Sunday 18 September
After a decent weather spell, we have to endure drizzle as we board our flight to London City having taken the bus to the airport for a change.
John Rimmer gives us some interesting ideas for activities as we meet up in departures, very kind. Jubilee line at Canning Town is disrupted so we head up to West Ham for the District line to join a very crowded Piccadilly line at Barons Court on our onward journey to Heathrow.
Overnight at the Sofitel at Heathrow T5 with a meal at the restaurant and a good night’s sleep.
Monday 19 September
Walk the half mile to T5 for a croissant before we meet up with Elizabeth who has coached it down from Solihull. Costa coffee then through security and lunch in Giraffe.
Flight less than a quarter full but two guys in front of us getting well and truly merry on BA’s free drinks policy.
Luggage collected, and at the car hire, car offered was a Nissan Qashqui which is good as that is one I wanted to test drive (again) before we decided on our next car.
Find hotel, Barcelo Hamilton in Es Castell, with not too much difficulty with the help of our ancient Sat Nav whose pronunciation of Avenguda de Franscesc Femenias seemed to put an ‘r’ between the last two letters!
Parking is going to be difficult here with only a few spaces in front of the hotel which are free, otherwise the hotel’s car park is €10 and a short walk away.
Not overly hungry so we opt for Tapas by the waterfront below the hotel, watching moon appear.
Tuesday 20 September
Breakfast on the terrace is a buffet with the sun bleating down on us.
Opt for a day in Mahon as there is a market present today but just miss a bus and although police lady says another one in 30 minutes, it is the only time of the day when there is an hour gap between buses.
Spend some of the time in the local church but it is a bit bland compared with others. Even some locals appear to be caught out by the hour gap. Still, there is a windmill to look at!
Nothing really worth buying so we head off down to the rampart sort of area past the Pont de Sant Roc and find a good view of the harbour, grab lunch and head back to the bus station for our journey back to Es Castell by which time it is raining.
As it is still raining, a walk to town for dinner is out of the question so we eat at the hotel’s buffet which is quite a good spread.
Not bad for €20 each with a bottle of wine an additional €13.
Wednesday 21 September
All rain passed through although breakfast tables on the terrace still quite wet this morning.
No bus journey today, we use our car for a tour around the South East corner of the island starting at a lovely secluded area, Cala de St Esteve with it’s deep water and sheltered cove and several properties to let.
Then on to En Caragol for a coffee and a scramble across the rocks. It is certainly out of season, just a couple of cyclists for company.
More people at our stop for lunch in Binibeca and it seems a lot of them are locals.
Binibeca is a quaint little coastal port and worth a stop for a stroll around the cove (and of course lunch).
All of these bays and coves have little or no beaches they are all rocky, and there is no coastal road between them so you are always returning on yourself.
Head back for a rest and an afternoon drink managing to get the last car parking space!
Dinner tonight, we thought would be in the hotel’s cave on the waterfront but having got downstairs and found two little restaurants, opt for the only one that is open to discover that it is an independent one not associated with the hotel, the hotel one opening at 8pm.
So glad we stayed at Restaurant Ana Luisa as both the owner and his wife, Francesca, not only fed us delicious Paella, much more than we could eat but entertained us with laughter all evening.
We hadn’t been left any extra tea, coffee or milk in the room so go to reception to get more only to be told that the package we were on was for only tea & coffee on arrival, not every day, and we would have to pay for more!!
Never heard anything so outrageous for a top class hotel, I left reception speechless.
I doubt if British Airways, through who we booked. Come to think of it, do they care?
The hotel does have a roof top pool (very small) and some whirlpools but I was told that they were not heated so were not really worth going in.
However, they did look quite inviting after dark when they were lit up.
Thursday 22 September
Another glorious sunny day to start with but not able to get a table outside for breakfast. However, we do take advantage of the champagne that is free, shame about the in room tea & coffee!
Head off in the car to Mahon and pick up the main road down the backbone of the island to Ciutadella de Menorca, an ancient capital of the island. Parking in the centre is difficult but manage to find plenty around the school on Carrer de Madrid and head towards the sea.
Find a watering hole (we need it, it is exceptionally hot today) near the front which seemed to be populated by locals rather than tourists, and watch the inter island ferries from Barcelona or Majorca dock at nearby Port de Ciutadella.
A slow walk around the bay with Cala en Busquets on the opposite bank with it’s wonderful houses, the charming harbour in front of us and we soon reach the old town with its stone buildings still being used; no ruins here, and we arrive just in time for the shops to shut for their siesta which means it must be lunchtime.
Off after lunch to the Lighthouse of Artrutx – the most South Westerly point of the island – with it’s strategically place light house which is now a restaurant.
Again, a rocky coastline from which there are distant views of the island of Majorca and the cliffs further East on Minorca of Son Bou where we are heading next.
A couple of large hotels have disgorged their guests onto the sandy beach here with many people sun bathing and a few children playing in the sea and sand.
Surely this place will be heaving in the summer with possibly no sand left to sit on unless you get there early morning.
We were told before we left that there were some Naturist beaches in Menorca but no sight of them or signage for them at all – obviously well hidden.
Grab a drink at the beach bar and back for a rest before a walk around the bay to the main town of Es Castell and its picturesque harbour before a stroll back to Restaurant Ana Louisa for dinner again with the moonlight shining on the waterfront aided by some street lamps.
Funny that it wasn’t until later on in the walk around the bay that Sal & Elizabeth remembered that they had visited the bay before when they visited on their own in 2011!
Tonight, the restaurant is packed and at one stage potential customers are being asked to return in up to 30 minutes when a table is free.
The pork dish is also to be recommended.
The hotel’s cave restaurant is empty whilst Restaurant Ana Louisa is full. I’m all for supporting the local economy especially as this family grow many of their own vegetables on an allotment.
Readers; try Ana Louisa restaurant in Es Castell if you are ever there and say hi to Francesca!
Friday 23 September
Our last day and after a fine start with breakfast on the terrace head off for the northern coast.
First stop the picturesque port of Fornells where we had been recommended to dine at a particular restaurant – sadly now demolished.
Lunch was elsewhere then in the town (my Spanish is not good to say the least and what I ordered was minimal to say the least) before heading off East to a couple of other bays including Es Grau.
Can’t say we enthused about Arenal d’en Castell, a bit too much like a holiday camp atmosphere for our liking and whilst Es Grau was nice, the beach was reached by a bridge over stagnant smelly water.
But, it would be a good place to learn to canoe and sailboard as it is a very sheltered cove with a decent beachside café, free parking and some nicely painted (white of course) houses.
With an hour or so before we need to be at the airport, we head for the area opposite our Barcelo Hamilton hotel which has many sumptuous houses with fantastic West facing properties, some of which are for sale and one of which was being worked on by a single person – that is going to take ages.
That’s it for Minorca but you never, we might come back some time. flight back to Heathrow slightly late but full, unlike the outward journey.
Overnight back at the Sofitel so not far to walk.
Early rise and a quicker journey to London City than from it earlier in the week for our flight back home and a week’s rest before we head to Florida with John & Deirdre.