This photo was taken by my brother, who lives on Menorca in 2007, during a very happy holiday with my son. Every year from when Alex was four months old we went out to stay with Graeme on this lovely Mediterranean island. We stayed in Es Castell, outside Mahon, the capital of Menorca, and spent most of our days either on one of the many beaches or pottering about the harbour in Mahon. Gra was usually at work on one of the many luxury yachts moored in the harbour and we occasionally went aboard to get a taste of the high life!
Our favourite beach was Alcaufar, only a short drive from the flat, with a charming hotel overlooking the sheltered sandy bay, which was perfect for children and families. Often my Mum would come out to stay as well, and I have vivid memories of her sitting on the balcony overlooking the beach, reading a book, whilst Alex paddled in the shallow water and I sunbathed. Colourful fishing boats bobbed about and locals chatted outside their white-painted holiday homes which line one side of the inlet.
Gra has an old ex-army Willies Jeep and when he had time off we’d zoom around the island with the roof off and the windscreen down, with the breeze keeping us cool as we explored the many beaches, pre-historic sites and attractive villages. One day Gra took Alex onto some wasteland and let him have a go at driving the Jeep – great fun for them both but a bit nerve-wracking for Mum!
Menorca is renowned for its excellent sailing conditions and my Dad (who’d originally bought the flat my brother now lives in) had a little yacht which we took out sometimes, mainly up to the mouth of Mahon harbor to a bay beside Fortress Isabel. After we sold it, Gra usually managed to get us a trip on a friend’s boat and on one memorable occasion we went out on the ‘Red Rocket’ which was a fast as it sounds.
The island has many connections with Britain as it was a valuable strategic position in the Med but its history goes way back to pre-history. We spent many hours wandering round the ancient Taulas and Talyots that are scattered all over Menorca, as well as the Naveta des Tudons, a boat-shaped funery monument on the way to the old capital, Ciudadella. This city has impressive Moorish architecture and a lively port.
Menorca is famous for its fiestas and the beautiful black Menorcan horses that parade through the towns and rear up on their hind legs. One summer we went to see one of the Equestrian shows and we were able to get up close to these maginficent animals. I never managed to get a ride on one but maybe one day …
My brother’s apartment is in Es Castell, which is a few minutes walk from the attractive fishing harbour of Calas Fons. It has a great view overlooking the Agamenon Hotel and Mahon Harbour. Many an evening, after Alex had gone to bed, we’d sit on the little balcony with a gin and tonic and watch the boats sail by, including some big cruise ships.
Very soon I will be returning to Menorca for the first time in six years. I can’t wait to see what has changed there, and more importantly, what hasn’t. I’ll be staying in Cala Galdana for the first few days, then back with my brother for a week. You can follow my return visit with Spanish Tourism via #mustseemenorca.