Winter is a well loved season for island residents and those in the know. After a long summer season, there at last time to slow down and spend time with family and friends.
The fiestas of Sant Antoni and Sant Sebastia in January, kick off the winter barbecue tradition, the “torrada”. Whilst most of us tend to wait for perfect summer weather before we even think of getting the grill out, the Mallorquins are out with the tongs whilst we are still packing away the Christmas decorations. No need to hit the local garden centre to buy a new gas fueled barbecue, as the back garden tends not to be the preferred venue for a Sunday torrada, the island has literally dozens of picnic sites in spectacular locations all over the island, with winter grilling facilities already in situ. Those around Lluc, are a firm favourite for those of us lucky enough to be in the north.
There are dozens of picnic tables and more often than not a children’s play area too; families get together and children play happily; the perfect spot to enjoy a sunny winters day. Picnic baskets are filled with the local sausages, Botifarrons and llangonissa, many homemade, and are grilled over a wood fire using sticks as skewers and served up with Mallorcan rustic bread, coated with olive oil.
Lluc Sanctuary is a scenic 19km drive from Pollensa. Located in Escorca, this important pilgrimage site and monastery was founded in the 13th Century and is school and home to the famous boys choir Els Blauets. Escorca is one of the most emblematic regions in the Tramuntana mountains, known for its natural beauty and stunning country estates and historical value. Some of these estates offer access to the public and it is here where many of the picnic sites are, Menut and Ca s’Amitger being among the most popular, set among oak and pine forests with the mountains providing a striking backdrop.
Lunch is usually followed up with a walk to the monastery for a hot drink or something stronger at one of the bars / restaurants at the Sanctuary and then a visit to the church to pay respects to “La Moreneta”, the Virgin of Lluc. There is plenty to explore in the surrounding area on foot or bike, perfect for working up an appetite! And for the more energetic, the highest peaks on the island such as the Massanella, the Tomir, and the Puig Roig are all in the vicinity but are not for the faint hearted. Many choose to walk part or all of the old pilgrims trail – the most famous of which starts at the small village of Caimari, or the route from Pollensa or Soller.
by Georgette Hayter
For more information about Lluc Sanctuary see: www.lluc.net