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Mallorca GR221

Mallorca GR221 Gear Mistakes

What to take and what to leave behind

I would like to encourage you to learn from my gear mistakes from this trip. It pays to be minimalist when trekking up mountains, you soon regret it if you bring too much.

So here is my Mallorca GR221 gear list and take on what to bring and what to leave at home when you hike the Mallorca GR221.

I’m going to talk you through what I took initially, and then what got sent home as it became obvious that I wasn’t going to use it.

Planning The GR221

I started by asking myself some questions and making an itinerary of the days with info on how long I would be walking, where I would stay, food possibilities etc

Although I no longer have the original plan, here is one that shows the week. I find it really helps me to have an overview of what my week is going to look like as an easy reference.

The original also contained telephone numbers of the hostels so that I could let them know if I was going to be late checking in.

Planning the GR221
My GR221 overview

Checking what’s included

I thoroughly researched the refuges and made sure I knew what would be included and available in terms of bed sheets, washing facilities and food. Using the above plan, I proceeded to reserve the hostels as well as the breakfast and dinners if available using this webpage. Some of them even offered packed lunches too.

Snacks and food

From studying the map I knew that once I got into the mountain section proper – that is from Soller onwards, there wouldn’t be many places to get food. I wanted to avoid carrying food as much as possible and hadn’t yet discovered dehydrated meals at that point, so I decided to bring a reasonable amount of dried fruit and nuts for snacks, and little else.

In hindsight, I brought way too much food, and it seems that I don’t need as much as I thought to keep going for hours on foot. This is a common problem I believe.

Visualising the route

Now that the information was all at my fingertips, I tried to imagine what it would be like to walk the route. In my mind I went through what I thought a day would be like including the moment I woke up, navigating the route, photos, being hot, and cold, eating, drinking, and everything I would need for my evening wash routine.

From this I came up with my master list, which looked like this:

Mallorca GR221 Gear List

ClothesLeggings and t-shirt for sleeping in
Hiking trousers x 1
Shorts
Underwear x 3 (wash as you go)
Socks x 3 (ditto)
Sports Bra x 1
Breathable t-shirt x 2
Long-sleeved breathable t-shirt (mid layer)
Fleece jumper
Snood (neck tube)
Warm hat
Gloves
Waterproof jacket
Windproof heavy fleece jacket
FoodMulti-vitamins
Magnesium/calcium supplements
Nuts/dried fruit (nuts 60g per day = 360g)
NavigationMap and compass (this compass was too heavy!)
GR221 Guidebook (I had this one)
Notes on where I was staying when and where to eat (see above)
RandomParacetamol/ibuprofen
Notebook and pen (to keep diary)
Phone charger
Microfibre towel
Washbag: (toothbrush and paste, mini shampoo and conditioner, soap, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, comb, hairband, vaseline)
Headtorch
Emergency foil blanket
Leatherman
Kindle
Extra t-shirts
Sit mat (I cut up an insulating mat)
Flask and plastic cup
Herbal teabags
Matcha tea and mini whisk (!)
Flip flops
Jack Wolfskin rucksack (it was old and weighed 2.8 kg!)

What To Leave Behind

When you spend most of your day climbing up hills, you soon realise that a heavy pack will make it extra hard to get yourself and your gear up the mountain.

Believe me, it didn’t take me long to start thinking about what I wanted to chuck out and send home at the earliest opportunity.

Here’s What I Sent Home

Leatherman – yeah, not sure what I was thinking I would do with this…cut off my arm if I got stuck in a rock maybe?? It’s ridiculously heavy and not necessary.

Kindle – I was just too tired to read, and preferred to look and listen to nature, call my family or read the guidebook if I had time free. In future I would just use my phone to read if needed.

Extra t-shirts and fleece – two t-shirts are really enough, one for hiking during the day and washing at night, and the other as a fresh one for having dinner in the evening at the refuges. Having a quick-dry one for hiking makes it easy to wash and leave to dry overnight.

Notebook and pen – they were way too big and heavy, and most days I found that I was too tired to actually write anything. I would bring a small one in future, or just some sheets of paper instead of an entire book.

Matcha tea and mini whisk – these were a luxury which I loved at the time, but I wouldn’t take them again. The whisk was a bit unnecessary and I really just needed a strong green tea to keep me going (I’m not a coffee drinker). A teabag would have saved me a lot of faffing around timewise, as well as taking up less space and weight.

Shorts – I went in January and was very sure that I wasn’t going to use these when I let them go, so they got expelled. However, it was definitely hotter than I had expected most of the time, especially when climbing upwards.

Summary

In general I brought far too many clothes and nick nacks with me. When I was walking I was on the whole quite warm, except for one day when I was higher up and it was very windy.

