port de Soller and went looking for it today. It is not very well signed. Hard to tell what this is pointing to
but I know from the article that it refers to this dilapidated building on south west side of the bay. It was a quarantine station for maritime travelers and sailors and then later it was used as a prison. Some people had to stay in quarantine for months.
When Chris, Chris and I sat up at the mirador to watch the sunset we couldn't actually see the sun but now, 3 weeks later, it just peaks around the edge of the rock face.
Then the restaurants light candles,  gas fires
and hanging lanterns, luring with ambiance and warmth as well as good food.
We have a streetlight over the stairs up to the apartment
which is a bit of a goldfish bowl if we don't draw the curtains.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Mallorca Day 54 - sights on cami de sa Figuera

After staying inside yesterday I was dying to get out today and went out to get croissants as soon as I got up.
The cats were out in full force, probably also dying to get out after a day inside.
They seem to consider the restaurants tables, sitting in the sun, their own personal elevated patios.
Showers were in the forecast and there were clouds piling up on the mountains around, but blue sky in "Port".
This Llaut has been on the hard getting new varnish and paint. It looks very smart but I took the picture because the blue is unusual, most Llauts are white.
There were no croissants at the grocery store (she said she would be getting a delivery in 10 minutes) so I went to the patisserie, (I have been trying to stay away from there, way too tempting) bought 3 croissant and had a cafe con leche. After breakfast I went for a walk as we were planning on a road trip in the afternoon and I wanted some exercise.
This little road goes off the large roundabout (where the buses stop and where the walk to Soller starts)
It is a country road, olive and carob trees,
orange and lemon trees and
farm buildings.
The road, at first, follows a river bed (dry? which is odd given yesterdays rain)
Especially odd as water is pouring out of this drainage pipe in a terrace,
running in waves down the road

and the irrigation reservoirs are full to the brim.
After a while the road starts to climb up, out of the valley,
past a cluster of house, some that are beautiful

and some that need some TLC.
This place must have a fabulous view, down the valley and
its high enough to see across the town and harbour to the lighthouse out on the headland.
I had told Mum and Dad that I would be home at a particular time so turned around and headed back down hill. Ate a vegetable pasty (purchased at the patisserie, see why I have to avoid it) on a wall by carob and olive trees.
I'm not sure I can call it blossom but
the olive trees are starting to form this years olives.
Donkeys, terraces and olive trees.
There are pictures on the internet of fields of poppies but I have only seen the occasional one.
But there is no shortage of flowers.

I don't think he could of got that big eating lemons.
Walking back I was sure I heard the jingle of harness:
Round the corner came a mule cart.
That's why the jingling, bells on the bridle.

I walked back down to the roundabout and through "Port" to the apartment.
After lunch we headed out for a road trip. I am leaving on Monday and Mum and Dad will be without a car until they leave on Thursday. We drove up to Port d'Alcudia looking for roman ruins that we never found and then to Alcudia. North East this time.
In Alcudia, Mum sketched one of the walled towns entrance gates
and I sketched the back of the church (forgot to take a picture of the sketch)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Mallorca Day 53 - Rain, rain

Rain was in the forecast, it was accurate!
Boat missing at the wharf, so you can see the rain drops in the water. It started out drizzling and then moved to pouring. I had decided to wait for it to slow down before going grocery shopping but it only got worse, so out I went.
There's the missing boat, up on the hard. There a number of this brand of boat at the docks here, based on the Llaut hull design but a cabin cruiser.
The shopping street where we grocery shop. There is also a fishmongers on this street, a coffee shop, bar,  Chinese and Indian restaurants, souvenir shop, a couple of clothing retailers, a shoe store and a 2nd small grocery store.
Luckily the apartment has a couple of umbrellas provided. The dockside restaurants are almost all empty, cushions taken in from the chairs, umbrellas up for some protection, waiters hovering in their doorways and people huddled in the small interiors. The only restaurant with any action has a roof extended over the outside area and gas fireplaces burning, looks cosy.
Clouds low over the surrounding hills. It went from pouring to "bucketing it down". A day to stay inside.
Aside from the weather I also spent the day inside to arrange to come home sooner than planned. My sister in law is very ill and I need to be there to help as she has no other family than Christine, Michael and I. Christine has been doing what she can but has also just started a new job. So I have been able to arrange to leave on Monday. I have cancelled my follow up trip to Valencia and Bilbao and will probably make that trip after my Mallorca holiday next year.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Mallorca Day 52 - Tramuntana Tours Cuber Reservoir Walk

I had stopped in at Tramuntana Tours earlier this week and been told that there were no walks going out but they would let me know if that changed. I got an e-mail last night about one today so joined the group at the store front at 10am this morning. There were 7 of us ((3 German, 3 British and the token Canadian) as well as 2 guides. We were driven the 35minutes up to the Cuber Reservoir (where Chris, Chris and I walked a couple of weeks back)
On the map by the parking lot, Vincente pointed out that we would follow the red line below the lake and then to Col de l'Ofre and then walk up to the small pond up by the road at the top of the map. We would climb about 200 metres and the highest point would be 760metres above sea level.
It was cool and occasionally windy but mostly sunny. A day for putting jackets on and off.
The reservoir serves Palma and after passing along the edge
we started heading up to the pass, through pines,  with
steep rocks on each side.

This part of the walk was part of the GR221 which is the main Tramuntana trail from one end to the other.
A cross marks the pass,
on one side you can see Soller and the sea and
on the other, the reservoir and the highest peak with the radar installation on top.
There was a herd of horses at the top but only the donkey and mule were really pushy about their begging behaviour.
The goats stayed well clear.
From here we headed up a less well defined path, marked periodically by stone cairns.
At times it was a bit of a scramble but it was nice to be away for the more popular main trail and
the views
all around
were impressive.
This doesn't look that steep but we were mountain goats coming down here
into a valley between two rocky ridges.
No sound but the wind whistling and the sheep bells tinkling.
It wasn't all stark, craggy rock. This is wild rosemary in bloom and it smelled wonderful if you stepped on some,
and this is Blackthorn in bloom.
Further down the valley we were surrounded by oak trees.
A natural water source protected by stone.
A stone circle where oak wood was converted to charcoal.
Finally the small reservoir, used now by the military base, next to the road and tunnel. From here we were driven home.
We left the store front at 10 and were back by about 3. We had covered 9 kms. The hike had been easy for most of that distance, just a few scrambles and the views had been fantastic.
Wisteria, in abundant bloom, in Port.
Today is Mum's birthday so we went out to dinner at the Kingfisher restaurant at the bottom of our stairs. It was cool and rain in the forecast, so Dad had reserved a table inside (as there only are a few).
Mum started with jumbo shrimp
Dad with potato and leek cream soup
and I had tuna ceviche. We all thoroughly enjoyed our starters.
Mum and Dad both had the grilled fish of the day (sea bream), Dad had fries with his.
I had the Kingfisher salad (greens, julienned apple, walnuts, blue cheese, grilled apple slices, ham crisps and blue cheese dressing) with 2 jumbo shrimp on the side.
Of course there was wine, water, coffee, Mum and I had creme brulee and Dad had tiramisu. Great meal and then the waitstaff sang happy birthday to Mum and everyone in the restaurant applauded.