Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last Day: Saving the Best for Last

Packing up our bags, we said good-bye to the beautiful La Residencia hotel and began our day pedaling toward the coast.

Pedaling uphill, our little group followed the coastal route from Deia to Andratx, through Valdemossa, Banyalbufar, and Estellencs.  With an elevation gain of 970 meters, the scenery of the ocean below was breathtaking and it’s no wonder that this route is considered one best on the island.

Thankfully, what goes up must come down, so after a little rest at the top, we streamed down the mountain to our lunch destination overlooking the sea of Port d’Andratx where we met with a local winemaker -- and sampled some of his vintages.

We had completed 29 miles before lunch, but our day wasn’t over yet.  We still had to go to our last hotel – and considering how incredible our first two were, we couldn’t wait to see what Duvine had in store for us on our final night.

 We weren’t to be disappointed. 

Cap Rocat is old fortress that has been turned into a hotel.  It still has the stone walls surrounding the area and may not look at beautifully landscaped as our previous hotels that were by vineyards.  But what it lacked it flowers, it made up in interior luxury.

My room was bigger than my apartment and came with a huge canopy bed, and an amazing bathroom. And each room came with it's own private daybed area that overlooked the ocean.  (One of the perks of being built in fortress guarding the coast.)

The hotel also comes with a five-star restaurant and then there is the spa which I heard was fantastic --although I didn't have time to pamper myself there.  However, I did get up early and go for a morning run with their personal on-site jogging dude. I'm not sure what his real job title is, but he basically meets all the guests who want to go running at 8 a.m. and then takes you on a running tour for as long as your legs can take you. 

But my absolute favorite part of this hotel was the breakfast service.  You didn't have to go to the buffet; instead they brought the buffet to you in a giant picnic basket and set it up on your patio in the morning.

You know how you wish you could order one of everything from the menu? This is what it was like.  I had eggs, croissants, cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, meats, dried fruits, tea, hot chocolate, juice, toast and a bunch of other things.  

To be fair, they probably assumed that I was a party of two (and not traveling solo) but I did my best to eat what I could -- and because of my thrifty upbringing, I packed up what I could in my suitcase to eat later. 

Brunch is my favorite meal so for me this was the best way to end my amazing cycling adventure with Duvine.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day Four of Luxury Cycling with Duvine

Still in the mountain area, Day Four of my Mallorca Cycling Adventure because with a   hour hike – yes, that’s right, we actually didn’t have to pedal up the hill and my legs and butt were thankful.  Instead we hiked from Deia to Son Mico to this little place that served cakes. 

Have I mentioned that we were well-fed on this trip?   

It’s a good thing that after sampling the baked goods that we were going to cycle another 15 miles through Fornalutx and then down to the seaside to the village of Port Soller.

It was another day of beautiful scenery and winding mountain roads.  But we were told that Day Five, our final day was every cyclist’s dream.  A part of me was wondering how could it could better, but the other part of me couldn’t wait to see what they had saved for end.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Scary Descent Down to the Valley

After two days in the first hotel, it was time to move on another part of the island.  Our suitcases got to take the van there, but we took our bikes and pedaled up and down hills. 

But of course, we didn’t get to check out our new sleeping accommodations until after we had put our legs to the test.  Still in the Tramuntana Mountains, we cycled up more killer hills and coasted through tunnels, climbing 1,615 meters in total.

The views were breathtaking but when you are basically counting down the seconds until you reach the top of a long ascent, I admit, I didn’t stop and smell the flowers in fear that once I got off the bike, I would never get back on. 

And there’s the descent, which I’m more freaked out about than the ascent.  I can climb and climb and climb, but going down 14 kilometers at 35 plus miles per hour is scary for me.  The whole way I could hear my mom’s voice in head telling me I’m going to die.

Lunch was at a place called La Vila and then it was time to head to Deia to check out our new hotel called La Residencia.  This place, believe it or not, was even more fantastic than San Brull.   

 The room was huge with two patios, but the grounds were out of this world with views overlooking the village below.

And if you didn't feel like venturing into the village, well…they had a great pool.

Sadly, I was already into day 3 of my cycling vacation and wishing it would never end.

Today's ride? 40 miles.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cycling up the Tramuntana Mountains

Day 2 of my Mallorca bike tour was all about options. 

Those who were crazy and wanted a challenge got up an hour earlier than the rest of the group to cycle 21 miles uphill- and when I say uphill, I’m talking about the Tramuntana Mountains with an elevation gain of 1,244 meters.

Naturally I was one of the crazies.  And while my legs weren’t happy and I had to ride in the Granny gear most of the way, I made it to the top triumphant.  I was also wheezing because instead of bringing my pollen allergy tablets, I brought sea sickness pills.  I really need to learn Arabic one day so I can figure these things out in advance.

From there we met up with the late risers who opted to skip the grueling climb and rode along the coast to Alcudia.  After speedy along rocky cliffs overlooking the sea, we cruised into Formentor to have lunch on the beach.

Anyway, if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a combination of an adrenaline junkie and city-slicker.  So I like my vacations to challenge me physically, but at the end of the day when I drag my tired body to the hotel, I want to be treated like a pampered princess with the best food and most comfortable of accommodations. Duvine has got this down to an art form.   They had my legs and butt sore each day, but in the evening it was all about relaxation and gourmet food in amazing places.

Total milage for this day: 44 miles.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cycling through Mallorca

Aahhh…the island of Mallorca.  Rugged coastal roads, quant villages and hills that will make your legs ache…what more could a cyclist want on vacation?

My cycling trip around Mallorca was one of the most incredible trips I’ve gone on in a while.  Being pressed for time, I opted to go with Duvine cycling adventures for this holiday and didn’t regret a second.  After planning and mapping out my own adventures for so long, I had forgotten how nice it can be to have someone take care of all those details for me – from the bike, to the hotels, to the amazing route.  They even knew where to find clean restrooms along the way (no more peeing with sheep like I did when cycling in Ireland).

The trip began with a champagne toast  and bike inspection in Alaro, and from there we pedaled our way to bigger and better surprises.  Day 1 consisted of a light ride through a couple of villages, backroads, numerous vineyards and some minor hills to get our legs accustomed to riding just in time for lunch in the town square of Campanet.

Lunch was an array of sandwiches and salad, which I admit sounds lame in print, but you have to remember this is the magical land of Mallorca where everything reeks of artisan yumminess.  And these sandwiches were our first taste of the deliciousness that was to come at every meal along the trip. 

With our bellies full and happy, we continued our cycling journey for another 10 or so kilometers through tiny roads that passed sheep and farms.  Then we arrived at our first hotel: the breathtaking San Brull. Our total milage for the day was 21 miles.

Really….it’s hard to say what was more breathtaking: the amazing ride through the country or the posh hotel Duvine had booked for us that night.  

Surrounded by a vineyard, it was a converted olive plant that was quite impressive – and made me realize that the money I paid for this tour was going to be worth every penny.  

So far,  every mile we cycled blew me away with it’s beauty and then the climax of the day was this amazing hotel.   I would have never been able to plan something this wonderful on my own. 

My room was a two story loft with a Jacuzzi tub – and I have to mention the chilled champagne and fruit waiting for me when I checked in.  Oh yeah…I was in heaven.  

And this was only the first day of the 5 night/6 day adventure.