Last year we visited Ibiza with Baleària and this year they invited us again, this time to spend a weekend in Menorca. It was the first time we visited the island and enjoyed very good weather, very interesting places and very good food. If you want ideas for a trip to Menorca, you are interested in this post.
The Martí and Soler de Baleària ferry sailed from the port of Barcelona on Friday night. It is a very large boat of 165 meters in length, which carries trucks, cars and goods in addition to passengers and at the time of entering and climbing the escalators it seems that you are entering the bowels of a giant mechanical whale. At reception we were assigned the double cabin and then went for a walk around the three decks. We saw the area of the highest quality seats and, when trying them, it was clear that it is worth paying 15 euros more because they are very very comfortable. By the way, if you want to take the bike, it's free! On the third deck we saw the pool and in the bow area we were surprised by a beautiful reddish and pink sunset over the city of Barcelona.
Later, we went to dinner at the restaurant. It has an area of self service With paella included. But it also has an à la carte service that is frankly good. For starters they served us some bread and some dishes with cured cheese, sausage and good serrano ham. First they brought us three types of salads: tuna, caesar and shrimp cocktail with pineapple. Very good Second: golden brown with a very rich sauce or beef tenderloin. And for dessert, they let us choose between carrot cake, Sacher cake for chocolatiers or tocinillo de cielo. We finished dinner totally satisfied. But we got so sleepy that we went straight to the cabin without going through the ship's movies, the gin-tonics in the stern bar, or the moon over the sea.
The cabin seemed perfect. The bathroom with some amenities and the beds very comfortable, with light in the head to read and plugs to recharge the mobiles. A table with two chairs, some fruit and two bottles of water. The window overlooked the sea, but as it was night we closed the curtains.
The ferry made a stop in Alcudia, in Mallorca (although we didn't even know) and we arrived at the port of Ciutadella at eight in the morning. Before going to have morning coffee at the bar, we were invited to go up to the cabin to meet the captain of the ship, Mr. Andres, and see how the ferry docked at the port with the safety and skill of a veteran. It was curious to see how the rudders of the ships are, the radar screens and how everything is arranged to be able to "park" such a large mastodon on the dock without problems. After the cafelito, we descend to the mainland.
The necropolis of Cala Morell
A minibus was waiting for us at the dock with Vladimir and Joan, who were going to be our guide and driver that Saturday. It was a great day, and on the way to our first stop on the itinerary, Vladimir was telling us interesting details of Menorca. This island is about 44 km long by 22 wide, so it is very fast to go from one end to the other. Pyramidal constructions made with stones were glimpsed through the green landscape of olive trees. The guide explained that they were called «barracks»And used by farmers to store herds or farm implements. On the left hand side of the road we could also see some «talaiots»Elevations also made of stones that served the old Menorcans to scan the horizon and see the enemies arrive. These others are what give name to the talayotic culture, to which belong the constructions of about three thousand years old that can be seen in Mallorca and Menorca.
After a few minutes, the minibus parked in the urbanization Sa Cala de la Cala Morell, northwest of the island, where we stopped for breakfast. He breakfast In this bar with a pool it is like that of a hotel. You can serve cereals, yogurt, pasta, juices, bread with tomatoes, cheese and ham. A breakfast as ordered.
Right next door is a place of interest: a necropolis used by the first inhabitants of the island, consisting of about 17 caves where they buried their dead. It is curious that the hippies of the sixties arrived here to enjoy life in nature and it is incredible that they had so little respect for this archaeological legacy, since they removed hundreds of millenary skeletons from the caves to make their hippies homes in them (!) Anyway, luckily they were able to throw them in the eighties and recover this space. For more information about this necropolis, check out the interesting article in the next publication about Talayotic culture in Menorca.
Afterwards, we went for a walk to enjoy the views of the cove. In this area, the houses of the urbanization have to be painted white, even the roofs. Vladimir made us look at the roof tiles They are used to channel rainwater, since the absence of rivers makes it necessary to make the most of rainfall to have fresh water reserves. In the past, the roofs of houses were whitewashed so that water accumulated in tanks and became drinkable thanks to the effect of lime.
Later we reach about cliffs spectacular 40 meters high that rise above the turquoise and crystalline waters of the coast. Rocky cliffs are lost in the distance looking east. On the left hand side, you can see the beautiful creek Morell. We saw several protrusions with ladders to go down to the water in comfort. And the sea was so appealing that we would have taken a bath without thinking twice. For this part there were quite impressive bungalows and it is said that Carlos Moià has one here.
Visit to Ciutadella
The second visit of the day was a walk through the old town of Ciutadella. We loved the brightly painted houses, the shops, the terraces, the squares, the 17th-century palaces, the cathedral and all the corners that the guide was discovering. There was a lot of entertainment around ten or eleven in the morning. And the first signs of the nearby were already beginning to be seen Sant Joan party, because on many balconies the white Maltese cross could be seen on a garnet background.
