Tasty Easter Treats

Easter treats with Mallorca HikingEaster is another excellent excuse to cook up some delicious traditional culinary Mallorquin favourites. Here are some great recipes for you to try for three of the most popular Easter treats: Empanadas, Rubiols and Crespells.

Empanadas (a personal favourite!) can be made with many different ingredients – the most popular being just meat or meat with peas.

These pies are typical dishes for both the Christmas and Easter holidays here in Mallorca. Grandmothers throughout the island prepare them before the holidays start, usually baking enough for several days’ consumption! You’ll find them in bakeries all over the island during the run up to Easter in normal, large and miniature versions – but they are so much more enjoyable when you make them yourself. Here’s your chance to try a chicken variation (but you can also make this with lamb, beef or fish):

Ingredients for 20 medium pies (go on have a party!)

For the pastry:

1 kg flour easter empanadas mallorca hiking
120 grams of butter or lard
2 cups of olive oil
1 cup of water

For the filling:

8 chicken drumsticks
500 g of peas
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped and cleaned
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons black pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Preparation and Baking:

Put chicken pieces from the drumsticks in a bowl, add salt, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons black pepper and a little olive oil over and then mix it all together. Put the peas in another bowl, add green onions, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons black pepper and a drizzle of oil and then mix.

For the dough:  Put the flour in a bowl, make a hole and pour in the butter or lard, oil and water. Knead the mixture until the dough is manageable. Preheat the oven (if electric to 170 º C) and grease a baking tray.

Now sprinkle a little flour  on a table or kitchen counter (so the dough doesn’t stick) take a handful of dough the size of an egg and kneading it, form a round shape and then place your thumb in the centre; start to create a basket shape pulling up the sides.  Fill the “basket” with a slice or two of chicken add peas etc and pour over a little oil. Take a little more dough the size of a walnut this time and roll it out. Again make a circular shape and place it on top of the “basket” with the filling in it. Gather the edges of the dough with your fingers and seal the top of the pie, making a zigzag with the tip of a knife or fingers. Place it in the tray, and repeat the process until you have finished the dough and the filling. Bake the pies for one hour or less.

Now for those of you with a sweet tooth: Crespells and Robiols

Ingredients:easter crespells with Mallorca Hiking
50 g icing sugar
80 g butter
75 g orange juice
1 / 2 lemon rind
2 egg yolks
300-350 g pastry flour (*)

Preparation: Mix together all ingredients with a whisk, reserving about 100-150g of flour to add at the end by hand (* depending on how many people you are cooking for). This will create your dough.

Robiols with Mallorca HikingSpread the dough with a rolling pin. For the crespells, cut out your shapes using cookie cutters in different shapes. For robiols, use a small round dish or container to cut out a circle of dough. You can fill your robiols with jam, cottage cheese, pumpkin, chocolate … taking care to put the filling in the center of the circle, fold the dough in half and seal it using a small fork.

Place in a preheated oven at 180 º for 15 about minutes until they are a pale brown. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool.

Buen provecho – enjoy!!

Easter in Mallorca

Happy Easter Mallorca HikingEaster is a busy time in Mallorca and officially marks the beginning of the holiday and tourist season. This year Easter (Semana Santa) is running late with Palm Sunday falling on the 17th of April, which is when the festivities start. There will then be a full week of religious processions, fiestas, markets, entertainment and events for locals and tourists alike. The celebrations culminate on the 24th, Easter Sunday, with jubilant processions and celebrations.

The week starts with Palm Sunday celebrations throughout Mallorca. Thousands of people visit their local semana santa easter mallorca hikingchurches and take part in processions carrying beautifully woven palm leafs. These are then blessed in church and symbolize the welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem. In Palma huge statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets of the Old Town and city centre, followed by the local cofradias or fraternities. There are about 50 fraternities on the island, each of which wear different coloured tunics. The privacy of each individual’s penance and prayer is preserved by a pointed capuchin hood, which covers their face.

Processions are held every day from Monday to Friday during Easter week, the biggest being the Crist de la Sang (on Maundy Thursday) and Sant Enterrament (on Good Friday), which are usually celebrated in all Mallorcan villages.

