Sunday April 17th MHC Walk – Soller

fornalutx-to-soller-walk-mallorca hiking

Hello Mallorca Hikers!

If you are not already enrolled in Mallorca Hiking’s residents’ walking Club and would like to join, there is still the opportunity to sign-up with a special 50% discount (call Fiona – details below)

The next MHC walk is scheduled for Sunday 17th April. One of our members John Ballard has very kindly offered to lead this lovely circular walk –

Soller and surrounding villages

John is an experienced walker himself and has led many groups of walkers in the past. Please read the walk description carefully, consider the grade we’ve given it (moderate in this case) and make sure you are happy that it is a level you can cope with.

We’ll meet at 10.30 am at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens on the road to the Port of Sóller and we should be finished by about 4.30pm.

The programme for the day is slightly different to last time. In total we will walk about 3.5 to 4 hours (excluding stops): 2.5+ hours before lunch and then 1+ hours after lunch depending on the speed of the group. But you’ll be pleased to hear that the walk after lunch is easy and downhill all the way!

We’ve organised a delicious set lunch at the Es Turó restaurant in Fornalutx, which has a fabulous terrace (with even more fabulous views) where we’ll eat provided the weather is still good. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy some apres-hike fun and relaxation. Please note that for the main course there is a choice between roast pork and vegetables and fish with vegetables – please let us know when you sign up for the walk, which one you’d prefer.

The price for the day is:
* 5 euros contribution to Mallorca Hiking for organising everything
* 15 euros + service to the restaurant for 3-course lunch including wine
* If you’re getting a lift from another member please offer to contribute to their petrol and the toll for the Soller tunnel.

We’ll be limiting the number of people in the group to 20 + 2 guides, so if you’d like to join us please let us know as soon as possible! Friends and family are very welcome to join us if there are still places, but Club members are given priority. We’ve posted the walk on Facebook, and will post a reminder during the week, so if you can please respond via a comment on these posts. We need final numbers by latest 5pm Thursday 14th April please.

This time don’t forget to bring your cameras and take lots of snaps as we’ll be running a photo competition during the week following the walk. The winner gets to come on next month’s MHC walk for free (excluding lunch).

We’ll be posting the winner of last month’s quiz over the next day or so. Watch that space!

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th. Until then happy hiking!

Best wishes, Fiona

Fiona McLean
+34 635 393 402

The importance of Hydration

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

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

Hydration function in our bodies:

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

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

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

WATER BOTTLE TIP

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

How to calculate your fluid intake needs when walking

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

HIKING HYDRATION TIP

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

Signs of Dehydration:

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

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

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

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

10 After Hike Recovery Tips

Practice Makes Perfect

Top Tips – Preventing Blisters

Wonderful Walking Facts

Happy (Hydrated) Hiking!

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!

 

Mushroom picking in Mallorca

Collecting mushrooms

Collecting mushrooms

One of the many things that we love about Mallorca is the island’s dedication to its traditions of foraging for local wild produce, such as mushrooms, asparagus and the like. When we’re out walking in the mountains at this time of year, we meet any number of Mallorcan families enthusiastically searching for setas, all equipped with their traditional wicker baskets to collect their mouth-watering harvest.

The Mallorcan mushroom season is usually late October to November, depending on the weather. The rains usually arrive in late August, but if like this year they’re late, the season tends to be a bit later.

 

Mushrooms or Setas in Mallorca

Mushroom varieties in Mallorca

Mushrooms are quite varied in Spain, with some very big varieties growing in the forest areas. Our weather is good for mushrooms – hot summers, high humidity and autumn rains all contribute to conditions that allow them to thrive.  Ceps, or porcini (in Spanish rovellos) are quite common, as are Chanterelles. Niscalos or lactarius deliciosus are also prolific, and are used in many of the local dishes. But here in Mallorca the real pick of the crop is the Esclata-sangs (Lactarius Sanguifluus – Bleeding Milk Cap) a large flat fleshy mushroom, which bursts with flavour when cooked…!

This island is not shy about promoting its local produce, and every year on the last weekend of November, the tiny Mallorcan village of Mancor del Vall comes alive with the Fira de l’esclata-sang i de la Muntanya. This delightful little place lies in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains and this autumn fair is one of its annual highlights.

