Don’t destroy what you came to enjoy!

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

… that’s Brad’s motto and we totally agree with him!

Brad and Bea are a passionate team and we’re happy to say that Mallorca Hiking is increasingly working together with them, particularly when it comes to activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling (as well as canyoning and rock climbing, but we’ll save those for another day!). Brad is a qualified and highly experienced PADI dive instructor and today’s post is his story:

“Another beautiful summer day in Mallorca, clear blue skies and a slight sea breeze…what an Island!

Txus is a good friend of mine and a non-diver but he asked me to take him diving for the first time….”Hombre!!! For sure…lets go!!”  We were about to see the largest concentration of rays that I have ever seen anywhere in the world… in Mallorca!

I had been told about a spot in Mallorca that has a large population of sting rays. Coming from Australia and having dived with rays there, I wasn’t expecting too much. People say there isn’t much to see in the Med… haha… this is so far from the truth.

We arrived at our dive site and unpacked the gear whilst I gave Txus a thorough briefing in my ever-improving Spanish. I explained to him the very basics of diving, what to do, what not to do and what to expect to see.  All of this was done whilst enjoying the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and crystal clear waters of Mallorca.

When we’d finished the briefing we slipped into our wetsuits and jackets, grabbed our fins, mask and snorkel and made our way to the water’s edge. I did my final checks on Txus and myself and in we went. The first thing we do before and at the end of any dive is to inflate our BCD (buoyancy control device) – a very simple and very important procedure.

The smile on Txus´ face spread from ear to ear and we hadn’t even gone underwater yet. As an experienced instructor I know that when someone is smiling like that at the beginning of their first dive, that the dive itself will be one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

As we exchanged signals that we were “OK to Go Down” we released the air from our jackets and Txus´ underwater adventure had begun. We were blessed with amazing visibility, and were welcomed to the underwater world by a curious yet cautious Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse. Txus was mesmerized.

Let the fun begin…

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

We were immersed in an underwater landscape of white sandy patches surrounded by lush Posedonia fields, small rocky outcrops and small underwater caves. We glided through channels of sand that were lined with Posedonia  – picturesque and calm… then all of a sudden from beneath the sand BOOM… our first ray, nervous of our presence, swam off into the distance at speed. Common Sting Rays bury themselves under a light layer of sand making them difficult to see, so when you unknowingly approach them, their lightning fast movement, flapping their wings, shaking off the sand and darting off into the distance, can take you by surprise.

As we dropped down to around 9 meters we approached another large sandy area, and this is where things were going to get very, very busy with Rays. Every meter we swam, there was another ray in front of us…Txus was over the moon, his mask letting in water through the creases in his super huge smile… (top tip: happy smiling divers must clear water from their mask regularly!)

We approached a few of the rays without disturbing them, so we could get up close and personal with these amazing creatures… within 30 cm I’d say – eye to eye with a common sting ray in Mallorca… just amazing.

scuba diving in Mallorca

Coris Julis Doncella-Rainbow wrasse

The next thing I saw was a very special moment – an Ornate Wrasse had befriended my student Txus, and whilst Txus was standing upright with his right hand held out in front of him, this very curious little fish was swimming from the palm of his open hand up to his mask and then back to his palm…. This continued for 2 to 3 minutes. In my experience fish from the Wrasse family are naturally inquisitive and this little guy was no different. Txus displayed the same level of curiosity… a true connection was made between fish and man.

We dived for almost 1 hour, returning to our entry point and greeting each other on the surface with huge smiles and a big man hug…what a dive! A memorable experience for new diver Txus and another memorable experience for this salty old diver.”   By Brad Robertson of  www.OndineEscape.com

Tempted?  Why not ask us to design a tailor-made holiday for you?  We will include all the activities you like doing most – fabulous guided walks, diving or snorkeling with Brad, boating, to name but a few. Please call or email us for tips, ideas and further information.

Singles Walking Holidays for the Solo Traveller

Solo traveller mallorca hikingIf you like to head off to new destinations and do different activities, but cannot always coordinate this with friends and family, why not join one of our scheduled walking tours? These group holidays are open to individuals (as well as couples or a few friends…), allowing you to add Mallorca as a new destination in your passport, and meet new like-minded friends here.

Many people don’t mind travelling alone, but possibly do not make the reservation because they feel that catching a flight, getting to the resort, staying in a hotel and – perhaps worst of all – eating alone, is no fun at all. With Mallorca Hiking, no-one is alone unless they want to be. Our guides and organisers are here to make sure all your holiday arrangements are coordinated – including airport transfers, hotel accommodation, meals, restaurants and integration with the rest of the group. We can also help you to organise excursions and trips outside our guided walks. And we never forget it is your holiday, so if one day you prefer a stroll along the beach or reading by the pool – that’s your choice!

Our scheduled holidays take place on specific dates, with a pre-arranged walking itinerary. We work closely with our chosen hotels to offer you the best value we can – and usually our group holidays are outstanding value! If you’re traveling on your own or with a couple of friends, and you’d like to walk with a small group, then this is the kind of holiday for you.

There are 2 ways to find your ideal walking holiday – either:

– Check our calendar to see what we’ve scheduled for each month, or

– Look at some of our suggested holiday itineraries. From the summary list you can click onto a detailed information page for each itinerary, and at the bottom of each page you’ll find prices and the dates we’ve scheduled for that particular itinerary.

