Some stories from my 2017 stay in Port de Soller. As often before i went with my father and my uncle for a hiking vakation. This is a display of the resulting photography and a description of some of the trips we did.
After a quick flight of 2h from Paderborn to Palma de Mallorca we arrived at roughly 6am. Luckily i was able to sleep a few hours prior to the departure but still, i feel messed up. Right now i am sitting in front of the hotel. The sun is rising and a black cat is straying around us. Modern flights in economy class appear to be the manifestation of the "Holzklasse", a German word used for describing the third class in trains. Nowadays no such third class exists anymore, benches from wood (yielding the name Holzklasse, where Holz means wood) are the exception since 1935. The word prevailed though. What better there is to describe a terrible ride on a cheap flight with the worst imaginable times for departure. With the insolvency of Air Berlin just days earlier it appears that yet some other airlines have to die.
After a quick breakfast we decided to take a hike, one with less difficulty to it. It is a route to a rock we call the cheese rock as it is full of holes in it. On the way to it there is a big gap in which a minivan, one motorbike and two small cars are smashed. It appears as the owner got out of the cars and let them roll into the gap where they got stuck with their noses touching the ground. From the top you can not see the full amount of wreckage, just the bottom of one car that stuck upside down and the roof of the minivan, obviously crushed and bend into position. A cheap way of disposal, probably inspired by the cost of scrapping. As usual on Mallorca the trail to this location is lined with plenty of signs that prohibit trespassing. For an outsider it might appear that the locals plant such signs for amusement as to the sheer amount of them. Never the less the experiences we made also support the thesis that they actually mean something. Barking dogs and unfriendly landowners can be results of such displease of our presence. As an adventures hiker you have to be brave enough to ignore small inconveniences like these or you will be stuck on boring and crowded paths.
Our first day's journey, designed to be less difficult, reached its climax with the arrival at the cheese rock. Accidentally two Swiss girls, a British, maybe Scottish couple and another German man also just then reached the same spot. We paused, drank and talked to the other hikers. Because of the unusual flight times i experienced some phenomenons due to sleep shortages. Being awake from very early on makes a day feel much longer than usual (partly because one is awake longer). The tiredness reaches a maximum in the early morning and than declines throughout the day. Sometimes it goes to an extend that getting to bed at a reasonable time fails because the body adjusted to the new situation and is not sleepy in the evening as it should be. This can happen after a complete night awake.
Today the trip starts just as the one yesterday but with a different target. From the point where we returned yesterday we will climb down into a valley with a dry stream and climb up the hill on the other side. On top of that one there is a tower as they can be found in visibility to each other along the coastline. These towers, erected in the sixteenth century, up to 85 at times, where meant to warn the city of Palma and the citizens about approaching pirates. They used smoke signals at daytime and fire signals at night time which were reproduced at the towers in visible range until the signal reached Palma. The Spanish crown build them after pirates started to plunder the island. The pirates came in numbers up to 1500 men. Thanks to the system of the towers a first defeat of the pirates could be celebrated in Soller in 1561. ( More on the towers)
The yesterday so crowded location at the cheese rock was quiet and up to us today. From there a first quite well then poorly marked way lead down into the valley. The way up the hill on the other side of the valley is not regularly used and therefore it is less of a way and more of rock climbing while finding the correct directions. Here comes in handy that hikers all around the world use cairns (piled rocks) to mark their way. The concept is that a construction is build that is very unlikely to be build by nature alone and also is stable and visible from a small distance. In regions where no track can be seen the cairns often are the only orientation for direction. Sometimes they are distributed thinly, sometimes plenty. Either way it can be difficult to find and interpret them correctly. The hikers who build them are not always aware of the fact that they are not on the best possible path and find out later when they continue their journey. They then do not destroy the misleading mark, irritatingly for future visitors. It is hard to find a spot visible from both directions whilst also being sure about the way.
The path up the hill that we choose is marked sparsely but better than we expected. If you are not experienced in this kind of terrain I would not recommend this route to you. The rocks are extremely spiky and the grass is high, sharp and blocking the view to the ground. Also there are multiple points on the path where a little climbing is inevitable (no rope required, though). One has to be familiar with the grip of his shoes on the different grounds because the steep slope with the many obstacles requires you to be completely sure of what you do. Falling might lead to very unpleasant injuries in very inaccessible land. Yes, even on Mallorca there are inaccessible spots. Surprisingly.
Cliffs and unexpected gaps are not rare and can be dangerous as well. Also the grass has the nasty tendency to form a trap for your foot if you step on the ends with your other foot. These self made hurdles can be painfull and if you are in very bad luck even deadly. Usually just painfull, though.
At one point i took a wrong turn to get a good view over the ocean and found myself on an overhang 300 meters over the sea. Luckily the stone rarely brakes and a cliff like that holds for hundreds and thousand's of years, not caring about the goats and myself wandering around on top of it.
On one of my previous journeys to the very same tower on top of the hill i met a couple. They hastily introduced themselves and told me about their situation: "We are walking for three days now and our water and food supply is low now, how do we get to Soller?". It really is a mystery to me how it is possible to get lost that dramatically on a crowded island like Mallorca. The next day I saw them in Soller, intact and in a better mood. Food and safety does make a human being be a more human one in the end.
After reaching the tower and the mountain top we had to climb down on the other side and pass through a valley with three fincas. A font provided us with cold water on the way. The hike ended at the Mirador ses Barques, a small restaurant and bus stop. In all the years that i have been on Mallorca I never coughed a bus there. The buses on Mallorca do not carry more people than they have seats for and that resulted in the bus passing by the bus stop without stopping. Every single time. Luckily most of the people are tourists and are kind enough to take you back in their car to Soller. I never did not get a ride back and it usually requires no more than asking one person. Today we did just like that and had success on the first trail. An Australian photographer who is working for a magazine in New York took us. It is a small world after all.
- Kathedradle von oben - (Straßenbahn), Taxi gefahren - Eisenbahn - Statisten - Pianist ohne Fähigkeiten spielte Melodie aus Amelie - Fischmarkt - Zurück in Soller: - Baden im Meer - Live Band Trio, Trompete, Instrument aus Eimer und Drat, Ukulele am Bootspier
- boat tour - power plant - drinking water of soller - british people in the food line waiting
- boat tour with smaller boat - view to yesterdays route and spots - different rock type: smoother - lots of Spanish people in the canyon - No GPS, cell service - low water
- day of independence vote for Catalania (http://la3.org/~kilburn/blog/catalan-government-bypass-ipfs/) - Bus full concept of spain - steep hills on the way, sometimes hard to find