A walk on Mallorca cut short

When we lived in Oxfordshire we often did long Sunday hikes in the beautiful Cotswolds but, since moving to Mallorca, our walking seems to have been mainly along beaches, seafront promenades, or in the lanes of our rural valley. And usually at a fairly leisurely pace. My hiking boots hadn’t had a decent outing for a few years, but last week we decided to mark the start of the new year with a walk in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountains.

After a long period of hiking abstinence, we were breaking ourselves back in gently. We drove to the mountains and the monastery of Lluc – a place of incredible peace and beauty (even more so outside the tourist season). There’s a walk up to a large cross at the top of Calvary hill, behind the monastery, and that was to be the starting point for our hike. Once we’d done that, we’d decide where to walk next.


Lluc from Calvary hill

Lluc from Calvary hill

Oh crumbs!

As we neared the top, The Boss noticed that I was leaving a small trail of crumbly black material in my wake: the soles of my hiking boots (a few years old, but worn only a few times) were disintegrating with every step. By the time we’d made it up to the cross and back down to the car park, there was little left of what had once been my boot soles. I walked gingerly back to the car like a reluctant penitent who’d chickened out of walking barefoot by wearing thick socks. Ouch.

Snaking in the pass

Our walking cut short, we did something I thought we’d never do: drove the twisting mountain pass down to Sa Calobra. The Boss won’t mind me mentioning that he used to have a problem with heights. There was a time when he never would have contemplated driving (or even being a passenger) along this snaking 12km stretch of highway. Since we moved to Mallorca his dislike of heights seems to have disappeared but still I was shocked when he suggested that we drive along Mallorca’s most renowned stretch of road.

Not a white knuckle in sight . . .

Not a white knuckle in sight . . .

A perfect fine weather winter drive

Italian engineer Antonio Paretti was the visionary behind this fabulous mountain pass, which he carefully designed to avoid destroying the mountain scenery, and to create a gradual descent to the waterfront hamlet of Sa Calobra. In winter you’re unlikely to meet a coach packed with tourists coming the other way, taking more than its fair share of the tarmac, so – in good clear weather – it’s an ideal time to do this drive.

The ribbon-like road snakes through the mountains

The ribbon-like road snakes through the mountains


The Sa Calobra pass requires a decent degree of driver concentration, but it’s a truly awesome journey for car passengers. If Signor Paretti’s genius road had had a few more miradores – viewing points – we’d have been able to stop safely and I’d have taken better photos, rather than fuzzy images from a moving car. Perhaps we’ll drive it again one day – or better still, fly over it in a helicopter. Now that would be something . . .

Destination Sa Calobra below

Destination Sa Calobra below


5 thoughts on “A walk on Mallorca cut short

  1. How wonderful the views must be up there! As for the boots, its happened to me too…something about leaving boots for a long time without use…maybe they dry out? Weird! Must Google that one!

  2. Jan here is a piece lve found as to why shoes etc rot in the cupboard. You may not want to put it on your blog (understandably!) but it may bof interest! Comment on this story

    Well-heeled: Wear PU-soled shoes regularly if you want them to last.

    While being extremely light, comfortable and durable, these soles need to be worn constantly

    Apparently wearing them puts pressure on the soles and squeezes out the moisture, which would otherwise break apart the foam-like structure. The point of my story was that most stores which sell these shoes do not warn people against leaving them unworn for any length of time – a season, for example – in order to avoid the soles crumbling into a sticky mess.

    Any help?!

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