Our holiday itineraries usually run for 1 week (7 nights and 6 days) from Friday to Friday, but we also offer long weekend breaks (4 nights and 3 days), and very occasionally short weekends (3 nights and 2 days). Of course if these dates don’t suit you, or if you’d like to vary the itinerary, then please look at the calendar for other scheduled activities or contact us to discuss a tailor-made holiday just for you – see Tailor made holidays.

Some holidays are purely walking holidays, and others include a theme or special interest. We like to share and include in our itineraries, as many of the local seasonal activities on the island as possible, so for example, some include an insight into the olive harvest season, local fiestas, food or some of our outstanding bodegas and vineyards… See our calendar and look out for Special interest holidays.

Please note that all our holidays are individually priced, so for example, some holiday prices include some or all meals; some of our special interest holidays include additional activities etc. Please check each itinerary carefully to see what is included and excluded from the price.

Unlike other operators, we prefer small groups (ideally 8 people but in some cases we’ll accommodate 10), so you’ll never feel that you’re “just a number” or that you’re being herded like sheep. We’re a small team ourselves, and we want to ensure that you get the individual and personal care and attention that we think you deserve on your holiday.

So, if you would like to spend your singles holiday doing exactly what you want, in the company of other like-minded single travellers, please browse our website or give us a call. Enjoyable singles holidays and holidays for single people – with Mallorca Hiking.

Active aging and the benefits of Nordic Walking

 

Nordic Walking in Mallorca, Active ageing, active aging, benefits of Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking in Spain

 

As you probably know by now, the population is getting older in average due to the extension of lifespan. Medicine, food and exercise are the main drivers of this phenomena, leading to fitter and healthier seniors. Todays’ 40-plus generations are either thinking about or actively trying to not become “the oldies that do not participate anymore”. Instead they are more eager, able and willing to continue eating healthy and practicing sports in order to enjoy an interesting social life when they retire: family issues (which can actually be thrilling and demanding), travelling, performing (music, theatre, dance, etc.), studying, (volunteer) working, and many other leisure activities are also a seniors’ thing. This rich social interaction will probably help them to prolong their capabilities in time.

In this post, we want to support the international movement of “Active Aging” by highlighting the benefits of Nordic Walking. To better understand the meaning of active aging, we think that the explanation from the World Health Organisation’s website is very helpful:

“Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. It applies to both individuals and population groups. Active ageing allows people to realize their potential for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout the life course and to participate in society, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they need. The word “active” refers to continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force. Older people who retire from work, ill or live with disabilities can remain active contributors to their families, peers, communities and nations. Active ageing aims to extend healthy life expectancy and quality of life for all people as they age. “Health” refers to physical, mental and social well being as expressed in the WHO definition of health. Maintaining autonomy and independence for the older people is a key goal in the policy framework for active aging. Aging takes place within the context of friends, work associates, neighbours and family members. This is why interdependence as well as intergenerational solidarity are important tenets of active aging.”

Now this is where Nordic Walking and Mallorca Hiking have something to contribute. This fantastic sport has got a large number of benefits and it is considered as one of the ideal sports for almost all humans in different ages because of the following facts:

1) Nordic Walking is one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts (together with cross country skiing) because when doing Nordic Walking you use all your major muscle groups in your body.

2) Recent studies by the Cooper institute in Dallas showed that Nordic Walking burned more calories, increased oxygen consumption and can be up to 46% more efficient than normal walking.

3) Nordic walking is great for weight loss as you burn more calories compared to walking without poles.

4) Nordic walking is generally a very “kind” sport for the rest of your body and less stressful for knees, back.. compared to regular walking, jogging or biking.

5) By adding the poles and a correct Nordic walking technique to your walk, you increase the total use of your muscle mass from approximately 70% to 90% while increasing your heart rate significantly.

Nordic Walking Mallorca

Nordic Walking in the woods

Moreover, we need to add another few but very important issues that might lead to a greater popularization of Nordic Walking in the future. The price is not a barrier because if you want to exercise Nordic Walking on a regular basis you only need comfortable sport shoes and a pair of poles, and that’s it! Since you are most likely to be walking in the outdoors (and preferably in the nature), you will receive all the benefits of (hopefully) fresh clean air, sunshine (D vitamine amongst others) and quietness (relaxed mind). Nordic Walking is generally a very safe sport and the risk of injuries is very low. Nordic Walking is also a very social sport as it is often done in pairs or groups (you might even have a Nordic Walking club or association very close to where you live!). It is easy to learn a proper Nordic Walking technique and easy as well to keep it up. It is a sport that is suitable and has got benefits for everyone; from the absolute beginner to the fittest sportsman or woman.

Mallorca, and especially the East part of the island (Llevant), is very attractive for exercising Nordic Walking due to its natural quality, its fantastic landscapes and the fabulous climate. Mallorca Hiking’s guide Nina Harjula is a licensed Nordic Walking instructor from Finland, and she is committed to spread the knowledge and fun of exercising this magical sport in a beautiful natural environment such as the Mediterranean coast can offer.

Diverse Mallorca

Diverse MallorcaMallorca is a much misunderstood and often maligned Mediterranean island. It is so much more than a package holiday resort for low cost summer holidays in the sun – away from the high-rise hotels and manicured beaches of the mass tourist resorts (which incidentally cover only a tiny proportion of the island), there is another Mallorca – a far more alluring, varied and totally different world.

