Tag Archives: Tourism

Cami de Cavalls day 18 – Departure day and final thoughts

Saturday 2 October 2021 – We’ve been home for a couple of days, so now that we’ve caught up with the unpacking, washing and ironing, and are starting once more to get used to the rhythms of life at home – which don’t sadly, involve drinking gin every day – I thought I’d reflect on our final day in Menorca, the journey home and any other rambling that occurs to me.

We were due to be taken to the airport by taxi at 1345, which gave us the morning to fill. Although we’d seen pretty much all that Ciutadella had to offer the tourist, it’s such an attractive city that we went wandering round anyway.  This was last Thursday, 30th September; when we visited Menorca previously in 2019, October 1 was the date when all the bus services beyond the main route connecting the large towns was suspended, as this was officially Out Of Season.  So it was interesting to note, as we walked around in the harbour, that some of the restaurant umbrellas were being jetwashed.

Now, it may be that this is a standard practice for a Thursday, in preparation for the weekend; or it may be that this was an end-of-season activity, preparing to put things away for the winter. We don’t rightly know, but it had a slightly sad valedictory feel to it, somehow.

We carried on wandering around, noting a couple of other quirky artworks.

(The chap with the plunger was connected to a drawing of a pile of TNT.) We’d bought a couple of bottles of the local gin to take home with us, because we know that, unlike much booze that is consumed on holiday in The Foreign, Xoriguer gin travels well.  So we complemented it with a purchase of some sobrasada, the local sausage meat which figures prominently in Balearic recipes, particularly tapas. Let’s see if that travels as well, eh?

After a final farewell coffee in Es Pou, it was time to get back to the hotel and await the cab to the airport.  From there on, the travels went perfectly smoothly, with the minimum of time wasted standing in a queue waiting for the check-in desk to open.  The flight was on time – well done, EasyJet – perfect punctuality for both outward and return journeys and a perfect amount of gin and junk food available for purchase on board – and the UK passport gates seemed to be talking to the other Covid systems so we wafted through the border with no queue at all and without having to show any paperwork beyond our passports.  My bag was number 19 on the conveyor, with Jane’s not too far behind, the taxi was not only awaiting us but had enough fuel to get us home, and so we entered our front door some 80 minutes after the plane touched down, which was nice.  The 15°C temperature and the steady rain was less so, but it was still good to get home and find it still standing.  No-one had raided our cars for fuel, either, which was comforting.

The only fly in the ointment was our Day 2 Covid test back in the UK.  We’d booked it and DPD were supposed to deliver it, but failed because their driver (who I’m pretty sure has delivered to us before) got us confused with the nursing home at the end of our track.   The UK government web pages don’t specify what you’re supposed to do if the test delivery is cocked up. And anyway the rules change on Monday.  We’ve both taken Lateral Flow tests (negative) and have a full audit trail of the efforts we’ve been to to get a test delivered in a timely fashion, and I have no idea whether The Men From The Ministry will follow up in any way.  We’ll just do the PCR tests assuming that DPD don’t cock up again on Monday, but it was very frustrating.

So, here we are, back home, and here I am on a rainy Saturday in Surrey, with the temperature at 13°C outside, thinking final thoughts about a memorable 18 days.

