Mallorca – Things can go wrong

Waffle had been doing his magic again. We had a long weekend approaching and he had been hunting down cheap flights again. One afternoon I just got a message in Facebook “You are going to Mallorca”. I took it as I always take it: Yes! Travelling again. But Mallorca? But there are some mountains there, next to the touristic sandy beaches. Waffle had lost an opportunity to explore them properly on his earlier trip, so now would be time to climb them.

Our flight was early on Friday morning. Thursday evening was understandably full of packing. I had lost my pants and just about half of my other important stuff. So I packed way too much of hiking food to compensate.

This holiday started with quite some small hiccups. We had thought to park our car at Waffles work, which is close by the airport. We arrived at the gate, Waffles key card beeped, and the gate decided not to open. We beeped again but the gate was stubbornly staying shut. We had to swallow our defeat and take the car to the rather pricey airport parking and lose 70 euros for it, almost as much as the flights…

The plane took off as planned and rather soon we found ourselves in a much warmer climate on an island in the turquoise Mediterranean. During the flight I had noticed that in the haste of searching for pants I had forgotten my knee supports. Hiking might turn into a painful misery.

There was yet another hurdle for us to tackle: renting a car, Spanish style. The first challenge was to find the rental office. Our voucher told us to go to an old arrivals (Arribals) desk to find a person from the company, since it was November, off season you know. There was no-one there. The car rental person next to our desk was not responding any more than shaking a shoulder.

Arribals, Mallorca

We admit it, English is sometimes hard.

After some phone calls, running and a shuttle bus later we found the office and got our car without too much extra costs. Other customers were vigorously calling all over the place for unknown reasons. To say one word of advice: maybe think twice before renting anything from Click Rent on Mallorca.

Well, we were off, about two hours after landing on a miserably coughing car, bought some essential food items and took a heading towards the Monastery of Lluc, somewhere in the mountains.

Our Rother guide had a nice walk for us, a trail taking us around the Puig Roig. We found a picnic area to park our car at, and hiked off to sheep paddock. We were happily bouncing along, holding hands and singing happy songs, looking at the peaks in front of us, blissfully unaware that our hike would soon end.

The trail took us to a road and the road took an angry lady to us. She was angry because we were trespassing. Apparently the mountain was accessible only on Sundays, since it was on their land. She shoveled us into her car, told interesting stories about the stone walls on their property and showed us a vulture who lives on their land.

It was a pity that such a beautiful mountain was out of our reach and the day was getting short to get any other nice hike done. We ended up driving to the Cap Formentor and doing a small hike there. It ended up being surprisingly beautiful with the light of the setting sun and views over the whole island.

We returned to a picnic in sunset and found a perfect, soft and flat camping spot a little further in the forest. We went to bed at reasonable hour (8 pm) and slept like babies. We were woken up by a bunch of Spanish men hanging from a tree. Yes. Spanish men hanging from a tree.Apparently it was the collective morning of outside breakfasts that day. There were a lot of people gathering to the parking.

We finished our breakfast, packed our stuff and were ready for the hike of the day, being up and down Puig Massanella. But then we realized why all the Spanish people were there. To begin with, someone had spread a red tape across the exit. As we were planning whether or not we should drive through it anyways, ea started hearing and engine roar, rapidly getting closer. Soon a rally car passed by with massive speed, cutting a corner with tight drive line. It was followed soon by another, and another. We would not make a chance with our tired ans shaky Hyundai. We were stuck.

Luckily the planned hike was not that far away, so we decided to walk to the start point at the monastery of Lluc. It was about 2 kilometers of walking on a mild trail before we arrived to Lluc. At the gates of the botanical garden of the monastery we met a young man who appeared to be a little lost. He spotted our map and asked immediately if he could join our quest of conquering the Massanella. Sure he could. Soon we found out that he was also a Finn, living in Switzerland, small world.

Off we went, through a forest of ancient looking olive trees and cork oaks and old coal burning pits. We talked about world politics, Trump being elected and so forth. Turned out our Finnish addition was quite a traveler himself too, so we had a nice hike up the hillside.

We got over the treeline and were met with quite spectacular views over the rugged coastline. At that point we took a shortcut, across a small peak, to get closer to Massanella. There we got lost. Where we should have walked straight on, we turned, and ended up climbing Puig Galileu, instead of Massanella.

