You might want to get ready for this year’s walk from Palma to the monastery of Lluc. The annual Marxa des Güell a Lluc a Peu, now in its fortieth year, is always held on the first Saturday of August. It will start tomorrow night, Saturday, August 3rd, at 23h00, from Plaça Güell in Palma de Mallorca. Last year, there were about 11,000 eager participants, of which about 7,000 managed to walk the whole distance. Every year since 1973, a devotional walk is undertaken up into the Tramuntana mountains, the Marxa de Güell a Lluc a peu. The walk, in a way a pilgrimage due to its origins, traditionally starts in Palma de Mallorca and aims for the Monasterio de Lluc, some 49 km away, on a long sojourn past Marratxí, Santa Maria, Consell, Binissalem, Lloseta, Biniamar, Selva, Caimari and Escorca.
Lluc is Mallorca’s spiritual centre, where the Gothic XIV century image of Mare de Déu de Lluc (the island’s patron saint) is worshipped. The name Lluc is said to come from the Latin word lucus, meaning sacred forest, which has led experts to believe that there must have been a pagan sanctuary there. In 1246, immediately after the Christian conquest of Mallorca, there is documentation of a chapel dedicated to Mare de Déu at this spot. However, the Renaissance-style monastery which now stands in Lluc dates from the 17th century. If you fancy a bit of penitence yourself, you might give this year’s marxa a thought. Hopefully, you will have got some practice in already and are in good shape for a 49 km long walk. But if you are a bit feeble you could drive to Binissalem or even to Selva, for instance, and just walk the last few kilometres, either tomorrow night or at any time of the year, really. It is the thought that counts, after all. The distance along the Camí Vell from Selva to Lluc monastery is approximately 14 km, with quite a steep ascent along the mountain footpaths. You should allow three to four hours of ambling, plus plenty of huffing and puffing through some beautiful landscape and past some of nature’s delights.
Selva is a municipality in the Northern part of Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountains. The setting between the impressive mountains and a lush valley makes this village rather attractive. Selva is probably one of the villages in Mallorca that has best kept its identity and that has least succumbed to foreign influence and tourism. Selva is probably too far from the sea to be more popular with the Joneses, a small detail that most likely is not about to change any time soon. A parish church dedicated to Sant Llorenç (Sancti Laurenti de Silver) already existed in Selva around 1248, and was documented in the Papal bull of Pope Innocent IV. Sant Llorenç is Selva’s patron saint, who is honoured every year on August 10th (next Tuesday).
Of course, a visit to Lluc is worth your while at any time of the year. By no means should you go there only on the pretext of a worship. You can drive there by car, if walking is too strenuous, especially now in the summer. The famous Blavets boys’ (and girls’) choir sings in Lluc monastery every morning. The small and charming museum of the monastery is open daily from 10h00 to 17h30. And if you fancy spending a night or two, there are plenty of monks’ cells converted for accommodation. And do not miss a visit to the Lluc restaurant. You won’t regret it.
Do not walk in the Summer’s daytime heat, though. At this time of year, it would be best to start the walk at 18h00, which should you get to Lluc well before 22h00. Make sure you take plenty of water on your challenge (perhaps 50 cl per hour). The return journey can be made by bus or taxi, or you can prearrange a pick-up through a friend. Or you could stay the night at the monastery (has to be booked due to the late hour of arrival).