North Shore

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
Trip End May 01, 2009

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Flag of Spain  , Balearic Islands,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

After braving Palma traffic to attempt some shopping I headed into the Serra de Tramuntana, the mountain range that extends along the entire northwest coast of the island.  I started at the southern end of the range in Port de Andratx.  (In the local dialect, that "x" has an "sh" sound.)  Tourists have made the port grow and it's crawling with them.  Originally there was almost nothing at the port, even though the town depended on it for the delivery of supplies.  The town of Andratx was built some 4 Km inland to provide a better defense against Muslim pirates.  The pictures show the port, the fortress-like church which is high on a hill, and the view of the town of Andratx from the church.  If you look in the distance you can see a sliver of ocean which gives you an idea of just how far away they built the town.  The church was originally built in 1248 AD and it looks like a fortress because that was part of the intent.  It was to serve as protection from any pirates that hiked the 4 kilometers up the hill from the port to attack the town.

It was time to eat but I didn't see any place I wanted to eat in Andratx so I gave up and returned to the touristy area in Port de Andtrax and paid tourist prices for a meal right on the waterfront overlooking the marina.  Then it was back to Andtrax again.

From there it was on into the Serra de Tramuntana on a narrow twisting mountain road through a primarily coniferous forest.  The mountain drops very steeply into the ocean and the road follows the twists and turns of the landscape paralleling the coast so there are stunning views of the ocean that you can't spend much time looking at because the road is so twisty.  For those among us who follow MotoGP, Mallorca is Jorge Lorenzo's home.  His parents still live here and I had no difficulty imagining him cutting his teeth on these roads.

All the buildings in the local towns are made out of the stone that is taken from these mountains, of which there is an abundance.  My next (brief) stop was in Estellencs a small town nestled in a valley at the base of the Puig Galatzó, a peak of 1,025 meters (3,362 feet).  Well... almost at the base... it was still a ways up from the shoreline.  The tallest peak in the range is the Puig Major at 1,445 meters (4,740 feet).

Then it was on up the road toward Banyalbufar.  Just before reaching Banyalbufar there's a talayot (watchtower) that was built in 1579 AD.  These talayots are scattered around the island but this one is pretty dramatic because it's at the top and the very edge of a cliff that drops straight down into the ocean.  You can enter this tower which is small and simple.  You enter the bottom section through an opening in the back of the tower a ladder goes straight up through a very narrow opening in the roof to the second level which is the top of the tower and affords a beautiful, unobstructed view out to sea.

Banyalbufar, like the other towns in the area, is built right into the side of the mountain.  In order to facilitate walking from the lower part of town to the upper (or visa versa) there are stone steps laid between the buildings.  The town straddles the main road running along the northwest coast of the island.  Agricultural areas outside town are heavily terraced with the terraces supported by significant stone walls.
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092346112546 on

Gorgeous Pictures
Hi Steve,

I'm guessing your Spanish is more than adequate to enjoy Spain, but I am wondering how you are getting about. Did you rent a motorcycle?

graybeard on

Re: Gorgeous Pictures
I'm really glad you're enjoying the pictures. And you're right, my Spanish has really come in handy. If people ask what language they should use, I give them the option of either Spanish or English and almost universally they choose Spanish. That seems to allow us to carry on conversations that aren't just utilitarian. And, no, I didn't rent a bike. That would have been more expensive than a car for two weeks and not as practical so I'm driving a rented car. Not as much fun, but cheap and practical count for something!

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