Monthly Archives: September 2012

Menorca 2012

Day 1 Friday 31st August
Alarm 5:15. Left home just before 6 o’clock and reached the airport in plenty of time: just as well, because when we presented ourselves at the car park reception, I discovered that I’d somehow managed to book only one week’s parking — major panic! Somewhat surprisingly, I felt, the staff seemed to have no ready-made procedure to handle this; surely I’m not the first idiot to get his dates wrong? Eventually, it was agreed by phone to the booking department that my only option was to leave the car and be prepared to pay a humongous overstay charge on our return. Great start to the holiday, then!
Baggage drop uneventful (had checked-in online beforehand, and so avoided check-in queue) and Fastlane through security again proved well worth the £7 fee. So we had about an hour to eat our egg butties, in accordance with tradition, and mooch around the shops, before boarding on time and taking off more-or-less on schedule.
Good flight, though a little lumpy over the Pyrenees; the pilot informed us as we began our approach that there were strong northerly winds and the landing mighty be  touch bumpy, and he was not wrong (though I have known worse).
Lunch at the Arenal beach bar, again in line with tradition, where we found to no great surprise that the northerly wind was indeed strong, and blowing up a fairly lively sea. After shopping for provisions at the Spar in Mercadal, which has changed somewhat, and not for the better, we arrived at the apartment around 4 o’clock. Huge seas rolling in, with much noise and spray.
Weather not great so far, and looking to worsen, but the forecast is more promising as the week progresses, so we must make the best of it and be thankful we have a reasonably long stay.
Pork loin and mushrooms for tea.

Day 2 Saturday 1st September
Grotty weather: much wind, some rain, occasional glimpses of sun.
Drove into Mahon and had a walk around and a beer. Bought palo crema for tea to cheer ourselves up. Got rather wet walking back to the car.
Spaghetti with corned-beef and runner bean sauce for tea.

Day 3 Sunday
Woke to sunshine and a more hopeful-looking sky, though still very windy: generally not a bad day weather-wise, but considerable improvement still required!
To Fornells around midday; had coffee in the square and toured a couple of shops. We both want new “Menorcan sandals” (Avarcas) and I needed to buy a belt, having omitted to pack one for my shorts; managed to resolve the latter and saw some possible option for the sandals.
Tea at Es Cactus: the menu del dia at EUR14.50 very good value, with a reasonable house red at EUR8.95. Both started with king prawns, six large and juicy individuals grilled in butter and a little garlic; then pork loin with a cheese sauce to JL and most acceptable entrecote steak for me; finished with a good creme caramel and a disappointing creme brulee (looking back at last year’s blog, I see that this should have been anticipated).

Day 4 Monday
Promising start to the day: some good spells of sunshine and the wind slightly abated (or is that wishful thinking?) but it deteriorate after lunch.
Hung around home in the morning, with a visit to local supermarkets for bread and a couple of other odds and ends. Made use of the free wifi at Es Cactus (password ESCACTUS2012).
Following lunch and the inevitable siesta, drove into Mercadal to find a replacement tube light for the kitchen area. Came upon a useful fruiteria just near the Spar. Home as the rain began to spit, but thankfully it came to nothing.
Beefburgers, beans and fried potatoes to tea

Day 5 Tuesday
Started badly, weather-wise, with rain quite heavy for most of the morning; things improved lunchtime onwards and ended with the hope that tomorrow’s forecast of full sunshine might be fulfilled.
Hung around home most of the morning, catching up on email to Tophes; ventured out for bread towards midday, and had a run into Fornells for some odds and ends from the Spar and  a beer in the square.
Christine came to hand over some odds and ends, and to say farewell in case we miss them in the morning.
Chicken-in-a-bag for tea with couscous and sweet corn. Actually got a reasonably nice sunset to end the day.