If I were to do it again I would wear a breathable t-shirt, lightweight fleece, hiking trousers and a waterproof. Then I would have a lightweight puffy jacket in case I was cold in the evening (or at any time) and that would be enough. The clothes were so bulky and heavy to carry when I had to take them off, they became a bit of a pain.

It’s important to be careful about bringing too many “just in case” items. They really aren’t all that necessary really and can add up and weigh you down a lot. All those grams add up to slowing you down when going up steep hills.

For sure I learned a lot from this trip, which was my first taste of multi-day hiking and now realise that there is freedom in doing without some things for a few days.

To read my blogs on hiking the Mallorca GR221 route click here to read day 1 of the trail.

Day 6 Mallorca GR221 – Son Amer (Lluc) to Pollensa

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range Mallorca GR221 route in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

So finally I am at the end of my Mallorca GR221 adventure. There are mixed feelings for me finishing this walk. One part of me never wanted to go back to normal life, and the other was craving rest.

To catch up on all the previous days you can click on the buttons below:

Monday 22 January 2018

A Beautiful Morning

I woke up early. It was so very very quiet in the hostel that I felt really refreshed. We had gone to bed early after dinner too which made all the difference.

The morning looked beautiful and clear outside. I organised myself in a relaxed way and went down to eat a nice but simple breakfast of bread and jam.

06:40 Day 6 Mallorca Adventure (last day 😕)
Lluc to Pollensa 15km, estimated walking time 5 hrs. Weather 16°c with moderate wind. I have mixed feelings about today. On one hand my body needs a break from all the walking, but on the other hand I am reluctant (never want) to go back to the city, although of course am happy to see F again, and eat my own food.


Happily today I end on a high note as Steffi will join me to keep me company and help me to finish my large quantity of remaining snacks (over-prepared as usual!). I’m happy to have the company before going home to mend my semi suffering body.
I have learnt so much about myself – what I really need and what I definitely don’t need and had a lot of time to reflect on what I want to do in my life (and what I don’t want to do), it’s been an incredible experience, and has definitely given me the bug to do other long distance hikes in the future.
I will post some pictures of the day later when home.

A Nice Surprise

My German friend Steffi had contacted me telling me that she would join me for today’s walk.

She arranged for her partner to drop her off at Son Amer nice and early to begin the walk with me. This meant that we should arrive in Pollensa at around lunchtime, and could therefore easily arrange transport back home.

We both had some snacks – my endless bag of mixed nuts were still going – and I brought a flask of hot water (as always).

It was a real pleasure to walk with Steffi. She even offered to carry my rucksack for some of the way! So we did a swap and I carried her much smaller day pack for a bit which my feet and hips absolutely loved.

Easy to Follow

This section of the route was very easy to follow, with clear signposts to guide us. Here’s the profile:

Profile

Time: 6 h Height 250 m, ↓ 700 m

As you can see it is a much easier stage as we come back down to sea level. The majority of the climbing is close to the start, just after leaving the refugio.

Son Amer refugio is located in a wood, and so the beginning part was following the short woodland path downhill and back to the road.

Crossing over the road, we picked up a track which meandered across the landscape towards Binifaldó. The views opened out giving us some breathtaking sights to enjoy.

Downhill From Now On

The route soon started to steadily descend, and there was a noticeable difference in the temperature of the air. I finally started to heat up and had to take my hat off.

A Low Tolerance to the Cold

It does seem sometimes that I’m overdressed compared to other people while I’m walking. The truth, however, is that I often feel very chilly and don’t tolerate the cold well.

Since moving back to England I have been trying to aclimatise to the fresher temperatures, but it is still a work in progress I’m afraid.

Peaceful Scenery

The scenery going down was very tranquil, and there weren’t so many people around either, being as it was now Monday.

We ambled down the tracks and paths whilst chatting and catching up with each other.

I could feel that I was walking an awful lot slower than I usually do on fresh legs. It seemed to take us a long time to get to Pollensa. My body was really tired, and I frequently had to keep stopping to rest.

The Last Section

Once we came out of the wooded area, we had to follow the footpath beside the main road for the last few kilometres. I guess it was gradually preparing me for civilisation again, after spending all day in the mountains, which felt so remote from people.

14:20 Arrived 😁😃 in Pollensa at a restaurant to get lunch and celebrate arrival and success.

We Made It!

The last bit near the road seemed to take ages, but we eventually came into Pollensa town and reached the hostel where I could have stayed for the final night.

The end of my trip at the Pont Roma Refugio

16:53 It helped that Steffi carried my bag on the last bit. Just walked in the door, home again. Need to wash everything!!!

