I found you by accident, anxiously searching a map for the magic of [the] locale that would leap from my screen, grab me and say ‘you belong here.’ I love maps, I think it’s because when my sister and I were little our parents would insist on us learning where we were so that we couldn’t persist in asking them how far we had to go during long road trips. I like road trips. They leave so much time and space for unknown, accidents, surprises and impress a more mortal grasp of the earth’s expanse. Flying is quick and impersonal, driving is entangled with nature.
I flew to you from London. This tiny little island that everyone insists is Mallorca or Ibiza, but you’re not, either. Direct, a direct flight. Easy, smooth and full of happy relaxed people going on vacation. You had no idea if the dad across the way was an uptight financial businessman because he was in flip-flops and a bucket hat. The woman sitting next to me, in the middle seat, decked out. Her hair was thick and long, perfectly blown out and curled, just colored. Her nails were fresh and her makeup was layered like a fortress against the impending heat and humidity. She had that quaffed sweet London accent, like she was too good for you, but understood the social necessity of polite engagement. Probably didn’t speak any Spanish.
I landed and you greeted me with a nod of leisurely warmth. You scooped me up and carried me along at my personal pace. It was as if I was home, a home I have known before. I had been here, I have known these people, they knew me. It was almost too easy. My Spanish came with a nervous stutter, but I spoke strong and certain. Almost instantly I felt more comfortable speaking Spanish than I have speaking English in London for the last 9 months. People were kind, unhurried and gracious. I know, as a hospitality person, that’s standard in a tourist town, but I can’t help believing that there was a little extra something special.
Transportation; Menorca, please, you have this in the bag. I couldn’t be more grateful for the ease with which you have covered your island with consistent and timely air-conditioned coaches. I never had a problem getting to and from anywhere, and the drivers were so kind and easy going, and the fare was inexpensive. Thanks to this thoughtful service I was able to go to a couple of the island’s best beaches, see ruins and visits other towns.
The first night I was there, I dropped my things off in Hostel Menorca and walked to Playa Gran in Ciutadella. If you walk along the path of the water’s edge, up the ridge, there’s space to lay out and cliff jump into crystal clear blue water. Worth it, especially close to sunset. The second day I took a bus to Cala Galdana. Although the beach here is packed full of umbrellas and chairs, there’s a hiking trail not too far away that takes you to Cala Mitjana. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the top to the beach, but it’s for the strolling type. It’s peaceful, set it the trees and paved. The beach, although packed and a bit trash-ridden, was secluded and beautiful. There were a bunch of hiking trails, cliff jumping, snorkeling and fresh fruit for sale. The third day, my favorite, was Cala Morell, La Morella. Stunning, set in the oldest cliffs, true Mediterranean style with white stucco buildings and red clay decks by the sea cove. The wind and waves were wild beyond the inlet, you could see them crashing into the cliffs as they came around the corner calming gently before arriving at the steps of the ladder. The boats in the harbor swayed delicately, the wind whipped cooly and it sprinkled effortlessly. I had a whole pizza to myself at the highest restaurant above the cove, only a secluded stone pathway hidden along the ridge. No name, nothing I could see. The best pizza I’ve had. I walked the ancient ruins and smelled the stone rooms hoping that someone, an ancient ancestor maybe, would visit me. I kind of feel like they did, like they shared my peacefulness the whole time I was there. It was perfect.
The food was delicious, extraordinarily delicious! I took myself out to the boardwalk, along the harbor, with all the bustling of lights and dressed up families panicking for a table at the best restaurant on the strip, outside, with a view of the lights. I went to the fanciest, the most well known. S’Amarador. I had anchovies and muscles found in Menorca. I had a few glasses of wine and sat at a gorgeous table for two at the edge of the outdoor patio. The most coveted of tables and I was elated. My server was so kind and gracious and I enjoyed every second of my evening. Later, I shopped ferociously, I hunted the best gifts and spent more money than I intended, but I feel like a goddess in my Menorca sandals and jewelry and I’m happy to have come home from such a wonderful experience with adornments for my family that will make them feel the same kind of magic.
Menorca, you are remarkable. I hope you remain small, keep your beaches and sea as clean as you can and I hope you remain intuitively sweet. I will never forget the moments connecting with each person who made me feel safe and welcomed. It was such a beautiful gift and I hope I can repay tenfold in the future.
Thank you, Menorca