  • It’s been a great experience; although we’d recreated the mileage a year ago, it was pleasing to know that we could still take this sort of mileage in our stride.  Although we did less vertical ascent than last year, we found this year generally harder going; the heat was one factor and the surface underfoot was another which made this year’s exertion greater.
  • The pattern of the days was different from my original expectations. Like last year’s re-creation, I had hoped to be able to walk about half of each day’s distance, find a hostelry of some sort, have a drink and some lunch and then finish the walk.  As it turned out, with only a couple of exceptions, we did all of the walking without breaks of any pith or moment. The heat had a lot to do with that – we wanted to get the walking done before the day got too hot.
  • The exercise emphasised to me what a wonderful thing the human metabolism is.  On our longer walks in the UK, ones on which we take water with us, it is not unusual for me to have to dive off into the bushes for a discreet pee.  Over a fortnight of walking in the heat, despite taking on a fair bit of water as I walked, not once did I feel the need to relieve myself; and I never got dehydrated, either.  My bodily systems just sent the water where it was needed, including as sweat to try to keep me cool.  It nearly succeeded in that last. Nearly.
  • One of the great things about this holiday was the fact that we could indulge ourselves with slightly too much to eat and drink (what’s a holiday for if not that?) and not come back half a stone heavier than when we left. Garmin Connect estimates that covering the Cami used up 18,625 calories, which converts to just over 5lb in weight.  I have arrived back weighing pretty much the same as when I left the UK.
  • Would we go back to Menorca?  Actually, probably not, not at least in the foreseeable future.  It’s a lovely place and I’m glad we (a) visited and (b) went back; but we’ve now seen a great deal of what the island has to offer, and there are plenty of other places in the world we haven’t yet been to that I think now have a higher priority (particularly whilst we have our health and mobility).
  • Would we recommend it?  Yes.  The island’s a delight, the Cami360 team do a great job, and I would unhesitatingly recommend it as a walking holiday, though I think it wouldn’t be wise to undertake it in the heat of August.  Apart from anything else, they need tourists – we were quite surprised at how few English voices we heard, and one of our taxi drivers was quite vocal about the excessive number of Spanish tourists that have visited this year.  Covid has had quite an impact it would seem.
  • Photography note: I could have taken my Big Camera with me, but didn’t.  I trusted that a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 would do a good enough job and it has.  I also had a small video camera with me (DJI Pocket 2, since you ask) but I only used it once and actually the phone would have done a pretty good job if necessary. The light was normally perfectly good, there weren’t any tricky wildlife shots or other unusual circumstances where a more capable camera would have been needed, with the one exception of the Cova des Coloms, where I would have liked to have with me a camera that could cope with a bigger range of light.  But one photo out of a couple of thousand doesn’t in my mind justify having to lug the extra weight, particularly in that heat.

Here’s a map of where we actually walked. The various colours are assigned by Garmin depending on the speed we walked.

So there we are – another holiday over and another set of blog pages satisfactorily drafted.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I have had writing them.  There’s still a lot of uncertainty about international travel so our plans for future trips are still somewhat fluid.  But I plan to be back among these pages with more photos and commentary and I would be delighted to have your company whenever that happens.

For now, stay well!

 

Cami de Cavalls day 17(2) – Molified

Wednesday September 29 2021, evening – We’d just got to the point where we were on our way out for an evening meal at the Moli des Comte; this place.

On the way there, I took the opportunity for a few more photos of Ciutadella in the late afternoon light.

The Municipal Market was a nice source of cityscape-type shots.

We got to the Moli in time for a gin (OK, two) before we ate – in typical Spanish style, the earliest time that dinner was served was 8pm. The inside of the place is delightful

and I don’t feel I can explain its story any better than its menu does:

As we got towards 8pm, more and more people were congregating, obviously also expecting to get a table at 8pm. At about 19:59:30, all of a sudden there was a concerted rush for the restaurant area, and I have to confess that Jane and I were caught slightly on the back foot, to the extent that several people got there before we did. However, it did seem that they’d been expecting this rush and so they got everyone seated and menued very quickly.  In fact, the whole thing was very quick – too quick, actually.  We took our seats at 8pm, had starters, main course and coffee – and were back out on the street before 9pm.  The food was very good, but an extra few minutes to appreciate the experience would have improved it enormously.  It’s not as if they were packed out or anything; they just got on with it very swiftly.  This is a bit of a shame.

However, our mild discomfiture is to your advantage, because it meant we had to wander about the city whilst the meal settled.  So, guess what?  Yep, lots more photos, you lucky people, and actually the first set of night photos of Ciutadella I’ve taken.  It was very interesting, seeing it during the evening and picking up the various vibes.  Unsurprisingly, it looks good at night.

and there’s a lively vibe at just a few seconds after 9pm(!)  The central square was, as one would expect, very animated,

and the Municipal Market was a happening place

and it was here that we noticed that a lot of places had queues of people waiting for a table. Given the apparently almost limitless supply of places to eat – they put tables out everywhere –

it was a bit of a surprise to find some places with significant queues and busy tables

and others almost bereft of customers.