Thanks for reading my Mallorca adventure and for visiting my blog. If you would like to hear more from me then dont forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking here.

Day 5 Mallorca GR221 – Tossals Verds to Lluc

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range Mallorca GR221 route in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

Today I share with you Day 5 of my adventure across Mallorca, which will take me through the mountains from Tossals Verds Refugio to Son Amer Refugio, This is the last mountain hostel of the route located just past the famous Lluc Monastery.

To read Days 1 to 4 please click on the buttons below.

Profile

The profile takes me up and over the mountain and back down the other side into Lluc valley.

It has 830 metres of climbing and 800 metres of descent.

Yes, it was another challenging day for my already tired legs. But with height there are views…and I really got the feeling that I was on top of the world on this section. To this day it remains my happy place to go to when I want to empower myself and create a visualisation of strength.

Profile of Day 5

Tossals Verds was definitely my favourite hostel on the route. I loved the food, they brought fresh vegetables and everything they needed to make it each day on the premises. When you consider that it is located up the side of a remote mountain without daily deliveries, it is pretty astounding.

Waking up

I started my day early with my usual body check and seemed all right albeit a bit stiff of course.

However, when I tried to get down from my bunk without waking up my three roommates I failed miserably. It seemed that I had no control over my legs they were so stiff.

I threw my disobedient, awkward body onto the floor and then scrabbled around looking for my clothes in the dark. Finally, I admitted defeat and got my headtorch out. It lit up the previously peaceful room like a beacon, bringing everyone groaning out of their slumber.

The Family WhatsApp

I sent my daily log from the breakfast room while eating my toast and jam and getting my thermos topped up. The staff were so friendly and willing to help you, not to mention full of smiles. It was a great start to the day.

07:21 Day 5 – Tossals Verds refuge to Son Amer refuge (Lluc), distance 16km, estimated walking time 6 hrs. Had a good night’s sleep in the hostel despite it being really busy with kids and people generally. Met a couple of other hiker guys – a Canadian and a Spanish guy. We are all going in different directions today though, but it was great to share stories and thoughts about the route. Am keen to get going now as the dining room is filling up with noisy excited children again. The weather forecast today is warm but very windy.

As I set off, going slowly at first to warm my legs up, it felt good to be out in the fresh air and moving again. I found myself reflecting a lot on my journey.

The Reflection of Others

There’s nothing like seeing and connecting with other people to give you a better reflection of where you are in your head. I really felt at peace. All my worries and fears seemed to have faded away to give room to live entirely in the present moment. I just had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, and I knew I would be fine.

A Wild Weather Forecast

Blown about by the wind!

My goodness! The weather forecast wasn’t joking about the wind! It was wild up there and the higher I got, the stronger it got.

At times I resorted to using my hands in an attempt to stay upright.

Fell Runners

There was more than one spectacular sight though as I progressed. A dispersed group of fell runners came hurtling past me as though they were in a race (which they probably were). There were men and women of all ages literally running past me at top speed with slim hiking sticks.

I felt quite nervous for them at times, they looked so unprotected and vulnerable. A lot of them wore shorts and most seemed sure-footed, even on the precarious rocky terrain in all that wind.

I was actually rather inspired, but it made me chuckle to myself – I looked a picture of everything opposite to them.

I was moving rather tentatively and carefully stepping the same route as them, but at a snail’s pace in comparison.

A Sunny Lunch Spot

The reward for reaching the top of the climb was lunch! However, there were very few places to shelter from the wind on the highest part. Finally, I managed to find a big rock that I could hide behind while still being in the sun to warm up.

The sun in January in Mallorca is still noticeably hot and will burn you if you’re out in it for a while. I have been known to sunbathe on sheltered rocks in the winter months when it’s calm weather and even swim in the sea.

The Descent

After lunch I started down the faster side of the mountain. The path was clear and I could easily see where I needed to go.

The lower I got, the warmer it got and it seemed like a completely different kind of day.

Continuing on, I found the famous snow pits. They used to be used to store ice which was then brought down to the villages and towns when the weather began to get hotter later in the year.

After this part I could tell that I was getting a lot closer to LLuc, as there were a lot of people hiking on the route, still enjoying their holiday weekend.

The way down was uneventful, except for me stopping a few times to rest and drink something.

Lluc Monastery

Eventually I walked down through a zigzag stone path through a wood that came out at the back of the Lluc Monastery carpark.

Close to Lluc Monastery there are several areas which are open to the public to come and use to have picnics. It’s a very Mallorquian thing to do. They bring all the food, drink, meat, charcoal and firelighters and then hang out cooking their lunch while the children play nearby.

