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Published: September 9th 2017
After mummy and I had spent a week in Geneva, it felt as though time was flying too fast again. We now only had just over a week to play in Menorca, plus we had plans to visit Mallorca for 3 days. During this time, so much was done that the quote of the week became "it is remarkable that there is so much diversity for such a small island, I wasn't expecting that". I hope that this little blog entry gives you some idea of just how diverse and interesting this little island became for us.
On 17 August, to celebrate my 7 month birthday, my first top tooth has appeared! That's why it was hurting so much! Mummy has been giving me lots of raw carrots to chew on. I can now scrape my bottom teeth with my upper teeth. It is nice to be able to scrape my teeth. Having said that, I'm now starting to get a bit unhappy when I don't have what I want! My favourite thing is when mummy or daddy holds out their fingers and I grab on and pull myself up to standing. When I want to stand or to eat
more food (I've tried egg, rice crackers, avocado, yoghurt, carrot, tomato, cucumber, bread...). I start to whimper and mummy usually understands what I want, although she doesn't always give it to me.
Mamie and daddy went to the hardware to buy some things for their house renovations (which are still on going!) so mummy and I went for a walk around Es Castell. First we went down to the seaside below our unit and walked along a boardwalk.There were a few locals swimming amongst the boats. When we turned a corner there was a funny lady taking photos of herself with a selfie stick. She went all googoo gaga over me but I found her a bit too much! Then she came and asked mummy to take a photo. I thought she wanted a photo of me because she said I was so cute, but she wanted mummy to take a photo of her! Then she complained she was fat and put pants over her swimming togs and asked mummy to take another photo!! We bought some fruit and vegetables from the local shops on the way home and everyone spoke a funny dialect rather than Spanish to each
On 18 August, we crossed the island of Menorca in order to then take a ferry to the big island- Majorca/Mallorca. The ferry was very very big and had a mouth to gobble up cars and trucks! We got an elevator to the 7th floor where there was a café. I got to play a lot especially with a water bottle. When we arrived at Alucidia our car hire shuttle had already departed... apparently we had taken too long to dissembark. It all got resolved, and we headed to the middle of the island to a place called Binisalem. We were staying in a 300 year old Finca (ie farm house). There were lots of tight one way roads, most with stone walls.
I was put in a funny bed with wooden bars all around - I kept getting my leg stuck in the bars! I am not sure that I liked it.
We went down to the pool where Mamie read the newspaper about the Barcelona terrorist attacks whilst eating figs from the trees. I hid from the sun a bit until I discovered my first ball! It was so much fun to play with! Although
I couldn't keep track of it when daddy bounced it to Mamie and mummy! It is very difficult to hold and pick-up. Lucky I had help!! But I'll do it myself some day.
That night, we drove to Palma and emerged from the parking lot to a magnificent view of the Palma cathedral. It was huge - the biggest that I have ever seen, sitting on top a hill, illuminated by lights, and with a lake in front. There were lots of little places for musicians to play. We walked around the town. It was much busier and more modern than anything in Menorca. I was wheeled all around the old town while I slept - I think the bumpy cobblestones helped put me to sleep! When I woke up, we were at a restaurant by the sea. Mamie said it was the worst meal she had ever eaten (a 12 euro paella and tapas)!
The 19 August was dedicated to Mamie ventures - she wanted to visit the monastry at Valldemossa, the house of Robert Graves in Deia and see how much change had occurred since her last visit to Port de Sóller. At breakfast we were
given 'sobresada' (from a locally killed pig). This local delicacy, a bit like a soft salami, was a perfect complement to our bread and jams at breakfast. Unusually for me, I wasn't hungry.
We left home reasonably early and commenced a long windy drive to Valldemossa. There are much bigger hills and more water (although still arid) than Menorca. On our first pass though the village, we missed the monastery that Mamie was looking for because she kept saying "It must be higher than this, I remember you just drove up to the door". We continued along a very windy and narrow road down a steep valley to the tiny, charming port of Valledmossa. There was enough parking for 20 cars, and the village only had about 30 buildings. Despite this, there were plenty of people swimming in the mini-harbour and surge break, including mummy and daddy! Mamie waited for us in the café-restaurant which was so pretty that we decided to have an early lunch - I learnt this is called brunch. There was much ooh-ing and ah-ing over the melon and jamon dish and the sardines. The bread roll that I tried was warm, straight out of
the oven, and they even gave me one to eat in the car!
When we returned up the hill, and convinced Mamie that life was different now to 20 years ago i.e. you have park kilometres away and walk to tourist attractions, and it wasn't as high as she thought, then we found the monastery. This monastery had some 18 cells, which are now all under separate private ownership - a quirk of Spanish governance - so had different museums in different cells. The primary attractions were the beautiful vistas over the valley from the gardens of each cell, and historical information of their two most famous guests - Fredrick Chopin & George Sand. Miro was also well represented.
