There’s just something about the sea. Mesmerizing.
some travel, some fun, all me
There’s just something about the sea. Mesmerizing.
Hola! How are you today friends? My cousin, Megan and I, went to Menorca last weekend. Where is Menorca you may ask? Well, let’s consider Mallorca the island major and menorca the island minor. It is only a hop skip and a jump away from here. There are two ferries you can catch from Alcudia (in Mallorca) to Ciutadella (in Menorca) – Balearia and Iscomar. Balearia has a faster boat which only takes 1.5 hours between each island and Iscomar boats take about 2.5 hours. Of course the faster boat is a bit more expensive but each way is anywhere between 45 – 80 euros depending on what all you want regarding speed and schedule.
Don’t you just love this little sketch I found? It is adorable! I wish we would have had more time to have seen everything. Menorca is MUCH smaller than Mallorca and I was surprised at how quickly we could get from one end of the island to the other. Let me tell you about the trip.
I decided that we would take our chances with the ferry ticket and we would purchase the round-trip ticket when we arrived in Alcudia on Friday. Why? I don’t know. Stupidity, probably. We arrived about an hour and a half before the Iscomar ferry was scheduled to leave, I asked for round-trip tickets, Friday and return on the Sunday 7:00 p.m. ferry. “Sorry, the 7:00 ferry is booked. We have the Monday ferry available?” Ahhhh, why do I do these things?!? I smiled at my cousin who may or may not have been panicking inside. We both had to work early Monday in Mallorca so that was not an option. “Two one way tickets to Menorca please.” I responded. And we got on the boat!
It was a very nice boat! We sat on the top deck in the sunshine and drank a beer while we cruised to Menorca. We arrived at the Ciutadella port a little after 19.30, jumped in a cab and went to our hotel, the Prinsotel. It was a nice hotel for a great price. The room was clean, a big pool, friendly staff and just a tad bit on the outskirts of Citutadella (about an 8 euro cab fare to the centre). We cleaned up, got ready for dinner, easily booked the 11 pm ferry back with Balearia on Sunday evening and we were off to have some food.
Ciutadella had a really fun and vibrant atmosphere going on. We headed down to the port where there is pretty much fish restaurant after fish restaurant with the same menu, maybe a pizzeria or two thrown into the mix. We choose a fish restaurant (naturally) with tables right at the edge of the port and settled in. It was lovely! There were fish jumping out of the water! Here is a picture from where I was sitting.
Gorgeous, right? After dinner we headed towards the “bar/nightclub” area around the Pla de Sant Joan. We thought JAZZBAH looked the best and it was so fun it was the only one we ventured to that night. There are three levels: the bottom level is the dance floor, the next two levels are more of a chillout area with tables that overlook the other clubs surrounding the area and the port. I ordered a POMADE, which is gin and lemonade but it was more like a lemonade slushy and it was absolutely scrumptious. I had a few more …… PARTEEEE TIME!
The next morning we ventured out of our hotel and grabbed a taxi to AVIS for our car rental. I will try to make a long story short BUT when we arrived and said we had a reservation they asked for our International Driving License. Okay, yes, I read in all the books that you should have one but NEVER in my 7+ years of living in Europe have I ever been asked for one – this is including being pulled over my Spanish Policia plenty of times. I argued and stated what I just told you but they stood their ground. So, last time I reserve a car with Avis in Europe. I had them call us a taxi and funnily enough it was the same taxi guy that dropped us off! He asked, “Que pasa?” and I explained the situation back to him in Spanish. WhoHoo for ME! He took us to Europcar and we had no problem renting a car with them. So off we went.
To a gorgeous beach on the Northern coast – Cala d’Algariens. If you go, don’t park in the first parking area keeping driving down that bumpy dirt road, there is a parking area much closer to the beach. We arrived, walked about 10 minutes until we got to the beach, walked down the wooden steps and crashed. We were tired, possibly a bit hungover (those Pomades!) and it was freaking hot. But check out the view.
The water was cold! And it gets deep pretty fast. But it was an expansive beach with room for everyone. Come and visit! After a couple of hours chillaxing we figured we should drive to the other end of Menorca and check-in to our hotel, shower up and grab some food. We opted for a quiet night in Mahon from partying it up the night before.
We finally checked into the Catalonia Mirador des Port. I say finally because they are many one way streets and it was difficult for us to find the correct street that would actually take us there! Possibly you could chalk that up to be hungover… Anyways, I was extremely disappointed in the hotel. While the reception woman was very nice and breakfast (for an extra 8 euros each) was fine, the room reeked of cigarette smoke and everything was out-dated. Regardless, we unpacked and walked around the Mahon port area. It was much quieter than Ciutadella. But sweet and tranquilo. We stopped by the restaurant Casanova (Moll de Ponent 15) for a huge personal wood-fired oven pizza. Delicious! Just what I was needing.
We had big plans for the next day – the horse festival in Es Mercadal (my favorite festival so far!), a cool bar on the cliffs of Cala En Porter and a beach on the Southern coast. Check back soon for Menorca Part Dos! Gracias!
