Sunday, 25 September 2016

Menorca - Ciutadella


The historic second city of Ciutadella, with it's beautiful harbour and elegant architecture was our first venture away from Sant Tomas. We caught the bus outside the hotel and the journey was about 45 minutes. The name Ciutadella means 'Little City'and it was the British who moved the capital to Mahon in 1722 due to it's deeper harbour. The harbour is flanked by the city walls and the fortified structure of the former Town Hall rising behind them. There is along narrow inlet full of yachts that outnumber the fishing boats.Plenty of cafes and bars to enjoy a cold beer in the sun , now that does sound a good idea!
In the In the ceremonial square (Placa de's Born) there is a large Obelisk that takes centre stage. It commemorates those who died defending the city against The Turks in 1558. Nearby is also the Cathedral de Santa Maria built in the early 14th century. Walking around the old city it is clear to see why it remains the religious capital of Menorca at least. Its Muslim legacy is evident on every corner and labrynth of streets. It really is like stepping back in history.

Menorca - Mahon


The famous harbour of Mahon is one of the largest in the world! Therefore of valuable strategic importance and guarded by forts and shielded by hills. So not surprising it caught the eye of the British Navy in the 18th century. Most of the highlights are also to be found harbourside with lively streets and busy shops. The British occupation is left it's mark by introducing Gin and the dairy industry to the island.


The streets of the old city are narrow so best to explore on foot. The bus dropped us off at the 'square' not particularly remarkable. Except maybe for an Obelisk marking those who fell in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Another imposing building is the Town Hall pictured above.Built on the site of a medieval fortress and was donated by the first British Governor. There seemed to be a 'train' although not a real one to transport those who needed it down to the harbour , although it seemed to spend mosyt of the time stuck in traffic. The best way to see the harbour was by boat , in our case a glass bottomed one'. It took about an hour and was a bit disapointing as it clouded over and most of the glass bottom wasn't glass. I saw many more fish when snorkelling around the beaches of our hotel. Nevertheless it did give good views of the buildings in the harbour and a sense of  history.


Menorca - Mahon


The famous harbour of Mahon is one of the largest in the world! Therefore of valuable strategic importance and guarded by forts and shielded by hills. So not surprising it caught the eye of the British Navy in the 18th century. Most of the highlights are also to be found harbourside with lively streets and busy shops. The British occupation is left it's mark by introducing Gin and the dairy industry to the island.


The streets of the old city are narrow so best to explore on foot. The bus dropped us off at the 'square' not particularly remarkable. Except maybe for an Obelisk marking those who fell in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Another imposing building is the Town Hall pictured above.Built on the site of a medieval fortress and was donated by the first British Governor. There seemed to be a 'train' although not a real one to transport those who needed it down to the harbour , although it seemed to spend mosyt of the time stuck in traffic. The best way to see the harbour was by boat , in our case a glass bottomed one'. It took about an hour and was a bit disapointing as it clouded over and most of the glass bottom wasn't glass. I saw many more fish when snorkelling around the beaches of our hotel. Nevertheless it did give good views of the buildings in the harbour and a sense of  history.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Menorca 2016



First ever holiday in Menorca and hopefully it wont be the last! Lovely relaxing week in the warm late Summer sunshine with a hotel right on the beach. A beautiful little island that doesn't get the hype of it's Balearic neighbours Majorca and Ibiza. Lots of rugged coastline with secluded bays boasting crystal clear waters. Very reminiscent at times of the coastline of Cornwall. A few facts, Menorca lies 140 miles southeast of Barcelona. Although the second largest of the Balearic Islands it is still tiny (30 miles from East to West).912 miles from North to South). You can walk the entire coastline if you have the time and energy (135 miles)and is called Cami de Cavalls.
The road system is interesting ...you have to always return to the central axis (Me-1) and then divert off to your destination. The main road connects the two historic cities at either end of the Island Citiudella and Mahon also spelt locally as Mao. Those are both covered off later in seperate blogs. Population is around 94,000 about a tenth of Majorca and is very popular with UK visitors without the lager louts associated with other islands. Menorca has a long history and first inhabited 3000-1300 BC by cave dwellers. In 1708 it was taken by the British and then changed hands with the French, Spanish and British over subsequent years.
 It is a lovely beach walk to the next resort of Son Bou as the sands become whiter and the beach widens. Many of the surrounding beaches seem to be a haven for naturists wanting to let it all hang out. Walking through the sand dunes was hard work so reverted back to the shoreline on the return journey. It was here that we discovered an appropriately named restaurant providing much needed refreshment.
  In between the beaches there are some lovely rocky outcrops as you follow the coastal path. It really is a lovely walk and actually far quicker than trying to take the inland route. A taxi journey between our resort of Sant Tomas and Son Bou takes a good 25 minutes
.

We stayed at the Sol Beach Hotel which was excellent. Food was good and plentiful and the room had a lateral sea view . We had a couple of storms at night and was great to lay in bed and see the lightning over
the sea and the crashing of the waves.


The sunsets in the evening were spectacular and the photos don't really do them justice. Just nice to sit on the terace before Dinner with a nice 'Cruzcampo' Beer or maybe a Mojito and watch the sun go down over the horizon.
 Walking the other way from the hotel and more nudist beaches the scenery eventually becomes more of a woodland as you are drawn away from the beach. My intention was to walk to Cala Gadana further down the coast. I had been going for well over an hour and then saw a sign saying it was a further 8.5 km ..... so I turned back as my feet were already badly blistered. Afew more random pictures including one with Glenys and Bob our friends from Northamptonalong with one of myself and 'Bod' somebody we got friendly with.