The road journey to Deia was incredibly pretty and both mummy and Mamie were hugely impressed. There was a sense of wildness and remoteness (certainly compared to the beaches). We found the house which Robert Graves visited, much to Mamie's pleasure. It was closed, however, so we took a short walk to just enjoy views and savoured the atmosphere before continuing our journey to Port de Sóller. I became terribly unhappy in my car seat, which forced daddy to
stop. We then saw a firey Spanish exchange, with a wife complaining about her husband as they stripped the clothes off a baby a bit older than me. I think he was probably queezy from the windy roads! Lucky I wasn't sick!
Mummy is very impressed that we can continue to drive when I get hungry - I simply chewed on some carrot and banana, then fell asleep eating a rice cracker!
Although famous, I didn't find the beach of Port de Sóller all that impressive. I must be getting spoilt, since it had nice white sand and was pretty, but it just wasn't like the others we had been to. Mummy and daddy took me for a walk and played volleyball for a bit, and I had a short swim when the sun had gone down a bit. There was music at dinner, and Mamie, mummy and daddy had a black (squid ink) paella which looked interesting.
Our little stay in Mallorca was already coming to an end. On 20 August we ventured to Formentor, before catching the ferry back to Menorca. The beach of Formentor is at the north-eastern tip of Mallorca, and is approached
by a windy and hilly road that is similar to much of the coastline near Capri, Italy. The smell of pines and dry earth brought memories back for Mamie. The beach itself has a fine white sand, and the waters a typical mediteranean azure blended with crystal clear overlays. It is one of the playgrounds for the rich and famous, where umbrellas with sun-lounge will cost in excess of 100 Euro per day!!! We only had time for a brief swim (daddy managed that) and café stop. The warm winds and beautiful views did however make the stop worthwhile.
The ferry journey back was without much adventure, except that at the ferry terminal, some muscians adopted me - they played me tunes and showed mummy photos of their little boy who was a bit older than me! There was also a little boy who rode around on a cool motorbike. He even let me have a go and daddy held me while we whizzed around the ferry terminal! It was great fun!
When we got to Ciutadella (ex. capital of Menorca), the bus was not going to arrive for another hour, so we decided to walk (with our
luggage) the 40 minute journey into town. The sun made us very warm, but everyone was in good spirits. We even walked the longer route around a headland and up the Ciutadella harbour. Mummy was starting to collapse with some sort of heat stroke, but recovered again when she found a frozen yoghurt store. I practiced drinking water from a water bottle.
In a very hurried manner, we grabbed some food to eat on the bus back to Mahón. It was another long day, but it all felt quite satisfying
We were getting into the rhythm of living in the southern mediterranean: Relaxed mornings, swimming in the pool and in the sea, reading to avoid the midday sun, afternoon shopping or making a trip, taking late dinners and then finding some music. We were beginning to be known in town, and starting to pick the differences between Spanish and Menorcian languages. Our local grocer would give us a few new words each day, and his wife commented that "He (meaning me) has traveled more of the world than I have". Cala Fonts was a prefered dinner location since we could walk there and there were many good musicians
busking. If we didn't have a music venue, then we discovered the "Es Cau" was a great place to stop and listen to local musicans as they had an open mic with a backdrop of the sea.
August 23 was our last day with Mamie, and some people were going to visit our apartment (with the view to buying it) so we needed stay nearby but not be present. We opted to have walk and read session on the nearby boat ramp. The cliffs provided pleasant shade, and the waves a soothing sound, so it wasn't long before I had a lovely long sleep.
When I awoke, we were in a shop. Mummy asked the man at the Ferretería what was the best restaurant around Es Castel. He suggested the cooperative restaurant. We walked down the street and had a look and it didn't appear to be busy, but it had a nice gardened courtyard. We decided to surprise Mamie by taking her there for dinner. What a splendid choice it turned out to be! The waiters made all the food selections for us (based loosely on statements about what we liked), we chatted and had some of
the best food of our whole trip. I didn't get to taste the Andalusian squid, anchovy cheesy brocoli or mango prawn salad, but I could see the happiness on the faces of mamie, daddy and mummy.
On 24 August mummy and daddy got up super early, before I was awake, to hire a car down the road and daddy dropped Mamie off at the airport. It is sad to think that Mamie is leaving us. I will miss her necklaces, glasses and big smiles.
When daddy returned, we all drove to a beach called Cala Galdana (but we didn't stop) and then Macarella on the other side of the island in the south. By the time we arrived, however, it was around 10am and we were told the parking was full - the streets are lined with little stone walls so impossible to park anywhere near the place! Apparently everyone in Europe is on holidays in August, so the beaches are always very full.
