Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My last couple of days on the Balearic island of Menorca were spent in the city of Ciutadella, on the Western coast. I rode the bus from Mahon, checked into the cutest little hotel, $30 per night and it had an attached bathroom with shower! I jumped on the bike, and headed for the port. Along the way I stopped at the grocery and picked up some sardines, octopus, and bread for lunch. I followed the far road out to the lighthouse and sat by the sea and ate. On the way back I spotted a man descending some stairs to a concrete platform next to a cove at the entrance to the port. I said to him what a nice spot it was, and to my surprise he said, “there’s plenty of room here, you should join!” I did, and it was a stroke of luck. His name was Felix, and he spoke good English, lived in Barcelona, had another home here in Ciutadella, and was super friendly. We talked about the island, and I learned a lot, then he convinced me to go for a swim. I should have been in the water the whole time! It was perfect. The water was as clear as what comes out of the tap, and just the right temp to cool off. We swam for quite a while, then he invited me to join him for a meal. We went to a cafe in the top of the port, and I had the best meal of my trip thus far. Felix left to go back to his family in Barcelona, and I went to find a shop that sold swim goggles. I returned to the cove with goggles, and spent the rest of the evening swimming with the fish. I went back to the hotel, which had a beautiful courtyard with cafe, and planned tomorrow’s visit to the virgin beaches. The next day I rode the 14 miles on winding country roads to the Southern coast, to where the pavement ends, and if you don’t have a bike you walk the last 15 minutes to the beach. This beach, called Macarella, and the smaller Macarelleta another 10 minutes walk around the corner, were spectacular! I swam from the main beach to the smaller beach, then hiked over the mountain to take pictures. In the pictures, the beach that is on the left is the main one, and the one to the right is the smaller one. I can’t stress how much the pictures do not do this place justice. I was so struck by the beauty that I stayed all day. I swam for hours, and got burned to a crisp, it still hurts today. I got back to Ciutadella about 6pm, washed up, and went out to take some more pictures of the city. As you can see from the pictures, it is perfect. I did run into a local horseman practicing for the festival that would take place next weekend. On Menorca, they have a very special breed of horses, one of the only true all black breeds left in Europe. They walk with more pride than any horse I have ever seen, the Lipizzan Stallions have nothing on these horses. During the festival, the rider rears the horse up and the people gather around and try to hold the horse up, and keep him from returning his hooves to the ground. The closer to the heart you can touch the horse, the more luck you will have. They also race the horses on the natural clay area at the head of the port you can see in the photos. The next day I left Menorca via the “fast ferry” which could go a maximum of 46 miles per hour, and we did 46 miles per hour the whole time. What took 9 hours to cover in the conventional ferry only took 3 in the fast one, sweet. I can’t wait to go back to Menorca!!!!

1 comment:

brian said...

Isn't it amazing how some of the best moments of a trip are unplanned?