Our two week stay in Menorca last year was taken the last two weeks of October. Perfect for hubby's 60th birthday celebration but not ideal for good weather. We had a great holiday and a mixed bag of weather.
The Island of Menorca closes its doors to tourists at the end of October and there are no direct flights to the UK for six months. Those who work in the tourist trade on Menorca have to make enough money in six months to last the year. These days many do not. The weak Euro and poor financial climate in the UK has deterred some visitors.
Last year one memorable day was spent at Fornells on the northern side of Menorca. It was memorable especially for its high winds, stormy seas and cold weather. Would we fare better this year?
Menroca's tourist timetable of bus services changes on September 15. This means that after September 15 until the next year's season the buses are less frequent. Although we were a month earlier the buses were still less frequent. Some places such as Es Grau have no bus links at all in Winter. Fornells is still accessible but with limited times available. this year our visit to Fornells was brief.
Why? Yes, it was just too hot!
There was still some wind but the sea was calm and flat. The bright blue sky had cloud streams etched across it. The blue and turquoise waters looked inviting. Near the mouth of the estuary, looking out to the Med, a row or starched lookng white boats bobbed gently along helped by the wind.
We walked up to the shrine and old tower. By this time we were out of puff, hot and sticky. It was worth the walk though. We took the short cut back down via the rough path.
Fornells pristine white houses looked bright in the dazzling sunshine.In spite of its tourists Fornells remained quiet and peaceful. It is perfect for a little shopping, walking, lunch by the water or a long cold drink.
The journey back to Mahon takes in pretty scenery and coastal views but one minute I was awake and the next minute I awoke in Mahon.Guess I will just have to visit again.
Information: Car hire is easy in Menorca.
The main bus station in Mahon has timetables available. Prices vary. Two to Fornells was 5.80 euros, for each way.
At the opposite end of the Island is Cuitadella the old capital. Some services operate out of here to other parts of the island.
Arriving on the Balearic Island of Menorca on there were few surprises. We had enjoyed a two week vacation on this small and charming Spanish Island in October 2010 and have returned back more than once. Once back the interval melts away into nothing.
Our flight out of Doncaster airport was plain sailing, or should that be flying? A fairly event free flight with just the odd bumps of turbulence meant we arrived on time. We had chosen for once not to pay the extra for the in-flight meal.Such a brief flight meant that this was not a problem except for one thing. The lack of hydration. If you do the same remember to have some fluids available.
We touched down around 12.30pm and it was a sunny day, with a temperature of 27 degrees C. An interrupted baggage carousel left most passengers, including Hubby and I, melting as we waited impatiently for our luggage to appear. Some had been claimed hastily by other passengers and then the carousel ground to a halt. We all stood like sweating marathon runners for 20 minutes or so. Finally the dance of the luggage resumed.
As they say S**t Happens.
Once our luggage arrived we were soon off in a mini van to travel the short distance to our accommodation. The tiny female driver had hurled our heaviest luggage into the back as if it was full of feathers. Alighting we saw that this case had a small split and clothes were pushing out. Had her throw caused the problem? Had our luggage encountered a problem on the carousel and caused the stoppage? Who knows? As they say s**t happens and a new piece of luggage was at the top of our vacation shopping list.
By now the temperature was a hot 34 and we needed to climatise and take on board hydration. An afternoon at nearby Cala Fonts fitted that bill perfectly. Picturesque views, jazz music and ice cold drinks sipped slowly as we sprawled outside a harbour café.
But as I have already said poop happens and the first few days were not to be totally hassle free.
The two week vacation in Menorca has ended and it is back to reality. For once the sun shone as we arrived back into Doncaster airport, where it was a record breaking temperature for September 30. With good weather set to last a few days it will be a great end to our vacation.
The UK though is not Menorca.
Our love affair with that Island looks set to last. The UK in comparison is a dull autumn colour with brown houses topped with grey coloured roofs. Although it is the start of Autumn in Menorca it retains its sunny charm. White houses with some classical buildings painted in bright colours are set against turquoise waters and crisp blue skies. Local people warm and frendly, in spite of the day to day pressures they too face.
So what of the world?
On vacation we seldom look at any news. The odd glimpse at the headlines on newspapers displayed outside of shops in racks is as far as it gets. The UK could sink for all we care, at least for our two weeks in the sun.
Home again it seems that those two weeks have had the usual doom and gloom going on elsewhere. Little will have been resolved and politicians around the globe will have been posturing and playing mind games. As they play politics we ordinary folk feel the brunt of their plans.
David Cameron in the UK may like to reiterate that we are alll "in it together" but as we know that is nonsense. How can a millionaire's experiences, of the recent financial difficulties the global recession has brought, compare to a person's living on the minimum wage? Obviously it can't. We may all be in it together but some are in deeper than others, some have more options available to them and some will be facing a dismal future.
Yesterday in the UK cuts to the British Naval forces were announced, making our armed services struggle further. Yet the government is happy to involve the country in many conflicts around the world.
