Saturday, June 23, 2007
We went to a crowded dance club, Jazzbah in the harbor area, and worked our way through the crowd to the balcony. I met Luis, an attorney from Madrid. He studied accounting and economics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and was there during the earthquake. I told him how I met Angel and came to be in Menorca, and introduced him to Angel, Carmen, and Luisa. He and Carmen visited for a while before he left with his friends about 0330. David informed me that we were going to leave as well. Angel stayed as there was not room for all of us in the car. David or Ana returned for him later. I was probably asleep by 0400.
I slept until 0830. I unzipped my sleeping bag and covered my head with my shirt, but could not go back to sleep, so I got up at 0900 and wrote. It is sunny and windy this morning. Insects, doves, and other birds are calling. Caryn and Boris were up and greeted me at 0930. Our conversation woke one of our hostesses, Malena. She asked us to come inside for croissants with chocolate, coffee, and milk.
There is some new construction going on behind the stone wall at the back of Malena and Laura’s house. The soil and rock has been excavated to a depth of about 80 cm for the construction of a new road. The soil is quite shallow, 20 cm of soil on top of limestone. It does not look like great soil for farming.
Malena and Laura have quite a large house, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large kitchen, a living room with fireplace, a one car garage, access to the flat roof via a staircase on the east side of the house, and a large covered porch across the front of the house. All floors are ceramic tile. I went inside about 1000. Ana and Caryn were making coffee and getting food out of the boats. We had bread, jamon Serrano, queso Mahon, Guindilla peppers, chocolate croissants, and cookies on the front porch. The covered porch is on the North West side of the house, and shady and cool in the morning. There is an orchard between the street and the front of the house with an almond, a loquat, a pear, and several pine trees. Boris picked some small pears. They are good, but not very juicy. The southwestern half of the lot is unused.
Malena and the other residents of the house were up before 1100. Laura and Boris were hand feeding a falcon chick while Angel and I studied one of Laura’s bird identification books. Laura offered to take us to the wildlife rehabilitation center where she works. We left about 1200. Ana and I rode with Laura while the others rode with David. We stopped several places en route, and went shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Poligon Industrial Park. We finally went to the rehab center which is built into a former quarry. The quarry provides some walls, shade, and a more constant temperature for the animals. Other walls are created with chicken wire and mats of brush. There are numerous birds; gulls, owls, and hawks. There are native tortoises, which are protected, and exotic turtles from Florida, which they are trying to eradicate from the island. Laura gave two of of the Florida turtles, probably the Florida Red-bellied Turtle, to David to his great delight. I mentioned that they make excellent soup and joked about trying to find a recipe for them. We left Laura at the rehab center, and took the groceries back to the house.
David said we had reservations for 27 at a Ciutadella restaurant this afternoon. We went to Grill Las Brasas at about 1430. A large table was set for 30 people. We were among the last to arrive. I had already met many of those present, Rosa, Elena, Carmen, and Luisa among them. We ordered beer, wine, water, apetizers, and each of us selected an entrecote, or main course. I selected leg of cabrito. Other choices were lechona, and cordero. Lechona is the Mallorquin word for cochinillo or suckling pig. Cordero is a leg of lamb, and cabrito is goat kid. While waiting for the entrecote to be roasted over a hard wood fire, we feasted on calamar frito marinero, champinones, pambtumaquet (bread with tomato), and salad. After eating an enormous portion of meat served with baked potatoes, grilled tomato, and sweet red pepper, we were served small cream puffs drizzled with chocolate syrup and ice cream layered with chocolate. We finished with café solo or a cortado poured over ice. Elena gave me a souvenir book mark and pen from the restaurant.
We drove to a lighthouse, Far de Punta Nati. On the way we looked at ses barraques, the conical stone structures used to house livestock. Some are recently built, but some were first constructed thousands of years ago. Near the lighthouse there were bunkers, probably built during the Spanish civil war, built to look like the ses barraques. Even though the structures were not ancient, the stark, rocky landscape and view of the sea gave me a strong feeling that Angel calls telurico.
We returned to Malena and Laura’s house at 1700 for a siesta. I awoke at 1900 and wrote for half an hour while the others: Angel, Boris, Caryn, Ana, and David slept. I may have gone back to sleep for a while. Angel woke me again at 1950 by dropping snails from the roof onto the tile floor near my head. He said the hazelnut wars had begun in reference to the throwing of hazelnuts that I am looking forward to experiencing tonight.
It was 2130 or later when we piled into the car with David at the helm. Being the largest and oldest, I got the shotgun seat. Angel graciously lay on the floor in the hatchback while Boris, Ana, and Caryn occupied the back seat. Angel had made 5 L of pomade which he brought with us. David parked, probably on Velazquez near Rda de les Baleares, as soon as we got into town as many of the streets are closed for the fiesta. We walked to the center of the city. The hazelnut wars were well underway when we got there. Hazelnuts popped under our feet as we walked. We had been walking on hazelnuts for many blocks before we found some to buy. Angel and I each bought a kilo of hazelnuts, and soon began throwing them at one another, other members of our party, and anyone who threw hazelnuts at us. The noise from hazelnuts popping under people’s feet and the noise of people talking, yelling, and singing was getting quite loud. After walking a few more blocks we saw people throwing hazelnuts from balconies and staircases. Others were putting hazelnuts down one another’s pants and shirts, sometimes wrestling one another to the ground.
We met Carmen and Luisa in Plaça Nava, and they made good use of the hazelnuts Angel and I had brought. I jumped into the fray and knocked the drink out of a young woman’s hand. Her boyfriend scowled at me, and Luisa poured her another drink from the bottle Angel had given me. Luisa broke the strap on her sandal and was standing on the shoes of others while David ran to the car to get a pair of flip flops he had brought in anticipation of such an accident. There were a few armed policemen and police women walking through the crowd. They were being pelted with hazelnuts just as everyone else. Some of them even smiled. I saw one police woman kiss a partier. Maybe they knew one another. It was probably about midnight when the hazelnut wars died out from exhaustion and the lack of whole hazelnuts. The only ones left were those on the streets, and most of those were crushed.
We found the street, Josep Maria Quadrado, on which 6 inches of sand had been spread in preparation for the horsemen that will ride through the crowd. It is hard to imagine where the horses will fit between the people standing shoulder to shoulder. I saw the life guard from Cala Blanes, greeted her in the traditional Spanish manner, but I couldn’t hear much that she said over the noise of the crowd. Ana visited with her for a while. We lost track of Angel, Caryn, and David. I could see Boris only 10 or 20 m from me. The horsemen, Caxiers, were now running through the streets and the horses occasionally stood on their hind legs and pawed the air over our heads with their front legs. The horses are black, decorated with ribbons and flowers. The Caxiers are dressed in black. The horses are quite large, their withers at my chin height. I was frequently touching horses and occasionally knocked off my feet, but could not fall because the crowd was too dense.
The batteries in my camera were too dead to use the flash, but Boris was taking lots of pictures. Eventually Caryn came looking for Boris, probably fearing that he had been trampled under the feet of a horse. She led us to a square, Plaça de la Catedral, where the horses gathered and milled through the crowd. Angel said he could tell I had been touching the horses by the smell of my hands.
I was pushed into a lady by one of the horses. We introduced ourselves. She is a doctor from Barcelona specializing in orthopedics. We visited for a long time; her friend’s occasionally coming by to try to take her away. She and all of her friends spoke English. She had driven Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco and visited Hearst Castle. The horses nearly knocked us over several times, and we were eventually driven against a store window protected by an iron grate. After an hour or so her friends were successful in spiriting her away and I rejoined Angel who had been watching me.
