Monday September 27 2021 – Well, here we are – at the start of the final day of walking around Menorca on the Cami de Cavalls, the horses’ trail. The official distance we had to cover was 18km – the three final stages, 18-20 of the Cami de Cavalls – and for the first time for a while, we had a deadline – 5pm in the Cami360 office in Mahón. In the end, we left our studio in Binibequer Vell early, which gave us some time to wander round and take some photos of this amazing, if slightly shabby, place. Rather than bore you with all of them here, I’ve collected them into a Flickr album alongside some others I took a couple of years ago, in case you would like to take a look.
As ever, you can see the route and some photos in a summary video on Relive. I may try to merge the thirteen videos into a single, fascinating, overview. You never know your luck.
Having started out early, we realised that we were going to be on roads for much of the day. This can be a bit dull, but progress is faster; so we knew we had some slack in the schedule. This turned out to be A Good Thing.
Anyhoo, along the road towards the end of the first of today’s stages at Punta Prima, we saw some interesting houses
some interesting pedestrian crossing design
some interesting garden decoration
and some steps,
which, for once, we didn’t have to climb, thank goodness. We passed Cala Torret, which was a lovely jumble of buildings
and presaged its USP, which is a tower – watch tower, and one of several we visited during the day (hence the title).
We walked round the tower and. having spotted the entrance, decided to try the door. It was open, to the amazement not only of us, but of the lady who was inside. It turned out that this tower can be hired (for example as a youth hostel overnight place) and she was cleaning it. She actually let us go up the tower and have a look from the top, which was wonderful.
We had a great view of the Punta Prima lighthouse
and over Punta Prima to the next Tower on our route,
and down the spiral stairs! She was really delightful in giving us a lovely moment of serendipity on our final day.
We carried on around the coast towards the next town, bidding farewell to Punta Prima and its lighthouse
and its beautifully colourful coves
and, via a stop for coffee and extra breakfast which also marked the end of this short stage of the Cami
moved on to the next stage, stage 19. We actually left the road for a trail
which led past a Mystery Object
and what we think are the foundations of some military buildings once related to the tower
but, I’ll be honest, we’re guessing on that last bit. The path ran parallel to the road, across which were some buildings which looked to me like the sort of thing American architects would create as being their version of what a Spanish Villa should look like.
They looked more like something one would see in Florida rather than in Spain. Nice, but slightly out of place, somehow. The road led on, as these things often do, to the next town, and, in this case, the next tower.
This stands guard over the town of Alcalfar, which is stunningly photogenic.
We walked into and round it, past possibly the local version of Stamford Bridge.
The track beyond the town went past a magnificent bloomer
which Jane identified as Port St. John Creeper. Just thought you’d like to know. And we found another wild tortoise!
The track continued between drystone walls
past some handsome buildings
and finally led to my road
which was to lead to my cove. However, on the way there, we passed a couple of unusual things: a line of palm trees, unfortunately behind heavy gates so I couldn’t take a really satisfying picture of them (and neither, by the way, could any of group of 15 German tourists with whom we were by now entangled);
another watchtower, the Torre d’en Penjat,
which was still sufficiently fortified that, after ten minutes of unsuccessfully trying to get near it, we gave up and moved on (but the Germans didn’t; it looked like they’d found a way in, but our schedule was calling us on by this stage); and some great views of the fortifications which guard the entrance to Mahón’s extensive harbour.
So we walked down into my cove, the Cala St. Esteve, which is very pretty,
and which is the end of Stage 19, and hence the start of the final Stage of the Cami, no. 20.
This stage starts with a little bit of track, but it soon turns into road for the rest of the trail into Mahón. There are only four posts marking this first part of the stage, which means that post no. 4
is….wait for it….The Last Post. Thank you. Thank you for reading my joke.
The Cami from this point simply follows the main road into Mahón, which is a bit dull, even if you get an interesting view back to the palm trees,
but we had a small diversion planned, which was to end up by the water in a cove called Cales Fonts, which is achingly pretty
but which also – and this is important – features a place to stop for lunch called Dinkums; we knew about it because it had rescued a hot and sweaty walk two years previously. So we treated ourselves to lunch there, and it turned out our timing was spot on. As we were ready to leave, the group of 15 Germans turned up and sat themselves down – great for business, but something of a strain on the bandwidth of the waiting staff and probably the chef, too.
The reason we needed to leave was another piece of serendipity, as we had to get to Mahón, and specifically the finish of the Cami, to meet someone we’d never met before – a chap called Ian Burley, whose acquaintance I’d made online when he started following this blog and my Instagram posts about the Cami, because he was about to undertake the trail himself. You can see his Instagram posts about the Cami and other stuff here.
He started the circuit from Ciutadella a day after we’d passed through, but, being younger, fitter and much more experienced at hiking than us, was doing the whole thing in ten days, as opposed to the wimpy thirteen we’ve been taking. It turned out that he’d overtaken us in Binibequer Vell and had already reached Mahón. So, the miracle of technology and the internet meant that we could arrange to actually meet in person, rather than simply exchanging likes on social media.
So we hit the road, passing through Es Castell and its military buildings
and ignored the main road into Mahón, which was the formal Cami trail, in favour of the old road, which kept us away from the boring old traffic for a while.
But then we had to finish the route on the main road, passing the end of the harbour
and arriving into the town.
The Cami route passes along my favourite road in Mahón, the Calle Es Castell, with the trees along its centre (see the post at the start of this series), and we ended up having coffee and beer with Ian near the Tre Cavalli (Three Horses) statue where our trek had started, 13 days ago.
It was a pleasure to meet Ian – actually meeting him IRL is a great example of the good things the internet can do. He’s a very keen traveller, kayaker and hiker and you can read about his peregrinations on his blog.
For us, though, all that was left for the day was to get to the Cami360 office to pick up our baggage and our congratulatory tee shirts, and to say “thank you” to the Cami360 guys and girls who had done such a good job of keeping everything together for us – and the other several dozen groups they are supporting. Their last act of kindness was to organise a cab to take us to Ciutadella. As I type this, I am sitting in the dusk outside the lovely and superbly luxurious Can Faustino hotel, where we can relax for the next couple of days, enjoying the delights of the city – and getting ourselves Covid tested so that we’ll (hopefully) be allowed back into the UK on Thursday.
According to Garmin, we covered 15 miles today, so our total mileage for the trail has been 145 in 13 days. I suspect this is somewhat overblown; I’ll do some more detailed analysis in due course and report back.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these pages as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I will post a couple more updates over the next couple of days about our time in the city and the experience of getting Covid tested and getting (I hope) back into the UK, and I’ll include those detailed stats about our fortnight’s walking; but for the moment, this marks the end of the long trek round Menorca, the Cami de Cavalls. We’ve had a blast!