Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, the GR221 – a sampler

Mallorca's Dry Stone Route, the GR221

The GR221

In October we’re offering a 3-day sampler of Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, the GR221. Many of you are already familiar with this hike and have seen our previous blog posts, but those of you who haven’t, do take a look at the following links, which describe the island’s first long-distance walking trail.

Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route

Dry Stone Route – GR221 – Part 1 and GR221 – Part 2

We’ll set off from Valdemossa with a small group of fun walkers on the 19th October, and we’ll cover 3 sections of this fabulous long-distance hike over 3 days. We won’t be walking the sections in the usual order, but then again we always like to do things a little differently! We’ve designed this trip to give you a “flavour” of the route – we’ll take it fairly easy, but there’ll be plenty of challenges along the way!

If you’re interested in joining us for some or all of this trip, please take a look at our detailed itinerary. For those of you who can only  join us for 1 day because of work commitments, that’s great. It is perfectly possible to come along just for 1 day, as there is a bus route that connects our stops. We would recommend you join us for the Wednesday 19th October to get the most out of your one day!

If you can’t join us on this occasion, remember we can always organise a trip especially for you on the dates that you choose – see Tailor Made Holidays.

We hope to see you soon, and in the meantime why not keep in touch and become a fan on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter

Happy hiking from the Mallorca Hiking team!

 

Looking forward to the almond blossom…

Almond blossom in Mallorca, Majorca

Almond blossom in Mallorca

Here at Mallorca Hiking we can’t believe it’s already November and that all the Christmas festivities will start soon! That usually means there’s not so much time available to get out and enjoy some walking :-(

But we’re looking on the bright side and plan to make up for a busy December with lots of good walks in the new year. We’re already looking forward to the almond blossom season, which in Mallorca is usually from the end of January to about mid-February – our short video will give you a general idea.

If that has tempted you and you’re looking for a sunny spot to enjoy a walking holiday, we can organise a tailor-made holiday for you and your group, which includes guided walks, accommodation, additional activities, hotel and restaurant recommendations… Just contact us for a chat and more information.

And if you’re just interested in a day’s walking, we recommend you to have a look at our 2 favourite blossom walks throughout January and February:

–  Rural wanderings – Es Capdella and the Galatzo Estate

–  4 Picturesque rural villages

Please contact us directly to reserve your place.

We look forward to seeing you!

The GR221 – with or without a guide?

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Signage for the GR221

We’ve had loads of enquiries recently from walkers wanting to complete Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221 or Dry Stone Route. And among the most frequently asked questions is – do you need a guide or can you walk it alone?

Well, the answer is that in theory you should be able to walk it alone but in practice it’s not quite as simple as that. The local government has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the route and way-marking it and for the best part it is clear and well-marked. But there are 2 stages 1) Esporles to Valldemossa, and 2) Valldemossa to Deia, that really do benefit from a professional guide. The first of these – Esporles to Valldemossa starts with a few signs, which soon dissolve so you have to rely on cairns and red dots on the rocks, and a few other bits of rustic signage to guide your way. If you miss one and take a wrong turning, it’s difficult to get back on track. The second tricky stage, Valldemossa to Deia is similarly lacking in way-marking (for some reason). Added to which, there are a number of different routes out of Valldemossa (of differing lengths) that connect with the steep path down to Deia, so for the visitor the choices can be baffling…

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route signage

Consell de Mallorca Info boards at the start of each stage

Another stage, Estellencs to Banyalbufar remains under a cloud of boundary issues so it is best to hop on a bus for this short section and avoid the issue, or if you’re determined not to miss anything, definitely use a guide for half a day.

In our view, the best holiday experience is a combination of guided and un-guided walks. There are so many more benefits to using a local guide than just route finding – a good guide will give you an insider’s view of the island, tell you about the plants and bird life you see along the way, tell you stories about the various characters who have featured in the island’s history, and take you to the best local bars and restaurants! So, if you take our advice you’ll use a guide for the tricky days (and at the same time benefit from all the other good stuff he/she can offer!), and enjoy the well-marked stages on your own. In fact, we’ve just completed exactly this kind of trip…

On the last day of February, a group of Mallorca residents set off from Es Capdella in the South West of the island to complete the GR221 over 6 days. This is how we did it:

On day 1, we walked un-guided with no path-finding problems, from Es Capdella to Estellencs. As it was our first day, we took a leisurely pace in glorious warm sunshine, and had time for a cool drink on our arrival in the tiny village of Estellencs, before catching the 5 pm bus to Banyalbufar (and therefore avoiding the controversial Estellencs to Banyalbufar stage!).