Sunday 24 July 2007
We found a restaurant near Plau Vivó and the corner of Major des Born and Plaça d’es Born to have dinner at about 0200. We shared many good dishes including mushrooms stuffed with chorizo, razor clams, aioli with bread, and red wine (rioja de 100% tempranillo grapes). After dinner we went to the harbor at about 0300.
We were very lucky to be able to see a rizzaga, a magical marine phenomenon that occurs only here in Ciutadella, and only once every few years. No one knows how to predict it. The normal tidal variation here is about a meter and there is normally one tide a day. During this rizzaga the sea level fell more than one meter during a 7 to 10 minute period and rose again in the same amount of time, flooding the entire launch ramp, and the streets right up to the thresholds of the businesses on either side of the narrow harbor. This rapid fluctuation of the sea level continued for the two hours that I watched it from near the launch ramp at the head of the harbor. Not all rizzagas are as tame as this one. One several years ago smashed the boats into the buildings lining the harbor destroying many boats and doing a lot of damage to the buildings. The city is looking into ways to control it to minimize damage. It is wonderful that this rare event happened this night as the first quarter moon set on the summer solstice during the Fest de Sant Joan, and most of all while I was watching.
We went onto Jazzbah, the same dance club we visited last night. This time we stayed on the first floor near the entrance. I danced alone next to the wall, guarding the T shirts I had bought for my grandkids, and
Women’s purses while they danced. Eventually, Rosa asked me to dance. I moved to the center of the narrow dance floor and the crowd parted to give us room to dance swing style. IA am a bit rusty and was not the smooth dance partner I like to be, but we both had fun anyway, and many people watched us doing this strange, old fashioned dance for a while.
Just before 0430 Caryn and Boris went outside for some air and space. Ana retrieved her purse and followed them to see if they wanted to go home. She soon returned to dance some more. We all went outside about 0500, watched the rizzaga for a while longer before walking back to the car and driving to Malena and Laura’s house to sleep. I went to sleep on the northeast side of the house under a shower so the sun would not hit me when it came up.
Friday, June 22, 2007
I woke up at 0530 and wrote until 0700. It rained a bit during the night, and is almost solid cloudy this morning. Ana, Angel, and David moved into the buildings when it began to rain. I pulled the tarp over me for a while, but that was too hot, so I took a chance with the rain. My bed was dryer when I got up than it was when I went to bed. It is a beautiful morning, warm, humid, cloudy, light, cooling breeze, few to no mosquitoes. Surrounded by tide pools as much as 5 meters above sea level, but exposed to the occasional power of the surf which I have yet to experience here. I am enjoying the comfort of my new sandals. I christened them several times last night by accidentally stepping in tide pools. My lower legs are quite stiff this morning, probably from using my feet and legs paddling, but my abdominals are no longer sore, although I am still using them a lot.
I set 3 fishing lines as I untangled them. Nothing even ate the bait off the hooks. Everyone else got up about 0830m and the sun started to come out about 0900. We drank café con leche, and ate cookies, and leftovers. Boris found some white zygomorphic flowers growing out of stone walls. After returning home I identified them as the caper, Capparis spinosa. Caryn found a Greek tortoise.
We began packing at 1000 and we were on the water by 1100. We soon crossed to the north side of the harbor and visited a former British military hospital on Illa del Rei. The hospital is being restored and will be an office building. We paddled by the apparently abandoned naval station, crossed the channel, and ate lunch at about 1400 in a restaurant near Akelarre, the dance club where we saw Dr. Feelgood a week ago. David ordered a selection of tapas: anchovies, squid, potato salad. Caryn and Ana went shopping after lunch. Boris, Angel and I bought ice cream. We resumed paddling about 1600. Boris and Caryn took a short cut and beat us to es Grau by half an hour or more. They had a bottle of Champaign on ice when we arrived at 2000. Angel opened it and sprayed it all over all of us before pouring each of us a glass. We hugged and high fived to congratulate ourselves and celebrate the completion of our circumnavigation of Menorca. Angel and Ana made some pone calls, we unloaded the kayaks, put our gear in Ana and David’s car, and returned our kayaks to Menorca en Kayak.
Marco greeted us on the beach and took Angel and I to the bus station for the ride to Ciutadella for the fiesta tonight. We arrived at the Mao bus station at 2100, and were in Ciutadella at 2300. Ana, David, Boris, and Caryn met us at the bus station. They had all taken a shower before picking us up. David offered to take Angel and I to the house where we will stay while in Ciutadella to shower and change into some clean clothes. We enthusiastically accepted his offer. After the shower, change of clothes, and an attempt to shave that was less than 100% successful, we visited for a while with our hostess, Laura, a young lady with a great interest in veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. She is currently treating a tortoise that was run over by a car, and a falcon chick.
David drove Angel and I back to central Ciutadella at midnight where we rejoined Ana, Boris, and Caryn. Older people were sitting in chairs watching the party while the younger folks danced, jumped, drank and sang. The noise is very loud making it hard to hear what people are saying. We found a table and drank ginet con lemonada, people in Ciutadella don’t call it Pomada as they do in Maó. Friends stopped by to visit, and one left us a 2 liter bottle of ginet con lemonada. I dozed off in my chair. Caryn poured ginet con lemonade over my hand, and I woke with a start. Everyone laughed. Ana graciously offered to take me home to sleep, but I said I wanted to stay with everyone else. We then wandered the streets accumulating a group of friends as we went, including Rosa, Carmen, and Luisa. There were lots of vendors, carnival rides, and interesting people in the streets. I bought a scarf; we watched a percussion band march through the streets with a crowd following. One vendor was quite good with the whistles on puts in the mouth. He entertained us for a long time.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I woke up at 0430 and looked at the stars. There is about a 50% cloud cover, but I nevertheless, found the summer triangle, Cassiopeia, the little dipper, and Polaris. I spent some time trying to orient myself. I have been turned around much of the time since I arrived in Menorca. Intellectually I know where I am, and which way is north, but I have to think about it. It is not instinctual as it usually is with me. The birds are calling, and a Siamese cat is meowing and creeping through camp.
I am a bit stiff and sore all over. My right forearm is still a bit stiff, but not getting any worse since I resumed wearing the elbow straps. I am also careful to keep my elbows near my torso or straight and paddle only with a twisting motion of my torso, taking the paddle blade out of the water before it passes my butt. My fingers are not quite so swollen this morning as they were yesterday morning. The sore cuts and a blister on my fingers are not getting any worse. The urchin injury is healing nicely, but the bottoms of my feet are sore from walking barefoot on the sharp rocks while fishing at Cala Trebalúger. My toes have been very numb for several days, especially the second and third toes on my right foot. All are number than they have been in a year. I suspect that there is something about kayaking that makes them numb, but it is not jamming them into a small white water kayak as I once thought, because I have lots of room to move my feet around in this sea kayak.
The place where my sandal wore through the skin of my big toe is getting very sore. I have been experimenting with different foot gear, and I prefer to be barefooted in the boat. My Chacos wear holes in the skin of my feet, and the neoprene booties are hot and give me no protection from urchins and very little protection from the rocks, but I have to wear something when walking on the sharp rocks, so I wear both neoprene booties and Chacos. The neoprene booties protect my feet from the straps of my Chacos.
The two kayakers that joined us late yesterday evening went for a swim before 0630. Ana was up at 0630. Boris was walking on the wall near camp. Ana greeted him when she took the dishes to the beach to wash them. A young woman who had been sunning on the rocks near the didgeridoo players when we arrived was warmly dressed this morning in contrast to her lack of attire when we arrived. Everyone was up by 0700. I ate some of Boris’ bean salad, drank some coffee and milk. I took my vitamins for the first time in 4 days.
