Alaro resolutions

ROCKY OUTCROP: Castell of Alaro

I love this time of year, when I can legitimately not answer the phone or emails for a few days. It’s also the time of year when I feel like my brain is going to explode with new ideas and projects, as I am the sort of person who can find something to do in an empty room.

I enjoy the classical end of the year beginning of a new one as a perfect time to make resolutions and maybe challenge myself to achieve new things too.

I find the winter season in Mallorca very inspiring: it’s lovely to get outside and go for a walk in the sunshine where there is only the slightest hint of a chill in the air. We are definitely going up the hill to the Castell of Alaro which is where we are going to spend some time over New Year and it is a beautiful spot for thinking and relaxing.

The town of Alaro is one of the last outposts of the flat lands north of Palma, the island’s capital city. It sits directly before the Tramuntana mountains which rise abruptly from the central plain. The landscape is dominated by a twin pair of rocky outcrops: bare vertical cliffs more than 800 metres high that stand as Tolkienesque sentinels guarding the lush valley that leads through Orient to Bunyola. Perched atop the southern outcrop is the mountain fortress of the Castell of Alaro. Reaching the top of this peak is a popular Sunday jaunt that combines a challenging, but not epic walk, a bit of history, and quite possibly the best Sunday lunch you are ever going to taste.

Once you get to the top of the hill the views back towards Palma begin to open up and on a clear day, you can see across the bay of Palma towards Andratx, and towards the islands of Cabrera over to the East. On the summit views extend to the North allowing a bird’s eye vista down into the Orient valley, and the highest peak on Mallorca Puig Mayor, easy to spot with its radar station on the summit. We’re going to take some time to visit the small chapel of Mare de Déu, and have a glass of wine and a pa amboli, a traditional snack of bread, tomato, cheese and ham, from the recently restored cafe and overnight hostel.

The renovations were completed in 2012 after more than a decade of work transferring building materials via helicopter and donkey. It sleeps 30 people and is reasonably priced. It forms one of the many overnight refuges in the Tramuntana range.

It’s an amazing place and a wonderful reminder of how fortunate we are to live in an area of such natural beauty. One of our family resolutions for 2015 is to spend a night in each of the hostels around the island, I can’t wait to start.

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