Thankfully, not all Mallorca’s beaches and coastline are throbbing tourist resorts. As well as long white sandy beaches, there are also lots of isolated rocky coves and deserted bays, so it’s still possible to find a peaceful spot by the sea if you’re prepared to make an effort and get off the beaten track. And the best way to do this is to walk or take a boat…

Being an island, Mallorca revolves around boats so there are any number of different boat trips you can take here, particularly in high season. The east coast of the island is relatively flat and the coastline is a long string of rocky coves punctuated by the occasional resort. Here it is fantastic for boating and exploring hidden away inlets and bays, many of which are impossible to access other than by boat or foot.

For a small island, it is extraordinary how diverse Mallorca is. Yes, there are fabulous beaches and sparkling blue seas, but beyond these there is also a dramatic range of mountains (the Sierra de Tramuntana), countless charming rural – and totally un-spoilt hamlets, cliff-hugging villages, monasteries, castles, meadows, orchards, olive groves, wetlands (yes wetlands!), and the chic sophistication and culture of the capital city of Palma.

The Serra de Tramuntana on the west coast of Mallorca – the ‘mountains of the north wind’, which run the length of Mallorca’s north coast are home to some of the island’s most spectacular landscapes, wildlife and birds. Pine-covered slopes lean into the sea, and higher up forested hills give way to barren crags and peaks. This is hiking country and by far the best way to get to the heart of this fabulous, and surprising, part of the island is on foot.

Dotted throughout Mallorca, and often located in dramatic hill-top locations, there are many ermitas, hermitages, santuaries and monastries, mainly dating back to Medieval times. Originally inhabited by monks, they were places of pilgrimage, and they still retain a sense of calm and tranquility – a serene reminder of an ancient world. Nowadays, they offer an excellent focal point to a hike, as many offer refreshments, and some offer (fairly basic) accommodation so it’s even possible to stay overnight and continue walking the next day.

But the diversity of the island is not limited to its natural beauty, culture and history. Palma – the island’s capital – is a big surprise to many people. It is stylish, sophisticated, intimate and yet bursting with life. Half of Mallorca’s population live here, enjoying the island’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife as well as a thriving arts scene and a lively cafe society.  Palma’s masterpiece is its Gothic cathedral, rising out of the city walls which once marked the edge of the sea. In Palma you can also find the old Arab quarter, fabulous architecture, a maze of narrow streets hiding museums, art galleries, palaces and exquisite courtyards.

This “other side” of Mallorca is distinctly up-market, and appeals to a very different visitor. As a result, a popular new hotel style has evolved – traditional “Agroturismos” and boutique hotels offer relaxed luxury in quality surroundings. These hotels are usually beautifully restored traditional Mallorcan buildings, often old country estates, fincas or townhouses, and offer the discerning visitor an excellent opportunity to experience Mallorca at its best.

We could go on and on… so this is just a small selection of things to keep in mind when planning your next trip – you don’t need to endure long flights to far-flung parts of the world to discover a fabulous holiday experience. Added to which, you could come back several times a year on a short break and continue discovering hidden treasures, great restaurants, relaxing walks or just disconnect from the world and relax… And if you need some help or ideas, take a look at our Tailor Made holidays

We can offer you a holiday that is exactly what you want , when you want it. With the benefit of our local knowledge and experience, everything will be arranged before you arrive. A worry free holiday with airport transfers, great accommodation, the best restaurants, excursions “off the beaten track” – as well as shopping trips and days to just relax. We guarantee Mallorca will become a regular place to visit.

If you’d like to read more about Mallorca and what it has to offer, why not sign up to Follow this blog …?

Hiking Poles

Hiking Poles Mallorca HikingContinuing with our recommendations and advice for the best Hiking Clothing and Equipment here at Mallorca Hiking - today’s article will elabourate on the advantages of Hiking Poles (also known as trekking poles, hiking sticks or walking poles). These practical accessories to walking and hiking trips are becoming a familiar sight.

A distant cousin to ski poles, they have many features in common such as rubber-padded handles and wrist straps. They often consist of two or three sections, and can be extended or retracted as necessary – some poles can even be retracted sufficiently to fit into pockets or backpacks when not required. They are usually made of lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber.

The primary use for poles is to give support and rhythm to your walking. They’re not really necessary on flat, smooth sections of your hike, but they can help to exercise your upper body if used continuously throughout a walk, and they help maintain an even speed. On uneven or rocky terrain and slopes, hiking sticks provide stability and support and they are particularly helpful for walkers with an injury, or weak joints or those who are susceptible to knee injuries.

folding hiking pole Mallorca HikingPoles are also very handy for a number of less obvious uses e.g. for checking the depth of water when crossing a river or marshy area; as a splint or to help carry a fellow walker to safety in the event of injury. There are even hiking poles that are designed to be the support for a tent thereby giving them a dual purpose, as well as reducing the amount you have to carry on overnight treks. So, there are lots of good reasons to take walking poles on your next hike.

Walking poles are now also considered a fitness accessory with the growing popularity of Nordic Walking. This kind of walking / exercise can be done anywhere – including city streets – as a flat surface is the best for keeping up a good energetic pace. Use of poles ensures you get a full body workout, burning more calories without any major exertion. Nordic Poles come with detailed instructions on how to use them and even video tutorials.