We left Cales Coves just before 1000. Boris left first as usual, and I second. I like to be one of the first to leave the beach so I can paddle slowly until I warm up and then paddle at my own pace. If I am late getting off the beach I feel I have to catch up and I don’t enjoy the paddle as much. Boris stopped at the mouth of the cala. He hailed me just after I passed him. He caught up with me and showed me a Sepia he had found with the head still on it. It was fresh, but not fresh enough for me to want to eat it. I put it in one of my swim fins on deck to use as bait later.
I paddled slowly close to the shoreline, exploring every cala, but was unable to enter the caves because of the large swell and surge. We have a swell out of the WSW this morning. It is quartering on our starboard stern at about 5 o’clock and kayakers a short distance away, 20 to 40 m, disappear in the trough. I suspect it is about 1.5 m high.
There is very little wind, maybe 5 kts. The wind is out of the east or SE and we are going almost directly into it. It is quite warm and I am happy to be wearing a wet capeline shirt. I am paddling bare foot this morning and my feet are quite comfortable except for the rough knobby surface on the foot pegs.
Es Canutells appears to be quite a new town with bright white houses with red tile roofs. Some of the houses are quite large. I see people walking along the top of the cliffs, probably on the Cami Cavell. I see a few divers and fishermen as well. There are both private and charter dive boats. Boris and I paddled through inside of s’Illot d’en Marçal, but outside, s’Illot de Binissafúller.
We landed on the launch ramp in the harbor of Binibeca Vell about 1200. We carried our boats up to the boat wash down area where a man was washing his boat. Some of us asked him if we could wash off with fresh water from the hose he was using. He permitted us to wash, but complained that he had to pay 100€ to take out here. We left Ana with the boats, while the rest of us looked around town.
We took a table at a café and ordered jarras of cervesa. In the Balearic Islands, beer on tap is a pilsner. It is rare for anyone to order by brand. Beer is ordered by the size of the glass, a caña or a jarra. A caña is a wine glass, a jarra is close to a pint. David went back to the boats to join Ana, then both of them joined us, because they felt that the boats were quite safe.
I went to a nearby store to look for a pair of sox, and bought a pair of shoes, the traditional style of sandal made on Menorca. I found my paddling companions in a supermarket. The choice of fresh vegetables was small, so we walked a kilometer to the east to another store where we found a much larger selection. After purchasing food, we went back to the boats for lunch in the shade of a rock overhang. Several of us went to sleep after lunch.
Boris came to wake Caryn and I at 1530. Angel was asleep under a trailered boat nearby, and Ana and David were no where to be seen. They soon returned from town and we began packing the boats. We launched about 1600. I was in the lead much of the afternoon with Angel nearby. I paddled just inside Escull d’en Caragol, a large reef with waves breaking over it. It is marked with a light, Llosa d’en Caragol. There are lots of large beautiful homes near Torre de Son Ganxo. The swell was off our stern as we rounded Punta Prima. I briefly caught a wave.
We explored some beautiful caves near Morro d’Alcafar and spent some time in Caló des Rafalet where we had hoped to camp. It is a beautiful cala, but has no beach. At the head of the cala there is a small launch ramp and boat house that was too small for our team. Angel and Boris paddled on leaving Ana, David,and I begind. Angel returned as Ana and I approached sa Cigonya. I rigged a towline and Angel towed Ana toward Maó. I had trouble keeping up with him. We met Boris, Caryn, and David at Punta de Sant Felip, at about 2000 where they had decided to make camp on the grounds of an old structure.
Boris once again organized the preparation of supper. He asked me to cook the meat. We had purchased 3 kinds of meat at Binibeca Vell, including chorizo, morcilla and shish kabob. Boris made potato salad. David, and Ana cut up cheese, bread and put out dried fruits and nuts for us to eat while cooking. We also sampled Boris’ cooking wine. We ate supper standing around the wall on which we had cooked. Caryn and I washed dishes in the surf. We lay on the rocks visiting and drinking pomadas until 0000. When I went to get in my sleeping bag, it was very wet from the dew. I turned it over to put the wet side on the bottom and got in. I was asleep as soon as I lay down.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I got up at 0530 and checked the fishing lines. Ana had caught a large sargo. I put it in a tide pool and re baited her hook. Angel’s line and mine too were hung up in the rocks, so I couldn’t retrieve them. Angel was up at 0600 and retrieved Boris’ line, but it was a rat’s nest. I made 3 more lines and redeployed them. Last night I found a stone building near where we were fishing. I explored it this morning. There is no door. It is a single room with a fireplace, mattress, and a shelf with canned food. It appears that someone camps here regularly.
We finished a breakfast of café, cookies and gazpacho and began packing the boats. Angel and I considered recovering our lines by diving, but didn’t take the time to do it. Angel spent some time identifying plants this morning and found hinojo marino the Spanish name for the plant the Mayorquin pickle and eat with Pamboli. I took down my tarp. I slept under it last night and everything was dry this morning. Many of our fishing lines were caught in the rocks. Boris recovered as much as he could. I recovered one more line before paddling up the torrent to Horts de Trebalúger while the others played in the surf and returned to es Pont de n’Aleix to show the caves to Boris and Caryn.
Horts de Trebalúger is a very different habitat from any other I have seen here in Illes Baleares. It is an albufera, a wetland. The higher parts of it are hayfields. The hills on either side of the albufera are covered in oak and pine trees. I can hear and even see small birds flitting here and there through the trees. The sounds of insects are everywhere. This is the richest environment I have seen in the Illes Baleares. As I returned to the beach I saw Angel paddling toward me to tell me that the others had returned from es Pont d’en Aleix and paddled on to the east out of our sight.
We paddled harder and faster than usual to catch up. We passed two pretty calas, Fustam and Escorxada, without exploring them. We caught up with our paddling companions before we got to Platja de Binigaus where we visited with another paddler headed the other way. Boris and I paddled over the tombolo between Illot de Binicodrell and the beach. There are big hotels on the beach at Punta Negra and an offshore reef, Escall d’en Salat, that looks like it might be an interesting place to snorkel or dive.
We landed just west of Son Bou. Angel, Boris, Caryn, and I walked into town carrying garbage to dispose of. My camera battery died on the way into town. We bought groceries, ate ice cream, and took a shower on our way back to the kayaks, piraguas, for lunch. Angel and I slept a siesta and I wrote some notes while looking at the coastline aeroguide. David and Ana went into town for a shower and returned at 1630. It is really hot here on the beach. I am really thankful for the meager shade provided by Angel’s half shelter. There is really no place for me to rig my tarp.
We left the beach a bit before 1700, paddled past Son Bou, Cala Llucalari, Cova de sa Calç, Cala de Sant Llorenç and sa SarolaThe cliffs here are quite white in places. We saw some deep caves with stalactites. The openings of these caves were well above sea level. The geology appears very confused with neatly layered tan to brown blocks standing on edge right next to a solid white block or a cave. There is a small swell out of the SE and refraction waves off the cliffs.
At s’Estalo a young gull climbed aboard Boris’ kayak to seek refuge from two older gulls that were attacking it. He asked me for some of the Sepia I was carrying in my forward hatch so he could see if the gull would eat some of it. I landed in a tide pool behind a large boulder to get the Sepia out and to replace the battery in my camera. I changed my camera battery at Son Bou, but it was dead after only a few photos. I must have mixed up my good and dead batteries. The tide pool appeared to be a fairly calm place to open up the hatch to get the Sepia and a fresh battery.
