We have been in Menorca for almost three weeks now and feel more and more connected with the Island. We are getting the most out of the chilly weather to explore around, do some shopping, meet with friends and…work from the boat.
Time flies: three weeks in Menorca
Ten days ago, when we decided to stay in Menorca, we weren’t aware of what we would have missed if we had decided to go to Sardinia: we are amazed by what such a small island has to offer and although we thought we knew Menorca pretty well (we have been here in several occasions, last time less than a year ago when we spent 10 days sailing from Ciutadella to Mahón), we are so happy that we are spending these extra days here.
We don’t know when we leave yet, but we are well aware that we’ll miss this place a lot. Menorca is probably the most fascinating island of the Balearic archipelago: it’s by far the least exploited one and its nature is mostly uncontaminated.
During the week, after the needed morning coffee, we switch on the laptops and our boat is converted into a boat-office: we sit one in front of the other as we unfold the big wing table…and our working day officially starts. Till lunch we barely speak to each other as we both have the tendency to isolate ourselves from the surrounding world when we are focusing on something.
At lunch Amaia prepares some nice food and, if weather allows, we eat outside in the cockpit, as we contemplate the beauty and quietness of Port d’Addaia. We continue working till 6:00pm and then we get ready to get the most of what the evening has to offer (spanning from a 20-minute drive to Mahón to an aperitif with other inhabitants of the dock).
A car is all you need
As anticipated, we now have a rental car and with it we gained priceless freedom to explore around. Most importantly we can now go to (proper) grocery stores: Addaia is beautiful, but at this time of the year, the small supermarket is closed, meaning that we had to walk 5km to get to the closest shop…not nice when you are carrying some heavy shopping bags.
Having a car has also allowed us to visit the southern part of Menorca: we started from the Binibèquer Vell, a small village built around the 1960s, with a project emulating a prototypical style of building of coastal villages in the Mediterranean. This fact has earned it some popularity as a tourist visit, not without controversy by those who consider it an inauthentic construction, unfaithful to the style it aims to imitate.
We honestly liked it, but probably the fact that we were literally the only visitors, helped make the experience more unique.
From Binibèquer we went to Punta Prima: a tourist destination right on the south-easterly tip of Menorca: amazingly white beaches and crystal clear water welcome you as you drive from the hills. We took the opportunity to stop at a local farmer and buy some km0 fruit & veg.
Often when we visit countries with good wine cultures, we try to visit local vineyards (and wineries). In Menorca there are about 6 “bodegas”, one of them (Binifadet) is particularly well-known for its Cabernet wines, and although we normally prefer red wines, we decided to give it a try and went for a guided tour with tasting included.
The vineyard is young (only 17 years old): in 2004, it opened to the public and began to share their dream of recovering the winemaking tradition of Menorca. Our guide Mireia first took us through the vineyards and then carefully explained the process they follow for the different wine types they make.
She also explained that the soil underneath where the vineyard sits, is called “Marés”, a local term used to refer to sandstone: it helps keep the soil well moistened which together with the dry breeze this island always gets (aka tramuntana), provides a unique mineral taste to the wine that we enjoyed during the tasting experience.
The day after we were planning to visit Lithica “a place carved in the rock”, but our plans changed (so we’ll hopefully talk about this place in our next blog entry): we got a call from our friends Steph & Fred who are currently in Mallorca. They had a big crazy idea: the day after they were planning to take an early ferry from Palma to Mahón (it’s a 5-hour journey). In Mahón, we would have enjoyed a Minorcan lunch together. Then, at 5:00pm, they would have taken the same ferry back to Mallorca.
And so they did and we spent a cool day out. It’s been a bit less than a year since the 4 of us were in Mahón together, we had plenty of déjà vus and enjoyed the few hours spent together.
Other than that, we have been enjoying Anke & Uwe company: a German couple we met upon our arrival in Port d’Addaia. They also live on a sailing boat (a magnificent Contest 48CS called Madrugada). We had a couple of dinner together and they shared some funny stories from their previous trip from Germany to Iceland (with stops in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and the Azores!). I invite you to check their blog: it’s crazy to see what people can do with just some determination, willingness and good preparation…and some more attributes.
Three things you need to know about Menorca
To conclude, we gather some “quick facts” about Menorca. Here are three things that we think you need to know about this island.
It has more beach than Mallorca and Ibiza put together
Menorca boasts around 220 kilometers (137 miles) of coastline with around 180 kilometers (112 miles) of that being beach. While much of it is inaccessible by car, there are still scores of beaches within fairly easy reach, and with a combination of pretty little coves and sweeping sandy bays, includes some of the finest beaches in the world.
Mahon is world’s second-biggest Harbour
The island’s rich maritime history is partly down to its constant invasion and occupation by foreign forces, thanks largely to the island’s strategic position and huge natural harbour. After Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, Menorca’s capital city Mahon claims the largest natural harbour in the world. And it’s still very much active and a buzzing hub of island life (less during Covid-19 time)
It’s where mayonnaise originated
Kicking off with one of the most fascinating pieces of trivia, the story goes that mayonnaise originally comes from the island’s capital, Mahon – hence Salsa Mahonesa. During an 18th-century occupation by the French, the famous eggy condiment was taken back to Paris where it was presented at a victory banquet. The rest, as they say, is history. (source: The Culture Trip)
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