When I arrived there were lots of families around having picnics and barbeques in the area provided. Again, I felt overwhelmed to suddenly be hit with civilisation. The contrast from the sound of the trees and rocks was a shock.

Son Amer Refugio

I passed the Monastery and then continued down the road a little to the sign that directed me to the Son Amer hostel. I could see the woods to the right where there was no sign of the hostel yet. It was discreetly tucked away in the woods to the right.

The hostel was surprisingly modern and well maintained, and looked very clean.

When I arrived, there were a few day hikers having drinks outside in the courtyard, but they soon continued on their way. When the noise of excited local families had died down the hostel was extremely quiet and peaceful.

14:41 I’ve arrived in Son Amer refuge in Lluc 😁 glad to be here in good time. I realise that I am actually really tired all over. It’s good to have one last day tomorrow which is a bit shorter (4.5 hrs) and go back home to recover a bit.

15:44 Thankfully it’s not as busy as the last place here. We are 2 ladies 😊 it’s nice to see another female hiker to be honest, we’re a rare breed 🤔

Female Company

There was an older Mallorquian lady hiker there who was a pleasure to talk to, and obviously a regular visitor of the hostel.

We spent the evening together swapping stories and eating dinner and drinking wine, together with the only staff member, a kind and chatty local lady. Both ladies hiked regularly and it was fascinating to hear their stories.

I climbed into bed feeling warm inside and content with the day. I felt glad to be close to the end of my trip, even though I was still enjoying every second of it.

Day 6 – The Last Day

I had mixed feelings about the last day and mentally didn’t really want to finish. My body, however, was giving me other signals.

Tomorrow’s walk will be great though, as I have a special surprise waiting for me in the morning!

Read Day 6 of the trail here.

Day 4 Mallorca GR221 – Port de Soller to Tossals Verds

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range Mallorca GR221 route in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

Today I share with you Day 4 of my adventure across Mallorca. To read Days 1 to 3 please click on the buttons below.

Saturday 20 January 2018

Today was a long walking day for me. There was a lot of mountain walking too, which made the day doubly challenging. However, the scenery took my breath away on this section.

The day was broken up into three sections for me. First, was the relatively flat walk from Muleta to Soller town with Fernando. Second the big, steep climb to Cuber reservoir. The third was a shorter climb to reach Tossals Verds Refugio, which is tucked on the side of the mountain and a little bit off the beaten path.

Family whatsapp message:

07:23 Day 4 muleta refugio – Tossals Verds refugio
Expected walking time 8-9 hrs. Weather conditions partly cloudy no rain. I’ve decided to stop at the chemist for some ibuprofen to help with the muscle ache. But all in all that’s the only issue I have (which is saying something!). Fernando is joining me for the first part and kindly taking home unnecessary weighty items. 😊

Many days rolled into one

Today felt like lots of separate days rolled into one. On the first section (about an hour and a half), my partner Fernando joined me leaving Muleta Refugio and walking to the town of Soller. From there he took the bus back to Palma and I looked for a chemist to pick up some much needed ibuprofen and magnesium tablets.

I was about to learn just what a difference taking magnesium salts can have on your body when you are walking for many hours over the course of several days. It really helped eliminate some of the cramps I was having at night in my legs.

Soller Town

You really get the feeling that you’re stepping back in time. Some houses date back to the early 12th Century from emigrants who returned wealthy to the town. In the centre is Placa Constitució, which is the focal point of the town. It’s a beautiful square containing cafés and plane trees with a fountain in its centre.

Placa Constitució, Soller, Mallorca GR221
Sant Bartomeu Church, Soller

A tram also runs between Soller and Port de Soller and is a popular tourist attraction as well as practical transportation.

I resupplied with some snacks here too, before saying goodbye to Fernando and continuing on alone with my slightly lighter pack.

This is a challenging stage. The elevation is 970m and descent 550m, and the route begins to climb when you leave Soller.

Mallorca GR221
Elevation of day 4 Mallorca GR221

Starting the climb

So I psyched myself up and began to climb steadily out of the town, slightly reluctant to leave as it was a happy, bustling Saturday morning and felt very welcoming.

The morning was quite chilly and damp, and I was on the shady side of the mountain. However, I soon had to peel off some layers as I heated up from walking uphill.

Due to the bank holiday weekend taking place a lot of people decided to go out for family hikes. I found it a little frustrating later in the day. It was hard going and slow, and there were a lot of large families with children and dogs that were hard to pass.

Mental tricks

To help myself stay focused, I would walk solidly for an hour and then award myself with a quick break to drink some water or eat a snack.

Steadily I managed to overtake most of the groups and found myself at the top of L’Ofre. There is no better feeling than finally reaching the top of the climb and being presented with a magnificent view such as the one below.