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

This wonderful fair aims to show and preserve traditional mountain activities and island traditions, but the main attraction is their prized mushrooms, which are showcased over the weekend in a variety of dishes offered by local bars and restaurants. You can snack on mushrooms on toast, freshly made at one of the many stalls, or visit one of the cafes or restaurants to try one of the many specially prepared dishes featuring these delicious mushrooms.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about the varieties of mushrooms you can find here (particularly the edible variety!), there is an excellent online catalogue published by the University of the Balearic Islands in conjunction with the Balearic Natural History Museum.

And then, why not “go local” and join Mallorca Hiking for a guided mushroom foraging walk. Our expert guides will take you to the best areas, talk you through the various species and keep you safe by making sure you don’t pick the wrong ones!  If you’d like to book a walk just for you and your family and friends, we’ll organise a tailor-made day out just for you… you can then go home and cook a delicious meal with what you’ve picked!

Do contact us for more information – we’ll be happy to help…

 

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!

A Summer day trip down the Torrent de Pareis

torrent de pareis

Our group

It was a hot dry day in mid-June when a small group of us set off early from Escorca to tackle the infamous Torrent de Pareis hike. There was a sense of excitement among the group as we had all wanted to do this hike many times before, only to be told “the conditions weren’t right”, or “there was too much water in the gorge”, “there had been heavy rains recently” ….. so this was our first time.

The temperature was perfect as we set off, the skies were crystal clear blue, and the views towards Puig Roig were stunning. Our guide Nina showed us the location of the concealed gap in the craggy rocks where the gorge carved by the torrent ran through the Tramuntana mountains. This is where we were headed. We admired the views.

The start of the hike is a gentle descent through masses of carritx grass, which is very typical of Mallorca’s alpine regions. We chatted animatedly as we zigzagged down to the dry riverbed and a point at which the paths of 3 different torrents met. Here we took a short rest and then continued, following the bed of the torrent de pareis. At first it was easy enough – we followed narrow paths along the edge of the riverbed; we scrambled over a few boulders and strolled along the pebble surface of the riverbed. But slowly and steadily the boulders got bigger; the scrambling got more strenuous; and there was no longer an inclination to cruise along chatting. This needed concentration; your wits about you. And at times even our guide had to stop and think and try and remember – which tiny gap between these massive boulders was going to offer us a way through. This was a real challenge.

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

Boulders, boulders everywhere…

As the sun rose in the sky, the temperature rose too, and so did the challenges we faced. We met a group of fun and noisy young Spanish guys – they were loving it; leaping among the boulders like mountain goats and sliding down the well worn surfaces. There are a few sections where you need to reverse down a crack in the rocks with the help of ropes – almost light abseiling. I think we all used every muscle in our body and not just the ones you’d expect to use for a “normal” hike! I for one, could feel every muscle for days after the hike.

By now we were deep inside the gorge, and it felt like another world. Slightly surreal. What a stunning landscape. At times the gorge is so narrow, that you can only see a slither of blue sky between the imposing rock faces on either side. It gradually becomes clear why this could be a very dangerous place to be when there is a lot of water flowing in the torrent ….

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

A chink of sky

And after about 5 hours of walking and mainly clambering, the gorge begins to open up and let some more daylight in.  We continue our walk and finally we’re greeted by a very normal Sunday scene in Mallorca – lots of happy laughing people relaxing with picnics on a beautiful pebble beach. This is Sa Calobra, our destination, and the scene is a very strange contrast to our day so far. Ed and Sean had run out of water way back, so they made a beeline for the bars along the coast. The rest of us couldn’t wait to get into our bikinis and dive into the cool, crystal clear water ahead. This was the best swim of the summer, by far!

This is an epic hike and well worth doing if you enjoy a bit of adventure – do take a look at the video we took on the day, as it’ll give you a more visual description of what’s involved! This is not the sort of hike to do on your own for the first time, so if you would like to hire a guide please contact us.

And if you’d like to know more about walking in Mallorca, please visit our website and our Facebook page for information and advice, as well as tips, photos…

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 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…