Spectacular San Telmo

Walking from San Telmo  29 September—6 October, 2012

What a successful and enjoyable holiday this was – contributed to greatly by Wendy, our very competent guide, who provided useful and interesting information from the outset.

 

Ready to Ramble

One of the highlights was the visit to the island of Sa Dragonera. The small ferry Margarita took fifteen minutes to cross from San Telmo to the sheltered landing at Cala Lledó, where a visitor centre provided information on four walks. We choose the walk to the Na Pòpia the highest point on the island.

This took an hour and a half on a beautifully constructed path (built around 1850) that zigzagged upwards for almost four kilometres to the ruins of an old lighthouse 352 metres above the sea. The whole route was teeming with small friendly lizards scurrying under rocks and vegetation just before you stand on them. When we stopped to rest and take in the fine views, the reptiles re-emerged, showing no fear of man.

 

Lizard on Sa Dragonera

Looking northeast from Na Pòpia affords a spectacular view of Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, while to the west the dramatic limestone cliffs fall dramatically to the Mediterranean Sea 350 metres below.  Nesting on these cliffs are Eleonora’s falcons. These colourful birds of prey have evolved to breed in autumn to take advantage of the abundance of migratory birds, and we watched them soaring along the cliffs as they searched out their prey.

The view from Na Pòpia

High on opposite sea cliffs is the site of La Trapa which we had visited two days before. This beautiful spot is where 40 Trappist Monks settled in 1810 after escaping revolutionary Napoleonic France. Strict vegetarians, the monks devoted their lives to prayer and work. Although they only stayed at La Trapa for around 10 years they built a remarkable system of terraced fields, irrigated by an ingenious watering system along with a mill and an impressively large circular threshing area.Threshing platform, La Trapa

Trekking towards La Trapa

Another fine day was spent on the hills above Valldemossa. Our walk climbed out of the village by an old mule track through a forest of Holm Oak, dotted with historic charcoal burning platforms and lime kilns. In the 1870s Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvador built a fine stone path that snakes around the summit ridge for nearly 2 kilometres to enable him to pursue his passion for the outdoors. We followed this trail to its highest point, Puig Es Caragoli (945 metres).