That was only slightly disappointing, we still tried to get to the Massanella as well, but ran out of time. The Finnish addition had to catch a bus and we too needed to be back at the car before dark.

The rally was gone, and people were allowed to drive off. We made camp on the same place again, since there was no need to move anywhere else. We just decided to get up early the next morning, not to get stuck again.

On Sunday we didn’t really do any hiking, we took the car and drove around the island in search of hidden beaches. We headed east first and from there planned to head for the southern tip and then back up on the western side of the island. The very first stop we made in Betlem payed off! It was a short stroll before we found a rocky down leading path to a small bay with a tiny sandy beach and crystal clear waters. It is covered by cliffs, and the beach can’t be seen until you really walk down to it.

Some skinny dipping followed. The water was not too chill and even the sun popped out of the clouds every now and then to keep us company.

The next beach we headed for was right at the southernmost tip of Mallorca. Waffle had been there before, and knew it would be calm out there, although the location is nowadays already all over the internet. We found a completely empty beach and went for another skinny dip.

That was a good spot to stop our road trip. We headed to Sóller. A nice looking town where apparently also were locals living. There we had our hotel. For the evening we went to Palma to see one of my old friends who happens to be living in there. We hadn’t seen each other for 7 or 8 years, but not much had changed, which was nice to notice. We went to eat into a small restaurant called Cuco, where Waffle found an excellent cannelloni with pears and Gorgonzola. I was jealously looking at his plate the whole evening.

We drove back to Soller via the col, instead of taking a tunnel that goes under a steep hill. After some tight serpentine corners the rood gets high enough to offer an amazing view over to Palma and the Mediterranean, during the night it is a small bond of lights. There we said our goodbyes to our mini holiday.


A daycare for men, only costing the price of beer he drinks. They have never lost a soul so far. 

Monday morning came early and we pushed through the sluggish morning rush hour back to the airport, dropped the car and left. In terms of wild nature Mallorca didn’t offer us much, but still there are some nice shots caught to our camera. Thanks to off season the trails we hiked were calm. I think we both left the island rather contempt. Now we are just looking forward to a nice white Christmas in Finland!





The Joys and Sorrows of Commuting

A joy of commuting!? I hear some of you wonder. Very often you hear only complaining in regards of morning rush hour, evening peak hour and all the incredibly dumb people that block your way. Commuting is not often considered a fun event.

Belgium is probably one of the heaviest commuter countries, and it shows. There is no road that didn’t jam. Since I started working I have been adding to that mass of morning grumpy people, who have been forced out of their beds and shoveled into all sorts of moving boxes.

Although, sometimes I fail to see the full horror of the situation. First of all, I love the sunrises I have been spotting while the train passes by countryside. There has been some rather chilly mornings, with dense mist laying around. The duvet of fog has been lit golden by the morning sun, and the sceneries are just breathtaking. One day there was a lady, walking on a field, followed by a massive herd of sheep, probably begging for food. Too bad I don’t go to work with the camera…

Cows, Montenegro, Mountains

Sometimes your traffic jam looks a little different.

Those are the small pretty things I would like to be able to notice more. Or those moments might of course be made pretty by my slowly waking brain, that has not yet accepted the reality that I am already headed for work.

And even though commuting a long distance takes a looooot of time, it is not necessarily completely wasted time. As many of us, I too, read, knit and think about cures for cancer and solutions for world hunger. Also, it is somehow possible to view it as quality time with your partner, if he happens to be on the same moving box. At least he can’t run away from the difficult topics, like what to have for dinner this evening, or does he like my mother. Be careful not to spook your spouse so bad they run off of the road!

Of course there is the line when the joy of commuting turns into sorrow. Usually at the spot, when the train or tram or other box of choosing is stuffed with way too many people and your cheek is comfortably pressed against someones armpit or the window someone had just been licking. Or when the standstill on the highway grows longer than 45 minutes and 22 seconds.

The approaching winter or course adds to this misery. Soon my beautiful moments with the rising sun are over, because I am on the road before the beloved fireball comes around. That is genuinely depressing.  Also the Brussels metro which is also something I sometimes enjoy from. I really hate it. Most of the time it is just packed full. And sometimes it is packed full with strange people, who, for instance, lick the poles.

But all in all, there are also more horrible things to do, than get stuck in the jams, that’s what I think at least. How about you? How do you feel of commuting, is it terror or time to read your newspaper in peace and quiet?