We drove to another beach, Platges de Son Saura. It was a nice enough beach and there was even a tree to sit under, but there were so many people!!! The walk from
the car park to the beach was also very hot and dusty, not to mention the crowds of Europeans flocking in!! Mummy and daddy tried to keep the dust out of my face and I played in the pea pod and then slept a big long sleep with daddy while mummy went swimming at the crowded beach.
We went back to Macarella, as the man had suggested, at about 4pm but the car park was still full! So we drove to Ciutadella and walked the pretty streets and did some shopping - mummy bought some pretty clothes and we got some water at the supermarket. We left for our third and final try and arrived back at Macarella at about 8pm. This time the car park was empty! Finally!
It was a long walk down a steep track to the beach which was lined on either side with cliffs. By the time we arrived, it was already dark! It would have been a pretty beach, mummy said, if it hadn't have been for the ugly hamburger joint back from the beach front. Nevertheless, mummy and daddy enjoyed their hamburgers and mummy carried me all the way back up
to the car (she must have strong arms) as I fell asleep!
The next day (25 August), Mummy slept in this while daddy took me upstairs to play. I love playing with daddy! He even took me for a fun swim in the pool! Mummy joined us in the pool and then we had a shower. We worked all morning on writing my blog because I am a bit behind (mummy and daddy help me a bit). Before we knew it, it was already 2pm!
Daddy had proposed going to the Castle after which Es Castell (where we are staying in Menorca) is named. It is actually fortifications on either side of the mouth of the harbour, at the end of which is Mahón (Maó in Menorcan). The harbour is the second longest natural harbour in the world after Pearl Harbour. We had a lovely time, me riding on daddy's shoulders, walking over the rocky ruins to a turret which we were able to go inside and climb up the stairs to the top for a magnificent view back over the harbour.
When I got back into the car seat, I was most unhappy and cried a
lot. I was too distracted to feed and just wanted to be cuddled. We stopped at a supermarket and I think Mummy got a bit sick of my crying because she handed me over to daddy. I don't think they understand how painful it is to get teeth - my second top front tooth is nearly out!!
Finally when we arrived in Cova d'en Xoroi at Cala en Porter, I had a long feed and fell asleep. When I awoke in the car seat basket, I was in a bar and mummy and daddy were talking to an English couple, Karen and Andy, who were telling stories about their son Bradley (when he fell out of their bed because Andy fell back off to sleep, when he broke a leg falling off a swing into a river). Andy was also talking about a 5 day kayaking adventure from one side of Menorca to the other (DCM kayaking). It would be good to do this venture one day when I am older.
I think Mummy and daddy were enjoying themselves, and the place looked amazing - a bar cut out of the rock in a cliff side overlooking the
sea! But I just wanted to be in bed or cuddled back off to sleep so I cried a lot and it had the desired effect - daddy cradled me back off to sleep just before the bouncer told us to leave (they told mummy and daddy they could not stay with a baby past 11pm as the place turned from a chill out lounge / bar with live music to a nightclub).
Although mummy and daddy had had pizza already before they left, the next time i awoke they were out eating another pizza! Lucky some restaurants here don't close before midnight (although most said their kitchen closed at 11.30pm).
I've decided I don't like the car seat at all and I'm going to cry whenever I'm in it. Mummy tried to feed me yogurt to put me to sleep this morning (26 August) but it didn't work! We stopped at a place before Fornells on the side of the road - I thought it was because my crying had worked but mummy and daddy put me in my backpack... yay!! We walked up a little track and then I fell asleep. We mustn't have gone far
because next time I woke we were at Fornells! Daddy had apparently tried to hire a boat but none were free so mummy and daddy had gone for a walk and ice cream instead! Fornells was another pretty harbour with whitewashed buildings, but not many trees so it was very hot!
To catch our daily dose of sun and sea, we ventured to Cavalleria beach, which had been rated as 10/10 for family friendliness (I think because it is shallow), but was known not to have much sun protection. There was quite a walk to the beach over a path that was too rugged for my pram. From the cliff top, we could see that it would be difficult, but we were going to persist since we had my pea pod. The beach sand was orange, and so hot that we had to run and cool our feet in the sea.
The pea pod was set-up under an umbrella, but was a bit precarious especially when puffs of wind came through. Mummy got frustrated when daddy went for a swim and the umbrella blew away and nearly hit the neighbours who thankfully caught it before it went any
further! Daddy sent mummy for a swim, and performed a little miracle, since when she returned the umbrella was controlled, I wasn't crying and we all sat and had some lunch. I had great fun putting my hands in the lunch / salad box and just grabbing what ever I could!! Afterwards I had a big play in the sea with daddy then mummy holding me up and taking me to the rocks so I could look at the fish. This was the nicest beach so far, for swimming anyway, but it was too hot to stay, so we moved onto another beach. At Son Saura (near Son Parc) beach, mummy and daddy took turns to swim whilst the other watched me sleep.
