Saturday 22 September 2012

Mallorca: Walking

During the previous evening, we had become aware of not really having the hotel room to ourselves... we shared it with a small group of tiny ants, which were coming out from behind the large headboard behind the bed. The board was fastened to the wall, so we could not remove it to have a proper look, but we called reception and reported the problem. They quickly sent a maid with a can of spray - good for the moment, but not good enough for us to stay in this room, since the ants were most likely going to send reinforcements through their secret tunnel in the wall.
Our room had been on the first floor (ground floor from the main entrance, above ground level when you went to the back of the building), and with the trees growing close up to the hotel, it was certainly not a hygiene thing but merely nature demanding access.
We were given another room in a different wing and higher up in the building, again with our balcony offering a view of the sea, and saw no more ants for the rest of our stay.
All this changing of rooms and getting settled in there consumed the entire morning of the next day, so we decided to go for "just a little walk" to the hill we had been seeing at the other end of the nature reserve (not part of the park itself).
It didn't seem to be very demanding, but it turned out to be rather difficult to get there and not very nice at first: no proper foot paths were there; instead, we had to walk right next to the relatively busy road (it wasn't dangerous, just unpleasant) until we finally reached the track you see in the above picture. It lead us to the hill and on a path going round it, but never up.
So we contended ourselves to enjoy the green and quiet, only interrupted every now and then by a bird's call and by the soft clanging of bells from a herd of goats somewhere in the distance. The only human being apart from us was a lone mountain biker on his way back to town.
We did not know how far (and where to exactly) the path would lead, so after a while, we turned and walked back to where it started, and across the road and in the direction of Alcúdia, where we intended to walk through until we'd come up to the water front, and then back to Playa de Muro along the beach.
Before reaching Alcúdia itself, we came across a wooded area with abandoned roads and an equally abandoned place: Cova Sant Martí, St. Martin's Cave.
Sadly, there was a high iron fence around it, and the gate was padlocked; otherwise, I would have climbed down the steep stone steps to the bottom and explored the cave. A withered sign told us that this had already been a place of worship in ancient times; then, in the late 13th century, during a severe draught on the island the desperate people congregated there to pray for rain. Shortly after their fervent prayers, it started to rain, and out of gratitude, two chapels were built into the cave.
In 1996, the site was renovated with new roads leading there (said the sign), but when we were there, all we saw were clearly neglected, partly overgrown roads where no cars and almost no people had been travelling for years.
If you have known my blog for a while, you will also know that I do have a thing for abandoned places, and so of course this one held quite some fascination for me.

But we walked on, through the outskirts of Alcúdia and up to the beach, separated from the town by a rim of pine trees on dunes, just like in Playa de Muro.
The beach was full of people, but everyone was content just enjoying the sun (some had, of course, overdone it and resembled freshly cooked lobsters rather than humans) and the sea, and at no time did we come across any of the rambunctious louts, drinking sangria from buckets through long straws, what German (and other) tourists are so infamous for on Majorca.
By the time we reached our hotel and would have been ready for a dip in the sea, the weather had changed; a strong wind was blowing, and the waves were higher than before. We thought it wise not to go for a swim under these circumstances (and indeed, later we found that a red flag had been put up at the life guard's stand) and even opted to have dinner indoors instead of out on the patio.
During the night, a thunderstorm with plenty of rain kept us awake, and it was raining again by the time we got up the next morning.
After breakfast, though, the rain stopped, and the sun bravely tried to get through.


  1. Hello Meike:
    Oh dear, how very tedious to have to change rooms but, of course, for the best of reasons. We too should have been fascinated by the cave chapel - how very strange that it has now been completely abandoned. Perhaps unsafe for the visiting public?

    Recently we took friends to a chapel in a cave here in Budapest which has been reopened since the change of regime when it was closed. Fascinating, and not a little strange.

    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      possibly the cave with the two chapels is still opened for religious services on anniversaries or St. Martin's or something like that, but I can imagine that safetey concerns are behind the locked gates.
      We were happy how the hotel handled the ant incident; they acted in a swift, friendly and professional manner.

  2. Very small creatures are sometimes quite "powerful"... like in getting humans to flee!
    I can see why you stayed out of the water, but I really like that last photo with the waves and the clouds coming in.

    1. Yes, Monica, it was quite atmospheric on the beach with that particular light (of course not so well captured on camera), the wind and the waves, and hardly anybody around.

  3. Mallorca is such a mixture, isn't it. We spent our honeymoon in Deya in the North, which was stunning, but later had a nightmare holiday in one of,the more commercial resorts (the kids had a ball. We hated it). I'm glad you're having a good time.

    1. You're right, Frances, and we saw all of it - the nightmare places when walking through Alcúdia as well as the beauty and quiet landscape. My idea of punishment would have been to make me spend all day on a crowded beach, surrounded by sunburnt Germans, Brits and Swedes!

  4. OH bugs. I don't like that spray, its not good for you so I'm glad you changed rooms for that alone. My worst traveling nightmare? Once went to the loo, in the middle of the night, and a spider so big it spread across the whole toilet.......yes. later that night after i recoved from my distress, there was a very large (four inches at least)centipide on the wall. Way down south in Mexico.
    but the ice cream was amazing! Still, I really appreciate your honest portrayal of your vacations.... I really do.

    1. !!! A spider so large would have sent me screaming, I guess, although I am usually not given to hysterical reactions...!!! What did you do?
      I am careful about ice cream in places where I am not entirely sure of their hygienic standards, and on Majorca, both RJ and I refrained from having any. The people at the travelling agency cautioned us not to drink tap water on the island (as is my habit when I am at home); they said it was alright for brushing your teeth, but otherwise not meant for drinking. And since ice cream is made using tap water, and not boiled or sterilizes, we let it pass.

    2. Well, when i saw the spider i screamed for my husband. He came running and let out a yelp too. He squished it, but all I heard from the bedroom were these big thumps. Took quite a few hits before it was kaput. I did get sick on that trip too, eating fresh paypaya, that was already cut open, and after being so careful about the water!

    3. Sounds hair-raising! But I hope you have other, nicer memories of that trip, too :-)

  5. It sounds really lovely being able to take such a long walk without encountering more than one other soul. Very peaceful, and even the beach sounds good. I would never want to be in a place where people are drinking buckets of beer and making a lot of obnoxious noise.

    Sorry to hear about the ants, but perhaps this room is even better?

    1. Kristi, the new room was the same standard as the first one; we were higher up and still had a view of the sea from our balcony.
      Walking was what we both had been looking forward to very much on this holiday, so we were glad we found such lonely paths far away from all the other tourists without needing a car and having to drive for hours.

  6. Much as I love bugs when I'm hidden from them behind my camera (however close I may be in reality) I don't like them when I am asleep. Having slept (and been punctured on my face and body many times) with a mosquito in a hotel bedroom in Italy I'd certainly be getting parted from the ants. The rain sounds ominous.