That’s Cuber Reservoir at the back that I would later walk beside. The mountain just left of the centre with the white ball on top is Puig Major, the highest mountain in Mallorca.

Mallorca GR221

It also meant that the worst of the climbing of the day was over…hurrah!!. I was exhausted and struggled mentally and physically to keep myself going. I was so sweaty now from all the uphill climbing that I felt quite cold when I stopped.

Really, I just wanted to lay down at the side of the path and sleep for a while.

But I didn’t.

Using the View to Motivate Me

So I dug in deep and used the elation of the view to help carry me down to the water’s edge, making a promise to myself that I would be able to stop for some food and chocolate when I got there.

I loved being able to see where I had to go. The entire morning I had only been able to see a few metres in front of me. Now I was in a different territory. It was a big contrast.

The end of part two rocked!

13:25 Making excellent progress today. I’m already at Cúber (the lake section) and my book says it’s about 2 hours to the hostel when I thought I had 4 more to go 😅😃

Cuber Reservoir, Mallorca GR221

Finally, after what seemed like forever I made it to the resevoir and carefully chose a sheltered spot to eat some lunch and relax for a while.

It was very windy, even though the sun was shining it felt quite cold, especially with my sweaty clothes.

After enjoying the view, food and a hot cup of tea I continued on.

16:42 It seems I took a wrong turn. Back on track now and on a clear path, but still an hour or so away from refugio.

A Wrong Turn

It was probably because I was mentally tired, but later on the route I saw a sign to “Coll de Tossals Verds” which took me off on a path to the right up to the top of the Tossals Verds Hill.

The right direction was for Refugi de Tossals Verds, not Coll de Tossals Verds, but I completely missed the clear sign pointing the other way…oh well.

Unfortunately, my mistake wasn’t obvious until I reached the absolute top of the peak, and then noticed that there was no way down on the other side. The hostel was almost spitting distance away, but there was no way to get to it without turning back.

On top of the Coll it was also dangerously windy, and a bit scarey walking on my weakened, aching legs.

This section of the Mallorca GR221 made me feel really small. The scenery is big in the mountains, and it doesn’t take much imagining to realise that if a storm came in, it would be seriously challenging out here.

Walking in the Dark

The last part of the walk made my eyes stand out on stalks. I was on the side of a mountain, walking across rocky ground in the pitch black.

Of course, importantly, I had my head torch, which was invaluable, but it was very easy to trip over unseen rocks and roots. Some parts were right on the edge of a steep drop off too, So I had to be careful where I walked.

I came across a herd of sheep, with all their eyes lighting up facing me in the dark, which was quite a sight, then, later on, I saw the biggest ram I think I’ve ever seen. It was enormous and looked annoyed that I was there.

Your mind plays tricks on you in the dark, and when you’re tired and alone. This was a test for me and I was so relieved to finally arrive at the hostel to the bustle of a Saturday evening bar and restaurant, although it was just a bit overwhelming for me right then.

Wild Animals

It’s always good to realise that on the Mallorca GR221 there are no real threats from wild animals. Believe it or not, there are actually more poisonous snakes in the UK than in Mallorca! You do, however, come across a lot of sheep and goats, but other than that the weather is a much more challenging aspect. In the winter these mountains can be snowy, and strong winds can stop you in your tracks.

In summer the extreme heat can dehydrate you very quickly and I’ve seen people suffer from heatstroke even though they thought they could easily cope with the heat. They just came unprepared.

Always be prepared when hiking in mountains and bring extra clothes, food and water with you. Come equipped appropriately for the season and be honest with yourself about your own fitness.

Emergency kit

I chose to bring one of these foil blankets, just in case I had an accident and I had to wait for help to arrive.

A Warm Welcome

17:58 Arrived 😅

The people in Tossals Verds were friendly and kind, the showers were hot, the food was fantastic, and the bed was comfortable. My Mallorquian roommates were also very respectful and quiet.

The only downside was that I had been allocated a top bunk, which with my damaged legs was a real challenge to get into, even with a ladder 🙂

19:03 I am sooo red! Think I caught the sun a bit even though I put factor 50 on this morning

20:55 I arrived in the dark in the end, but I had my head torch and the route was actually quite clear and easy to follow so it was ok. 😘😘😘

I think it’s fair to say that I wasn’t going to let much disturb my sleep that night. I completely passed out, not even worrying about sharing a room with three complete strangers.

Read day 5 of my Mallorca GR221 adventure here.

Day 3 Mallorca GR221 – Deía to Port de Soller

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range in Mallorca in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

Today I share with you Day 3 of my adventure across Mallorca. To read Days 1 and 2 please click on the buttons below.