Just as I had my camera open, a dead battery in one hand, and a fresh one in the other, a wave washed through the tide pool. I didn’t drop the camera nor the batteries, and managed to keep them fairly dry, but my paddle washed off the rocks and into the adjacent surge channel. Fortunately Boris and Angel were still nearby, and Boris noticed my predicament. He recovered my paddle and threw it to me. I quickly put my camera back together and closed the hatch, securing the Sepia on deck. I had difficulty getting out of the now high and dry tide pool. By the time I resumed paddling, Boris and Angel were several hundred meters ahead of me. Boris had secured the sea gull under his spray skirt and was no longer looking for something to feed it.
We passed Cala en Porter before arriving at Cales Coves at 1900. Cales Coves is a very interesting place. Lots of caves have been cut into the cliffs. They were used as burial chambers during the Iron Age, about 3000 years ago. Most are now closed to entry by metal grates. Several boats are anchored in the cala, and some people are swimming and diving among the boats. A dozen or two young people are sitting on the rocks sunning themselves. Two are playing didgeridoos quite well. The sound goes well with beauty of the cala in the late afternoon light. The cala has two arms. A road leads to the eastern one. Two cars are parked on the beach there, so we decide to land at the western one that drains the land behind Urbania Cala En Porter, only a kilometer to the west. There is a fishing camp on the north bank of this arm of the cala, with a very picturesque llaut, moored in front of the camp.
We made camp on the fine sand beach at the head of this cala. Boris took the gull out of his boat and held it while I cut up Sepia and placed it in the gull’s mouth. The gull seemed happy to swallow it. It stayed around camp for a while, but wandered off into the bushes and disappeared while we were setting up camp and preparing supper. Angel snorkeled a bit and came back to camp reporting a lot of large fish under one of the boats anchored in the cala. He suggested we rig a hook on a pole to catch one of them. I used to fasten a hook to a small bungee cord threaded through the eyes of a short fishing rod. I was then able to snag fish under the mandible, and put them into a mesh bag while I measured and tagged it. I was later able to recapture the same fish for age and growth studies. However, I am sure that this is not a legal method of capture here in Menorca.
Boris began cooking. He made a bean salad. Angel made risotto with shrimp in it. Ana, David, and Caryn cut up some bread, sausage, cheese, and opened a bottle of red wine. I took food, water and gear out of my boat and vegetated. I have not made much of a contribution to the cooking this trip. That role is so well filled by the others, that I haven’t seen much that I can do to help. So I often write while others cook. I didn’t even feel like writing this evening. Two other kayakers joined us on the beach later. And some of the people that had been sitting on the rocks when we arrived hiked or swam to the beach where we had made camp. Some of them hiked up the torrent, possibly to Cala en Porter. We finished supper shortly after 2100 and visited until 0000, however, I slept through much of the conversation.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I got up at 0530. The birds are singing in the pine trees that surround the beach on 3 sides. A flock of swallows occasionally flies over the cala. Doves are cooing in every direction. The first 2 notes are higher and longer than the last with an open note between the second and the last note. There are a few clouds this morning. I went for a short walk to the road behind the beach. There is a large pile of sea grass there. I presumed it was the result of a beach cleaning operation. My speculation was later confirmed when a crew arrived with a tractor and began raking the beach and hauling the sea grass to the back of the beach.
I studied the Coastline Aeroguide to Menorca by GeoPlaneta, part of a series of books that cover the entire coast of Spain. These books contain aerial photos of 3 kilometer segments of the coast with visitor facilities, descriptions of beaches, information on coastal navigation and anchorages, festivals, history, geology, archaeological, and architectural sights. It comes in a handy pocket size as well as the larger hardback version, and was our primary guide for selecting landing sites.
Angel got up at 0700 and we went for a short walk around the village. There are public showers here, but the water was turned off. Everyone was up by 0730. I heated up the mint tea that Ana made for me last night. I was asleep before it was ready to drink. We had café con leche, cookies, and I finished the salad Boris made last night. We packed the kayaks and were paddling by 0930. The seas were calm, only a light breeze, and the swell was not noticeable.
We paddled around Cap d’Artrutx, and immediatelynoticed a change in the sea state. There was still very little wind, but the swell was much bigger, more than one meter high with a short period of 4 to 5 seconds. Other kayakers only tens of meters away disappeared in the trough. We paddled by the urban coastline of Cala en Bosch and Son Xoriguer. Several tour boats passed inside of us, and a large grey yacht passed outside of us.
We stopped for lunch at Arenal de Son Saura
at 1200. Half a dozen yachts were anchored in the cove. Tour boats were dropping passengers off at the beach and the large grey yacht that had passed outside of us earlier was anchored here. It was flying a British flag from the stern and had launched an inflatable boat which delivering passengers to the beach.
Angel put up his beach shelter, and we spread
our lunch out in its welcome shade. We ate melon con piel de sapo, bananas, and crackers. After lunch Ana, David, Boris, and Caryn lay in the sun. Angel went for a walk, and I soon did the same. I walked northwest along the beach. At the north end of the beach I crossed an old aqueduct and followed a trail to another beach to the west. This beach had much larger surf than the one on which we had landed. I walked the length of this beach and found Cami de Cavalls, the ancient horse trail around the island. I walked to the next rocky headland, crossed the sharp rocky spray zone, and swam back to the kayaks.
I spread out a large piece of cotton fabric that I use for a towel and MUG, and sat on the beach writing until everyone else was ready to pack the boats and resume paddling.
We left the beach at 1430 resuming our march to the east along the south coast of Menorca. I paddled with Caryn for a while making suggestions for paddling in the swells. We have been quartering into a swell out of the southeast since rounding Punta d’Artrutx mid morning. The wind is at our backs, out of the west, at 5 to 8 knots, very light and pleasant.
David headed for a cave and invited me to go with him. Ana followed too. The waves were too big to approach the cave entrance safely. They sometimes broke at the cave mouth or inside the cave. We continued along the shore and explored Calas Macarella and Macarelleta. I took a picture of the hotel at Santa Galdana, explored Calas Mitjana and Mitjaneta, and some beautiful caves and a long natural bridge at es Pont de n’Aleix. Angel met us here after leaving Boris and Caryn on the beach at Cala Trebalúger.
We landed on the beach at Cala Trebalúger at 1730. It was still quite hot. Caryn and I rigged my tarp to provide some shade on the beach while Boris, Angel, Ana, and David paddled up Torrent Trebalúger. I deployed a fishing line baited with Sepia in the rocks to the east of the beach and caught a sargo. Ana, Boris, and Angel then did the same, and Ana caught a bigger sargo. Boris, Caryn, Ana, and David made pasta and a salad. I ate late because I was so interested in fishing.
After supper Ana, Angel,and I studied the stars. We saw Venus, should have found Saturn, but it had set below the trees on the western horizon before we looked. We saw Scorpio, Jupiter, Arcturus, Spica, and the summer triangle. The sound of the surf is loud here, louder than at any other place we have camped. It almost drowns out the sounds of the birds and insects. I fell asleep about 2330.
Monday, June 18, 2007
It rained lightly most of the night. When I was awake I could hear raindrops hitting my tarp, but only occasionally did one hit my face. Ana got up at about 0330 to tell me that Boris and Caryn had room for me in their tent. I declined her offer saying I would just cover my bag with part of the tarp. There was some lightning that lit up the clouds beautifully. Some kind of animal, bird I suspect, called all night and lots of birds were calling when I woke up at 0600. My sleeping bag is actually dryer than usual this morning. The clouds kept the heat in so there was no dew, and my body heat evaporated most of the rain that fell on my bag, but I and my bag are covered in wet sand. I went for a swim to get some of the sand out of my hair, my ears, and off my body.