For those of you who are amazed by the incredible costumes that adorn the hundreds of procession goers there is an exhibition of the robes and symbols used by the local brotherhoods in the church of Sant Antoniet.

La Seu Pascua Mallorca HikingThe events during the week include concerts in various churches, the most prestigious of which is held in the stunning La Seu Cathedral in Palma on Easter Tuesday, in aid of the Baleares Homes project. Mozart’s Requiem directed by Salvador Broton and supported by the Choir of the University of the Baleares will be performing. Tickets are in big demand so book early if you want to go along.

The Maundy Thursday procession attracts huge crowds to Palma for and starts the build up to Good Friday and then the more jubilant culmination of celebrations on Easter Sunday with the Procession of Reunion.

The most spectacular Good Friday event is “The Lowering” or Davallament which is held at dusk on the Calvari Steps in Pollensa. The figure of Christ is carried down the 365 Calvari Steps (if you climb the 365 steps you are seeking forgiveness – one step for each day of the year). Another impressive event on Good Friday is the enactment of the crucifixion on the stairs to Palma’s cathedral at around midday.Pascua Mallorca Hiking

Holy Week finishes on Easter Sunday, with the Encontre (the Meeting) procession, which represents the meeting of the newly risen Jesus with his mother, the Virgin Mary. Large platforms with statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets of Palma symbolizing Jesus reunited with his mother. Activities during the following week include the traditional Pancaritats and Romeries, which are processions to various rural sanctuaries and hermitages.

Good Friday and Ebellver castle easter mallorca hikingaster Monday are both Bank Holidays in Mallorca and many villages have local fiestas on Easter Monday. The Sunday after Easter is also significant for family outings to the countryside and the many sanctuaries around Mallorca. In Palma you’ll see yet another procession on this so-called Domingo del Angel “Angel Sunday”. This fiesta is centered around Bellver castle and involves a procession of “giants” arriving at the castle from the city centre.  There are blessings followed by a Food Fair, dancing, entertainment and an enjoyable day out for all the family.

The religious celebrations are the main events throughout Mallorca but you will also find many other local events to help mark the end of the winter and the beginning of spring and the tourist season. Local traders and associations make the most of the many spectators and provide different cultural and entertaining shows. Don’t forget this is also an opportunity to enjoy the fabulous outdoors of Mallorca, so why not combine some Easter sightseeing and celebrations with one of our great Hikes

Also check out some of our tasty Easter treats in our last post…. Recipes for some of Mallorca’s favoutite traditional Easter specialities – get the baking trays out and to the ready…

Easter treats with Mallorca Hiking

The History of Mallorca – Part 2

Today is a continuation of our previous post 10 Fabulous (Historic) Facts about Mallorca bringing us from 1600 AD to the present time. So here are some more fabulous facts about how our beautiful island has evolved:

1. The War of Succession – so called because spanish war of succession mallorca hikingthe winner would succeed the heir-less King Carlos II, and rule a united Spain. It was fought among several European powers, against the Spanish loyal to Felipe V, France and Bavaria over a possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. Such a unification would have drastically changed the balance of power in Europe.

As it turned out, it resulted in the recognition of Felipe as King of Spain but he was required to renounce any claim to the French throne and to cede much of the Spanish Crown’s possessions thereby breaking up the Spanish Empire in Europe at the time.

Mallorca was the last territory to be acquired by Felipe in 1715, and the following years saw many changes for the island. The new King introduced a new regime, which abolished the autonomy the island had enjoyed. The first among the “Nueva Planta” decrees (another twist in the battle for language supremacy) was the decree that Mallorca would now use Castilian as the official language instead of Catalan. In 1716 the new regime made Mallorca part of the new Baleares region.

Antonio Barcelo with Mallorca Hiking2. Famous sailors and navigators feature in our next stage in history. Due to continued problems with pirates, the King gave permission for established sailors to defend their homelands. One “corsair” noted for his bravery (and for lending his ships to the King!) was Captain Antoni Barcelo. Achieving the rank of Lieutenant General of the Spanish Armada was one of the rewards for his gallantry and support.

Another famous sailor is the missionary Fray Junipero Serra. In the mid 1700’s he sailed to the new Americas and helped establish the missions of California. He can probably be given credit for founding such US cities as San Francisco. Not bad for an island boy brought up in Petra!

