The last leg of the 140km Ruta de Pedra en Sec, the Drystone Route, has been successfully completed in Pollenca. 

Although the rain continued to lash at the windows of the full dormitory and the wind whipped the shutters backwards and forwards all night by morning only scudding black clouds remained of the tempest. 

I returned to the monastery pharmacy for medication for my still swollen and painful bites to find they didn’t open till 10. It was going to be tough to make the 4.30 ferry to Menorca 18km and 2 bus rides away but it gave me a chance to have a look around the basilica.  

   and the medieval statue, found beside a stream by a shepherd boy who showed it to a monk who took it to Escorca. It had disappeared the next day and was found again by the stream. This happened 3 times. They took the hint and founded a chapel there that grew into the big and famous monastery that has drawn pilgrims for centuries.  

 I also admired the mysterious sun dial that reveals, when the sun shines, all manner of ?? 


Finally the chemist opened and she was happy to sell me a tube of hydrocortisone to lash on my bites. And so I continued on my way, climbing up yet again through holm oak woods past more sitges to views of the refugi and the mountains.  


  The walls made for tall stiles that were tricky with a full pack.  

Over a Coll at over 600 m then it was down hill all the way, past steam beds no longer dry.  

   and into more open country with fresh growth and a celebrated 500 year old holm oak.  


The rains of the previous day and night had produced a fine crop of mushrooms and I met up with a couple of proud foragers.  

   Coming down through the woods on the old stone walled and paved tracks I stopped to admire the workmanship one more time.  

  Then I entered villa zone again with some fine gates hiding the secret world within.  



 One more tricky riverside stretch  


 and I was in Pollenca where the storm defences were still up in the fine back streets.  


 Straight to the bus to the coast, and straight on another to port Alcudia. Just in time …. Except the boat was cancelled due to rough seas caused by the storm. Next one 6 in the morning. Be there by 5. No sleeping in the terminal. 

The silver lining is that summer season prices for rooms ended today so I got one near the ferry at a bargain price. It’s all good.  


What a difference a day makes. 

It was indeed a world of pain out there today and not all from the expected direction. After a good dinner in the refugi I shared with a nice Danish couple and about 20 others I retired to my dormitory still the only occupant. I couldn’t decide if the hospitalario was doing me or the others a favour. 

Actually the others , as I was sorely bitten time and again and on waking discovered I had really swollen up in numerous spots and my skin was tightly stretched and throbbing.  

 Not good. It had been a very restless night, not only because of mozzie vigilance but because of heavy rain making noises not often heard. Everybody was very weather wary at breakfast, discussing the infinite variety of forecasts, none good. A few were getting cabs out of there, others taking shortcuts to Lluc or the refugi at Son Amer. I was still hoping to complete the route over the high(est) ground. I dressed in my swimming togs and raincoat with nothing underneath reasoning to keep clothes dry in my rucksack. I was able to take a few photos before the rain started and rendered my phone and camera inoperable.  

 I followed a family out on the trail but soon found them returning, not fancying their chances with the lightening. The way was dramatic but unfortunately the rain put paid to much photo documentation.  


 I’m not sure you can make out the extraordinary aqueduct built through the mountains.  

There were frequent flashes of bright ultraviolet and loud crashes of thunder as I made my way up the old cobbled path through the holm oak. I got to a signpost pointing one way to my route into the big stuff (4 1/2 hrs) and another back to the reservoir and road at Cuber ( 1 1/4 hr). I hesitated, waiting maybe for something to make up my mind. On cue, a frightening series of lightening flashes and almost immediate CRASH of ear splitting thunder.   Message received I turned towards the road in the knowledge that you don’t go up on the highest ridges in THAT. 

Water water everywhere as I followed a big aqueduct delivering water to the reservoir whose levels must have been rising rapid. At last I could make out the road below and I wondered if there would be covered space at the recreation area down there. Unfortunately not, apart from the porta toilet that I briefly occupied whilst considering options. There was a bus at 3.30 but 5 hours sheltering in a toilet seemed a bit desperate. I heard a car approaching and burst from the plastic box and ran to the road throwing out my hand in a desperate hitcher gesture. It worked. Two angels from Zurich sped me the 12 or so km to Lluc and seemed not to mind the fact I flooded the back of their hire car. A 10 minute walk up to the refugi and I was safe, although unable to get a bed for another 3 hours. I spent most of the time drying my kit under the hot air hand dryers in the toilets, getting nice and warm in the process.  

 It continued to hammer it down, flooding the front door, as others arrived, bedraggled, from their taxis, hitches, buses and even hikes.  

 The views of the monastery below slowly began to clear and I discovered there was a pharmacy there where I thought I could get something for my painfully pulsing swollen bites.  

 At last the rain slowed to a drizzle and thinking they would reopen at 4 after siesta, struck out down the muddy and mossy path.  

     Arriving just after 4 imagine my surprise to discover they CLOSE at 4. World of pain. 

I had a brief look around this world heritage site, writing postcards and having a “drown my sorrows “pint.  

 I had hoped to catch the famous choir who perform twice a day but the timing was wrong for that too. You can stay in the old monk cells here which I would have liked to do if I’d known, saving a couple of walks. In my mood I might have been tempted to stay in a life of quiet, and dry, contemplation.  

   There were many platitudes on display concerning the righteous pilgrim that I struggled to fit into my current situation.  


Enough. I’d have to return in the morning for pain relief. The sky was looking ominous again and I made it back up the hill just before the heavens opened. A silver lining of sorts but I’m hoping for better tomorrow.