A fisherman came to the beach from the village at 0630. He looked for bait on the rocks and in the dead sea grass in the shallow water of the beach. I greeted him with the Mallorquin, Bon dia, but he seemed preoccupied with his search for bait.
At 0700 I saw Ana crawl out of her tent, and Angel carrying his pad down the beach from the direction of the cabin at the north end of the beach. I suspect he slept on the porch of the cabin after it began to rain last night. We went back to the deck of the cabin to prepare breakfast
of cappuccino and cookies.
I spoke with the fisherman again, and he was quite friendly now that he had his bait collecting long line set. He explained to me what he was doing. He had mops on a long line with a piece of yam tied into the center of each mop. Each mop was full of isopods. He placed a wet towel in a basket and poured the isopods into the towel. He had about 2 liters of isopods that he will use for bait while fishing off the rocks.
I hiked through the dunes and photographed some of the plants. There is a vine with twice pinnate leaves that is covered with white blooms, each with 4 petals, infinite stamens, a pistil with 5 divisions and no sepals, a very spiny umbel, daffodils, a beach radish, dune grass, and several prostrate plants with no flowers.
When we were ready to launch the kayaks, I couldn't find a paddle. David got the spare out for me, Angel looked along the shoreline to the south. After we left at 0930, Ana and David searched the southwestern shoreline of the cala and found our missing paddle, but I was well ahead of them by then so Ana carried it on her deck until she caught up with me. Ana developed some pain in her right shoulder this morning and that slowed her progress. She was no longer ahead of me.
We passed Cala Morell. The rocks on either side of the cala are quite different. Those on the east side of the cala are much older, Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. Those on the west are of the tertiary period. Fifteen caves dug into the rock walls of the cala were used for human burial during the iron age, 800 BC. There are lots of large, new, single family homes and multistory apartment buildings on top of the rock walls of the cala. Conical stone structures, ses barraques, dot the landscape between Cala Morell and Ciutadella. Some were built in the neolithic Era, but others are modern and used to house livestock. No mortar is used in the construction of these buildings.
At Punta d'es Single there is a very large cave that we explored. I took advantage of the quiet water in the deepest recess of the cave to get out of my kayak, and change the battery in my camera. We passed Faro de Punta Nati, a lighthouse and explored another very deep narrow cave and a natural bridge between Punta Galera and sa Falconera.
We stopped for lunch at Cala en Blanes near Ciutadella. This a very urbanized cala. Homes line either side of the cala, and there is a large hotel near the narrow, crowded, fine, white sand beach at the head of the cala. We took our kayaks out of the water and placed them on what appeared to be a private quay. A life guard greeted us and we visited with her for nearly an hour. She is a ski instructor in the winter. We walked to the beach, bought ice cream and granizados. I bought a mint granizado that turned my tongue green. We slept, took a fresh water shower, and went shopping for groceries before returning to the boats.
We probably left Cala en Blanes about 1730 and paddled directly to Cala Blanca. Cala Blanca is another very urban beach with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and paddle boats for rent. We arrived there at 1900 and waited for people to leave the crowded beach before spreading out our gear. Boris served pomadas, and we snacked on bread frutas secas, dried fruit and nuts, and canned mussels in escabeche sauce until the sun went down behind the trees, casting what I found to be a welcome shadow on the beach. Now that the sun was gone, the crowd began to leave the beach.
I occupied one of the abandoned lounge chairs. The vendor woke from his nap, and began taking down the umbrellas, and stacking the chairs. I got up to get out of his way, but he told me to relax and enjoy the use of his chair. He very graciously left several chairs unstacked for our use when he left the beach. I wrote a while, but fell asleep shortly after 2000.
When I woke at 2100 Boris was putting up his tent. He had made a salad, and Ana, Angel, and David had gone fishing using the cuttlefish Ana found yesterday for bait. Actually she snagged it on the hook she was trolling behind her kayak. It was headless ,but the skin still had good color, and it smelled good. We had decided to not eat it, but to save it for bait.
When Ana, David, and Angel returned from their fishing trip without any fish, David and Angel made Favada with canned beans and morcilla. It was quite good. We ate it with a lot of bread and of course, the salad. Boris contributed a bottle of red wine, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I photographed the conjunction of Venus and the waxing crescent moon with the nearby restaurants in the foreground. I went to sleep shortly after 2300 on one of the lounge chairs. It was too hot to get into my sleeping bag, so I put on long pants, a long sleeved shirt, my rain jacket, and tied my Buzz Off bandanna over my ears and under my chin to ward off the mosquitoes. The calves of my legs and fore arms still have itching welts 10 to 15 mm across from the bites I got shortly after we arrived at Cala Algaiarens. The mosquitoes seem to be biting at dusk and a few at dawn too. I wish I had brought some insect repellent.
I awoke at 0530 to a beautiful sunrise. I took some pictures and went for a swim. There are still a few mosquitoes trying to bite me. My Buzz Off bandanna that has worked so well in other places doesn't seem to deter these mosquitoes. My sleeping bag is soaking wet from the dew, but my tarp is dry. I am the only one sleeping under the stars. My paddling companions all have tents to sleep in. They were up by 0700 making coffee. We ate breakfast, packed the kayaks and were paddling by 0900. About half an hour out of camp, I decided to cool off by doing a high brace on each side of my boat. When I did so, my spray skirt came off and the cockpit of my kayak filled with water. I went over and was unable to roll with a lot of weight piled on my deck and a cockpit full of water. I did a wet exit and called to get the attention of my paddling companions who were all ahead of me. They were soon at my side. David helped me bail out my kayak and get back in.
We stopped for lunch at a for lunch at Cala Pregonda, a beautiful beach with a couple of beautiful private homes at the north end. We spread our lunch out on the teak deck of the one closest to the home right on the beach. We feasted on bread, draft beer, jamon Serrano, queso Mahon, and sobrasada.
Boris and Caryn began kayaking at 1600. Boris was towing Caryn. I decided to go with them. Boris noticed that he had forgotten his camera before we had gone a kilometer. He was preparing to head back for it when I volunteered so they could continue. When I returned to the beach, David, Ana, and Angel were loading their kayaks. David went back to the deck to look for Boris' camera and found that we had left two cameras and books there. I rigged my fishing gear while Ana, David, and Angel toured the cala. We finally left at 1700.
We looked for Boris and Caryn at all the beaches we passed, but did not see them. We arrived at Cala Algaiarens about 1930 without having seen Boris and Caryn. Angel, Ana and David searched the cala and Ana left them a text message on their cell phone before we made camp on Platja des Bot. We had just begun to set up camp when we saw Boris and Caryn paddling toward us. Apparently they had waited for us near Illa des Coloms, but didn't see us pass inside of them. We were very happy to be back together again.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday 16 June 2007
Everyone was up by 0730, and we were on our way to breakfast by 0800. Marco and Esperanza took Ana, David, Boris, Caryn, Angel and I to a cafe for breakfast. We ate some decedent croissants with chocolate sauce poured over them, and accompanied by espresso. After breakfast, Marco and Esperanza took us to Menorca en Kayak in Es Grau and stayed with us while we loaded the kayaks on the beach. We began packing the boats before 1000. We finished and said goodbye to Marco and Esperanza at about 1230.