3. More wars in the 1900s – this time the Napoleonic version. The comfortable lifestyle and relative peace that had prevailed was harshly broken with the influx of refugees from Catalonia escaping the fighting on the mainland. Although this caused much unrest amongst islanders the new business skills of the Catalan settlers established a new bourgeoisie society and many new trading initiatives. This included shipping routes, train lines and communication channels with the mainland. The other major change was the return of the Catalan language.

4. Economic Crisis (yes, there were others!) – Bad times return and the equivalent of our current phylloxera plague mallorca history mallorca hikingeconomic crisis for Mallorca. The vibrant wine producing industry was devastated with all the vines destroyed by phylloxera plague. At the same time the colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines broke away from Spain reducing significantly the local shipbuilding industry. There followed an exodus of islanders to the mainland and America to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

5. Enter the 20th Century and Two Giants in Mallorcan political history:

Born in Palma, Antoni Maura was a politician and spent most of his political life in Madrid as leader of the Conservative party. He was Prime Minister of Spain on five separate occasions during the early 1900’s.

Joan March Ordinas was a “rags to riches” financier who at one time was reputed to be the third richest man in the world. He was a Mallorcan businessman closely associated with the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War, and with Franco’s regime after the war. He was notorious for shady dealings and political influence, and in 1926 created the Banca March one of Mallorca’s largest banks.

Spanish Civil War as told by Mallorca Hiking

6. Spanish Civil War – General Francisco Franco succeeded in installing his military regime from a coup he mounted against the elected Republican party in 1936. He was backed by many conservative groups as well as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

When Franco assumed power, the country entered three years of Civil War during which 1 million Spaniards lost their lives. He managed to keep Spain out of the Second World War that raged just after the Spanish Civil war had ended.

Mallorca was seen as a Nationalist stronghold and in 1936 it had a decisive battle against Republican forces. Now known as the Battle of Mallorca, it was won by the outnumbered islanders supported by the Italian air-force. Mallorca then became a base from which to send raids to the Spanish mainland.

General Franco not with Mallorca Hiking

7. The Franco Regime 1939 – 1975.

Franco’s right wing, military regime was hard and alienated Spain from the rest of the world. Franco implemented martial law and local languages such as Catalan, Mallorquin and Basque were forbidden in public places, with Castellano again installed as the official language. When he died in 1975, the monarchy was reinstated and local languages and cultures began to flourish.

8. Tourism arrives in Mallorca – from the 1950’s the island was discovered as a fabulous destination forholidays-in-majorca mallorca hiking holidays, sailing and (originally) fairly exclusive and classy clientele. This has steadily declined with mass construction of hotels in key resorts around the island. All inclusive breaks are the latest point of discussion in the context of the future of the island’s tourist industry.

Thankfully, the building frenzy that has left massive derelict and waste areas on the mainland and the Costas has been controlled to a degree in Mallorca. The latest economic problems have helped curb any further expansion. There is much debate about the need to return to quality tourism – highlighting the other Mallorca e.g. Rural Hotels, the natural environment, history and culture here at Mallorca Hiking we are big supporters of this latest strategy.

9. In 1983 the Balearics became an Autonomous State – the Balearic islands now have their own governing body, and local elections started shortly after the Autonomous Statutes were passed. Today, Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands and is the seat of government for the political and judicial system for the ‘Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands’.

10. Mallorca Hiking was founded in 2001 – probably one of the most significant developments in modern times for Mallorca (!!) offering everything required to show the wmallorca-hiking walking holidays mallorcaorld the natural beauty, culture, cuisine and history of this wonderful island. This includes Tailor Made Walking Holidays for those who want to escape with their own personal agenda within the great outdoors of Mallorca; Guided Walking Tours; walking and wine tours, gourmet tours and now a growing local Resident’s Walking Club and all are helping secure Mallorca Hiking’s footprint throughout the Mallorcan countryside – come join our party and help us spread the word about our wonderful island!

Wild Orchids of Mallorca

bumblebee orchid Mallorca Hiking There are no less than 60 species of Orchid growing wild in Mallorca and the Balearic islands. They grow in hedgerows, meadows, woodland and even wet-lands, as they prefer a damp atmosphere. These beautiful specimens are protected in Spain and it is totally forbidden to pick them. But the pleasure of “collecting” them pictorially is even more enjoyable as you can look back on your find forever, and the Orchid can continue to give pleasure to all who pass by.