Friday 19 January 2018

Today was a much shorter day than some of the other days. It was a well needed rest day before several longer days with steep climbing that are to come later on.

As you can see from the messages to my family, my legs are starting to suffer now. I hadn’t trained for mountain walking before the trip, especially with a weighty backpack to carry, and I could notice it now.

The scenery seems to get more and more beautiful on this stretch of the walk.

The donkeys were an extra special treat too. There were sooo many donkeys as I got closer to Port de Soller. I think they are a sight for sore eyes, I could look at them all day.

Whatsapp Message to Family

07:23 Deía to Port de Soller (12.5 km) expected walking time 3hrs.
Weather forecast is much the same as yesterday starting off cloudier and with a bit of sun later on too. Body check: feet are good, no blisters which is a relief after the 10 hours I did yesterday. However, thighs are very ooey ouchy this morning after all the climbing. I think it will pass when I warm up but I’m crabbing across the walls to get to the bathroom at mo and sitting down is more of an ‘aim for the chair and fall’.


Hostel in Deia is great- warm and cosy with only 4 bunks in a room, in fact, I’m the only one here so another great night of sleep.
Planning on getting to Muleta hostel in Port de Soller early afternoon so that I can wash my hair and some clothes and have lunch in the village.

Sadly the photos taken on my old mobile don’t really do the amazing views justice, but they do give you an idea of what the paths were like, as well as the feeling of height that you get on some sections of this walk.

The hostel had a different style to the others I had stayed in up to now. Muleta Refugi has one massive dorm, as you can see in the photo. I chose to sleep in the top bunk so that I could get a good view out of the window. The refugi is close to the Faro des Cap Gros lighthouse on the west side of the bay. It looked over the bay and Port de Soller from high up on the cliff and felt surprisingly isolated from the town.

A Sociable Evening

Today was a special day for me, as my then partner was coming out to have dinner with me and join me for half of the next day’s walk. This also meant that I could give him some of my unnecessary gear to take back with him which lightened my load considerably. I think my pack weighed around 5 kilos less afterwards!

I found it amazing how just having a few days of all day hiking to myself could have such a profound effect on my mental wellbeing. Yes, my body was tired, but my mind was calm and rested and I felt like I was drinking up all the beauty from nature’s scenery.

12:26 Arrived at next hostel and I’m pretty sore still to be honest, but at least it’s a short day and the walk today was easy. So a restful afternoon coming up I think.

Lunch in Port de Soller

I checked into the refugi and then made my way down to the town to look for some lunch. I ended up eating patatas bravas (fried potato chunks) with a very spicy sauce to go with them, and a salad. There weren’t many options open at this time of year, especially for vegans and understandably given the lack of tourists, but I was glad to have some freshly made food.

I mainly ate nuts and dried fruit when I was walking, which I love. But after several days of them I was starting to crave juicy fresh foods. The nuts were quite hard to digest actually.

At the time I did this hike I was eating a mainly vegan diet with lots of salads and wholegrains. These turned out to be the things I missed most while walking. I did pick up a few pieces of fruit from the local shops as I was passing through. However, you are limited to how much you can carry if you want to keep your weight down.

Food in the hostels

The hostels generally offered white bread and jam for breakfast and an omelette (tortilla) if you wanted it. Sadly the bread was often quite dry and a little stale. I am guessing that during busier seasons they would receive fresh daily deliveries. Understandably, when I was the only guest it probably wasn’t worth it for them.

Dinner was fresh and delicious in Refugi Muleta. I couldn’t ask for more – it was hot and freshly cooked and there was plenty of it. It was a pasta dish with a vegetable and tomato sauce accompanied with a nicely made salad. So so good, and just what I needed to power me up for the next day.

Booking your meal online

I had easily booked my meal online (here) when I booked our places there. Embarrassingly, although I had clicked on the vegan option the information hadn’t been passed on to the Refugi though. They had already gone out and bought some fish for our dinner. It sounded like it would have been delicious, but I wasn’t ready to veer that much off my vegetarian diet. I hope the staff enjoyed it instead :).

Recommendation: if you are booking a bed and have special dietary requirements it’s a good idea to also send an email directly to the hostel making it clear to them what you need.

Next week I’ll be sharing with you day 4 of the Mallorca adventure. From day 4 things really started ramping up a notch, from all perspectives!

Day 2 Mallorca GR221 – Esporles to Deia

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range in Mallorca in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

Today I share with you Day 2 of my Mallorca GR221 adventure. To read Days 1 and 3 please click on the buttons below.