Some walkers prefer walking with just one pole (the tradition for shepherds and gamekeepers for centuries,retractable poles mallorca hiking and commonly seen with beautifully carved wooden staffs). This still helps stability and support but for maximum benefit, we recommend using two sticks. Using a pair of hiking poles or trekking poles gives you the balance you need and takes more stress off the lower body joints. The grips and straps are designed so you can push down on them, but also for quick release if the pole gets stuck between rocks or roots.

Telescopic/Adjustable Poles or Fixed Length Poles?

One-piece poles are lighter and quieter, and are the best choice for nordic walking use. For trekkers, adjusting the length as you go uphill and downhill allows you to keep the correct angle and benefit from the fullest support. For traveling hikers, poles that collapse down to store or carry in your luggage or in your pack on the trail are very handy.

How to Walk With Poles

Believe it or not, there are at least three recommended walking methods with hiking poles. Each manufacturer provides detailed instructions on how to use their particular poles. We’ve uploaded some videos to our YouTube channel for you to see, listen and learn! It can take a bit of practice until you are using them to their fullest advantage.

Below we’ve displayed a selection of walking poles – click on each image to see more details. Hopefully now you know and understand a bit more about walking poles, which should help you when making a choice for your first purchase.

10 Best Hiking Trails in the World

World's Best Hikes - Mallorca HikingFor those of you thinking about a walking holiday, which will allow you to actually appreciate the beauty of the world around you, we are reproducing a great article written by Julie Blakley of the 10 Best Hiking Trails in the World.

Walking holidays need preparation to ensure you get maximum benefit and enjoyment from them and to avoid problems such as blisters or being caught out with the wrong clothes or equipment for the weather or terrain where you’re hiking. We recommend you start your preparation towards regular walking holidays with a guided walking company that can give you the advice, information and tuition necessary to build up to some of the spectacular hikes detailed in the article below.

Mallorca Hiking has been running Tailor Made holidays for over ten years, and we will help you to aclimatise to this kind of holiday. We will help you develop your walking skills and prepare for your dream hike (whichever one of the ones outlined below that might be!), so why not contact us to take that first step (if you’ll excuse the pun)…

Here are  Julie’s 10 Best Hikes, this is the first of two posts itemising these idyllic walks and their surroundings, enjoy!:

If everyone placing personal ads who claimed the hobby of “hiking” really did it with any regularity, the earth would have been trampled flat decades ago.

But those who really do enjoy this peaceful outdoor activity have plenty of incredible choices in every corner of the world.

Here are the ten best hikes on the planet, each with a combination of scenery and special extras that make them well worth going out of your way to enjoy.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island, New Zealand10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

It is certainly no secret that New Zealand boasts some of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic scenery, which is why it’s not surprising that one of the world’s most spectacular hikes is located on these mountainous islands. While many people who hike in the Tongariro Reserve (a World Heritage site) on the Northern island stick to the one-day Tongariro Alpine crossing, the multi-day (2 nights and 3 days) Tongariro northern circuit provides hikers with a much richer and scenic experience.

Hikers on the Tongariro Northern Circuit hike for about 35 kilometers through non-stop compelling volcanic and desert environs that will make you feel like you are trekking on the surface of another planet—all while giving you high mountain peaks as a backdrop, diversely striking vistas wide variety of different scenery. Hikers who set out on this out-of-this-world hike (quite literally) will circumambulate the active volcano Mt. Ngaurube (Mt. Doom for those Lord of the Rings fans out there) while hiking past boiling mud pools, craters, interesting lava features, the amazing water filled volcanic vents, glacial valleys and water-filled explosion craters called the Emerald Lakes. Things stay nice after dark, as you get to stay in comfortable alpine huts along the way that have decent beds, gas heating and stoves, running water and toilets. Hikers on this trek can also easily do two short side trips to the tops of both Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe—allowing hikers to gaze out at the captivating volcanic scenery below.

10 Best Hikes Mallorca HikingZion Narrows, Utah, United States

While hiking through the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro northern circuit may provide enthusiasts with an extraterrestrial experience, hikers are sure to be amazed at the unique and stunning scenery of trekking through the Zion narrows in the American southwest. Recently ranked as #5 on National Geographic’s list of America’s Best 100 Adventures, this trail will have you hiking up streams through dramatic, narrow slot canyons.

Hikers will wind their way through colorful, sculpted sandstone walls that rise up to 3,500 feet (that’s just about 1 km). The trek will also lead hikers through the famous “Wall Street,” a 2-mile section of the journey that crosses through a narrow canyon where the walls close to just 22 feet wide at the top. Hiking through water for about 60% of the hike up the streams that wind their way through these breathtaking slot canyons, you will see hanging gardens bursting from the red canyon walls, trickling water threading through cracks in the canyon walls and sprouting patches of moss, waterfalls sliding over the sandstone, and sandy banks with towering ponderosas. However, while this wondrous journey is sure to enchant hikers, it should be noted that hiking through the Zion Narrows is extremely dangerous, as flash floods can come quickly and the entire area is a huge drainage. Rainstorms up to 50 miles away can storm down the canyon and every year hikers die on this trail. Make sure to check the weather report in advance to make sure there is NO RAIN whatsoever in the forecast. However, with proper precautions, this hike, which is rated as one of the best hikes in the entire U.S. National Park system, is truly unparalleled.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

Any serious hiker or trekker dreams of going to Nepal to journey through the world’s most dramatic mountain landscape. While most hikers think of Kathmandu and Everest when they hear the word Nepal, the Annapurna circuit (which circumnavigates the Annapurna massif) not only has staggering snow-capped and rugged peaks providing for a spectacular backdrop, but the hike also offers trekkers great opportunities to see a wide range of natural and cultural diversity.