Day 2: another glorious day and we were feeling lazy, so we hopped on a bus from Banyalbufar to Esporles and started our hike from there. As I know the route from Esporles to Valldemossa (one of the tricky path-finding stages!) I led the group, but we met a couple of German girls who were lost and finding the path-finding very tough. If I hadn’t known this stage, I would have asked one of Mallorca Hiking’s expert guides to lead us.

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Nina telling us a few essentials before setting off on day 3

Day 3: Another tricky stage – Valldemossa to Deia – and today one of Mallorca Hiking’s fabulous guides Nina guided us and educated us in the flora and fauna of the island, as well as telling us about the island’s fascinating rural history and ancient rural industries. This was a stress-free and very informative day thanks to Nina, her knowledge and her guiding skills!

Day 4: As we weren’t able to stay in the refuges on this occasion (they were fully booked!) we had to cheat slightly and hiked from the town of Sóller to the Cúber reservoir via the Barranc de Biniaraix, and took a mini-bus back down to Sóller for the night at the end of the day. This is a very well marked trail, so no problems with path-finding today (even if we had been able to continue to the Tossals Verds refuge).

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Snow covering our path

Day 5: This was a challenging day. Even though this stage – Tossals Verds (or in our case the Cúber reservoir) to Lluc Monastery – is well way-marked, this year’s heavy snowfall lingered at over 1,000 metres and had covered up some crucial sections of our path. There were a few stressful moments but we succeeded, and reached our destination safely. However, moments like this are a sobering reminder that conditions on the mountain – snow, low cloud etc – can quickly and effectively impair visibility! Another good reason to have with you a guide  that knows the route well and can “read” the weather!

Day 6: Lluc Monastery to Pollensa is an easy end to this fabulous trek; well way-marked and un-challenging hiking, though we did (for the first time on our trip) have some heavy rain to contend with (a challenge in itself!).

As you can see, our 6-day trek demonstrated all the good reasons for hiring a guide for at least some of the stages of the GR221! For more photos of our trip, please go to our Facebook page.

If you would like more information on Mallorca’s long distance trail, the GR221 please take a look at some of our previous blog posts, such as:

Mallorca’s dry stone route – an overview

Dry stone route, part 1

Dry stone route, part 2

or contact us with your questions. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime happy hiking from the Mallorca Hiking team!

What to pack for a 4 day hike… (With no bag transfers!)

How to pack for a 4 day hiking trip

Victoria

Hi everyone, I’m Victoria and I’m the newest member of the team at Mallorca Hiking.

Having recently returned from a trip to South America, mostly spent hiking around a handful of Patagonia’s National Parks, I like to think I have a few useful tips I can give to help you pack for a 4 day hike. The mountains of Mallorca may not be The Andean Altiplano, but there are a number of essentials any hiker needs when setting off for a few days hard walking.

It’s worth bearing in mind that although Mallorca has over 300 days of sunshine annually, temperatures can vary hugely between day and night-time. In the Autumn, the weather is a blissful 18-25 degrees Celsius during the day but nights can drop to 6 degrees. Winters are mild, with an average temperature of 14 degrees during the day and 4 degrees at night. I’ve therefore included a list of some warmer gear to take with you too.

The key is not to pack too much! A huge heavy backpack will not make for fun hiking- you don’t want to jeopardise your holiday for the sake of three spare pairs of shoes…

Many of the essentials I’d recommend may be obvious, but perhaps there’ll be a few surprises too. I’ve also included ‘specialist’ items, which I’d advise you to consider buying as they helped make my hiking trips that much more enjoyable!