I was anxious to test my arm that had kept me from paddling for a year and a half, so I paddled through the boats moored in the harbor ahead of the rest of our team. This was the only time I was in the lead. Angel passed me as I paddled through the rocks at Punta de Fra Bernat, and David, Ana, and Boris had passed me by the time we passed Punta de sa Pastera. We had decided to head west to paddle the often windy north coast while we had winds out of the south. We had heard that there were several groups of paddlers trapped on beaches on south coast due to the strong winds there, and a group of firemen called in a rescue helicopter a few days earlier when one of them was unable to get back into his kayak in the rough seas. The prevailing winds here are out of the northwest, so we wanted to round the west end of the island and be headed south before the winds switched back to their prevailing pattern.
Just west of Punta de sa Pastera we paddled through a small natural bridge. For the rest of the morning we paddled from headland to headland to cover as much coast as possible before the wind changed. It would have been nice to explore the coastline more closely during this window of good weather, but we had a mission to complete the circumnavigation of
We spread my tarp on the beach at s’Enclusa, and served lunch. We spent more than an hour eating and resting before we headed to Illa Gran d’Addaia. I wandered through the rocks at Illa de Ses Aguiles before finding a cave and lagoon on the south east side of Illa Gran d’Addaia. Boris, Caryn, and I stayed here while Angel, David, and Ana paddled west toward Port d’Addaia. Boris, Caryn and I stayed in a cave for a while enchanted by it, the red anemones, and other intertidal life different from that exposed to the sun.
When we left the cave, Boris, Caryn and I couldn’t see our companions. We had not idea which way they had gone, and didn’t even know the adjacent shoreline was on an island. So we kept the shoreline on our left as it had been all morning. After paddling through the narrow channel between Illa Gran d’Addaia and Illa Petita d’Addaia, we realized they were islands. We then put the shoreline of Illa Petita d’Addaia on our right and paddled north toward Punta d’en Siulet. We still couldn’t see our companions. We considered that they might have gone into Macaret for supplies, but decided to paddle on and try to find Cala Pudent where we had agreed to camp. We saw Ana, and then David and Angel in the distance before we reached Punta Codolada. Caryn and I generally paddled from headland to headland to save energy, while Angel, David, and sometimes Boris and Ana followed the shoreline more closely. We had a great deal of difficulty finding the campsite.
Angel headed toward Arenal de Son Saura while David waited well off Punta de na Beteot. The rest of us waited for Angel to indicate which way we should go. Angel disappeared from sight in the distance. Boris paddled toward where we last saw Angel to try to restore visual communication. I paddled after Boris to keep him in sight. I finally saw Angel. Boris hailed Angel and they indicated that we should all paddle north. We did so getting closer as we did except for David who made a bee line for Illa d’en Tosqueta. Angel and Boris caught up with him, and after a brief discussion decided we should all paddle back south. Apparently the beach behind Illa d’en Tosqueta was too small. We all paddled into Cala Pudent, but the sand beach there was crowded with sun bathers who said they intended to stay and party into the night. Some of them were supported by a couple of yachts anchored off shore. The beach at the head of Cala Pudent is muddy and stinks from piles of rotting sea grass. Some wanted to paddle back to the north to find a better beach, but Caryn said she had paddled enough. I suggested we stay on the steep cobble beach just inside the mouth of Cala Pudent. We checked it out and decided it was acceptable. It turned out to be quite comfortable.
Boris served pomadas while David made pasta. Boris suggested we boil the pasta insea water. I agreed that it should be fine if we poured the water off. Caryn suggested that we use no more than half seawater. David followed the instructions on the package which called for using the water to make the sauce. The sauce was quite salty, but edible. It is a very good thing that David used only half sea water. After eating supper on my tarp spread out in an area above the cobble beach that Caryn and others had cleared of stones Boris brought out two bottles of Mallorquin herbal liquors. We passed the bottles around several times, and I soon fell asleep just as the first stars and the very young moon appeared in the sky. I looked for Mercury in the west, but did not find it. I woke up later and saw Polaris directly in front of me.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday 15 June 2007
We will leave for Menorca this evening, so I spent much of the day preparing for the trip. I bought batteries for my flashlight and GPS, canned fish, dried apricots, almonds, food containers, and plastic bags. I packed my kayaking gear and changed into my excursion clothes. Angel came home from work at 1515. We finished packing cooking equipment and food into one of Angel's backpacks, and drove to Ana and David's. We packed everything into their car and headed to Port Andratx.
After boarding the ferry to Ciutadella, Ana and David served us a wonderful lunch including beer and Quelitas, a whole wheat Mallorcan cracker. Angel contributed some great cheese from Navarre. It was cold in the air conditioned ferry so I went outside to the top deck for a siesta. It was probably about 2000 when we arrived in Ciutadella, a beautiful city with a very narrow, deep harbor.
We drove to a store to buy food and water. David demonstrated a Menorcan tradition of driving around every rotunda two times before selecting a way out. The tradition also requires that the driver choose a way out that is not in the direction of his destination if he has a passenger who has not been to Menorca before. This gives the driver the opportunity to familiarize the passenger with the sights of Menorca. In Menorca there is no reason th hurry anywhere, so you should take the longest route to any destination so as to enjoy the trip as much as possible.
We eventually arrived in Mao. We first drove to the Hotel Almirante, where we met Boris and Caryn at 2130. I greeted Boris with a good old American bear hug, and Caryn with the traditional Spanish kiss on both cheeks. This surprised her, but she quickly adjusted and finished with the best hug I have gotten from a woman since I arrived in Spain. After she greeted Angel, Ana, and David, she showed me through the hotel. It was once the home of Lord Collingwood who succeeded Lord Nelson as the commander of Menorca.
Angel, Ana, David, and I then went to the home of Marco and Esperanza which is on the second and third floors of an apartment building. They bought a home in a serious state of disrepair and have been remodeling it for a year or more. They now have a beautiful home that is very tastefully decorated.
Esperanza served a wonderful dinner on their patio. The first course was an onion soup of Russian origin. It is baked in the oven with melted and browned Parmesan cheese on top. The soup was accompanied by bread, salad, and a plate of rare veal, thinly sliced and beautifully arranged on a white plate with thinly sliced white cheese on top. This was delicious too. I ate three servings of the soup, served in white bowls, and ate my share of salad and veal.
After clearing the table, Esperanza served a soft, strongly flavored cheese thinly sliced with a plastic blade mounted on a shaft through the middle of the round cheese. The cheese is served with thin, toasted rounds of baguette and a marmalade. The cheese is called Tete de Moine or monk's head. Angel said it smells more like monk's feet, and wondered if the monk's head smelled so bad, how bad his feet must smell. Anyway, the cheese goes very well with the marmalade, and I found it delicious.
We finished supper about midnight, and Angel, Ana, and I went to a concert by Doctor Feelgood at Akelarre, a dance and jazz club on the waterfront of Port Mao. It was only a short walk from Marco and Esperanza's home. Doctor Feelgood is a group of 4 balding, grey haired American and British musicians that play very loud rock, 2 electric guitars, drums, and the vocalist plays a harmonica too. The 10 euro entrance fee includes a drink. I got gin and tonic as did Ana. People are smoking and there is standing room only. It is one big mosh pit. The musicians began playing about 0115. I enjoyed dancing the Cherokee 2 step in place and watching the people. Angel met tow orthopedic surgeons he knows.
