Denis has been living in Mallorca since 1994 and decided in 1999 to submit his idea to the municipality of Calvia as part of an entrepreneurial competition: to show visitors the other face ofMallorca, to introduce their secret ways, countrymen, culture and gastronomy. Since 2001 he combines all his experiences on the hikes and tours that he performs every winter as part of the Inivierno Europeo (European Winter). The European Winter is a free activity program offered by the hotel association Paguera & Cala Fornells to their hotel guests. We met Denis in his office in Paguera.
Hello Denis. Since 2001 you are responsible for the program "European Winter". Is it pure work for you or does it still make you happy after such a long time?
Both somehow. Unlike my early days, I do not do it today for financial reasons. What continues to make me happy today are all the connections and friendships that have developed over the years. Many tourists spend about 3 months in the winter on the island and are traveling a lot with me. The regulars are very loyal and often bring me gifts like sausage, wine, cake and other delicacies from their home countries - it's great.
Are there any differences today?
Everything used to be more carefree. I had my group, made a nice day trip, got my tip and everyone went home happy. I worked 6 months a year and could live on it. Later it became a business, the groups and the program became more extensive - and with it the work and responsibility grew. For example, at the time, for safety reasons, you always had a phone with you, which you hardly ever used. Today I'm glad if it does not ring every 1 0 minutes. It is also disturbing and rude to the guests, to be constantly on the phone.
What awaits the guests when they are traveling with you?
I explain a lot about history on the routes. I studied geography and history, which sounds really dry. But I do it my way; funny and always vivid with the existing materials of the respective places where we are right now.
Which hike can you recommend near Paguera?
The ascent to the defense tower "Cap Andritxol", the very easy hike to Es Capdella, or the pilgrimage of the Trappist monks, which ends at the convent in Sant Elm. Also, the local mountain of Paguera "Sa Bruta" is worth a visit - however, it is sometimes steep and slippery.
What can you say about the flora and fauna of the area?
For example, there is a great deal ofmastic or Affodill, which has a strong smell reminiscent of cat pipi. Then there are the rock roses. The nice thing about them is that they start the spring with their flowers. It´s not the calendar telling me that it is spring, but the flowering of the rockrose.
Is it dangerous to walk in the Tramuntana Mountains?
If you stick to the known routes and routes like Deja, Soller, etc. , it is not dangerous. But the Tramuntana mountains are often unpredictable and have their pitfalls; There are 44 mountains with a height ofmore than 1 000 meters, and the weather, temperatures and weather can change very quickly. In snow and rain, it is extremely dangerous and you should always be with a local guide at heights of 600-700 meters. If I have a rain probability of 35-40%, I cancel the hike. It is therefore also recommended to study the weather report one hour before the excursion.
What should be considered during a hike?
My advice is, to tell the hotel where you are heading and what time you will be back. On a long hike you should take a lot ofwater (about 2 liters), a telephone to locate, rain protection and food for about 24 hours, in case something happens. The most important are of course good hiking boots.
Which is your personal favorite hike?
The hike to the Na Burguesa mountains (near Genova). From there you can see almost the whole island. Some time ago, I had accidentally discovered a route far away from the normal route and immediately added it to my program.
Finally, do you have any plans to retire when the time comes?
I do not think so, because I still have many ideas for my private business "offroadmallorca. com". I do tours by jeep and do incentive trips for big companies. In addition, at "senderosdemallorca. com" we make individually tailored hikes for private groups.
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