Kit List:

  • what to pack for a 4 day walking trip

    Platypus / Camel Bak hydration system

    Backpack- For a 4 day hike, a 35-55 litre backpack is ideal. It’s not necessary to have a backpack any bigger than 55l, as all bedding and towels are provided at your chosen accommodation, even if you’re staying in one of the island’s refuges. I’d recommend choosing a backpack with a padded hip belt to ensure the majority of the weight is carried on the hips.

  • Fully-charged camera- It’s better to bring a fully charged camera, as a recharger just adds extra weight to your pack.
  • Spending money- For dinner each night as well as picnics and other irresistible local delicacies along the way…
  • Platypus Hoser/CamelBak hydration pack 1.5-2 litres*- My No. 1 item. It’s hands free, reusable, easy to pack, and most importantly it helps to keep you constantly hydrated- a major consideration when hiking in Mallorca. See our previous blog post on the importance of hydration.
  • Walking poles*. They help when climbing uphill but most importantly, they help take the weight off your joints when going downhill. Walking poles are available to hire for 5 Euros per day from Mallorca Hiking.
  • Head torch*- Just in case you get caught out in the dark; or to go to the loo at night if you’re staying in a refuge…

In the winter, if you’re walking at high altitude, you may be surprised to hear that a woolly hat and some light gloves are also really welcome.

Snacks:

what to pack for a 4 day walk in Mallorca

Trail Mix Bar

My favourites are:

  • Trail Mix- nuts and dried fruit. Trailmix is great to eat for slow-burning energy and it’s light to carry. My favourite mix includes almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. For a 4 day trip, I recommend bringing a freezer bag-sized pack.
  • Muesli bars. Also high energy and nutritious (and unlike chocolate they won’t melt!). Bring 2-3 muesli bars per day.

But the good news is that if you’re doing Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221, there are quite a few opportunities to stock up along the way, so you don’t have to carry supplies for the duration of the trek.

Toiletries and Basic First Aid:

Sun cream, 1 loo roll, plasters, blister plasters, insect repellent, ibruprofen, Imodium, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (for the head of the brush) miniature toothpaste, chapstick (including spf 15 is best), deodorant, feminine hygiene products.

I would also recommend packing ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper, and particularly if you’re staying in a refuge where you sleep in dormitories. You never know how noisy your fellow hikers may be!

Clothing:

  • 3-4 lightweight t-shirts*- (one can be used as nightwear).  Polyester/elastane-mix t-shirts are ideal as they are light-weight and quick drying. They can be bought at any good outdoor shop (see shop reference list below)
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking trousers* or sports leggings. Zip off trousers are great as when it warms up you can zip off the lower leg to convert into shorts.
  • 1 pair of shorts*- preferably lightweight, quick-dry walking shorts. Do not bring denim – it’s heavy to carry and takes ages to dry!
  • 1 pair of lightweight trousers/long johns/leggings – for nightwear

    what to pack for a 4 day walking trip in Mallorca

    Ready for the GR221!

  • 3 pairs quality walking socks*- Merino wool or merino/polyester-mix walking socks are ideal as you don’t have to wear two pairs which saves on space, and they keep your feet dry and cool.
  • 3 underpants
  • (Women) 1 sports bra – much comfier to wear when walking.
  • 1 pair of quality walking boots*, preferably worn-in prior to the holiday as new boots are more likely to cause blisters
  • Cap*
  • Sunglasses*
  • Rainproof/windproof jacket (and possibly also over-trousers depending on the time of year)*- Preferably Goretex. It’s always advisable to bring a waterproof, as even if it’s unlikely to rain it’s useful as an extra windproof layer.
  • Lightweight fleece* for layering
  • Flipflops/indoor shoes- For evening use, bring flipflops or a lightweight pair of shoes, e.g. canvas plimsolls. It’s heaven to shed your walking boots for a few hours in the evening!

NB: Sometimes, if you know you’ll be staying somewhere that you can wash out a few things overnight, you can actually get away with packing a bit less – always good news ;-)

Where’s best to buy the gear?

All the items above marked * can be bought at UK outdoor clothing shops, for example:

In Mallorca, the main place to buy good walking kit is Decathlon and of course Bestard makes some awesome hiking boots! Also good for outdoor kit is Es Refugi in C/ Sindicat, 21, 07002 Palma de Mallorca, Phone:+34 971 71 67 31. Sorry there’s no link but their site doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. Either leave a comment here or contact us by email. Also do take a look at our previous blog posts with tips and advice about kit.
Happy hiking!

