FORESTIA ROUTES by Iaia Cocoi

Serra de Tramuntana, Es Teix, Majorca Spain

39°44'02.1"N 2°39'51.4"E – “Camí del Arxiduc”, Es Teix, Majorca (Spain)
Starting Point: Deiá, GR 221, MA-10, Km. 62,9
Difficulty level: Easy

Last spring I moved with my partner from Madrid to the beautiful island of Mallorca. We settled unexpectedly in the small village of Deiá, the first place my majorcan love showed me when we  we visited the island together, a long time ago. I immediately felt in love with its pink old stones, the idyllic mediterranean landscape of olives, lemons and oranges trees and its vibrant bohemian ambient. Above all I truly felt impacted by the imposing presence of the rocky mountain standing behind the village, silently facing the mediterranean sea.

Deiá is part of the natural environment of the Sierra of Tramontana, called after the mediterranean cold wind from the North. In fact this rocky rough mountain range runs as a thick backbone from south to north among the island and represents an surprising variation from the flat landscape pattern of the rest of the Mallorca.

The panoramic view of the sea is partially hidden from the village, but you can smell its humidity when the first air of the morning comes in the bedroom windows. You can’t visually spot the sea, unless you walk up the hill reaching the old centre or, as we soon discovered exploring the nature around the village, you climb up to the mountains on its back. From this privileged point of view you can spot all the profile of the northern part of the island, the sea and beyond.

It’s the first time in my life I live literally ten minutes walking from real woods and usually during weekends we just prepare something simple to eat, we take our cameras and we just climb the path from the village to the top of the mountain. This route is part of the so called GR 221 which goes all through the Sierra, connecting every village to another. Most of the trail is based on the network of ancient footpaths restored to make them accessible for hikers of all ages.

The first time we walked from Deiá to Valldemossa, another hidden pearl embedded in these stones, it took about 4 hours to complete the section. Its an easy path, without no particularly climb points. Half the way the road reaches the so called “roof” “Es Teix”, the peaks of the mountain transform itself into an amazing walk between stones and clouds.

This time, tough, we decide to walk just half the way until the the top to have a picnic facing the sea in just a couple of hours without reaching Valldemossa. This way we have the time to come back home before lights goes away, around 5pm. We start directly walking from our home in Es Clot, to the main road which splits the village, the MA-10, and turn at the km 62,9 to take GR 22, direction Valldemossa. It’s 11.30 AM and we can’t wait to arrive for lunchtime.

The first part of the route we climb the street and we still have on our backs the bell tower of Deiá’s old church, as we finally start to glimpse the blue of the sea behind the olive trees. We pass the complex of an elegant hotel, now closed because end of season. After passing a small built-up of farm houses, finally we find the first sign of the route to Valldemossa and we enter in the luxurious mediterranean scrub walking about one hour. After passing through a small portion of land filled with solitary centenarian abandoned olive trees, we enter the woods, made of oaks and pine trees. The air is fresh, all the branches and trunks are  covered with a thin soft cover of green moss. Light gently find its way through the dense crown of trees and we finally spot some shyly mushrooms growing around.

All through this path to the top we admire how the natural landscape slightly changes and we walk side by side with the amazing dry stone constructions that made famous this road, formerly known as Ruta de Pedra en Sec, “dried stone route”. We can find traces of this complex antique type of building in the containing walls, stone paths all through the road. The way those stones were chosen, cut and assembled requires unusual technical skills which were developed and performed by majorcan specific professional figures called “manger”, all through the centuries. With their knowledge “mergers” contributed to transform, design and let prosper the life on this rough mountains, transforming it in a great example of perfect integration between human beings and nature, creating one of the most interesting agricultural landscape of mediterranean sea, today protected by Unesco World Heritage.

In the woods we spot one traditional old bread oven and we decide to take some rest, drinking water and snacking some almonds facing at the sea and the beautiful stones of Sa Foradada, we can spot through the trees. The chance to see these natural stones, up from this different point a view literally deserves the walk. We find a big flat stone to sit peacefully to appreciate the power and strength of this natural monument standing proudly on the blues of the water and sky.

We continue our way towards the top along the route through the pines trees and we start to advice some new presence like rosemary wild plants,

After the pause we feel fully recharged to climb the last part of the path. The landscape slightly changes again: we feel protected between the grey and white stones of the mountain, surrounded by olives trees and rosemary wild plants. I usually collect during walks any kind of fallen leaves,  tiny branches and wild flowers to bring home to have a scented memory of the beautiful day spent. The sun is shining and we can’t wait to finally reach a quiet spot on the way to the peeks to have lunch. We settle in a peaceful corner gently spotted by the shadow of an olive tree, on a platform directly facing the sea. We can contain our happiness and we start to prepare our picnic. We will share a risotto scented with mushrooms and salmon and a vegan curry bowl, some dried snacks. delicious crackers and some clementines directly picked from the our garden tree this morning. We soon discover how the Forestia heating method is really working easy and we start to enjoy the comforting hot meal and the views.

After snacking the sweets in the bag, we just lay a bit enjoying every minute of this spring sunbath for the skin and the gentle whisper of the breeze. In a minute we both know will have to stand up, put our picnic blanket back in our bag and, leaving no traces, we will take the same road in the opposite direction back home. But by now we stay a bit more, surrounded by the blue, feeling like totally lucky and grateful for having the chance to enjoy this beautiful day.

Credits:

Half way between a picnic and a banquet it starts Picniquette. A feast for the palette as well as the eye features delicious photography, ecofriendly recipes and crafty decor. Picniquette is the greenest and brightest side of Iaia Cocoi, freelance art-director and photographer living between Mallorca and Madrid. Through her blog she shows her constant swing  from gardens, parks, and markets to her kitchen. Whatever involving seasonal food, market flowers and bringing nice people together makes her happy, like a lot.  www.picniquette.com

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