Day 6 Wednesday
Things are looking up! Bright start to the day, leading to sunshine with only the occasional cloud.
To church in Es Castel as usual. Michael Bunce having departed some time in July, the church is temporarily in the hands of a new Michael while the process of appointing a new chaplain takes place; could take a year or more, apparently. The new Michael is a very nice old chap: softly but well spoken vicar of the old style, I would say.
Beer at the Rising Sun after church, then on to Es Grau for lunch. Surprisingly quiet at Bar Es Moll, but tapas enjoyable as ever, washed down with a couple of glasses of rosado.
Home for a swim in the pool!! Quite sure it’s the first time we’ve gone as far as Day 6 before saying that.
Pizza at Es Cactus for tea

Day 7 Thursday
Another sunny day — this is more like it!
Hung around home most of the day, apart from a bit of shopping.
Jacky (of Jacky-and-Peter) stopped by for a chat. They have been in Es Castel for a week at a friend’s apartment, but didn’t greatly enjoy it, I think, having got the extreme heat at the tail end of August followed by the grotty stuff that we arrive to at the end of last week.
Steak (from Eroski in Mahon) for tea, with a pepper sauce that was a touch too peppery, Christine’s mixed veg and jacket potato.

Day 8 Friday
Good grief — one third into the holiday already. Weather again pretty good, though with a couple of spells of cloud.
Again stayed home all day. Walked up to the top supermarket (by Es Cactus) for lunch bread and to buy their last two lemon ice creams; very hot — we feared for the ice creams, but they seemed to survive the walk back: straight into the pool to cool off
Contemplated a dip in the sea late afternoon, but it looked a bit choppy, so wimped out.
Duck breast (again from Eroski) with peas and fried potatoes; and the lemon ice creams, of course.

Day 9 Saturday
Sunny all day. Swam twice in the sea — almost a mill pond.
Checked out the leather shop that Christine talked about, just at the top of the hill past Red Indian Rock on the main road coming out of Es Mercadal towards Mahon: good range of shoes, including avarcas that looked better than the ones we’ve seen in Fornells, but none that seemed to take JL’s fancy; also some very nice leather jackets with no price tags!
To Na Marga for tea. JL had lamb chops, which looked very good; Gazapo (“young rabbit”) for me — turns out there’s not a lot of meat on a young rabbit! Both had had Quatro Texturas de Chocolate for afters: excellent. The cook and rest of the staff unchanged (we take them to be family members, though we have no grounds for this — it’s just the way we choose to picture them).

Day 10 Sunday
Pre-breakfast swim for the first time this year — water absolutely perfect.
To Es Cactus late morning for the free wi-fi: finally managed to get renewal of domain sorted, plus DropBox password reset — why does some technological complication always arise when away from the home internet connexion?!
The Wrights arrived at No. 010 midday.
Swam in the sea again. Had planned to snorkel, but found the rubber has perished so had to abandon that idea: is it worthwhile trying to buy new gear?
Corned beef hash for tea.

Day 11 Monday
Lazy morning at home, once we had cleaned up the remains of all the miniature flies that had invaded the previous evening.
Most pleasant lunch at the bar La Cantina in Port d’ Addaia: burger for me (very large!) and ham omelette sandwich for JL.
Brief sighting of a large bird catching fish just off-shore, heading off in the direction of Fornells. Osprey perhaps?
Microwaved frozen pasta ready-meals for tea — definitely a good find (at the Mercadal Spar).

Day 12 Tuesday
Definite sighting of Osprey passing by this morning, hovering and searching, but finding nothing to eat on this occasion.
To Fornells around midday to order paella for tea and to reserve a table for Saturday evening.
Paella from Es Cranc for tea. Pretty good, as ever, but I’m inclined to wonder whether we are in danger of doing this just for the sake of form — can’t honestly say it would break my heart to drop this particular tradition: there’s really far too much of it for two people, and I end up stuffing it away just to avoid wasting too much.

Day 13 Wednesday
Church in the morning. The new temporary vicar missing, on a trip to England to sort out the builders working on the house he just bought, so we were treated to our first experience of the Reserved Sacrament liturgy.
After the usual beer at the Rising Sun, made our way to Canutells for a nice swim in the sea followed by lunch of sardines and fries.
Home to find the wind beginning to rise; by early evening the clouds had set in and rain was forecast, though it never came before we went to bed.
Tea of chicken portions with rice and sweet corn, in process of cooking which, the microwave blew up!

