Menorca - At Long Last!

Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
Trip End Sep 17, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Balearic Islands,
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Well, Sitges was indeed a dream destination, and I hope some day to get back there. We ended up staying three nites. It was so relaxing and perfect that Steve didn't want to leave at all, but our next destination was one of the real reasons for this trip!

Originally, we were going to visit Barcelona and then take a 10-hour overnite ferry, but having already taken a few overnight ferries in the past (Zeebruges, Belgium > Kington-upon-Hull, England; La Paz, Mexico > Mazatlan, Mexico; Prince Rupert, Canada > Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada), I can tell you that they are death voyages and Steve would arrive in the worst mood and tired, and the next day would be a complete waste. So, I got online and found super cheapie tickets on a mere 40-minute flight.

Welcome to Menorca, Spain!

The Place:

I was so fascinated to come to Menorca, but as I arrived I saw a barren land with a few sparse lighthouses and felt a mixed energy about this place. Well, any negative energies were soon to vaporize and evaporate!

I realized from the aerial views upon landing that we better get a rental car for a couple days. Even tho it was the second most expensive rental car ever (next to Bonaire in 2000), getting a car turned out to be one smart travelling move.

With our new map in hand and only a few hours of sunlight left, we headed first to the magnificant white-washed town of Sant Lluis. WOW! Incredible and quaint. After a few quick pics, we headed on a little tour of the southeastern towns and coast and stopped for a few moments to admire Cala de Biniancolla. The beach looked awesome. I should have gone in. Next, we stopped at the very tip to watch a young couple jump (I have a movie!) from the 40-foot sharp and jagged cliffs into the clear blue waters below (don't ask me how they got back up!). Then we drove along, marvelling at all the stone walls - just like England - to picturesque Cala de Sant Esteve and Fort Malborough. We missed opening hours by just a few minutes. Then, we set out to find our hotel in Es Castell, where we met two really nice women - English ex-pats - for a chat. That nite, Steve and I went into the stunningly lit-up port harbor of Es Castell. It was so beautiful, it took your breath away. We had a pretty tasty dinner on the water and walked around looking at the shops.

The next morning we got a later start than I wanted, and after checking out of our hotel, we made a B-line to Menorca's most fantastic fort - La Mola. This is the largest fort I have ever seen. It's huge! We spent the next four hours touring inside and out, and still didn't see it all. I was exhausted - and needed a beach! LOL. After a quick stop at the airport to renew our car for another day, we traversed the island and took these one lane windy and narrow roads with stone walls down to the most awesome beach on the south side of the island - Macarella.

This beach had just the right number of mostly good-looking people for me to spy on - ahem! The sand was perfect, and the yellow-green water was so salty and buoyant you could float away without effort. You could almost have a picnic on the water. OMG. I was in heaven. The water was so clear you could easily see 30-40 feet under the water. I risked opening my eyes with my contacts in anyway.

After a few hours at Macarella, we walked the 10-minute cliff path up and along the beach to the smaller sister beach around the bend - Macarelleta. This is the hippy nude beach and the people-watching opportunities became instantly better! Of course, we swam too and ended up staying until the setting sun chased us out. We drove back to Ciutadella and found an awesome hotel. Our busy day ended with watching an amazing sunset and a full moon rise, and enjoying a great meal at a cafe just a few blocks away.

The next day was pretty action packed as well, touring the island. After driving thru Ciutadella and by the port harbor, we headed to Es Mercadal. This little town is so beautiful that we just had to stop, walk around and shop for a little while. Then, we headed to see the tower at Fornells on the northeast side of island. Very cool. Then, we drove thru some rather green countryside to see the lighthouse at Cap de Cavalleria. This awesome lighthouse is right on the edge of a thousand foot cliff (or more).

I was tired and it was beach time again, so we headed to the nearby beaches. There is one very busy beach to the left of the rock outcrop and then the nude beach to the right. We went right. This nude beach is also famous for having red/brown soil with nutrients for better skin. Just what I need! I found the foretold soil pit and with some water made the mud mix and applied. I felt like a jungle man. Then, I went for a swim and turned the sea blood red.

After a couple hours of rest and relaxation, we visited another cool lighthouse at Cap de Favaritx and then went for a quick dip at Es Grau beach. Our last stop with the car was to quickly visit the port harbor of Mao. It was less quaint as those at Es Castell (around the corner almost), and Ciutadella, but just as amazing.

We dropped the car back at the airport, took the bus into Mao and then another to Ciutadella, where we had a few great beer at our hotel, then watched an amazing sunset again, and headed into town for a complete nite walk around and some more great food.

The Food:

The pizza at Es Castell was delish. The mussels were awesome too, and I wouldn't give up the dish until I finished drinking the special broth they made. Excuse me, Mr. Waiter, but it's considered a compliment if someone licks your plate!

The hotel in Ciudatella served some of the freshest beer. We had several. Burp! And, this family run hotel served up the most complete and incredible buffet breakfast with phenomenal coffee. I couldn't resist mooching refills. The cafes/eateries in Ciutadella were great too, but we were too scared to try the "mystery" tapas. ;-o

The People:

The people on Menorca were great and a lot friendlier than Sitges. 

The girl in the grocery store was awesome and took our map from us and gave us pointers on what to see and what beaches to visit. The hotel keeper in Es Castell made me laugh cuz he was like an old schoolmaster, but had that sarcastic smile. You know when he was offguard, he was really a party animal!

The two ex-pats ladies from England at our hotel in Es Castell were really nice and interesting. The lady at the cafe/eaterie in Ciutadella was really nice and super friendly and gave us a free dish of olives (that means big tip!). And, the man who ran our hotel in Ciutadella was simply the nicest, coolest guy!

Then, of course, was the shopkeeper in Es Mercadel. When she realized I wasn't there to steal, but to shop her sales, she was so super cool. The nicer she got, the more I bought. She also told me that Barcelona is not bad at all (that's where she was from), and told us about the beach with nutrients and other island must-sees.

Upon arriving at our car in Es Mercadel, a cop just wrote us a ticket as we came back to the car. I whined and told him we were humble tourists and didn't know we had to pay for parking on the streets (there was no way to know!). He took back his 56 Euro ticket and made me pay the 5 Euro parking fee. Nice guy.

All the service people are simply awesome. They are either born that way or go to Service Excellence school.

Rhetorical Questions/Comments for the Spanish in Menorca:

* We would have only seen a fraction of your island without our rental car! Yoiks!
* Dammit, I could really have used my mask and snorkel in Menorca!
* This is the best island I have ever visited - And I have visited a lot!
* We love your port harbors. Every one is on a cliff and has an upper level and a lower lever.
* You have so many place names that sound like a venereal disease, it almost isn't funny!
* Oh Mr. smelly Waiter in Es touch my dish before I finish my mussel broth and I will zap ya!
* It's so funny to hear white people speaking fluent Spanish and the local tongue and then seamlessly swap to English with a British accent! Holy moley!
* I need to start taking more pictures of the great people I meet.
* Stop watching the World Cup and cook my food, will ya!
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