This 3-week trek allows you to stay in comfortable lodges as you hike from lush sub-tropical landscapes into the highest mountains in the world (beware of altitude sickness as the trek goes to a elevation of 17,749 feet). As you hike the Annapurna Circuit, you will get to interact with the Tibetan mountain peoples, see Buddhist temples, visit teahouses, soak in hot springs and take in some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the entire world.

10 Best Hikes Mallorca HikingInca Trail, Peru

Most people who know something about travel, know about the famous and world-renowned Inca Trail. While some of the more hard-core types out there may think of this amazing trek as cliché, the truth is that this trail is popular for a reason. Peru offers some of the most beautiful South American mountainous scenery and, while some criticize the trail for being over-regulated and too popular, Machu Picchu is a destination worth seeing and the hike along the way is sure not to disappoint, with plenty of scenic vistas and amazing views.

Along with offering spectacular scenery, the Inca Trail is not only safe and easy to organize, it also allows trekkers to hike through jungle to high alpine terrain, visit 3 sets of Inca ruins along the way, and take in the beauty of the Peruvian mountains over the 3-night, 4-day hike. Plus, at the end of the journey, hikers will arrive at one of the most celebrated man-made destinations on Earth.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, China10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

This 15-km gorge located along the Yangtzee River between approximately 6,000-meter Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the 5,300-meter Haba Xueshan mountain, in China where rapids pass under a series of dramatic 2,000-meter cliffs. The gorge got its name from a legend that says a tiger once jumped the narrowest point of the gorge to escape a hunter (which is still 25 meters). As one of the world’s deepest river canyons, Tiger Leaping Gorge is a beautiful and scenic hike for those adventurous trekkers.

The high-road trail is well-maintained and marked and takes hikers on a 14-mile journey with varied mountain views that features a surprising variety of micro-ecosystems, waterfalls and even guesthouses where hikers can stay along the route.

While this gorgeous gorge is a essential and protected part of the World Heritage site of the Three parallel Rivers of Yunnan, the Chinese government has proposed building another hydroelectric dam that would flood this place—meaning hikers interested in seeing this beautiful, lush canyon should probably head there sooner rather than later.

Julie Blakley grew up mostly hiking the trails of the Rocky Mountains and has recently discovered trails of the Cascades near Portland Oregon. When she’s not dreaming of trekking through Nepal or summitting Mount Kilimanjaro, she’s busy writing the France Travel Guide

10 After Hike Recovery Tips

Recovering after a Hike Mallorca HikingAfter our Resident’s Club Inaugural Walk we thought it would be helpful to look at the “After Walk” routine that will ensure you are fighting fit for our next outing! Lots of attention is usually given to preparation for long walks – (we have dedicated several articles to it in this blog!), but just as important is the “winding down” after a long hike. Rest and recovery is an essential part of any excercise routine. Your AfterHike recovery routine will ensure you take the máximum effect physically from this great excercise and ensure you are in good condition for your next excursion. Unfortunately, many people do not utilice a post excercise routine and lose some of the physical effect of a great walk . Here are some tips to get your post-walk plans on track.

Why Recovery after Hiking is important

Recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more important after a testing, intensive hike for several hours. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building.

10 Ways To Reward your Body after Hiking

There are as many routines and methods of recovery you can apply that would be interusable for many excercise routines. The following are some of the most commonly recommended by the experts.

  1. Cool Down Cooling down simply means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Continuing to move around at a very low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after finishing your walk helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness. warming up and cooling down are more helpful in cooler temperatures.
  2. Replace Fluids You lose a lot of fluid during a long Hike and ideally, you should be replacing it during the walk, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function.
  3. Eat Properly. A long walk will deplete your energy stores, you need to refuel to replace this energy, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your hike and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.
  4. Stretch. After a tough hike, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
  5. Rest. Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a long, hard hike. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time. Resting and waiting after a testing, long hike allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace. It’s not the only thing you can or should do to promote recovery, but sometimes doing nothing is the easiest thing to do.
  6. Perform Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
  7. Have a Massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage here’s a link to a Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles – you can do this for free!.
  8. Take an Ice Bath. Great for the summer, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues.
  9. Get lots of Sleep. While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
  10. Avoid Overdoing your Hike . One simple way to recovery faster is by ensuring your hike is within your capacity and build up gradually to harder walks. Trying to do too much immediately without a gradual aclimatisation for your body and muscle groups will limit your fitness gains from your hikes and undermine your recovery efforts.

Listen to Your Body for a Faster Recovery

The most important thing you can do to recovery quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from walking altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a long walk or hike, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it. The problem for many of us is that we don’t listen to those warnings.

So, keep this advice list in mind after each of our Hikes and you will be fitter and stronger for our next excursión!

Layering your Clothing for Hiking

clothing layers for HikingWe’ve covered two of the most important items of clothing for walking holidays with our previous Boots and Socks articles here at Mallorca Hiking. Today we’re going to consider the rest of your walking attire and particularly the layering of clothes for comfort and adaptability to temperature and weather conditions.