Thursday 18 January 2018

I slept really well in Sa Fita Backpacker refugio in Esporles and woke up early to a bright day. Esporles is such a pretty mountain town and has a lot of pleasant cafes and restaurants. Sadly, not of course open at the time I was planning on leaving this morning.

So I settled for a simple breakfast of fruit and toast. Before leaving I contemplated picking avocados from their tree outside that the manager had invited me to pick. I decided against it in the end because of the weight factor. They also weren’t going to be ripe for another day or two after picking.

This turned out to be one of my favourite places to stay. The kitchen was well equipped and organised in a clear way, with plenty of storage available for those staying longer.

I found it very clean with areas for storing your boots and wet gear near the door if necessary. Although I was lucky and it was dry weather, as is fairly typical in January on the island.

Whatsapp To Family

As usual, I started with a message to my family giving them an idea of what my day entailed:

06:39 Day 2 Mallorca GR221 Adventure  Esporles to Valldemossa to Deia (19km) expected walking time 6-7 hrs. Weather forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 16°c currently 8°c, light winds. My hips are aching a bit this morning but all in all I’m in good shape. Only saw 1 other person in the hostel (Claudio from Romania here on work as painter/decorator) who drank a lot of beer and burnt his potatoes.

I’m leaving at first light (in about 20 mins) with the hope of getting to Valldemossa well before lunchtime as I only have chocolate and walnuts as food. Then will be onwards to Deía where friends Steffi & Dave will meet me for dinner. The book says that this is a challenging but rewarding day…

The Route to Valldemossa

I checked and rechecked the route to Valldemossa several times as I walked, as there are sections here that are a bit vague. It was, on the whole, relatively easy to follow though.

On route to Valldemossa

I came across a young guy just outside Esporles who was camping. As I passed by he was cooking his breakfast, so I chatted briefly with him and discovered that he was also walking the Mallorca GR221 route. It was lucky I did, as he called after me just after I left him telling me that I had missed an all important turning off the road!

A Little Company On The Road

Later on, he caught up with me, and we decided to walk together for a while. However, he was very speedy, so I let him go ahead so I could go at my own pace.

Note:

When I hike I do like to take my time and stop to take photos and have cups of tea (usually herbal), much to the amusement of friends. Maybe it’s because I’m an unfit newbie who doesn’t have the fitness yet to keep up the pace.

I really enjoyed breaking up the walking and having a brew on the way though, and stopping to admire the scenery as I went. On this trip, Matcha green tea was my favourite and I even brought a mini whisk with me to froth up the matcha.

Every morning I filled up my thermos at the hostel with boiling water to keep me going on the trail during the day 🙂

Lunch In Valldemossa

12:09 I’m in Valldemossa now and it’s suddenly really cloudy. I had a lovely lunch of aioli, bread, pepper, rocket and salt & vinegar pringles. Mind you I was so hungry that I could have chewed the corner off the wooden bench I’m sitting on and it would have tasted good!

And guess who I saw in Valldemossa? Yep, the young chap sitting on the bench having his lunch! So I guess I wasn’t that much slower hehehe.

The afternoon proved to be rather challenging all in all. And at one point I actually got a little bit scared. This part of the route involves crossing through some land over which there are disputes about the route. The landowners don’t want people passing through, even though there is a right of way. So many of the signs were missing, which made it disorientating, to say the least.

Lost In The Mist

To make matters worse, when I got to the top of the hill just before descending to Deia, a mist came in which made it almost impossible to see which way I needed to go. I felt as if I was wandering around in circles for hours trying to find the correct route. I had to get my paper map out and plot a bearing to the coast along with using a vague google map to help pinpoint my position!

Thank God for GPS on your phone as a backup! Eventually, the path revealed itself, the route was hidden close to some rocks and then went steeply downhill towards the village of Deia at the bottom.

Hiking In The Dark

At this point, however, it was already starting to get dark. And for those of you that don’t know, the sun rises and sets rather quickly in Mallorca compared to the UK. So within a short half an hour nighttime was upon me and my headtorch came out to help me push through the bushes in the darkness.

I also realised that I could have made life easier for myself if I hadn’t taken a wrong turn in the wooded section. I found out later that if I’d gone the other way it would have been much better signposted!!

Luckily this section of the path was much clearer, so I could see it using my headtorch. The signposts were also better down there.

Arrived In Deía

18:20 Finally arrived in Deía – phew. Got quite lost today, really badly signed route. Now with Steffi & Dave looking for a restaurant that’s open xxx

My friends were very relieved when I finally arrived. They were expecting me to arrive well before dark and were beginning to worry about me.

21:18 I’m in a refuge called Can Boi in Deía – I’m the only one here, so another great night of sleep ahead of me 😃

This hostel was very different to the last one, and seemed older and more like a mountain hostel. This was the first one of the those run by the local council (ayuntamiento) and I could therefore reserve it online.