The day finished with a walk along a beach and around a wetland wildlife park called "Es Grau". The scenery was so different to everywhere else we had been on the island and I jumped around with glee in my backpack.
In the last three days of our stay in Menorca (27-30 August) we were keen to continue to explore the music scene in Menorca, and to explore a bit more during the day. It
proved to be a bit more hectic than we expected, but totally rewarding and worth it. Our key musical targets were: an outside performance associated with the month of music in the cloisters, jazz at the Akelarre bar and Baleric guitars in the cathedral. We added into that a visit to Isla de Rei, a night watching the Fiesta at San Luis and a visit to Cala en Porter beach!
Every Sunday there are two ferry trips to Rabbit Island / Isla del Rey, a hospital island in the middle of Mahón harbour which our apartment looks out onto. The early ferry takes people who are keen to undertake volunteer work, whilst the second is more touristic. We missed the first ferry (which leaves near us), so ventured into Mahón to catch the second. The buildings were lovely, and it was impressive to see the levels of volunteer effort that have restored the gardens, buildings and recreated this history of the island. There was room upon room of different historical reference - British who established it; nunnery, Italian escape; hospital approaches; navy church patterns; second expansion; early x-rays etc. There is much history of Lord Nelson and his many
dalliances ... and further indications that he was not all that proper, but I preferred the stories about Lord Collingwood (whose home was on our side of the harbour), and his passion for planting acorns everywhere.
After our trip, we went to see what the Akelarre Jazz bar had in store for the evening. They said there might be a saxophone player, but that the following evening there would be a great vocal / guitar player. As we went to leave, we bumped into Joesph and Margaret again, along with their friends - Isabelle & Luigi. Lunch was fun, but I was really tired and complained a lot. We heard a lot about Isabelle and Luigi's house near Fornells - it has 1000 hectares of olives and figs, a beautiful pool and lots of peacocks. They have an agrotourism licence and may set up a drone flying school.
My most memorable effort for the day was elevating myself to our coffee table height to play with pegs. I also seem to be getting the hang of moving around whilst on my front. Rotating from one shoulder seems to work 😊. Also, my 'crawling' is becoming more effective, and
taking less energy per forward shove. I still much prefer rolling, since it is fast and fun, and takes much less effort.
That night we didn't go to the jazz bar, instead we headed to a Fiesta at San Luis. The horse parade had finished earlier in the day, but a street festival with lots of floats and music was going to commence. In the fair ground, I was getting a bit uncomfortable with all the noise and sounds. It was fascinating, but equally a bit much for me. To calm me down, mummy took me down an alleyway and fed me. I had a little sleep, and when I woke up, there were way more sights and sounds. When it got too loud, mummy and daddy put their hands over my ears. You have to see the photos to see the fun, but I can say the whole village got involved. Smiling, laughter, playing music, dancing. It is great to see community spirit in full swing.
The next day we visted the beach of Cala en Porter - perhaps the closest beach to Mahón, yet a wide beach with fine white sand and crystal clear water. It
is quite magical, and I felt like a king when mummy and daddy carried me in my pram down 182 steps. There was a smidgen of shade under which to put our pea pod and umbrella combination. Mummy struggled in the heat whilst daddy went for a swim. After mummy came back from her swim, daddy took me for a super long swim. This is the longest swim that I have had. Beautiful. That evening we found our way to the Akelarre jazz bar to see Xavi Gomez on vocals with guitar. He was awesome!
On our last day, we tried not to be too ambitious since we had lots of packing to do and wanted to send a bag back to Brisbane. We had a few little swims in the pool to keep cool, and kept packing / cleaning. On the harbour, there were some beautiful tall ships sailing and dropping sail, in preparation for the Coppa del Rei "classic boats" regatta that starts tomorrow. Mummy and daddy brought me to the post office in order to send luggage to Brisbane, but the post office was closed, so we all jumped on a bus and headed to the
post office in Mahón. All sent 😊. To our surprise, the streets were alive with music. Although we wanted to finish packing and sleep, we were too tempted by the buzzing restaurants and music (adjacent to child friendly park). We stopped first at the cathedral for a Baleric guitar concert, and then went out to dinner in a local restaurant, also with live music.
After dinner, daddy ran to find me some diapers, and we rushed home nearer to midnight than desirable. Packing and cleaning was finished in the early hours of the morning, while I slept. Mummy and daddy mustn't have had much sleep as they took me out of bed super early to catch our 8am flight to Barcelona. I awoke somewhere en route, so I was full of beans at the airport. I was practicing my sitting upright on the trolley, and did lots of screeching when daddy took me for a huge shoulder flight (super fast) around the airport. Next stop is Dublin.
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