the beginnings of a Menorcan love story

Squeezed on to the back of a small scooter, we wound our way along one of the tiny lanes that cover much of the island of Menorca. Passing fields of wheat and barley, burnt dry by the heat of the Mediterranean sun, old walls that have long stood the test of time and and wild flowers that breathe life into the edge of every road. In parts, it reminds us of summers in the South of France, of villages unchanged for years. A landscape punctuated with whitewashed cottages and small rambling farms, an occasional iconic black Menorcian horse visible between trees.

We wanted to stop, to photograph everything. However, we had a destination in mind. A cove named Macarelleta. Here, edged by towering cliffs and backed by trees is a tiny slice of paradise. Powdery white sand lapped by pristine turquoise waters, the sort we struggled to believe existed outside of the Caribbean. 

That afternoon we found somewhere and something quite remarkable, and we knew our love affair with Menorca had only just begun.

We did not know what to expect before we arrived in this, the least populous of the the Balearic Islands. Parents inform us of visits when we were young, at a time when the quality of a holiday was based solely upon the number of ice creams offered and how often you got to go in the pool, but in reality, it was with new eyes that we saw Menorca this summer. 

We enjoyed days exploring small cities painted in the most wonderful pastel hues, and roaming small cobbled streets lined by bright-coloured shutters and beautifully aged doors, taking the time to speak with some of those that may have lived behind them. Our Spanish undoubtedly rusty, but still enough to break through the usual pleasantries, to understand a little more of the life of the woman in the fish market and the family that has for five generations sold ice-cream and lemon drinks. 

Under clear blue skies and a brilliant sun, we spent mornings and afternoons discovering hidden coves, old forts and lighthouses by the sea, seeking out rocks from which to simply watch waves gently kiss the the coastline and leave.

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Meals of seafood straight from the ocean and the most wonderfully salty olives, fresh juices and cool glasses of pomada - gin and lemon proving a fantastic combination for early summer days. The food, always served tapas style, a reminder that eating is not a solitary pleasure, that the greatest way to spend an evening is with friends, new and old, local wine and a thousand different tastes under the setting sun. 

Menorca, it seems, is not like its neighbours. This is not an island of crazy nights, or somewhere to catch the sunrise at the end of your day. It is a home, a place protected from the type of tourism that has proved so detrimental elsewhere. It is a space for the adventurous, for explorers on foot, bike or four-legged steed. Gaze out from El Toro, the island's highest point, and it is not tower blocks nor resorts that you will see, but miles and miles of green, of fields and protected lands, a place for the birds and not for people.

You will see a part of the world that may one day give this pair of wanderers a home. 

As travellers who crave to see the world, to always step foot on new soil and breathe in new life, ways and experiences, to return is sometimes a difficult decision.

For us, to go back to Menorca one day may just be the easiest choice we’ll ever have to make.


 

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We never expected to fall in love with Menorca, but then we never expected Menorca to be so beautiful....
 

We were invited to Menorca as part of a campaign with Traverse and Visit Spain. As always however, all opinions are our own.


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