When hiking you need to consider your clothes according to 4 basic categories. These groups are:

1. inner layer, 2. mid layer, 3. insulation layer, 4. outer layer.


1. Inner Layer (underwear)

As this first layer is worn against your skin it is important for both insulation and perspiration. Choosing material that has a wicking* function will ensure perspiration and sweat are transferred away from your body, keeping you comfortable during your walk. This inner layer/underwear also provides an extra layer of insulation. You will need an inner layer when you break into a sweat and the weather conditions are cool to cold.

Materials to consider for your inner layer are:

-   Cotton is not your best choice for an inner layer, since it absorbs sweat instead of wicking it away. Plus it takes a long time to dry, which will cause discomfort after a while.

-   Silk is very comfortable and light-weight, and it is an effective wicking and insulating material. However it is not very durable, and some silk hiking clothes require special cleaning (which is boring!).

-   Polypropylene is the original wicking material. It will wick moisture away and maintain a dry layer next to your skin. The material is highly elastic and allows unrestricted freedom of movement.

-   MTS 2® (Moisture Transport System) is a step up above polypropylene. It is durable and comfortable like cotton, and wicks sweat away from your skin. MTS 2® is available in a variety of “weights” for different conditions.

-   Capilene® is an ideal first layer for cold weather activities. It is also a comfortable polyester-based wicking fabric. It has a special chemical treatment that spreads sweat throughout the fabric so that it evaporates quickly.

2. Mid Layer

This layer of clothing is essentially everyday clothing, consisting of shorts and a short sleeved shirt, or lightweight long sleeved shirt and trousers. In good weather these can be worn alone.

Materials to consider for this layer are:

-   Cotton is a good choice particularly for warm-weather hiking clothing, which is most often the case in Mallorca. It’s comfortable, lightweight and it keeps you cool. Cotton is best for dry weather uses because in wet conditions it takes a long time to dry, and is an ineffective insulator.

-   Nylon is lightweight, durable and (generally) non-absorbent – you can easily find shorts, trousers and shirts made of nylon. It comes in many styles, and is good for both warm and cold weather. Most modern nylons are soft and comfortable against your skin.

-   Wicking materials – wicking inner layers like MTS 2® and Capilene® can also be worn as mid layers as they help you keep dry and comfortable, and they provide good insulation.

-   Wool hiking clothes are perfect for moderate to cold weather. It’s available in long-sleeve shirts, trousers, sweaters, jackets and more. Important factors to consider with wool regardless of its insulation value, is that when wet it takes a long time to dry – and can be scratchy and bulky.

3. Insulation Layer

For hiking in colder temperatures add a lightweight, breathable insulation layer to supplement warmth from your first two layers.

Consider:

-   Wool – a great natural insulator but  remember the long drying time when wet.

-   Pile/Fleece is a better option than wool since it is fast drying and half as heavy. However, it is a porous material that “breathes” and it will provide only minimum protection from the wind. Newer pile/fleece clothing now have wind and weather-stopping liners built in.

4. Outer Layer

This layer is your protection against external weather conditions. These are items of clothing to resist rain, cold, wind, snow… You should always pack an outer layer with you in case of unexpected weather changes.

Selecting the correct outer layer, requires a good knowledge of the weather for the time of year and region in which you will be hiking.

-   Warm/Light Rain – Choose water resistant/breathable fabrics. These clothes will repel wind and light rain but are not suitable for heavy rain or very cold conditions. They are excellent for short trips in good weather. The extra breathability is good for strenuous activity.

-   Cold Temperatures and/or Heavy Rain – You will need waterproof/non-breathable hiking clothes. A popular type of clothing here is a poncho and waterproof leggings that you take along “just in case” there is an unexpected change in weather.

-   All Weather Conditions - To be prepared for most weather conditions, choose waterproof/breathable hiking clothes. These fabrics are breathable to a degree. They do not provide the breathability of water resistant/breathable fabrics, so sweat may build up during strenuous activity, but this is a good choice if you’re hiking in moderate conditions. Not specialised for one extreme or the other, they will provide comfort in a wide range of weather conditions.

Outer Layer Clothing Designs

This layer comes in many different designs targetting different uses. When purchasing an outer layer, consider all the additional features that are included, which may add extra functionality or added protection. Some features to look for are:

-   Adjustable Openings – You should be able to adjust the waist, cuffs and neck openings to tighten for bad weather and loosen for breathability.

-   Vents improve the breathability of hiking clothes. However, remember that the more vents you have the more you are susceptible to leaks.

-   Hoods – Any outer layer should have a hood to keep your head dry. Look for hoods that can be rolled up and/or folded away when not in use so they can be put out of your way.

-   Storm Flaps cover zippers, pockets and other openings to protect against leaks.

-   Sealed Seams are a must for any waterproof outer layer, but not necessary for water resistant clothes

Again we’ve included some suggestions and recommendations below for your layer choices. Choose wisely and consider investing that little extra for added comfort and durability. Happy Hiking!

*Wicking: Movement of moisture within a fabric by capillary action, usually along the filament surface, to where it can evaporate quickly. Refers to the ability of a fabric to move moisture (sweat) away from the skin to the outer layer of fabric where it can evaporate more easily thus helping to keep the skin dry. Used in activewear and high performance fabrics.