The areas around the island where you’re likely to find wild Orchids are the Mondragó nature reserve near Santanyí, in the s‘Albufera near Alcúdia, Cabrera National Park and (the most prolific) in the Tramuntana mountain range.

Orchids are incredibly adept at attracting insects to pollinate them, and have many tricks to attract their flyingOrchid Pollination Mallorca Hiking germinators. The flower grows to imitate a female insect such as a bee or a wasp (see examples in our slide show below), thereby enticing the male to mate with it. The male may leave disappointed, but the Bee or Wasp Orchid knows this will ensure it’s pollen will be attached to him and passed on to the next Orchid.

Other pollination ploys include emitting scents of the female insect and producing a form of glue so the insect has to struggle to escape. The flower then bends sufficiently as the insect breaks free to ensure the pollen is in the right position for when the insect makes contact with the stigma of the next flower.

Self pollination is also possible with Orchids, meaning if all else fails, they can do the job themselves! The result of this is that all genetic mutations are passed to all offspring of the parent. This gives rise to many stable populations as we can now see throughout Mallorca.All these factors have helped create a growing and varied range of Orchid species for us to enjoy on the island.

Orchids can be found blooming from as early as February . The White Helleborine with its white to cream-yellow flowers and the Giant Orchid, which grows to a height of 60cm are two early bloomers. Other popular species are The Mirror Orchid and the Ophrys Balearica or Balearic Orchid (the only native orchid species in the entire Balearic islands). Below we have created a slideshow of many of the varieties of Orchids you can find around our beautiful island. See how many you can find, photograph and identify later. We would also appreciate it if you left us a comment with locations on the island where you have discovered wild Orchids.

For a sure sighting of one of these beautiful flowers why not come along on one of our Tailor Made Holidays – or if you are resident in Mallorca join our Resident’s Walking Club – we have regular monthly walks and will bring you closer to all things beautiful in Mallorca.

Click on one of the images to open a lightbox slideshow

Photographs all taken in Mallorca

Photographs courtesy of:

Orchi at Wikimedia Commons (www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Orchi)

www.thinkoholic.com

The Peaks of Mallorca

Es Teix Peak with Mallorca Hiking

Es Teix Peak

The Serra de Tramuntana is the highest mountain range and the most extensive area of natural beauty on Mallorca. In this stretch of highlands, which spans from Valldemosa to Pollensa, we find some of the most enjoyable and demanding walks. There are many peaks (or Puig in Mallorquin) and each has a magic of its own, and it is from here that we get the most spectacular views across the island. Let’s take a virtual tour (or viaje) through these magical Peaks of Mallorca.

Starting from the beautiful village of Valldemossa we have clear views of our first peak, which is easily accessible on foot. Es Teix (meaning yew in Catalan and so named because of the yew trees growing on the slopes) stands majestically above the villages of Deia and Valldemossa – the central point of a long ridge running from Talia Vella to Sa Gelara above Sóller. It’s highest point is 1064m and from here there are far-reaching views of both sides of Mallorca as well as along the main ridge of the Serra de Tramuntana. This is a popular peak to ascend, as combined with the Archduke’s bridle path it is one of the island’s classic hikes.

Tossals Verds Peak with Mallorca Hiking

Tossals Verds

Moving on in the direction of Sóller we come to the Puig de Tossals Verds, which is the highest of a group of peaks south of Gorg Blau, and east of the Cúber reservoirs. There are a number of good walks in the Tossals area, and one of the most popular is the circuit around the mountain via the Tossals Verds refuge. However, in this post we’re focussing on peaks…. and this is another easy peak to reach. Together with a climb to the top of nearby Morro d’Almallutx, it is a challenging – and very satisfying – day’s hike; by itself, it is a good afternoon’s work-out – see our fun video on Youtube!  The highest point is 1115m and again we get some spectacular views down to the Bay of Palma and across to Massanella and Puig Major (see below).

From Tossals we move on to Puig d’en Gallileu which looks over the monastery of Lluc. This peak can be reached from the reservoir of Cuber through woodlands and passing the watering hole of Font Des Prat. Our route now ascends again, moving into the mighty backbone of this mountain.

