After our amazing drive up to and around Soller, we decided to make this our new home for a few days over X-mas. We left Palma early on the 21st after a long night of not a lot of sleep for Shawana. Our neighbors were a little more rowdy than they had been before so we decided to move a day or two earlier than thought.
Instead of taking the same road that we took up last time, we decided to circle around the west coast of the island and check out a couple of different spots along the way. The first place we stopped was Sant Elm which is the western most town on the island. The dive there only took about 20 minutes and we began to find out how much the off season really means to Mallorca.
The book says that the population of the town in 80 and I think they were off by a factor of ten. The streets were all empty and most of the hotels either had shaded out or boarded up windows showing that no one was even thinking about being home! The town overlooks a small island that is a few hundred yards off the shore, and then a National Park island, which is around 4 kilometers off the shore. It is a gorgeous view out over turquoise colored waters made even more so by the lack of screaming beach goers running hither and thither.
A very short tour of the town and we were off again. We headed back up into the hills and started driving through the Serra de Tramuntana range. The mountains cover the northern coast of the island and run from SW to NE. The roads that make their way up the hills do it in a very quick and serpentine manner. In just 6 kilometers (2.4 miles for you no metric types) we went from sea level to just around 1500 feet in elevation.
The frist town that we made it to after entering the mountains was Estellences. It is a very small town and if you blink you may miss it but we were able to find a little art shop and bought our first piece of touristy souvenir pottery. The island is known for its pottery so it is fitting that we bought a piece that was about a rural as you can get.
From there, the road continued to weave its way in and out of the mountains and the clouds passing through villages and hamlets and outposts oh my... Right before we reached the town of Valldemossa, we took a turn that lead down to both a climbing spot and the town of Port de Valldemossa.
Little bit of back story is required here. Most if not all of the towns that are by the coast have the main town and then port of that main town. This was to ensure that pirates could raid the port town but not disrupt the daily lives of those in the main town. It also made it more difficult for them to disrupt the movement of supplies and people along the inland road system.
The impressive part about the north coast is that most of the towns are located at around 1500-2500 feet above sea level but less than 2 miles from the coast. If I was an invading force and saw the flippin hill that I would have to go up to get to the town itself and then face the fully rested soilders that watched me crawl all the way from the bottom, I would not even bother and take off after burning a few buildings in the port and stealing some casks of wine.
Back to present day, I really think these guys that have to drive trucks on this island should get some kind of medal of honor and honorary knighthood for the turns and hills they have to take. We could barely make some of these turns in out little car let alone a 7 ton truck with a cherry picker on the back. We made it down about half a mile and on the right hand side of this goat trail they call a road, was the climbing spot.
This place brings a whole new meaning to the term 'roadside crag'. More appropriate would have been 'over the roadside crag'. The belay spot for this one cave was on the side of the road and when you clipped the anchors and got lowered, you would wind up in the far lane of traffic hoping you didn’t wind up in someone's sun roof! Thankfully the road does not seem to get a ton of traffic in the winter so we plan to return and try our luck within the next few days.
The rest of the trip was uneventful; following more twists and turns back to Soller and our hotel called La Vila right across the square from a church that was built in the 16th Century. We unloaded our bags and headed toward the parking lot that the hotel provides and relearned how tight these roads can get!
The road that our parking lot is on is a single lane road that goes both ways. They accomplish this by having stop lights on each end and sending traffic in one way while the other side waits and then vice versa. Our parking lot is at one end and involves a dive into when our light turns green. Getting out is a little more interesting since when you leave you don't know which way traffic is coming so you just have to wait till you see cars coming and follow along when you can sneak in.
Tommorow is going to be a much needed rest day in Soller where we have promised that we will not make a big trip so we can have a day where we don’t need to drive all over gods creation. Till then, night night!!