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      July 2010 > Walking - with honours!

Walking - with honours!

Soller's historic tramWhen I was at school and university, I seem to remember that whenever I came out of an exam feeling confident, I’d always end up disappointed with the results - and, conversely, if I came out feeling like I’d let myself down, I was pleasantly surprised by the marks. Very rarely, if ever, did I walk out of the exam hall full of confidence, and then open my results letter weeks later to find that I had actually come top of the class.

And yet, in a slightly different context, that’s exactly what happened with regard to a recent trip to Mallorca. Never having been to the Balearics before, my initial low (and unjust) opinion was always based on what friends said. However, since joining the travel industry, I have developed a growing respect for, and interest in, Mallorca, my fascination increasing with each glowing report, compounded on talking to some recently returned colleagues here at Inntravel, who could hardly have praised the island more highly.

And so it was that I boarded my flight from Leeds-Bradford (one of nearly 30 airports in the UK from which you can fly to Palma!) in excited anticipation of the week ahead. Would the island live up to my high expectations and deliver me a well-earned ‘First’ - or would I be flying home with a ‘Richard’! That’s a ‘3rd’, in case you thought I’d gone mad (as in Richard the Third!). 

I will confess now to being a mountain junkie; I love Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, the Swiss Alps and the Indian Himalaya, though I must add that some of my favourite walks are in the Lake District and the Cairngorms - not to mention the North York Moors on my own doorstep, where I’ve had many a day of delightful meandering.

Ca'n Rues - the perfect place for breakfastSadly, it wasn’t all fun in the mountains for my six days in Mallorca - in fact, it was a somewhat gruelling schedule of hotel visits, plus a conference for the second half of my stay. However I was determined to fit at least one full day’s walking in - not just for pleasure, of course, but to write the notes for two new walks that we’re adding to our walking holidays to Mallorca. It was extremely pleasurable work. Succumbing to a bout of ‘summit fever’, I took a short and steep detour to catch one of the 1000-metre peaks in the range and was rewarded with stunningly clear views over not only the Tramuntana mountains, but also the central plain and a full panorama of the north, east and south coasts (see bottom picture). Simply breathtaking! In fact, so much so that I repeatedly ran the risk of falling over as I started my descent, my eyes losing the battle between distant vista and the ground at my feet!

Perhaps the only disappointment in my short stay on the island is that it was just that a short stay which didn’t allow me time to do justice to each of the fantastic little hotels, fincas and agriturismos that we offer. I can certainly recommend a stay at Ca'n Reus (right) in Fornalutx, owned by Sue and Nick Guthrie who are both excellent company - and veritable mines of information, some useful, some just exceedingly interesting. In my all-too-brief visits around the others, I didn’t once come away with any doubts about whether I’d like to come back and stay one day. But next time I’ll make it a holiday and take my wife!

All too soon it was time to return to the UK, pondering on what a truly fantastic destination Mallorca is - and for a whole variety of reasons - there are attractive, quiet beaches; peaceful, pretty villages; fine local wines; copious amounts of freshly squeezed orange juice; friendly locals everywhere; atmospheric small restaurants and shops; and absorbing, colourful local markets.

Did I get my ‘First’? Absolutely, in fact, experience somehow exceeded expectation. I just hope that this is the start of a reversal of fortunes, and that similar results are achieved in other destinations. (And in case anyone’s listening, I’ve heard great things about New Zealand!) While I’m reluctant to get my hopes up too much, I really have heard good reports from the Lycian Way in Turkey where I’m heading soon; I promise to report back next month...
Magnificent walking in the Tramuntana Sierra above Soller

Posted: 06/07/2010 12:27:15 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: islands, Spain, transport, walking

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