I’ve been away for a little while in Menorca; relaxin’, eatin’ and havin’ a goooood time. I’ve practically eaten my body weight in patatas bravas (you’d easily mistake me for a potato) and i’m pretty sure that if you cut me open, gin would flow from my veins (that’s right, i’m a gin convert). Menorca delivered me back to rainy England with a face full of freckles, an SD card full of photos and a bucket load of happy memories – and I want to tell you ALL about it!
Aren’t holidays such a blessing? Spending two uninterrupted weeks away with loved ones, whether it be home, away, plush or penny-saving, is to be cherished. Now i’m at university and my older sister has moved out, being together as a family is something we all grip on to with both hands when we can, squeezing every last drop of quality time out of the moments we have together.
And there are endless joys to relish on holiday; hot skin sizzling as it cools in the salty ocean, dozing off under the gaze of dappled shade, getting lost in the pages of e-book upon e-book (me and my kindle are inseparable on holiday). And Menorca did not disappoint on the relaxation front – we had a blooming hammock in the back garden of our villa for starters…bliss. The weather was glorious; sunny enough to douse you in endorphins but with a slight breeze to help with the sweat situation.
But for a tiny little island, one which is pretty much an hour or so drive from end-to-end, there was plenty of culture to keep things interesting. The two main cities, Ciutadella and Mahón, were perfect for providing a fix of cobbled streets and rustic buildings. Although, like with most European countries, it’s best to visit towns and cities after 5pm at least; anytime before that and the atmosphere is snoozy and siesta-ridden.
Ciutadella seemed fairly humble, fairly rustic, but still with an array of restaurants, bars and grand old doors to pose in front of. Because we had foolishly arrived during siesta (it was early on in the holiday, we can be forgiven), we had a bit of time to kill. So we wandered around for a while, stumbling across, well, not much. We stopped for a drink by the dock front, wandered some more and then stopped for a second drink in the centre of town at a little place called Bar Imperi where they served THE best Gin y Limonada (a Menorcan speciality). Then we returned to the dock front for lashings of fresh fish for dinner. And of course, like with most of the other towns we visited, we picked a day when there was going to be a market (which for us was a Tuesday). Admittedly, the market in Ciutadella wasn’t the most impressive but still endearing none the less.
Mahón was closer to where we were staying and we spent two fantastic evenings there. Perhaps more industrialised than Ciutadella but it still encapsulated the Menorcan charm. There were plentiful restaurants to choose from, whiffs of Spanish cuisine floating past our noses at every turn. But funnily enough, the place we plumped for was not so traditional. Aptly named ‘La Perla‘ (the pearl), it was a very unique find. The restaurant was run by a man from Serbia (or at least that’s what we concluded) and it offered a fusion of Spanish and Yugoslavian cuisine; it sounds odd but trust me, the mix of the fresh flavours from Spain and the dunking delightfulness from Yugoslavia made for a great match. We loved it so much that we went back a second time and ordered tapas, mains, desert and a round of liquors (mainly because of the very reasonable price!). The food was great, the service was great, the music was great, the location was great…it was great, basically.
But if you’re the kind of person that can’t resist salty hair and sandy toes, Cala Galdana is a great beach to spend the day. Okay, yes, we were mainly drawn to the yummy tapas bar, ‘Alaska‘, across the street but the beach was pretty fab too. It is slightly built up, although not too in your face, which allows you to relax but also grab a drink or an ice cream if needed (which, honestly, when is an ice cream not needed). They also have pedalos for hire which was a hit with my very active little sister!
Though if you want somewhere smaller and quieter to sit and ponder life, there’s a little cove in the village of Es Canutells which has waters so clear that you could count the stones on the sea bed and a backdrop of lush greenery that made it feel like paradise. We went on a kayak excursion from here, discovering hidden caves and stopping off for a swim with the fishes. There is also a restaurant/bar overlooking the cove whose menu centred around the fresh fish that was caught in the sea below. As someone who very often craves fresh seafood (is that a weird craving? I don’t know), I took full advantage of this opportunity; I sampled the calamari, mussels and, of course, paella which were all the absolute bees knees.
And to top it all, I was able to jibber jabber in Spanish! I’ve absolutely loved learning Spanish this year so to put it into practise (albeit a little stumbly, mumbly and humbly) gave me joy that i’m sure any other language-learners will understand. There is something about blurting out a bunch of sounds from another tongue and having them understood and replied to that is really exhilarating and rewarding – even if you are just ordering another plate of patatas bravas.
So there we are. If you have made it to the end of this post then I applaud you with vigour. *clap clap*. It’s been a long’un but hopefully a good’un – there was so much more that I wanted to write but sometimes you’ve gotta reign yourself in. If you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on my holibobs. And although this post has come to an end, the reminiscing most certainly won’t. So, if you do excuse me, i’m going to continue musing over Menorca.