Boutique hotels of Mallorca

boutique hotels mallorca hikingMallorca is experiencing quiet growth in the Boutique Hotel market. Wikipedia defines a Boutique hotel as follows:

a  Boutique hotel is a term popularized in North America and the United Kingdom to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain / branded hotels by providing personalised accommodation and services / facilities. Sometimes known as “design hotels” or “lifestyle hotels”

As more tourists and  travel companies are gradually becoming aware of “the other” Mallorca – away from the package holiday resorts – so more of these superb facilities are being developed and discovered. A recent article in Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported:

The days of pile ‘em high package holidays are fading into memory as Mallorca continues to reinvent itself as an upmarket retreat. Annabelle Thorpe seeks out the best boutique hotels, bars, restaurants and beach clubs for a stylish Mediterranean getaway. Lunchtime in Fornalutx. The sun is cascading through the olive groves and there’s not a sound, apart from the sizzle of the kitchen grill. Above me the village slumbers in the sunshine, a cluster of honey- and saffron-coloured cottages; below, the mountains stretch into an unbroken vista free of roads, houses – of any sign of human life.

Just a snippet of a new awareness for Mallorca – experiencing the culture, villages, mountains and beautiful scenery away from the usual images of beaches and high rise hotels. Another recent Daily Telegraph article shouts:

Posh Mallorca: Welcome to Mallorca. If the biggest Balearic island still makes you think of Magaluf and mainstream tourism then it’s time to catch up. Mallorca is the Madonna of the tourist world, constantly reinventing itself. Right now it’s all about style: hotels that ooze glamour, restaurants that mix tradition with 21st-century tastes, sculpture gardens and open-air galleries and gastro-routes with views to die for.

Mallorca has long been a popular destination for painters and artists. Some say that tourism started here. From a scenic point of view, Mallorca is full of contrasts: the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains come down to meet a beautiful blue sea, the Mediterranean. The capital: Palma is beautiful and impressive, with the grand cathedral surrounded by medieval walls. Its Gothic architecture blends with the Palm trees and coastal terrain surrounding it. Within this beautiful backdrop (if you have the right contacts) you can now find these beautiful boutique hotels and really enjoy all that Mallorca has to offer.

At Mallorca Hiking we have the advantage of  local knowledge and personal contact with many of the owners of the best boutique hotels to be found in Mallorca – here is a brief introduction to some of the best examples we recommend and use for our clients:


Hotel Salvia in Soller: Step into a world of timeless elegance and experience this luxurious and perfectly formed small hotel. Beautifully restored Hotel Salvia is one of the grand nineteenth century mansion houses of Sóller, a historic town nestling at the foot of the majestic Tramuntana mountain range on Mallorca’s western coast. Six lavish and individual bedrooms have magnificent views of the valley, each one combines all of the style and elegance of a luxury period home with the modern essentials for complete comfort.

Hotel  C'an Reus Mallorca Hiking

Hotel Can Reus in Fornalutx: Ca’n Reus can be found in possibly the prettiest village on the island, Fornalutx, surrounded by lemon and orange trees and olive groves. This rural hotel offers spectacular views over the Tramuntana mountains, comfort and warm hospitality. It is an ideal venue for walkers, for those who want to explore the island and for those who simply want to relax by the pool or in the hotel gardens.

Hotel Son Burguny Mallorca HikingHotel Son Borguny in Banyalbufar is a historic building from the fifteenth century. Banyalbufar is nestled in the Tramuntana and is surrounded by landscapes of extraordinary beauty. Due to its location between the sea and mountains, its atmosphere, the wonderful natural environment and the particular personality of its eight rooms is the ideal place to enjoy a quiet holiday at any time of the year.

sea club Mallorca Hiking

The Sea Club in Cala Ratjada. This beautifully maintained old colonial residence, The Sea Club, has been owned and run by the Cumberlege family for over 50 years, giving it an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Overlooking the Mediterranean it consists of 16 individually designed en suite rooms with a hacienda style garden, private bar and large swimming pool. Within the grounds, individual casitas, cottages, and sunny patios lend Mallorcan charm to this uniquely private place. The Sea Club is the perfect venue for all ages, for weekend breaks, relaxing holidays or for special occasions such as birthdays or other events.

Finca Sant Blai Mallorca hikingFinca Sant Blai Campos A country retreat deep in the countryside on the south east of Mallorca, it provides you with a tranquil oasis away from the madding crowd. Sant Blai is located 4km from Campos town, enjoying total privacy and all modern comforts in authentic rustic cottages and suites. Close to the best beaches, and just 30 minutes away from Palma, Mallorca’s capital city. More an experience than a hotel.

Are you ready for your Boutique Holiday?

Made in Mallorca

made in mallorca hikingThere isn’t nearly enough information produced about the variety of products that are made and sold in, and exported from Mallorca. Mallorca has a history of producing a variety of products, which are all available here on the island for you to discover. Exploring the real Mallorca can start with sampling some of these products. They all contain an essence of the island, whether it’s liquer made from local herbs or perfume made from the flowers of the almond blossom…. Tempted? Then read on:

Many of the island’s products are known only in Spain, however some of them, such as Camper shoes, are now a global brand!

Here’s a sample of some of the ‘home-produced’ items you can buy in Mallorca.

