Hiking in Mallorca
As walks go you might say it was an ugly duckling which became a swan.
The beginnings were hardly propitious. The first headache was finding somewhere to park the hire car. There wasn't a space left in the public car park behind the Ayuntamento in the town of Calvia, so we risked leaving it in a narrow side road, hoping no lorry would scrape the side while we were gone.
The next problem was locating the start of the route. We wandered hopefully, failing to spot any signs, until a helpful resident pointed the way. It was a good 20 minutes away, past neat vegetable gardens where artichokes and beans grew, lemons ripened and oranges lay where they had fallen, and up a winding road until at last we came upon the wooden direction board which informed us the hike to Galilea and back would take some four hours. Or in my case a little longer.
I had come to Mallorca to stay at the lovely Bonsol Hotel in Illettas - which I will review for Silver Travel Advisor later - in the hope that warm weather, swimming and a little gentle walking would speed recovery from a hip fracture, suffered while skiing in January. With perfect timing the tourist authorities in the Calvia region, which is better known for raucous resorts including Magaluf, had just published a series of hiking leaflets. They take you to a Mallorca close in mileage but far removed in spirit from the beachfront cafes and clubs.
Once on the footpath proper we didn't see a single other person in some three hours. They should also dispel any notion that the only area worth hiking on the island is the Tramuntana mountain chain across the north. We quickly realised that in picking this particular route I had been too ambitious. It soon revealed its new, more swan like side, mind. After a short stretch on a rough track a beautiful path flanked by pistachio and wild olive trees, occasional wild gladioli and cistus, and shaded by the ubiquitous Aleppo pines.
The air was full of bird song. Was that the liquid burbling of a nightingale? Where's David Attenborough with his Tweet of the Day when you need him most? The path began to climb steeply. It became loose under foot. I was clearly going to have difficulty coming down this, and there was no alternative but to return the same way. Discretion, we decided, should be the bitter part of valour. We took a turn around the village of Son Font, where elegant villas afford magnificent views of Mallorca's south west coast, and decided to cut off the itinerary in its prime. After a restorative picnic I made my way gingerly down, using two hiking poles to take the weight, taking methodical care to avoid loose stones and reaching the road with a sore ankle but no other ill effects. This walk is numbered CR5 in the pack of leaflets available from information offices in the Calvia region and is classified "fairly easy". Finally a tip for anyone following in our footsteps. Take the car up the hill and park in a lay by near where you leave the road. That way the walk will be all swan - and no duckling.