Walking the Road to Happiness

 

walking in Mallorca

The road to happiness

Walking the Road to Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a hot topic and for good reason, as living in our society today is deemed to be more stressful than ever before.

So what can we do about it? Exercise is a fantastic way to help us ‘switch-off’ but I want to show you why walking is particularly beneficial to our happiness and well-being.

Walking – a time to reflect…

As walking is not as strenuous as other forms of exercise, perhaps it is more conducive to reflective thought and relaxation. When hiking with a friend of mine recently, I recall asking him why he loves walking so much and he said, ‘because it’s like a form of meditation; it allows my mind to wander.’ My friend’s response resonated with a recent newspaper article tackling ‘Why are we so tired all the time?’ Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management, says ‘we don’t give ourselves time to reflect – no wonder we’re so tired. We are human doings now not human beings’. Research shows meditation and ‘mindfulness’- learning to live in the moment to quiet the mind – can help us feel more rested. We can apply mindfulness when walking outdoors, spending time ‘in the now’ and noticing the world around us, not only to combat stress but to be fully aware of, and appreciate our natural environment.

Exercising in a natural environment

walking in Mallorca

happy days!

When was the last time you walked in a green, wide-open space? In the woods? Or in the park? The impact that being in a natural environment has on the brain is significant. Mental health charity Mind recently looked at the role the environment plays on the effectiveness of outdoor exercise for mental wellbeing. Using 20 people in two contrasting walks, one inside and the other outdoors in a natural setting, they found:

  • 90% of people reported an increase in self-esteem after an outdoor walk verses 17% indoors.
  • 71% of  people experienced a decrease in the levels of depression after an outdoor walk verses 45% indoors.
  • 71% people stated they felt less tense after an outdoor walk verses 28% indoors.

The combination of walking and being in the outdoors appears to have a very positive effect on mental health: the endorphins released in the brain elevate mood and help prevent depression.

 How else does walking benefit our mental health?

Studies have shown how walking can heighten mental alertness and improve memory. Physiologist Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist at a London hospital, says exercise has a dramatic positive effect on the brain. A study of 6000 women in California found that those who walked regularly showed improvements to higher mental processes, suggesting long-term effects of walking on concentration and cognitive abilities could be profound.

So let’s get walking! If it can improve HAPPINESS and well-being, cognitive ability and concentration… What’s stopping you?

Why not contact us at Mallorca Hiking for more information on walking in the warm winter sunshine of Mallorca or join us on our Facebook page. We’d love to help you on your way to good health, wellbeing and happiness!

 

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (Part 1)

When we go for a hike we need to eat the appropriate type and amount of food, due to the intensive physical exercise. Drinking is even more important especially if we are not used to the climate and to the type of terrain. Therefore, we must plan carefully our food and drink intake before, during and after the hike.

Mallorca’s hikes can be quite challenging, especially in terms of temperature and slope, as the mountain paths are often steep and with a limited amount of shadow. Temperatures at noon can go over 25ºC already in March-April, and until the end of October. From June to August temperatures can pass the 30ºC threshold, even reach 35ºC or more in extremely hot days. Many routes should be avoided when temperatures are so high up, while other routes (more shadowy and with sea access) can become a perfect option to enjoy an outdoor hot day.

Mallorca hiking food

Eating local food while enjoying the fantastic views

This article (divided into 2 blog posts) will try to introduce you to the typical Mallorcan food that can complement your hikes, while resuming the health benefits they have to offer. Since we are focusing on food that can be eaten during a hike, it must be raw food or previously elaborated food. Notice that Mallorca Hiking offers you the possibility to tailor made your activity and include local food, which we will select and bring in order to make your day even more special.