We began the concert near the front, but were slowly pushed back a bit by people crowding in front of us. It was a bit like a pow wow, but indoors, and with these strange strings on a wooden box that people from the land of my ancestors use to make music by plucking the strings. I recognized several songs: Black Slacks, See you later alligator, underneath the apple tree and tequila. I was even able to sing along a bit. Otherwise I understood none of the words they sang, although it was entirely in English. The concert ended at 0315 and I was asleep on the couch in Marco an Esperanza's loft by 0330.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I rode the train to Manacor this morning to buy some gifts I have heard that they sell there. The train is very modern and comfortable. It took about an hour to get to Manacor from Palma. When I got to Manacor I asked the clerk in the station where I could find articles made of olive wood. She said she didn´t know anything about articles made of olive wood. I walked outside the station and asked three taxi drivers visiting in the shade. They told me to walk one block to the north and one kilometer to the west. I visited with them a while longer before one of them asked me if I would like to take a taxi to the store. I answered yes, and the three taxi drivers proceeded to discuss which one would have to take me. The finally decided that the driver with the least senority should take me.
He told me to get in, and we headed toward the store, Olive Art. He told me that this was his first day as a taxi driver. He had been a bus driver. We had gone only a block or two when he asked me if I spoke English. I told him yes, and he proceeded to speak in flawless English. Asked where I was from and his eyes lit up when I told him I was from California. He told me he had a rich uncle in Los Angeles who was in the import export business and specialized in wine. We had quite a nice visit. I found lots of nice things made of olive wood in the very large workshop and show room at . Customers can view the workers making articles of wood through large glass windows. A store manager took me back to the train staton, and I was back in Palma by 1400.
I took a nap until Angel arrived at 1515. We went to Luisa´s house for dinner. Luisa had bought a Spanish ham, jamon Serrano, a shoulder with black feet meaning that it was fed on acorns. Angel sliced it thinly, while Luisa fried anchovies. She had previously butterflied and boned them. She coated them in flour before cooking them. We drank beer with the meal. Luisa had made salmorejo earlier in the day. Salmorejo is thicker than gazpacho, and made of white bread, very ripe tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It is blended until very smooth. She served it with very lean crumbled bacon, and offered hard cooked eggs to slice thinly on top of the salmorjo. We ate it with French bread. It is quite good and I hope to make it myself one day. She also served slices of manchego cheese, and of course the ham.
We cleared the table, and put it away. Angel took a nap on the couch. Luisa made expresso, and served it on the balcony with cream, sugar, and some cookies that Ana had bought at the store on the first floor. The view from Luisa´s balcony is beautiful. We took several photos on the balcony. I hope to stitch some of them together when I get home. Angel took me home before he went shopping with Ana.
Lola had invited me to a chamber music concert at Son Marroig, near Deía and Valdemosa. She picked me up at 1920 and we met some friends of hers, another Ana, Elia and Rafa before leaving Palma. Ana rode with Lola and I. Elia and Rafa took their own car. They all speak English well. Elia and Ana are anesthesiologists.
Son Marroig is an old Mallorcan mansion. Much of the main building is a museum. One large room has been adapted for concerts. There are drapes that can be pulled over the large windows, and they have hung drapery from the exposed beam rafters to improve the sound characteristics. The hall holds about 100 people. I was very pleasantly surprised by the music. The musicians were very animated, and the music very lively. At times it sounded like jazz. Lola brought me back to Ängel´s place at 2330. I worked on photos and this blog until 0200.
I spent most of the day shopping for gifts. Angel got home late, 2100. He asked me if I wanted to go out for tapas. I assumed that we were just going around the corner to a place where we have eaten before, but Angel walked right past it. Angel walks much faster than I do and I often have to rush to keep up with him. He wandered through El Corte Inglés, Plaça Espanya, Calle Sant Miguel, and many small narrow streets, before arriving at Plaça Rei Joan Carles. He stopped in front of the tapas bar where I ate the first day I explored the center of Palma.
He made a phone call and told me we were waiting for some friends. We explored the streets to the south and east of Plaça Rei Joan Carles until he got a phone call from a friend letting us know she had arrived. We went to the tapas bar where I met Luisa, a nurse at the hospital where Angel works, and his best friend. She stayed in the spare room at his house for 6 months before I arrived. She is a delightful young lady, always smiling and laughing. The restaurant was very crowded. Luisa put her name on the waiting list for a table. Then Angel introduced me to Carmen, a gynecologist at the hospital, a delightful woman only slightly more serious than Luisa.
Angel ordered a variety of plates that included morcilla (a wonderful blood sausage) con huevos, and croquets of cod. Angel, Luisa, and I drank rioja, a red wine, with dinner. Angel and I drank several chupitos, sweet liquor, after dinner. Then Carmine took us to a small cosy bar with a beautiful exposed beam ceiling. Carmine ordered a mojito, and the rest of us ordered pomadas, gin with lemon juice. Luisa drove us home at 0230. I had a great time enjoying some wonderful new friends, foods and beverages.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Ana Mora called me this morning. She has to go to Adriano to pick up a camera she left on a dive boat. She asked me if I wanted to accompany her. I answered in the affirmative, and she picked me up at 1000. After she got her camera and we walked to the foot of the breakwater to take in the view of shoreline to the west, she drove to a viewpoint overlooking Illa del Toro and Es Malgrat. Ana then drove to Port Andratx where we walked to Mol Vel, another breakwater, and took some pictures. We then drove through the mountains on narrow crooked roads, narrowly avoiding several crashes. We passed through the villages of Capdellá, Galilea, Puigpunyent, and Sa Vileta on our way back to Palma. I took a siesta before Angel got home from work. Then we went shopping for camping gear for a couple of hours.
Lola had recommended that I attend a Zarzuela. It is similar to an operetta, but never dramatic. They are romantic comedy. I had decided to attend one this evening and invited Lola to accompany me. She agreed even though she has a very tight schedule with her music lessons and work taking up a lot of time. She picked me up near Angel´s condo, and we rode to the Zarzuela in her Cabrio convertible. We saw La Cancion del Olvido. The vocalists were very impressive, and the orchestra, costumes and sets wonderful. I understood the story, although I understood little of the dialog and got only a couple of the jokes.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Angel arranged for a visit with Pere Oliver of the Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares this morning. Ana went with us. I spent an hour with Pere and some of his specialists discussing the work of the center and especially squid and cuttlefish, how the are fished in los Baleares, and how they study these animals. They believe that most cephalopods live only one year. The cuttlefish are caught in trammel nets. The season is just ending now. Pere gave me some links to web sites where I can find more detailed information on the fisheries of los Baleares. I was very impressed by the size and number of research vessels that they operate, and the interpretive displays they have in their patio.
We then went for coffee and pastry before shopping for things we need to take on our trip around Menorca. Angel and I went out for lunch. There was a group of young, beautiful Russian girls at the table next to us. The were showing one another their purchases which included "G" strings. I rested for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but didn't sleep much. I spent much of the siesta reading about the shorelines of Menorca.
At 1700 Angel took me for a ride to Formentor, a rugged, rocky peninsula on the north shore of Mallorca. On the way there we drove along the shoreline of the Bay of Pollença to Talia d´Albercutx and Far de Formentor a light house on the end of the peninsula. This is a very beautiful part of Mallorca. Angel said he has photos of his parents on their honeymoon at the same locations we visited. It is apparent by their behavior that a lot of the couples here are newly weds or soon to be weds, and not all of them are young. A fitting observation on the day before my wedding anniversary.
On the way home we visited the hospital to get a grill from Ana, but after seeing it I decided it would be easier and not so messy to just heat the spare ribs up on the stovetop. Angel and I went back to his condo and began making preparations for the party. Angel wanted to share my spareribs with his closest friends. They began to arrive about 2030. Ana, David, Javier, Elena, and Lola joined Angel and I for dinner. We had the spare ribs of course (recipe below), Elena brought a salad, Angel prepared his famous broken eggs. This dish is actually french fries with garlic, and a cooked egg white, and a raw egg yoke broken on top. It is a very tasty way to eat french fries. We drank 2 bottles of very good Rioja wine. Angel cut up the rest of the melón con piel de sapo and poured some port on it. He also served some delicious pastry with the port wine he brought me from Lisbon. Everyone helped clear the table. They began leaving at 0030. Angel and I finished washing the dishes, and Angel fell asleep on the couch in front of the television. I went to bed about 0130. What a great day this has been.
