|Sunday, 19 October 2014 08:31|
“Traveller, there is a path” in MallorcaIn his best loved poem, the 20th century Spanish poet Antonio Machado tells us “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar”, which can be roughly translated as “Traveller, there is no path, your path is made by walking”;to paraphrase the great Machado, we can confidently say “Traveller, there is a path” in Mallorca … many in fact.
It seems remarkable that in one of the most visited tourist destinations on the Mediterranean you can still find such marvellous and well-preserved natural environments. Trails which date from Roman or mediaeval times, woodland paths which were used, until relatively recently, by colliers; tracks which ascend crags and cliffs or descend following dry streams; stone paths shared with mountain goats …. Paths waiting to be followed!
Hiking in Mallorca you can discover fantastically beautiful scenery; pathways originally used by smugglers which lead to some of the most inaccessible corners of the coastline, and to ancient watchtowers built to defend the island against marauding pirates, “marges” or stone terraces used for cultivating fruit and vegetables, ice-storage structures, wells and cisterns, or refuges for both humans and livestock.
Admittedly the Serra de Tramuntana attracts most ramblers and hikers in Mallorca, but the island in general boasts an impressive network of footpaths which traverse more gentle terrain, while still offering plenty in the way of history and culture.
Of these the best known is the “Ruta de la pedra en sec”. Following it we can discover interesting historical remains, myths and legends, as well as the traditions, architecture, customs, gastronomy and handicrafts of this privileged corner of the island. Many parts of the route run close to the coast and up to some of the highest peaks of the Serra. Here we can behold spectacularly diverse landscapes, flora and fauna, from shady woodland to craggy peaks, or abrupt coastlines to Mediterranean shrub land.
Although the route is suitable for hikers of all ages, is clearly signposted and features several mountain refuges which are open to the public, the Serra also hosts more demanding challenges such as the 105 kilometre-long Ultra Mallorca. This year also sees the first edition of the Trans-Tramuntana extreme cycling challenge, along 235 kilometres and twelve climbs totalling 4500 metres, but these of course are at an altogether different level.
Choose your path, come suitably equipped, press on and discover.
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