Category Archives: Travel

Tradition meets technology in Menorca

We sit on the veranda to enjoy our first G&T. The thick green glass bottle with the loop at the neck and windmill on the label means we’re back in Menorca. We’ve chosen to rent the same simple apartment as last year, just a few meters away from the shore in the fishing village of Es Grau, and straight away begin to recognise the locals. The feeling seems to be mutual, as they can’t really miss us on the ground floor and at the far end of the small block as they emerge through the narrow lane, whether on foot or by car.

Indeed, coming or going by car they have to stop beside our little wall while they negotiate the gate that creates a barrier across half of the one-car-width road. Clearly designed to maintain a private parking area for the permanent residents, this is no ordinary gate, though. In construction, it’s the bent olivewood twin of those scattered throughout the island, their faded grey a frequent focal point on our hikes along the Camí de Cavalls. Out in the countryside, supported by stone pillars either side, these gates open with a chunky handle that fastens again into a slot with a satisfying thunk. Our neighbours in Es Grau, on the other hand, had gone for mechanisation. Their gate hangs on a metal post, which disappears into a metal cover, below which some magic enables the automatic opening of the barrier at the touch of a zapper from inside your vehicle. Then once through, legitimate users reverse the operation to bring the gate back into place against the inch-high metal stopper that sits in the middle of the road. In theory. Eventually.Continue Reading

Velodrama in the village

It’s not unusual to see cyclists trundling past on Sunday mornings. Generally they’re heading for Kinver Edge, though, on chunky mountain bikes.  Today is something else entirely: some 15,000 lycra-clad bodies speeding through on streamlined road racers with the slimmest of precision wheels.  It’s the first ever Vélo Birmingham, and following a shift in theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

On board in Menorca

With the dawn of a brighter, calmer morning comes the promise of plenty of activity in the bay. Colourful activity. Activity that takes you places. Soon the beach fills up and swimmers clad in various hues dive and splash in the gentle rollers, within the limits of yellow buoys marked out for that purpose. Don’tContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Taking Menorca by storm

Someone turned the volume up on the storm and I wondered if I’d ever get to sleep. You couldn’t check progress visually as by early evening we’d already made good our defences, bringing vulnerable terrace furniture indoors and fastening all the shutters. It sounded as though peeking through the front door wouldn’t be worth theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Touch and go in Menorca

Of all our senses, how often do we consider ‘touch’? This morning gave me plenty of opportunities to be aware of texture and the sense of feeling. The day dawned bright and clear, with the sea below our apartment terrace like a mirror, so a pre-breakfast dip beckoned. The undisturbed sand was soft and coolContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Respect the sea

The weather forecast gets it wrong and we awake to cloud and strong wind. Yesterday’s pancake sea is replaced by galloping white horses, adding to the general rumpus. After a spell of refreshing rain the sky offers some Mediterranean blue once more and we take the chance to walk down to the shore – thisContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Sea variations

I guess if you’re on an exposed coast of any island, you’re likely to experience the thrill of crashing waves and the feelgood factor of positive ions blasting you in the face. Not to mention the more tangible taste of salt on the lips. It seemed especially apt on arrival in Fornells, on its northernContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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