Day 14 Thursday
Woke to furious winds once more, and the sea crashing in ferociously again. No morning swim today!
To Fornells to return the paella pan to Es Cranc and to draw more cash from hole-in-the wall. Coffee in the square and one or two essentials from the Spar. Then drove up to the Tower to observe the sea pounding into the harbour in a manner we have never seen before; wind almost too strong the stand against.
Decided to pack a picnic lunch and head south in the hope of calmer conditions. In fact though, arrived at Santo Tomas to find the sea was far from calm there, and the wind pretty wild there too, but not in the same league as the north coast. Ate our lunch on a convenient bench (facilities have been improved quite a lot since our last visit there) and a leisurely beer in the bar/restaurant. Wandered on the beach and had a bit of a paddle and lay in the sun for a while — couldn’t be bothered to change for swimming. Home via Ferreries.
Es Cactus for tea. Wrights in attendance. JL prawns and duck leg, then almond cake; mussels and “roast lamb” for me with creme caramel to finish.

Day 15 Friday
Still windy.
To Ciutadella.
Lunch at Cala Santandria: ravioli stuffed with salmon and spaghetti with seafood and chilli.
Diverted by forest fire on the way home
Pork loin for tea

Day 16 Saturday
Weather improving again; still a bit breezy.
Spent time at Es Cactus looking for sermon material/inspiration
The Wrights said goodbye and handed over some mundane leftovers; departing early tomorrow.
Es Cranc for tea. JL melon with port wine and grilled prawns for main; fish soup followed by grilled angler fish for me; both finished with cheese cake.

Day 17 Sunday
Weather pretty calm, but not inspired for early morning swim
Worked on sermon a bit
Hung around home
Young Spanish couple departed
Chilli con carne for tea with expensive (overpriced) ice creams for pud

Day 18 Monday
Early morning swim
More sermon work
Jackie delivered a few leftovers
Lunch and afternoon at home. Swam in the sea with new mask and snorkel.
Jacquie a Peter depart
Na Marga for tea

Day 19 Tuesday
Early swim — well not that early actually, since we didn’t wake until 8:40!!
Abortive trip to Ferreries to check out Jaime Mascaro for shoes: obviously avarcas are a bit too down-market for their clientele! The cheapo place that used to be just nearby has closed down too, so we hightailed it back to Christine’s recommended outlet at Red Indian rock. JL settled for a pair of plain navy avarcas; after some umming-and-ahhing about the size, the assistant convinced us it was better to have size 39, even though a bit tight: she assured us they could be persuaded to fit if you put them in the freezer overnight! Made ourselves known to the owner (Suzanne) as friends of Christine.
Via the Cami d’en Kane to Allaior then on the Addaia for lunch — I fancied tapas, but JL not enthusiastic, so we ended up repeating last week’s selection (Day 11): boy those hamburgers are big! (as were the glasses of a most acceptable rose).
Home for a swim and a nap. Contemplated a dip in the sea late on, but decided not — should’ve taken the chance while I had it (see Day 20)!
Risotto al funghi for tea: two frozen microwave packets we bought last week — in the absence of a microwave, just heated in frying pan; quite acceptable.

Day 20 Wednesday
Wind has returned overnight. No early swim today! Cloudy start and almost chilly at times, but improving later with sun and blue skies afternoon, but no let-up in the wind.
To church in Es Castell for the last time this year. Pro-tem vicar has returned and the reader chappy had remembered me saying I would read, so was handed a chunk of Proverbs. Reasonable congregation, including a couple of faces we didn’t recognize.
Beer at Rising Sun not totally enjoyable, due to being in the shade and windy. Shopped at Eroski in Mahon again. Decided to abandon lunch at Es Grau because it was cloudy and rather uninspiring; sun beginning to break through by the time we got home, but too late to change our minds.
Afternoon at home
Tea of duck breast with fried potatoes and sweetcorn, served with garlic mushroom and cream sauce; fresh strawberries and creme fraiche for afters.

Day 21 Thursday
Sea still crashing, but some let-up in the wind during the day.
At home all day — tidying up and packing.
To Es Cactus for tea
The end is nigh . . .

Day 22 Friday
Up in time for a final pre-breakfast swim.
Finished packing, which took longer than planned!
Departed for airport 11:05; arrived 11:40, with stop for petrol.
Check-in took about 20 minutes, so we had time for a beer and sandwich, and a browse in duty-free, before lifting off 4 minutes ahead of schedule.
Good flight home, with very reasonable in-flight meal.
Landing in Manchester with a temperature of 11 degrees and rain was a bit of a shock to the system! — somewhat alleviated by getting away without any car park surcharge : -)

So all-in-all, another jolly good holiday: we really are most fortunate to have been able to do this for so many years — this being the 25th anniversary of our first Menorca holiday, and the 14th successive year at this location!