A footballing trip to Mallorca
I’d loved football from a very young age. I would sneak in to Prenton Park to watch the last few minutes of Tranmere games or I’d be kicking a “flyaway” ball around the garden but, “football wasn’t for girls”.
I begrudgingly put the ball away as I get older and turned my attention to other things.
By the time I’d hit my late 30s, there was little point in considering any sort of football career, until I saw a flyer for “Mumball” in the window of a local sports shop.
I wasn’t a “Mum” but met the other criteria and off I went for a friendly kick around with a handful of like minded women in Birkenhead High School.
Fast forward a few years, the Wirral Valkyries squad has expanded to 33 members and 13 of us, plus one with a broken ankle, were heading off to Santa Ponsa in Mallorca.
This certainly wouldn’t be a destination high on my list to visit but, I’d cobbled together a few walking routes to keep me amused. This resulted in some rather unusual packing; football boots, walking boots, football kit, Viking hat(!)
We later discovered that some found the hat and club badge rather offensive given that we were an English team. Perhaps I should have pointed them in the direction of a Widnes based rugby team or Yorkshire T20 cricket…..
Anyway, I digress. Our hotel, the H10 H10 Casa del Mar hotel was very nice. I was fortunate enough to have a newly renovated room and my neighbours were my other team mates who also booked single rooms. The food here was better than I expected. Lots of seafood and a surprisingly good paella were the highlights. I also got to try another Spanish concoction kalimotxo. Equal parts Coke and red wine. Not an experience I’ll be repeating!
We had the first full day of the trip free so a few of us took the bus to the nearby town of Andratx. The bus journey was simple. Beep a credit/debit card on the way on and off the bus. Screens show the next stop on the route.
The town itself was quite small. We wandered around some side streets, up towards the old church then stopped for a very reasonably priced drink. A morning was more than enough time to get around but it was nice to see some of the ‘real’ Mallorca. It may have been interesting to get back on the bus to see the port area too, but perhaps that’s better left for a longer trip or a return visit.
Back at Santa Ponsa, I put my walking shoes on and headed out. At this point, the mercury was hitting around 35 degrees C (95 in old money) and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The walk up through town to the old mill was a warm one!
Once at the mill I had intended to follow the Torrent Walk. There was little information about the route online, but, one website said it was well signed and started behind the mill. I circled around and saw no signs, at least nothing for the torrent route.
There were several tracks dotted around but nothing obvious. I zig zagged around a few before deciding to head down towards the archaeological park. Looking on the map, there were several paths here, many leading to viewpoints, or miradors as they’re known in Spanish.
The park was so peaceful. A contrast to the bars and tourist traps below. The climb in the heat was well worth it for the views below. I hoped at some point in the trip to catch the sunset here, sadly I never found the time to.
The route I took can be viewed on Outdoor Active.
The next day was an early start, our first game kicked off at around 8am. This suited us as it was before the temperatures rose too much.
I pulled on my gloves and came to the conclusion after several cold, wet games between the sticks in Cheshire, I was now preferring the more sedate role of goalkeeper in this heat.
To my surprise, we won the first game! We went on to draw others. We’d only gone and made it to the quarter finals!
The matches were to be played on the Sunday morning. Sadly we were beaten by a team who had won the previous three tournaments but we certainly gave them a game!
It did mean that the afternoon was free. While the others headed for the beach or pool, I ventured off on another walk. I wandered up towards Paseo Calvià, a cycle and footpath which took me up to Peguera. The route was flat and easy to follow. I turned off at a roundabout just before town and headed toward the beach below.
I really was surprised how pretty this area was and decided to continue deeper in to the woodland. The smell of pine was beutiful and the shade welcome as I wandered around. I had no paper map (not sure where i would find one!) but I had a digital map on OutdoorActive. I figured if I kept the sea to my right hand side i couldn’t go far wrong and there were a few markers dotted along the way.
The woodland paths stopped just outside a very expensive looking housing area. Higher than Santa Ponsa, the route I followed along the roads had great views. I stopped for a short while at Bella Vista before slowly making my way back down hill to the hotel.
This route is also available to download.
All in all, this was an enjoyable trip and the team is already discussing next year’s tournament. I’m not sure it will have the same magic at the first European cup games but it was certainly a great trip in unexpectedly pleasant part of the world.