We saw the Born Square where the traditional one is made «fuss»And where some had already placed their chairs to have a privileged place to see the whole spectacle of the horses. The square is chaired by the Almojarife Palace, a palace whose origins date back to the Arab government of the Balearic Islands that also dominates the port on the other side and, currently, serves as a town hall. On the ground floor there is a tourist information office where you can get maps and recommendations. But if you go up the back, you can reach a terrace with great views of the harbor.
Where the port narrows to a bridge, a little further on you will see an esplanade where the "Jocs des Pla" are celebrated during the San Juan parties. Here a large crowd of people congregate to see the riders face a series of tests of medieval origin. For example, one of them consists in running a spear through rings while riding a gallop.
Upon returning to the Plaça des Born, we pass in front of the monument that commemorates the sacking of Barbarroja, a Turk who swept the city. On the other side, a commercial street begins that goes into the old town of Ciutadella. And right at the entrance of this street there are two palaces, facing each other: the Palau Salort and the Palau Torre-Saura. These stately palaces are from the early 16th-18th centuries and belonged to noble houses that wanted to be near the king. In addition, they had a rivalry between them. On the door of the palace of the Salort you can see the face of a woman with a veil that covers her eyes. Apparently, the Torre-Saura, whose palace is opposite, understood that the Salort did not want to see them.
Following the Major des Born street it comes before the St. Mary's Cathedral. This temple was a mosque until the s. XIII and after the conquest of King Jaime the foundations were used to make a church in honor of the virgin. The bell tower was made using the old minaret and, as you look up, look at the fun gargoyles that adorn the building's heights. Inside stands out the Capella de les Ànimes, with a Menorcan baroque stone altarpiece. Continuing along the main street you can see the Puerta de la Luz on the left, named because it is the only one where sunlight enters the cathedral. But if you take the alley to the left of the cathedral (Bisbe Torres), after a few meters you can enter through a portal on the right hand side that leads to a beautiful, very photogenic garden. It is the entrance of the episcopal palace.
Then it is well worth strolling through the area of the old town around the cathedral. For example, from the cathedral square you can go down the street that begins before the Puerta de la Luz, pass in front of the eslesia del Roser and get to Can Saura Palace, also from the Menorcan baroque. Then, if you go ahead and take the first one on the left you will be in the street «des Seminari» where you can contemplate the Second Saura Palace and the Socors Church, which is unique with its two towers and a cloister that houses the diocesan museum. If you look at the portal, you will see a demon being punished by Ascension.
And just behind the Socors church you will find the market area, with butchers, fishmongers and very lively and appetizing terraces with very very fresh food. In general, the entire old case is perfect for walking, shopping and discovering charming corners.
To eat, a good restaurant is the Café Balear, which is at the end of the port, very close to the esplanade that I mentioned before. Here, any dish you choose from the menu will be very good. In our case, we tried the seafood crepe and second cod. Spectacular. To finish, a brownie great. Although it is a high end restaurant, it is worth eating here at noon or for dinner at least once. Also, I think it fills up easily on the weekend, so it's better to book several days in advance just in case.
The nave of Tudons
Just eat, we went to see one of the Menorca's most famous archaeological sites: the Naveta des Tudons. This construction of large stone blocks located very close to Ciutadella is one of the best preserved remains of the Talayotic culture of the Balearic Islands And well worth a visit. In addition, it has a very interesting legend that we will tell you in the entry dedicated to the Talayotic culture that we will publish in a few days.
This Saturday was being very intense to be only the first day on the island, and it's not over yet! So we went to the hotel to leave our bags and get some rest. The hotel where we stayed is in an urbanization at the end of S'Algar, near the village of Sant Lluís and has the original name of… Port Blue San Luis. It is a hotel with a pool where there are usually many British tourists.
Around seven in the afternoon, we went to watch the sunset. And a good place for it is one of the most unique and well-known places in Menorca: the Cova d'en Xoroi. This cave is on a cliff facing the sea and includes a bar with area lounge And a disco. But let's go slowly to assimilate everything well and give it the importance it deserves. First: cave on a cliff. This is exceptional, and there are not many caves in cliffs. The entrance looks like a typical disco, with a parking area in front. But once you enter, you are facing the sea and stairs carved into the cliff wall descend gradually to the entrance into the rock. Along the way, there is a bar and a VIP area that are balconies to the sea, with cushions for lying in style and awnings for shade. Logically, the views are spectacular. Once in the cave, you pass through a wide passageway and arrive at the disco bar, which has two large natural balconies to the sea. Here you can ask for a typical Menorcan ointment (gin with lemon), put on your sunglasses and watch the sunset on the cliff on the right.
Originally, this cave did not have the stairs to go down to access it and, in fact, nobody knew of its existence ... Ready for a comic strip? OK…
Legend has it that some Arab pirates were shipwrecked near the cliff and one of them managed to swim and climb it until he found the cave. Once there, he rested. In the morning, he climbed from the cave to the top of the cliff. At that time, Menorca was already in the hands of Christians and the Arabs were bitter enemies, so the pirate was in dangerous territory. To survive, he dedicated himself to stealing from nearby farms, taking advantage of the fact that people were working in the fields. That went well for a while ...