The rooms were quite small with 4 bunk beds in each one. I imagine that if it was full it would have felt quite cramped and hot. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about that.

I remember sleeping very heavily here after a lovely Mallorquian dinner in a local restaurant with a glass of wine 🙂

Read Day 3

Day 1 Mallorca GR221 – Banyalbufar to Esporles

Join me as I recount and remember my first ever long distance solo hiking adventure crossing the Tramuntana Mountain Range in Mallorca in January 2018.

Walking this route had been a dream of mine for a few years when I was living in Mallorca.

The Opportunity

The opportunity to do it finally presented itself at the end of 2017 when the hotel I was working in as breakfast chef at the time announced that it was closing for a month for refurbishments starting in January 2018 and gave all the regular staff a paid break. Can’t argue with that!

Planning The Trip

So I got myself a book on the GR221 route and started planning my trip.

The route follows the mountain range that runs from the south west corner of the island at Port d’Andratx to the north at Pollenca.

Mountain Hostels

Almost the entire route is broken up into sections with refugis/refugios (mountain hostels in Mallorquian/Spanish) breaking up the trip. These are an amazing service provided by the local authorities in Mallorca.

They provide clean beds (you rent sheets or bring a sleeping bag), hot meals, and you can even order a picnic lunch to take with you on your hike the next day.

It’s possible to book everything online by following this link, however, if you have special dietary requirements (gluten-free, vegan) I recommend you contact each place individually to confirm your preferences.

My Itinerary

Planning Where To Start

I really wanted to do the entire route, but unfortunately, it became obvious to me that I would be unable to do the first part of the route starting in Andratx. The building work on the first two hostels was still incomplete and they were basically closed except for special circumstances.

I didn’t own a tent or a bivvy bag and wasn’t going to buy one at that time, so I decided to begin my adventure in a place called Banyalbufar, which is a pretty seaside village on the west coast of the island. It would also be a good plan to begin in Estellencs on the first day, which would give you a longer walk.

What To Bring

I really had no idea what to bring with me, and back then I  hadn’t watched a ton of hiking youtube videos to get ideas on how to keep my weight down, so I brought everything and the kitchen sink with me!!

It’s really quite laughable now, but my rucksack was 12.5kg at the beginning including snacks and water. You might think that sounds alright, but consider this, I didn’t bring a tent, sleeping bag, stove, or sleep mat with me! But I had clean clothes every day 🙂 and a full wash bag and shower kit too!

Too Much Stuff!!

It makes me chuckle thinking about it now. I realised at some point in the first couple of days that there was a lot in my rucksack that I didn’t need and did end up sending some things back with a friend who walked with me one day.

Keeping In Touch With My Family

Every day I sent a WhatsApp report to my family, who were following my journey. I also kept notes in my private diary when I had the chance, and now the time has come to share this special journey with you, my dear readers.

Wednesday 17th January 2018

07:34 Diary entry I’m feeling ready, but a bit unsteady and achy in my body – too much yoga?? or maybe just general tension from being too busy organising everything. It’s good that today will be a relaxed day and only a couple of hours of hiking to start with.

09:00 whatsapp message to family

I’m on the bus – destination Banyalbufar to begin hiking GR221. Rucksack weighs 12.5kg which is a little bit more than I wanted. Water is heavy! Today is a short hike to Esporles approx 2hrs. I am meeting my friend Dolors for lunch on arrival in the village and will later sleep in Sa Fita Backpackers. 

Weather is 16°c clear and very windy, which should die off later today.

I’m walking the mountain range in Mallorca alone. It’s about 100km and 6 days hiking so I’m back on Monday. Am planning on sending a daily update with news 😊

Arrival in Esporles

16:27 whatsapp: Arrived at Sa Fita hostel after a successful shakedown walk only getting a bit lost once 😉 I’ve got the entire dorm to myself. It’s very quiet here so I’m in for a good night I think. I had a feast for lunch with Dolors at her house. She cooked aduki bean casserole, avocado salad and veg rice for me – yummy. She also insisted on giving me turron (almond nougat) to “keep my strength up”. I’m going to cook dinner and breakfast in the hostel and swat up on tomorrow’s route before an early start in the morning.

It was supposed to be 2 hours, but ended up as 3 as I took the wrong path and didn’t realise for ages 😳

The walk was largely uphill on rocky but clear paths. There are many alternative hikes in this area, so once or twice I was muddled with which way to go. However, it wasn’t too difficult to find the right path after a bit of consideration.

I loved that I got to see a mountain goat. The first of many on this trip.

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