Two more easily accessible peaks in the  area are Sa Rateta at 1084m and L’Ofre at 1091m. Together they constitute a fabulous day’s hiking, starting at the Cúber reservoir. L’Ofre is a very distinctive cone-shaped peak and this walk is a high ridge walk between the two peaks with breathtaking 360º views. Get your binoculars out and watch for the birds of prey - we very often see them in this area. Alternatively we could descend into Sóller from L’Ofre via the famous Pilgrim’s Steps and the pretty village of Biniaraix.

The peak of Massenella with Mallorca Hiking

The peak of Massenella with Mallorca Hiking

The highest peak on the island is actually Puig Major at 1436m but this is military zone so it is not accessible by the public. The highest accessible peak is the Puig de Massenella (1367m) and it is a challenging but enjoyable hike to the summit. The route to the top of Massenella finishes at Ses Bassetes, where the atmosphere and views are truly breathtaking – this is definitely worth the effort and a very memorable experience!

The peak of Tomir with Mallorca Hiking

The peak of Tomir

Heading a bit further north now,  we come to Puig Tomir (1103m), another well known and popular summit to climb. It is very accessible and we can reach the top via a glorious climb in about 1 and a half hours from the Binifaldó road. This is an intriguing peak – bare and rocky with steep crags and a circular snowpit nearby – and gets a unique perspective of Pollensa and the Formentor peninsular. However, our views are saved right until the end when we reach the top and look down over the town of Pollensa. Stunning!

Puig Roig with Mallorca Hiking

Puig Roig

The last of our peaks in this post is Puig Roig (1002m) – a magical walk with smugglers paths and cave houses, makes this a classic finish in our mountain adventure. We’ll very likely see birds of prey circling in the sky above – a glorious sight. This is a stunning and very Mallorcan hike, which ends with the descent to the monastery at Lluc, a suitable destination to bring our post to a close.

Now enjoy a selection of stunning photos of these wonderful peaks – below. Why not plan your next walking holiday with us at Mallorca Hiking – and make this virtual tour a reality? We’ll design an itinerary just for you and your friends – see our tailor-made holidays. See you soon…

The Moors and the Christians

Moors & Christians1 Mallorca HikingThe second Monday in May (the 9th May in 2011) is a massive fiesta in the Sóller calendar. Much of the activity revolves around the annual re-enactment of the famous battle between the Moors and Christians originally fought on the beaches on 11th May 1561.

Celebrations commemorate a battle won by the bravery of the Pollença citizens who fought against 1,500 Moors led by the fearsome pirate Dragut. Probably the biggest pirate attack ever to be launched  on the island was thwarted primarily by the bravery of local hero, Joan Mas.  His warnings and  his heroic launch into battle, leading his local kinsmen to attack the pirates landing on the beaches, saved the day.

The initial “attack” comes by boats from the sea and onto the beach near the pier in Puerto de Sóller; the action then moves down the coast –  accompanied by Moors & Christians Mallorca Hikingtraditional Mallorquin music. The battles then move into the town centre, where historically both men and women rise up against the pirates.

The whole town of Sóller gets involved in some way in this fiesta. The two warring parties are easily identified as the Moorish troops wear dark make-up, but sometimes within the chaos and modern day enthusiasm for the fight it is hard to see who is actually winning. Needless to say lots of food and drink is consumed and everybody – both participants and spectators have a thoroughly good and very rowdy time!

As well as a huge street party, there is also an amazing fireworks display in the evening. From about 8 p.m. everyone who has taken part in the battle arrives at the Plaza. Here everybody joins in the biggest “fight” of the day and the noise is quite deafening – thick clouds of smoke fill the village square. Banks and houses are “robbed” by ladder-wielding pirates; bodies are strewn everywhere as the enactment mimics history with people hanging from trees, and blood-stained clothes adding to the dramatic effects. Finally victory is announced and the village joins as one singing La Balanguera – the hymn of Mallorca. Now all become friends again and the party really begins!

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Music and festivities continue late into the night.

Es Firó is the biggest and most dramatic fiesta that takes place in Sóller. It is well worth experiencing, so if you can get to Mallorca in early May it’s a great time of year to combine a walking holiday as well as some serious partying!