Sobrassada and Botifarró

Pork products form a large part of the Spanish diet and these two delicacies are produced throughout the Balearics. They are well-known and well-loved across the whole of Spain. Essentially, Sobrassada is “sausage meat” made from good quality minced pork combined with spices like paprika, salt and red pepper (which gives it a lovely red colour), which you normally spread on bread. Every producer makes it slightly differently…

Botifarró is the name given to a sausage filled with coarsely ground pork, including liver, and spiced with salt, pepper, herbs and aniseed, which gives it its distinctive flavour. They are delicious, large chunky sausages and perfect for BBQ’s!

Ensaimada

You may have noticed Spanish holiday-makers walking around the airport with large hexagonal boxes. These are used to carry home the ensaimada which is a light, quite sweet pastry usually eaten for breakfast. The dough is made of flour, water, sugar, eggs, mother dough and reduced pork lard called saïm, and shaped into a spiral – it is quite unlike anything you will have tried elsewhere.

Sometimes ensaimadas are filled with angel’s hair (squash jam), custard cream, almond puré, chocolate, sobrassada, apricots, but normally they just have a light dusting of icing sugar – perfect for “dunking” in coffee at breakfast or a mid-morning snack.

Olive Oil

Excellent quality olive oils are produced from the olive farms on the island. Extra virgin olive oils with designation of origin are made from majorquine, arbequina and picual olives and have a wonderful, and very distinctive flavour. Olives and olive oil production will be the subject of a future article, so why not register to follow this blog…?

Wine and Liquers

There are two areas in Mallorca with D.O. – Binissalem (where a festival is held to celebrate the grape harvest every year) and Pla i Llevant. Wine produced in the island has consistenly improved over the decades and can now quite rightfully hold its own alongside the more well known Spanish names. See also our earlier article on Wines of Mallorca.

Two liquers are made on the island: Palo and Hierbas. Palo is a very dark (almost black), dense, thick liquid and made from infusing cinchona bark (quinine) and gentian roots, and caramelised sugar. It has been made in Mallorca since the 19th century. Hierbas, an aniseed drink, is made from infusing and distilling herbs gathered from the island. This is by far the most popular digestive on the island and comes in sweet, dry and medium varieties. Restaurants will often offer you a “chupito” when you’ve finished your meal and order the bill – and this is invariably Hierbas!

Don’t forget that liquids can’t be transported in your hand luggage so either buy your bottles after going through security or get them wrapped carefully in the shop and pack them in your main luggage.

camper shoes mallorcaShoes

The island’s shoe-making industry is based in Inca, Selva and Lluchmajor. These days some of the brands such as Camper and Patricia are well known across Europe. Modern, funky and traditional designs are all produced on the island and the quality of the leather used is well known.

Also made on the island are the canvas “rope” shoes or Espadrilles. Worn over the years by the locals and available in wonderful bright colours, they became popular across Europe in the ’60’s.

There is also another type of Mallorcan open sandal – ever popular with the locals – made from leather and recycled motor tyres! These also now come in funky colours, and with a number of variations on the theme…

Pearls

The imitation pearls made in Mallorca are famous the world over for their close similarity to natural pearls, which cost considerably more! The factory, established over 100 years ago and now producing over 50 million artificial pearls a year, is in the town of Manacor.Mallorca_Pearl_Bracelet

Mother of pearl and ocean substances are used to make the artificial pearl and the process is absolutely fascinating. Enjoy a visit to the factory where you can watch how the pearls are produced, and also take advantage of lower prices in the factory shop.

Don’t expect a bargain though – artificial pearls, such as those cultivated in Manacor, are almost indistinguishable from the real thing so they can be quite pricey.

Pottery and Glass

Pottery and ceramics have been synonymous with Mallorca for centuries. One of the cutest examples of the tradition for pottery is the ‘siurells’. These are little clay whistles produced as far back as the Arab times. Adored by children, they come painted in bright eye-catching colours and can still be bought on the island today. All over the island you will see many examples of Majorcan pottery for sale.

Glassblowing, which originated in Syria and was brought to the Balearics by the Romans, is a craft that still exists on the island to this present day. In places like Lafiore in Valldemossa you can still watch master craftsmen. In Palma there are many small Art Galleries where exquisite examples of this craft can be seen and bought.

Perfume

The perfume Flor d’Ametler (‘almond flower’) is made in Mallorca. The main ingredient is the almond flower, which gives it a distinctive scent. Make sure you look for the flower inside the bottle. Only the authentic perfume has that, copies won’t!

flor de sal mallorcaSalt

Salt is a relatively new product now being produced from salt “farms” mainly around Ses Salines in the southeast of Mallorca. There are 2 excellent producers – Flor de Sal and Llum de Sal – which use high quality sea salt in their products, as well as extracts and essences from Mediterranean plants such as mandarin orange, rosemary, rose and lavender, wine… As the most natural sea salt available, this is a very sought after product and is now exported worldwide.

From the earth..

Natural products like oranges from Soller and Almonds island-wide,  Olives & Olive Oil as well as growing Wine production have all been covered in previous posts, and these describe many diverse products made from these locally grown fruits.

Suffice to say there are some great shopping opportunities when visiting Mallorca – take some of these fabulous products home as presents, souvenirs or just treat yourself to a little Mallorquin luxury. So…. see you in Mallorca soon?