The forecast for día de las Baleares called for perfect spring weather, so we ventured out with our new friend Sylvia & (borrowed) pup Django for a long hike from Santa Maria to Orient. What was meant to be an easy 14 km trail turned out to be a day-long adventure, getting lost along the way but discovering some of Mallorca’s most beautiful landscapes.
Sylvia scoped out this route, and suggested the little treasures along the way – valley of the Coanegra gulley, a hidden cave and tucked away waterfalls – would make it a great way to see new parts of the island. After ascending most of the morning, we found the entrance to the Son Pou avenc cave, which opened up to a moon-like landscape inside. This fascinating spot, discovered in 1824, was covered in dripping water, stalactites and glimmers of sunlight peeking through the chasm above.
We then hiked up to the spectacular Es Freu waterfall, which marked the 6-hour mark of our hike. Thankfully, we made friends with some fellow exhausted hikers who took a liking to us and fed us casera tarta de melocotón (homemade peach cake). A sweet ending to a beautiful mountain trek.
Franz Josef Glacier, South Island, New Zealand: One of the thousands of things surprising about New Zealand is the diversity of climates bumped up against each other. Franz Josef Glacier was one of those places: a tropical rainforest coexisting with a polar glacier. We stayed in a campground brimming with palm trees and traditional kiwi ferns overhead, and then hiked over to the glacier with bright blue icicles piercing the surface. The rain poured down on us (again), but that was ok since we got to see even more waterfalls.
Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand: This is a must-see in every New Zealand guide, so we found ourselves steering our camper van in its direction. This natural wonder was formed tens of millions of years ago by glacial cutting, and the resulting fiord is of astounding magnitude. Unfortunately, this area gets about 200 days of rain a year and we were (un)lucky enough to camp up there on one of the coldest, rainiest and windiest days. This weather, while tough to sightsee in, made for the most impressive waterfalls. The Sound normally has 2 waterfalls; on this crazy weather day, we were able to see thousands.