If you can’t take time off, take a look at our tailor made walking holidays – we can organise a walking itinerary especially for you and your group, exactly when you want it…

We hope to see you soon…

Under Mallorca’s Spell – From BBC to CB&B (Chic Bed & Breakfast)

Can Reus Fornalutx Mallorca HikingMallorca has a way of making you look at life in a whole different way. As I can vouch from my own conversion from London strife to country life – Mallorca has a way of making you appreciate a slower way of life.

Many expats complain about the mañana syndrome here in Mallorca. I still have difficulty accepting afternoon siesta closing times, queuing for meetings rather than telephone solutions, Sunday closing and more. But none of these “problems” would tempt me to return to the hectic life I left behind in the UK.  So it was with perfect understanding that I discovered another couple who made a similar escape – also due to a love of the great Mallorquin outdoors.

In the picturesque village of Fornalutx you will find a small rural hotel nestled between orange, lemon and olive groves. From theCan Reus 1 Fornalutx Mallorca Hiking garden of Can Reus there are spectacular views to the Tramantana mountains and endless hiking routes on the doorstep. Indeed the owners are keen walkers, and this is how they became the owners of this idyllic retreat.

The location of this lovely hotel made it an obvious choice for Mallorca Hiking and for a base for our Tailor Made Walking Holidays. The superb facilities and service would have you believe the hosts had been in this profession all their lives – but those of you familiar with TV news and current affairs programmes would be surprised to see Sue Lloyd-Roberts that formidable sleuth of investigative journalism greeting you from her “other job” here in Mallorca. And husband Nick Guthrie continues to produce and edit his weekly current affairs programme for the BBC, Dateline London (but he is back at his post at Ca’n Reus by Sunday).

Can Reus 2 Fornalutx Mallorca HikingSue recounts that they originally bought a holiday home in Fornalutx to have a quiet place to escape from the mayhem of London, enjoy the incredible walks in the Tramantana mountains and the relaxing Mallorquin country lifestyle. Then the boutique hotel next door became available, and against all the advice and protests of friends and family, Nick and Sue invested in their new venture.

My personal trajectory into Mallorquin life also involved taking on an agroturismo in the south east of the island, so I understand what Sue means (when she recounts in an interview for abc Mallorca) that it didn’t begin auspiciously. As somebody who took on a business with more sentiment from the heart than the head, I know the learning curve can be very steep – I’m sure strong nerves from all Sue’s reporting experience came in very handy to overcome some of the pitfalls of Mallorquin bureaucracy, and the very different ways in which things get achieved in Mallorca.

However, regardless of the inauspcious start, the result is a beautiful 9 room hotel with the Serra Tramantana mountains literally Nick Guthrie & Sue Lloydoutside the back garden. This is truly a place to escape and forget the world. Relax and enjoy one of Nick’s chicken casseroles with olives, or one of Sue’s fish specialities fresh from the local market – complete with organic vegetables and accompanied by the very latest world news and current affairs!!

Nick still commutes between Mallorca and London for his weekly news shows, and Sue confines her award winning documentaries to the low season for the hotel. Both return to Mallorca as soon as they can, ready to kick off the world and share their Mallorcan oasis with their guests at Can Reus.

We can highly recommend this lovely hotel as a base for a walking holiday…

The importance of Hydration

Hydration with Mallorca HikingWith the Spring weather upon us and perfect conditions for taking that excursion into the countryside – it is important to remember to carry sufficient water with you. Today’s tip from Mallorca Hiking concerns adequate hydration

Never underestimate your water requirements. The slightest bit of dehydration will cause a decrease in your physical performance. If allowed to deteriorate further, it can lead to much more serious problems. Start with easy walks to understand your body’s individual requirements. The average person should consume a minimum of 3 quarts of water per day especially when walking energetically (which is definitely the case on some of our hikes in Mallorca with peaks of up to 2000m above sea level). Also important to bear in mind is how much of your walking route is shaded – the more open and exposed, the more water intake you’ll need.

Hydration function in our bodies:

Our bodies are composed of about 66% water. Fluid and electrolyte balance is a major function of homeostasis (which is our body’s ability to maintain its internal environment as it adjusts to challenges and stress). If our bodies are able to adjust to these challenges a healthy balance is maintained. Proper hydration is important for cellular metabolism, blood flow and our physical performance.