 

Fruit is a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), vegetable soluble fiber, water (fruit provides fast body hydration), and it helps the digestive system and the drainage of liquids. The typical seasonal fruits produced in Mallorca are tangerines (November-March), oranges (November-April), lemons (November-May), grapefruits (December-April), strawberries (February-May), loquats (April-May), cherries (May-July), apricots (May-August), peaches (May-September), nectarines (May-September), plums (June-August), watermelons (June-August), melons (June-September), figs (July-September), pears (July-November), apples (August-January), pomegranates (September-November), grapes (September-December) and kakis (October-December). The sunny Mediterranean climate combined with the traditional tree varieties and low air and soil pollution; provide the perfect environment to grow very tasty and juicy fruit. However, you need to know where to get it, preferably from smaller shops or directly from countryside producers.

 

Local and abundant nut

The healthy energetic snack to bring on excursions

Almonds are the main nuts produced in Mallorca, since the cultivation of almond trees became a main economic rural activity during the late XIXth century, after an epidemic stage in the grapevine that led to the end of the traditional wine producing sector. Therefore, it is usual to see almond trees during your hike, as they have been planted almost everywhere on the island. Almonds are rich in vegetable oils, meaning that they provide a great caloric kick to our body. Moreover, they contain proteins, vitamins (B and E groups especially), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc) and fiber. They are a great healthy snack (not salted), helping us to gain some energy to continue doing some body activity. And they are so delicious!!

The natural salty snack

Olives are very appreciated both for macerating and for pressing to get oil

One of the oldest symbols of peace and goodness is the olive tree which grows delicious olives. In Spain it is said that “the one who grows olives lives a long time thanks their nutritional properties”. They are not a great source of calories, though they have high quantities essential oils (omega 3 and omega 6) which are beneficial to our body. Moreover, they are a source of vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron and sodium, and fiber. Olives are easily assimilated by the body, being a perfect and tasty snack. Since they have been previously macerated, they are normally salty which means we should not eat lots of them while we are hiking. You can also bring a jar of the flavourful Majorcan olive pâté to spread on a bread slice or cookie.

Next week we will intrduce you to more elaborated Majorcan food that is also suitable to bring for a walk in the nature.

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (part two)

jamon serrano

In our last blog post we where talking about what to bring when you go for a walk and giving suggestions and tips on delicious local food and products. Here comes the continuation on the same topic.

Pa amb oli” is the way local people from Mallorca call a slice of bread with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. This is the local sandwich base, which can be topped with other food or eaten directly as the 4 ingredients are already very tasteful. The best thing to do while hiking is to prepare it during one of our stops: cut some bread slices with a foldable knife, cut some tomato slices (the tomato should be a big one!) and then add virgin olive oil (local gold) and salt. A fresh “pa amb oli” is something that all locals go mad about!!

Dry cured cuts of meat are among the best toppings to a “pa amb oli”. Typical dry cured meat from Mallorca is made of pork meat, salt and spices. The most popular types that are eaten without cooking are sobrassada (orange soft paste that can be directly spread on a bread slice or bread cookie), paté (orange soft paste made of pork libber that can also be spread on a bread slice or bread cookie) and camaiot (grey and white color, cut in slices). These are the fatty and “unhealthy” part of the meal, but in small quantities they are just delicious if you like meat. It is common to also complement the “pa amb oli” with other Spanish dry cured cuts of meat such as Jamón Serrano, fuet, chorizo, salchichón… We recommend you to buy from small producers in order to maximize quality and authenticity. Majorcan cheese

There are many cheese producers in Mallorca, bringing lots of different products to the market. Cow and sheep cheeses are the most usual, though there are some excellent goat cheeses as well. Native red sheep are farmed to produce excellent and original flavors. There are ecologic producers who use traditional methods and reach excellent results (normally a bit more expensive than bigger producers). Curing and aging processes directly affect consistence, texture and taste of each cheese. We do not recommend bringing fresh cheese when hiking unless you bring a well functioning/long lasting cold bag. Cheese is a source of animal fat, protein, vitamins from group A, B and D, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus (great for our bones). It must be eaten moderately, but when you are hiking it is always nice to cut some slices with your foldable knife and enjoy its fantastic flavors, alone or combined with a “pa amb oli”.