As people in the UK face an uncertain future the Coalition government seems always willing and able to find money to put into the broken pot of Europe and world conflicts. Now in what some may see as a good move, and others like myself see as nonsense, they have freed up some funds to restore weekly refuse collections in towns and cities. Is this really the most needy cause for cash strapped councils? Offering councils funds for the resumption of weekly refuse collections is a mixed bag.. Many Councils such as ours have made a committment to recycling and have a system which works well in operation. I am sure though they could use some extra funding for more urgent needs.
For now chores beckon but I know once I get to grips with the world and its wife again the news will be grim. Spending a two week vacation on Menorca though, not a million miles from Libya and the conflict torn Middle East, reminds you that the world continues to beat itself up but you do not have to take it all on board. Being aware is important but it is good to get on with living and ignore the world, at least for a while.
Some said it would rain, others said it would simply be cloudy, but in the end we thought we would chance it. We walked into Mahon and hopped onto a bus to Cala'n Porter.
This beautiful bay can be overrun with tourists and visitors in high season but this time of year it was tranquil. A few dozen visitors on the golden soft sandy beach facing the turquoise water.
Visitors who arrive by car take the road down to the bay and the beach. We arrived by bus which stopped at the top of a steep and long flight of stone steps. It was easy to see these would be a pain on the way back.
Despite the cloudy sky we laid on the beach and read for a few hours. It was still warm and now and then the sun broke though. We decided to take a late lunch before the climb back to the top.
If you visit it will be cheaper to eat and shop at the top rather than close to the beach. However it is scenic near the beach. Climbing the steps back up required quite a few breath breaks but we were soon back at the top. We planned to walk to the caves but half way there the heavens opened.
Hubby true to his boy scout childhood was prepared. He had packed the brollies in his back pack. The day was still mild and so we strolled back. The Galleon was a good place to get a drink and snack. Prices here were much better. Hubby managed a sneak view of UK football on the giant pub screen before we caught the bus back to Mahon,
In spite of the heavy rain, which had now set in, we had a great day. Weather permitting we plan to return in a couple of days and visit the caves and the beach again.
So our first day Friday was a belter. Reaching 34 degrees in the afternoon it was so much hotter than what we had left behind in the UK It had begun to rain as we boarded our plane and by the time we took off the skies were grey and full of cloud.
Friday and Saturday was wall to wall sunshine in Menorca. As typical Brits we managed a little complain that it was too hot. We Brits always manage to complain its too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too windy or too anything. Still it was lovely being able to say that it was too hot for a change. That was to change, albeit it briefly.
Sunday began as a beautiful day but the locals from day one had said Sunday would bring rain. They said it would not arrive until the afternoon and once again their forecasting proved to be accurate. A glorious morning led us to a mooch around the nearby capital Mahon. The walk into the city along the harbour road from the cove was hot and scenic. Lunchtime clouds made us decide to head back to Hotel del Almirante
.Yet the clouds dissipated and sun shone through once again. Around 2.30 heavy clouds swept in and thunder began.People in the pool caused concern to some who begged them to "get out" Apparently an outdoor swimming pool when lightening strikes is not the place to be. Then the heavens opened. Rain poured down in sheets. We sat under the terrace watching it do its worst. Still warm it made for dramatic viewing. It set in for the rest of the day and finally turned cool. It was the first rain for 6 weeks so the locals were understandably pleased. High winds rocked the boat anchored in the bay outside of our window. Each time we looked it had moved and changed direction again. Hotel window shutters broke free during the night and rattled into the early hours of the morning.Peace descended though and tte storm swept out as it has swept in Hot weather resumed and we went back to complaining that it was just too hot.
This year we flew from Doncaster or Robin Hood Airport between Doncaster and Sheffield. It is around an hour's drive from our home. Not the closest airport but a good one for us. It has plenty of amenities and generally flights run to time.
This year it was back to having to arrive at the airport 2 hours before the flight. Our flight was scheduled for 8.55 and that is exactly what time we took off.
If you are taking someone to this airport you will need to get a ticket to allow you to enter and stay the brief time necessary.
A Costa Coffee shop is open in the foyer which is handy if you arrive early. Our check-in did not open for quite a while and then a long queue soon formed. If you have pre-booked your flight seats why queue and get stressed? Better to wait till the queue thins out and stroll through.
Although there are strict regulations now on luggage weight and size we had no problems. Only one piece of hand luggage each was the demand. I was still allowed to carry my cross body bag with passports, cash etc in it as well as my small rucksack..
Departures are from the top deck of the airport but there are lifts or elevators for those with mobility issues. Here, on the top floor, small screens will tell you when it is time to board and other flight details. Until you board it will be "shop, play and eat for you.
This year's in flight safety message was delivered via the TV screens and the cutest small children. Perhaps it is felt this will make passengers pay attention. Will if that is the case it sure worked. The Robin Hood Airport in the UK and Mahon Airport on the Island of Menorca were very clean and well cared for. All in all an enjoyable experience.