So it started off pretty uneventful. Caught the 8 a.m. flight to Paderborn, made a quick stop in Detmold to eat a brötchen with meerrettich (horseradish) Miree and I was off.
Felix bought me a fancy schmancy navigation thing (Navigon) and it was perfect! No worries on where to turn, was I supposed to take the A1 or was it the A5?? As I settled into the new car I jammed out to my CD mix of country and new downloads from iTunes, plus Felix downloaded the new Beastie Boys – yeah yeah right right. Okay! Just buy it already.
The ride was sweeeet! Nice car. I drove from 2 p.m. until about 10:30 when I spotted a hotel sign around the French town of Dommartin les Cuiseaux. Just look for the huge chicken statue (at the Aire du Poulet de Bresse) and you can’t miss it. It was a highway area with hotel (Etap), cafeteria, gift store, etc. I went to see if they had vacancy for lil ole me and the sign at the “front desk” directed me to go to the sandwich store. Even late at night there were three people waiting to get a sandwich, when it was my turn I asked for a room. “Oui, follow me.” An inexpensive 40 euros later and I was in my room.
I wasn’t expecting anything much, there were two doors in my room. One was for my port -o- potty looking toilet and the other with the similar look and feel, my shower. But my room!! Oh my gosh, much excitement to be held.
Are you KIDDING ME!?!? A bed AND a bunk bed!? I couldn’t decide, the bed seemed nice and comfy but how cool to sleep in a bunk bed, in France. Hmmm, I wonder what bunk bed is in french? Moment ~ lits superposés. Okay, I will never remember that. Next time in France, pardon, do you have una chambre avec les lits superposés? Ah yeah, that minor in french is really working for me now. I was so overwhelmed with my sleeping arrangement choices that I switched every 15 minutes. (That is a joke my friends)
The next day I was up early and back on the road by 9:30. I was wanting to get to Barcelona at a decent hour to do a little shopping on Paseo de Gracia. I really needed a new bikini for the summer and a stop at Kiehl’s (LOVE) was in order.
I was in France for most of the day. The tolls! Don’t even get me started. For one, totally outrageous. I think I spent about 60 euros on tolls in France. But my most embarrassing (not to mention frustrating) moment was when I pulled into the line where I could pay with a credit card. When I got up there I put in my Visa. Spit it out. No toll gate going up. My other card. Nope. Then I see VISA and MASTERCARD with a line going through them. How is it possible they don’t accept Visa or MC? What is WTF in french? I pushed the help button. Nothing. I motioned to the people behind me (because of course there was a line forming) that I needed to back up. Or something. Did they have a gun? Not for me, for the machine.
This cute lil old man from the car behind me walked up to try to help. He spoke French to me, I spoke Spanish to him. (I was having a meltdown). FINALLY the gate raised. The gate controllers must have had a really nice laugh. You are welcome. The lil man said, “C’est bon!” I said “Gracias!” and I was back on my way. Note to all foreign travelers at all tolls – just go to the person in the booth.
Spain couldn’t get there fast enough. And then I was in Barcelona with billions of cars and 18 streets going off each round-about. Finally, I made it to the hotel, the Gran Torre Catalunya. From the outside it looks very uninviting, but it was a good price and for an extra charge of 10 euros I was bumped up to the 12th floor. I would have liked the view of Montjuic better but I didn’t mind what I had.
There is a restaurant on the top floor that overlooks Barcelona and a main transit station is almost next door. It is at a very busy area and I thought it would be louder but maybe since I was up on the 12th floor (instead of originally on the 3rd) it was quiet. Of course the occasional taxi horn here and there but you will get that almost anywhere in Barcelona. I tried to motivate myself to go to Paseo Gracia. I opened the minibar, had an Estrella beer, changed into my new maxi dress, sandles and left. I decided a brisk walk would be just what I needed, but after 20 min of walking I realized I still had at least an hour more to go and I changed my plans.
Plaza Espanya was close by so I headed back in that direction. Once I got there I realized the old bullfighting arena was there (no more bull fights in BCN) and I heard it was turned into apartments but there were people going in and out, so, I ventured in. It was … a MALL – Las Arenas. A really nice mall, lots of bright stores, a 12-screen cinema and at the very top was the rooftop terrace. From the terrace you could overlook Fira Montjuic and the Palau Reial while eating sushi or burgers or chinese. The view with my bowl of Miso soup:
I was up early again to find my way to the port. I won’t bore you with my frustration but this time Navigon was not helping, at least not at the minute necessary moments… But I made it! The last time I was on the ferry it was from Palma to BCN and it was in November. I figured it would be the same, no seating outside, just hanging out for eight hours wandering the expanse of the boat. But I was wrong! After my much needed late breakfast of salad, chicken and french fries all doused with vinegar I walked outside and at the end I found people sunbathing on cheap plastic white lounge chairs. There weren’t any chairs available by the time I discovered where everyone was but after watching two abandoned chairs I finally took one when nobody came back to claim them in 34.7 minutes.
It was me in my tanktop and rolled up pants surrounded by people in bathing suits (apparently I missed that memo), and naturally, the car convention.
And then finally after eight hours on the ferry, a sight for my sore, traveling tired eyes. Le Seu, the cathedral in Palma.
I was home.