Hydration bladder with Mallorca HikingLack of water can lead to muscle cramps, major headaches, fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke so it’s important to ensure this vital ingredient is always high on your preparation list for long walks.

For those of you looking to hike or take longer walks on a regular basis, there have been some superb accessories hydration bladder with Mallorca Hikingdeveloped for maintaining your hydration easily. Hydration packs have almost become a ‘must have’ accessory for hikers worldwide – we quite often pass fellow hikers with a tube running from their rucksack with a mouth piece clipped to their shirt. These hydration “bladders” fit conveniently into any rucksack pocket, as the bag adapts to it’s surroundings. A pipe then runs from the backpack and can be attached to your shirt or jacket collar. Regularly topping up your liquid intake is made super easy – no more stopping, unpacking, unscrewing, repacking etc – just lean forward and drink!

WATER BOTTLE TIP

If you take traditional water bottles as part of your hiking hydration system, invest in some good quality 1 litre bottles (Nalgene is a recommended brand). They have wide mouths and are easy to clean, secure lids that are attached to the bottle (lids don’t drop  in the dirt), and they are sturdy enough to take some abuse in your backpack.

How to calculate your fluid intake needs when walking

The best hydration strategy for hikers is to ensure you stay fully hydrated. This really needs to start about one week before your hiking trip. Good hydration is especially important for the two to three days prior to your trip. Two litres is the minimum daily intake, but remember hiking is a physical activity and through perspiration, exposure and climate you can become dehydrated very quickly.

HIKING HYDRATION TIP

Never pass up an opportunity to fill your water containers while hiking. Always start your hike with a full load of water and don’t depend on the availability of water at some future point on the trail – you may end up disappointed and heading toward dehydration…

Signs of Dehydration:

The following tell-tale signs of dehydration may help you react earlier and begin rehydrating sooner. As a rule of thumb if you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. Other signs include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Unclear thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Dark yellow urine

Try and remember these simple guidelines when planning your next hike – particularly as the weather is improving and temperatures are steadily increasing.

For further tips on preparing for a walking trip, read through some of our other helpful articles:

10 After Hike Recovery Tips

Practice Makes Perfect

Top Tips – Preventing Blisters

Wonderful Walking Facts

Happy (Hydrated) Hiking!

Soller to Lluc via the Pilgrim’s Steps

Monastery at Lluc MallorcaThe Pilgrim’s Steps are part of one of the most popular and enjoyable walks on the island of Mallorca – a 14 km hike from Soller to the monastery at Lluc, that continues on into Pollensa. The route passes through many different terrains, from mountains to valleys; woodland to spectacular coastal views; a limestone valley that descends into the canyon where the actual Pilgrim’s Steps are found – a cobbled pilgrims’ trail comprising almost 2,000 shallow stone steps.

Starting from Soller follow the road to the village of Biniaraix, which leads through groves of orange, lemons, figs and almonds. This is a picture postcard perfect Mediterranean village where each doorway and windowsill has been carefully tended with flowers, vines and bougainvillaea. Then moving on up to the Barranc (or gorge), the Pilgrim’s Steps lead us into the mountains. You can just imagine the work required to produce these steps and appreciate all the effort made by our ancestors to make our access to these mountains so much easier. More enchanting terraces of olive trees dropping down into the narrow valley of the Cornadors, and from here we move onto the Coll de L’Ofre. From the Coll there are spectacular views down to Sóller and in the other direction to the Cuber reservoir below and Puig Major above.

There are several routes leading to the Cuber dam from here, one passing over the L’Ofre peak and a testing ridge walk, which then leads down to Cuber – look out for the abundant birdlife around the lake, including many birds of prey (covered in more detail in our previous post).

From the Cuber lake there is a gentle incline up through woodland to the Tossals Verd summit and more spectacular views (see our Youtube video of the route to the summit). If you are hiking over several days, the Tossals Verd refuge is a perfect stopping point. Here you can enjoy a home cooked meal complete with vegetables from the garden, and stay overnight if you want to. There is a circular path around Tossals Verds mountain and the refuge is located on this route. You can therefore access the refuge via either direction. Both paths to the refuge are well marked – one runs through a number of tunnels via one side of Tossals Verds and the other via the canaleta which is a slightly longer route the other way around.