400 g tomate frito
200 g ketchup
200 ml vinagre
200 g asúcar moreno
100 ml miel
200 ml agua
10 ml chili polvido
30 g Maizana
Calenta tomate frito, ketchup, vinagre, asúcar, miel, agua, y chili hasta se herve. Agrega las costillas y las cocina para 2 o 3 horas. Mescla la Maizana con poca agua. Cuando es mesclado bien, agrega a la salsa. Cocina las costillas unos minutos mas y las serva.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I finally got to Cabrera today. I got up at 0530, and was at the bus station by 0630. It was then that I discovered that the first bus to Colónia Sant Jordí on Sundays doesn't get there until 1100, so I took a taxi. The taxi driver was a very pleasant woman from Nigeria with beautiful dreds. She spend some time in Russia and 2 years in Germany before coming to Mallorca. She has been here 10 years. She is married and has two children. English is her second language, but she learned to speak it well as a child, and as if it were her first language. Her children don´t speak any Nigerian languages. She has been trying to get them to speak Spanish at home, but they prefer to speak Pigin, a dialect of English. She expressed interest in seeing California, so I invited her to stay with us in Vacaville.
I arrived in Colónia Sant Jordí at 0745. The Cabrera boat office was open, but the lady there asked me to wait until another lady came. I sat on a park bench. A German gentleman sat on the other end of the bench. He spoke English, and we had a nice visit. I went back to the office at 0830 and the same lady I bought my reservation from on Friday told me I could board a boat immediately. I got on the boat and it left at 0845. The swells were about 1 meter high out of the southeast and had a very short period of about 3 seconds. We were quartering into them. The wind was out of the east and blowing at 5 to 10 knots. I had my back to the sun and the wind, so I got hit by the spray that was occasionally kicked up by the boat.
We arrived in Port Cabrera at 1000. Most people headed for the picnic area and the beach, but a few of us headed for the castle, and spent about an hour there. The entrance to the castle is a small door in the south side leading to a narrow, dark, steep, circular staircase. The view of the port and the island is great from the top of the castle. There are also lots of lizards here. They dissapear at any sudden movement, but ran over my feet if I stood still in an area where there was little or no traffic.
I arrived at the picnic area at 1200. I found an unclaimed table and unloaded my backpack. I ate my ham and cheese sandwich, two oranges and several dates. I brought my journal up to date before reloading my backpack and heading off to see the archaeological sites and a distant beach where jellyfish are stinging bathers. The jellyfish are quite small, only about 50 mm in diameter. I met a park employee, Danny Calvo, on my way to the beach. We spoke in Spanish until he found out I spoke English. He spoke English like a native Californian. It was now nearly 1400 so I decided to head back to catch the boat to Colónia. I took pictures of many plants and identified several.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Angel and I went to a dinner party at the home of Silvia and Francisco in Vilafranca. Silvia had asked Angel to bring something for desert. When we greeted our hosts, Angel showed them the spoon he had brought for desert. He had actually brought 3 different kinds of ice cream and a bottle of very fine wine: a 1991 Rioja Gran Reserva from Conde de los Andes. Silvia and Francisco have a beautiful new home. Pancho was already there when Angel and I arrived. Silvia invited all her anesthesiologist friends from the hospital: Raquel, Paki, Lola, and Inma. Pedro got me a beer and poured it into a frosted glass as soon as we introduced ourselves.
Pedro and Francisco set out appetizers which included a plate of the best kind of Spanish ham, 2 kinds of olives, fried ants and meal worm larvae. Everything was good, but I especially liked the ham and the spicy olives. Silvia was making gazpacho when Angel and I arrived, and that was the first course for dinner. She served it in white bowls with thinly shaved Spanish ham on top. The main course was cheeks of veal in a sauce served over noodles. It was a bit like Hungarian goulash, but much better. We drank Angel´s wine first, and another much younger Rioja, 2003 I believe, but very good wine later. There were several deserts. Francisco made a fruit salad. of melon balls, mango, brebas, cognac, rum with coconut, and ouzo. There was a torte of two thin layers of cake with filling between them and lots of meringue on top, and of course the ice cream that Angel brought.
After we cleared the table, we rested and massaged one another. When people woke up from their nap we poured drinks over ice and went upstairs for some music. I chose the sweet liquor with herbs that I had drank with Francisco a few days earlier. We later came downstairs for some karaoke competition. I was clearly the worst. I didn't even know the words to the English language songs, and I was never able to carry a tune in a bucket. Angel helped me out. Francisco is a great vocalist. It was a great party enjoyed by all I am sure.
Friday, June 8, 2007
I plan to go to the island of Cabrera today. My alarm went off at 0600. I got up promptly and was on my way to the bus staton at 0615. The station was not open, but I found that I could pay the fare on the bus. It took me a while to find the right place to wait for the bus, but I boarded it shortly after it pulled into the station, and was on my way to Colónia de Sant Jordí at 0700 for an hour long ride across Ses Plau, the flat plain of Mallorca.
There are lots of olive, fig, and almond orchards, and dilapidated wooden windmills on one to two story high stone foundations are a common sight. Some of the windmills have been restored. Many if not all of the restored windmills are made of steel, painted in white, and either blue or red. The government is paying people to restore their windmills. There are also grain fields, alfalfa, round hay bales stand in some fields, and there are a few carob orchards and an occasional vineyard or vegetable garden. The plain is not entirely flat. There is an occasional hill and a few pine forests.
I was unable to get on the boat to Cabrera, because it was full of school children. I spent a couple of hours in a German restaurant. The owners moved from Germany and purchased the restaurant only 3 months ago. They have renamed the restaurant Cafe Strandkorb and almost all of their customers are German. They are located directly across the street from an interpretive center that is under construction. They have a son who is a doctor in Norway.
I ordered a cortado and ensaimada from the owner of the restaurant. He was struggling with Spanish almost as much as I, so he sent his wife out to speak English with me. She spoke perfect English as she grew up in Germany near an English speaking community. After a bit I ordered Spanish ham, a kind of German cheese that turned out to be sour cream with garlic and chives. The breakfast came with two kinds of fresh warm bread, one like the biscuits we make in California, and the other a whole wheat quick bread with flax and sunflower seeds. It would have been very good with coffee, but I had already had enough coffee, so I drank fresh squeezed orange juice from Mallorcan oranges.
I finished my breakfast at 1200, found the bus stop and began hiking east on the beach. The beaches here are of fine, white sand. The beaches closest to town are densely populated. Many of the people sunning themselves are lying on lounge chairs under umbrellas. The farther I got from town the more thinly populated the beaches. Rocky headlands separate the beaches, and stone boat houses are built on some of these rocky headlands. I walked about 3 kilometers before going for a swim. I swam to an island about a kilometer offshore, and could see the bottom the entire way. The water was quite comfortable, probably 20 to 22 degrees C. I walked back to Café Strandkorp for a caña, a small draft beer before catching he bus back to Palma at 1520.
I arrived back at Angel´s condo at 1630, showered, shaved, went to the store, and cooked some ribs Angel wants to take to a party at Ana and David´s in a couple of days. I added to this blog while the ribs simmered on the stove, and went to bed at 2330.