Our favourite fish place, S’Amarador, was, unsurprisingly, very busy.

So we completed our paseo and headed back to the hotel.  Tomorrow is the day for our journey home.  I will report on it, particularly if there’s any excitement about getting into the country or, indeed, getting home from the airport given difficulties finding fuel, etc.  So stay tuned and find out how it all ended up.

Cami de Cavalls day 17 (1) – The Rain In Spain

Wednesday 19 September 2021 – Before I get on to any further details of What We Did On Our Holiday, I thought it was worth reporting that both Jane and I were declared free of the dreaded lurgy by the Spanish authorities, which means we are free to leave the country tomorrow. So, we had just one more full day in the delightful city of Ciutadella.

The weather has been lovely these past couple of days – sunshine and not too much humidity.  The Met Office forecast for today, though, suggested a 40% chance of a light shower.  So when this happened

 

 

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it was a bit of a surprise, not least for the hotel.  The restaurant is in an open courtyard, and has many umbrellas and suchlike devices for shade; but these were not equal to the task of withstanding this deluge.  After the rain stopped, we went to get breakfast and were confronted with scenes of mild chaos.  I have a suspicion that the restaurant is a little undermanned (like the hospitality industry everywhere, really), as the staff there always seem to be scurrying to keep up; so when half the tables and chairs were soaked (and, I might add, cornering at speed in the courtyard was a tad perilous), they were really struggling.  So we went back to our room for half an hour to let them catch up, and when we went back things were somewhat better, though not completely under control. The practical upshot is that we got our Earl Grey and I got my Marmite, so this, along with our clean bill of health, made for a reasonable start to the day.

Ciutadella is a lovely city;  we know this from a previous visit and time here during the Cami walks, and it is the reason we had decided to stay here for a couple of days’ relaxing after our exertions.  Actually, this was possibly a very slight tactical error.  Yes, it’s lovely, but it’s also quite small, and we’d by now explored most of the easily-accessible nooks and crannies.  It might have been a better idea to find somewhere new on the island for these relaxation days so that we had better scope for exploration and discovery. On the other hand, the Can Faustino is a delightfully luxurious hotel, which has been a pleasure to stay at.

We decided to walk around the city some more, and, to give us a sense of purpose, rather than simple aimless wandering, we conceived – and superbly executed – A Mission Of Importance:

but, in discharging this solemn duty we got some more pictures from around the city.  Buildings and harbour area are really striking

and there were also some lovely quirky little vignettes, starting with this unusual piece of garage flooring.

There were also some nice instances of street art of various sorts

(actually, I think the last of these is more likely to be an advert for the supermarket round the corner, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, eh?)  So it was a pleasant walk in sunshine and relative cool – about 25°C; looking at the weather forecast for Surrey, I think we’re in for a bit of a shock when we get home tomorrow.

Before we headed back to the hotel, we decided to revisit a scene of horror and gruesome memory from our previous visit to the island, two years ago.  Then, we were staying in Mahón, and took the bus to visit Ciutadella.  Very soon after leaving the bus station here to walk into the centre, we happened upon this scene, which I reconstruct for you today.

It was sufficiently photogenic that I thought it would benefit from being just a little above street level to take a photo, so I stepped onto the nearest of the planters you see in the foreground. Imagine my surprise! when instead of supporting my weight and giving me the elevation I had expected, the thing tipped over as I stepped on it with one foot, with the result that its cast iron edge arrived with some force on the big toe of my other foot. It bloody hurt – and I use the adjective advisedly, as we had to find a café fairly sharply so we could steal handfuls of their paper napkins to stuff into my shoe to stop the blood making even more of a mess of it than it already had. Amazingly, these deadly dangerous devices can still be found lurking all over Ciutadella, lying in wait for other passing unfortunates to victimise, with not a single health and safety warning sticker to be seen.  Disgraceful, I call it.

After this opportunity for closure (my toenail has by now just about grown back, thanks for asking), we decided it was time to head back to the hotel and gather ourselves for the evening’s delight – an evening meal in the lovely Moli des Comte building that I first mentioned about a week ago. That’s why I am writing this blog entry now, because I’m likely to be too pissed tired to finish it later.  I will report further; I’ll post an update when I can.