Saturday, 24 March 2018

Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain - walk to Cala Tuent and boat ride back.

Today it is bucketing down rain, cool and very windy (orange alert for wind on accuweather which means 65 to 80 km/hr)
The clouds are so low and thick that I can't even see the lowest hills that are just a couple of blocks away.
However, yesterday was a perfect day for walking. I was at the Tramuntana Tours location on the sea front in Port de Soller by 9:30 and our 2 guides (Jeremy and Vincense) loaded us into 2 vans and
drove us up to the lookout to start our walk.
I did this guided walk last year and the scenery still takes my breathe away. On top of that middle mountain (which has the sea on the other side)
is the next watch tower, north, from the Port de Soller one.
Terraces, olive trees and wild rosemary fill the valley we would walk through for the next 2 hours
stopping periodically for water and to hear about history, geology, flora and fauna.
A mountain spring discovered and harnessed by the Moors
with their distribution system still in use.
We were a group of about a dozen
An American couple, attracted by the cycling, here for their 30th anniversary.
A British couple, now working in Germany who called themselves "economic refugees of the Thatcher era".
5 other Brits, of varying ages, here seeking sun, relaxation and exercise
and the rest were Germans, a couple of whom spoke English and translated for the others.
We stopped at this finca, now hotel, at the bottom of the valley
for a glass of orange juice and a washroom break.
Inside, skulls of the wild goats that are hunted in the mountains.
The finca's tower was for hiding in, pulling up the ladder and waiting for the raiders to leave.
There's the pass we had to walk through next.
I had started out in a t-shirt, down vest and fleece jacket. The fleece came off as soon as we got into the valley with the warmth of the sun, no wind and heat reflecting off the rocks and terraces. Once we started the climb, the vest had to come off too. It was 200 metres up on a zigzag rocky path. I had warned everyone I would be slow and would have to stop periodically to get my heart rate down. I was happy to discover that I am in better shape than last year. I was able to keep up, didn't need to stop much or for long and got to the top feeling I could have done more.
The next hour and a half was walking high up along the coast. The worst part of these walks is that you constantly have to look down due to the loose stones and rough path. You can only look at the view when you stop.
The vest went back on as there was now a sea breeze.

When I did this last year there were just a couple of other walkers on the route. This year we were passed by 2 or 3 large groups and when they stopped, we would pass them. Hop scotching along the path where it was so narrow one group had to step aside to let the other pass.
We finished our walk at a restaurant overlooking the beach. Last year I went straight down but this year I sat and had a glass of wine, on the restaurant terrace, with the group.
Looking down at Cala Tuent from the restaurant terrace
and up at the next watchtower north.
A couple of us went down to eat the sandwiches we had bought with us, on the beach
and had to rush to finish up when we saw the boat coming in.

Looking back at Cala Tuent with the snow on Piuq Major.
There weren't any white caps but there was about a 3 foot swell

I was fine with it but some in our group

were glad they didn't have to go any further.
6 of us ended up at Fet a Soller for a glass of wine (or gelato) and conversation swirled around walks (in England and here), politics (in England, Germany and the U.S) and what everyone would be doing the next day (with the abysmal weather forecast).
The walk had been 12 km long. We left Port de Soller at 9:30 and were back by 4:30.

I arrived home to a completed patio and the news that the builders would not be returning (they had to move on to the next project) So Liz and I discussed which of the remaining bits and pieces we could complete before her renters arrive on Wednesday.

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