 

Bakery products from Mallorca, both salty and sweet, normally contain pork fat. They are not healthy products eaten on a regular basis but it can be interesting to bring some of them ‘cause they are delicious and provide a caloric boost that can be needed when you have a long way to walk. “Coques” (sort of cold pizzas with only vegetables on it) with paprika, onion, tomatoes or parsley are crunchy and oily. “Panades” are round pasties filled with cooked lamb meat or bacon, onion and peas. “Cocarrois” are long pasties filled with cooked vegetables, including raisins. These pasties use to be typical Easter food, but nowadays they are baked the whole year around; they are very convenient to bring to an excursion because they last more than other bakery products. If you like sweet stuff (or you are longing for a sugar kick), then you must bring some ensaïmada, a round spiral inflated dough powdered with sugar, sometimes filled with sweetened apricots or other ingredients (cream, chocolate, etc.). There are other typical sweet baked products like “coca de patata”, “bunyols”, “crespells” and “robiols”, but easy on the sugar and fat.

panades

In terms of drinking, we always recommend to drink mineral water (preferably from Mallorcan springs). Freshly squeezed natural orange juice can be sometimes acquired in some hikes as there are some rural houses which prepare them for you in the very moment.

Finally, we sometimes like to bring some local red wine to do a small toast and savor this traditional beverage during our lunch break. But the wine culture in Mallorca is interesting and rich enough to write another blog-post…

Find Your Inner Space through Hiking and Yoga on Mallorca this Summer 

image2

Yoga and Walking Holiday Mallorca Hiking

Yoga practitioners often talk about finding peace within. The most difficult thing (even if that can be hard enough) isn’t really to find a quiet place during our holidays where to roll out our mat, but to keep that quietness within, in middle of our daily rush. 

Nina and I have known eachother for many years. Coming from the colder northern Europe Nina is a dedicated Outdoor-guide, and I’m a Yoga Teacher, and we both have found our place and our peace here in Mallorca. We have practiced and hiked together, and we both agree that the sea and the island’s special light give an extra energy to our training and to our daily life. The nature, the peace and calmness, are one of the reasons that we have decided to settle here and that we see this as the ideal environment for our Hiking- and Yoga Retreats. Nina knows all the tracks and trails of the island, she always suggests new places where we may go to come closer to the wonderful and varying nature that this Mediterranean island offers.

image

Yoga and Walking Retreat Mallorca Hiking

Sometimes we need to get away from our daily routines to be able to appreciate what is there right next to us, and also to find new energy and inspiration. I have just been away travelling for a few months in Central America, where I’ve found beautiful places to practice Yoga. Far away from my daily life, surrounded by dense rainforest, deep waters and volcanoes, it was easy to find stillness within. Later, in the crazyness of Mexico City, I had the opportunity to experience the total contrast; the deep forest was suddenly far away, the subway full to its limits, and making my way between people selling napkins, lighters and tacos in every corner, I was lucky if I reached my yoga class on time. There it was: a MiniAshram squeezed in between offices, bars and a dance studio, we had to close all the windows to get away from the noise. I took a deep breath and looked around me, I could feel my heart beating faster, but the faces around me didn’t actually reflect any stress at all. It looked like they had that deep calmness from the rainforest within.

I do think that we have a lot to learn. And learning begins here and now. We practice Yoga to learn and to share with others what we experience through our practice. And it is necessary to start with ourselves, to later see a continous change in our surroundings. First it is important to give us time and space for what we want to do. A shortcut to find out what that is, is to give yourself time for an intense practice, in a peaceful place, where your daily stress doesn’t reach you. Where your common worries and habits dont draw all your attention. A place where we withdraw from what normally distracts us, to come closer to ourselves. We create a quiet room, to give us the space to listen to our inner voice.

Retreat means to withdraw. Yogis have been doing that for ages. It doesn’t mean that we go away forever or that we quit our responsabilities or pleasures. It means to shirk all those things that draw your attention and energy, in order to be more present. In this way we load the batteries, and slowly we can find the route back to the essence within us that tells us who we are and how we want to live. It is easier to do this in a place that is not our home, a place in nature that reminds us of the human origin, far away from the rush. To walk in nature helps us a good bit on the way, and once we find and give ourselves those moments and places of tranquility, it is easier to find back here. The next time you are stuck in the metro or in a difficult situation, you will find it easier to resort to your inner peace, your inner space, maybe giving it the form and coulour of a Mediterranean landscape. This is the landscape that Nina and I want to invite you to, and at the same time, create together. The blue ocean, the mountains and the tranquility are already here; the sense of community and energy that emerge when we intentionally look within and practice intensely with others, will fill you with spirit and motivation.