Continuing on to Pollensa from the refuge, the route takes you through holm oak woods and an ascent of Massanella, the highestThe Pilgrim's Route to Lluc Monastery accessible peak on the island. This is a fabulous experience you will remember – not least for the care you need to take over the last part of the route (good hiking boots required!), but ultimately the views from the summit are amazing.

From the top of Massanella, the route leads down through the woods of Comafreda to the road and finally, the pilgrim’s destination at Lluc Monastery. The Monastery is another great stopping place that takes on a wonderful silence at night time when all the tourists have departed. You will be transported back in time to the origins of this sacred place and the peace and tranquillity the monks sought for their religion.

This lovely walk from Sóller to Lluc monastery via ancient pilgrims’ steps is just one of the many routes we can offer you on a Tailor Made holiday with Mallorca Hiking. We can combine fabulous local hospitality – either in the rustic simplicity of the refuges (or mountain “huts”) or in delightful boutique hotels –  with wonderful mountain scenery, fauna and flora and all the other good things that Mallorca has to offer! We look forward to hearing from you….

Salt of the Islands – Flor de Sal

flor de sal mallorca with Mallorca HikingReturning to products Made in Mallorca, today we’re going to look at the incredible success story of Flor de Sal – naturally harvested sea salt from the beaches of Mallorca.

Flor de Sal is one of the highest quality sea salts in the world, and due to its scarcity it is also one of the most expensive. It is harvested by hand along the coast of Mallorca, and has become a popular ingredient in the kitchens of many of Spain’s top chefs. It is now produced in many flavours & combinations and exported from our little island around the world. The salt obtained is 100% natural without any modification (apart from the new flavoured salts that have, e.g. herbs & spices added to them).

The salt producing area of Mallorca is Ses Salines (named after its salt flats) in the south east of the island, and about 7 kilometers from the coast. Winter storms bring seawater onto the salt flats, which are then left to dry in the sun… The whole area has been designated an area of special scenic and rural interest, and it is a fascinating place to walk, as we observe its intriguing and unusual ecology. Watch this space – Mallorca Hiking has a few fabulous new guided walking itineraries in this area that we’ll be adding soon (and in the meantime of course you can take a look at some of our other fantastic walks)

Flor de Sal (or “Flower of Salt”) is extremely beneficial as it retains its natural moisture, many minerals and other essential elements from the sea – enhancing both its flavour and its health benefits. Because its crystals are so small, flor de sal dissolves faster than regular salt when used in cooking, so it’s best used by sprinkling it over food just before serving.

La Sal de la Vida with Mallorca Hiking

In the past salt was as valuable a commodity as oil is today. Many wars and treaties were declared over the trade of salt. Some even say the fall of the British Empire started when India objected to a tax on salt that escalated into a backlash against British rule.

Historically, the Egyptian’s were the first to discover the process of evapourating sea water to extract the salt and the Phoenicians brought the technology to Portugal where mass production and export was first started. The French introduced Fleur de Sel in around 1975 in Guerande, on the French Atlantic Coast. In Mallorca farming of Flor de Sal is relatively new with the first commercial production beginning around 2001.

The ancient process for harvesting salt is  still used today.  Seawater is left to evaporate in progressively smaller, shallower, and lower pools—or salt pans—until the salt is so densely concentrated that it can just be scooped out of the water. The salt is harvested every five to seven weeks, depending on the heat of the sun and the force of the drying winds.

Once harvested the salt can be enriched with other ingredients – this process has resulted in a star product of the Balearic Islands. Numerous awards have been bestowed on the companies now producing Flor de Sal from Mallorca. Flor de Sal d’Estrenc and Llum de Sal are the main producers here and have already earned an impressive list of awards.

Flor de Sal Awards with Mallorca Hiking

If you haven’t yet discovered this wonderful product, look out for it in the quality delicatessen outlets. If it’s made in Mallorca – you can be sure it’s a quality product! It’s great for a present when you’re travelling back home – but you’ll probably get hooked for your own use once you try it…

Don’t forget it’s always important to maintain your salt levels particularly when Walking and Hiking, so why not do it in style, with Flor de Sal…!!