Saturday, June 16, 2007

Travel to Menorca

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.

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