During the hikes you will experience a new part of Mallorca, less known than its packed beaches. Nina takes you to the most unforgetable places. Walking is a moving meditation, when we are in closer contact with earth and nature, our body gets the opportunity to discharge and exhale all that may not serve us anymore.

To stay in a rustic farmhouse, enjoy the settings, and get healthy Mediterranean food with fresh ingredients, will be a special treat for body and soul.

The yoga classes will be adapted to each and everyone’s needs and experience. Beginners as well as more experienced Yogis are welcome. We will charge our batteries in the morning with a more activating practice, whilst the evening classes will be more of a restorative and relaxing type. Through Asana, Pranayama and meditation we will play with different themes, and again, our beautiful surroundings will help us to look deeper within and discover new ways and possibilities.

www.mallorcahiking.com

Hiking and Yoga retreat at rustic finca in Majorca.

We hope and believe that you after four days of hiking and Yoga in S’Alcadena’s and Alarò’s environs will feel renewed and relaxed, filled with energy and experiences that you can bring home with you and keep in your inner space, to bring forth in the more difficult moments, when you need it the most.

Nina Harjula is a professionell mountain- and outdoor guide (hiking, mountainbike, cycling and horse riding).

Maria Larsson (author of this article) is a masseus, art therapist and credited Yoga teacher (200 RYT, 120h Therapeutic Yoga, current Anusara studies).

If you are interested in participating in our retreat, please send us an email to: info@mallorcahiking.com, or contact us by filling out the contact form at our webpage. You can also call us directly on: +34 699 906 009.


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.

Practice makes Perfect

Today we revisit the importance of preparation for a hiking or walking holiday. Following these simple, commonsense tips will help ensure you don’t have wasted days because you’ve taken on too much, or because you didn’t realise what is involved – especially if you are not a regular walker. Read on…

Regardless if you are a professional or a novice on a walking holiday, it is still really important to go on a lot of practice hikes before jetting off to your holiday destination. Practice walks serve many purposes: to test new gear and clothing; to know your walking and physical limitations; to master different walking conditions; all are important factors to understand before you embark on a series of long walks.

When starting your build up for your walking holiday, practice walks should start short and gradually increase, so you slowly “break-in” all those rusty muscles.

Pay attention to your body temperature. Use layers of clothing and remove/replace as your temperature increases and decreases on easier and more difficult sections of the walk.

Create awareness to sensations in your feet. Hot spots in your boots can turn into blisters, so stop and adjust your boots/socks/remove stones etc. If your feet get wet, stop to dry them and change your socks. If you are walking with a partner ensure both of you are comfortable about stopping each other if these re-adjustments are necessary. Remember: with walking, prevention is significantly better (and less time consuming/painful) than curing a damaged foot etc.

Keep your back-pack comfortably adjusted. Again, re-adjust straps if they have become too loose or are cutting into your arms. This may also be due to the contents not being well distributed. Try to keep the heaviest items close to your back. Try to create a set place for each item in your pack and return it to this place to maintain a comfortable walking position for your backpack.

Get used to having regular drink and snack breaks to maintain your energy levels. Little and often is much easier on your digestion and converts quicker into energy, as opposed to large meals which take energy to digest and can be uncomfortable for walking afterwards.

Your clothes are a key part of your comfort when walking for several hours, so practice walks will let you know how comfortable each item is. Trousers/shorts may rub on your thighs; upper layers may be too tight when you get warmer – all this can then be adjusted or rectified prior to flying off on your holiday.

Although none of our guided walks require large backpacks with sleeping bags etc (the luxury of boutique accommodation and good restaurants is more our style than tents and camp food!!) an awareness of your body and your clothing will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

A little preparation and thought and a bit of planning really help you get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from our holidays. We recommend these simple practice routines to all our clients – and you’ll be happy you did them when you arrive.