Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Menorca, Spain - A perfect family holiday in the sun

I'm used to planning  my own travel so  it was a real treat to have someone else decide on the destination for a change. My son and daughter-in-law had booked a family holiday to Menorca and invited lucky me to join them while I was visiting them in the UK.  I had never even heard of Menorca let alone been there so it was a real thrill to go on an unexpected holiday to somewhere new.
The marina at Port D'Addaia, Menorca
Menorca  is the smallest and most eastern of Spain's Balearic Islands.  It is also the quietest and most natural, making it a perfect family destination. Popular activities on the island are aquatic sports, hiking, horse riding or just chilling out and if archaeology is your thing there are more than1500 archaeological sites on the island dating from the Talayotic era. Then, of course, there is the crystal clear water lapping golden beaches, bars for sampling sangria and tapas and quaint small towns and villages to stroll around and soak up a bit of Catalan atmosphere. My diary says 'First impressions of the island - green, largely rural, traditional white, tiled farmhouses, stone walls, donkeys and hay bales, lovely."
Our villa at Port D'Addaia
As a family of five, including two young children, renting a villa seemed to be the best option for us.  Ours was in the  village of Port D'Addaia on the northern side of the island, and it was perfect. Set in a quiet, leafy street of stand alone houses  Villa Sonja has a private garden and a lovely swimming pool. Within minutes of arriving my grandson was happily splashing around in the  pool and as far as he was concerned the pool was the very best thing about this holiday.

Endless hours of fun in the pool
As for the adults, relaxation was immediate. There was wine to sample, paella to eat, books to read....bliss.  My daughter in law is a wonder at discovering all sorts of local delicacies and made sure we got to sample the local meats, cheeses, wines etc.  It was fun ticking them off her list. Port D'Addaia is a sleepy place consisting of a couple of restaurants, a gift shop, a small supermarket and a bar,  and I  loved it.  My days started with a cup of coffee on the balcony looking out on a rustic farmyard, the only sounds, bird calls and a gentle murmur  in the fragrant pines bordering the property.  Then it was off up to the village to buy the  huge, fluffy, sweet rolls called ensaimadas, the traditional Menorcan breakfast.  I enjoyed queuing up with the locals in the village shop waiting for these sugar dusted delights to come out of the oven and  saying good morning,"Bon dia"in the local dialect, to the shop assistant.
My grand daughter enjoying her huge breakfast ensaimada, hot from the oven

Some days we went sight seeing around the island, some days we stayed around the villa and relaxed or took a stroll down the hill to the marina past beautiful white washed villas, their gardens resplendent with pink and red oleander and bougainvillea tumbling over walls. 
Port D'Addaia gardens were a vibrant display of oleander and bougainvillea

One afternoon we sat at the small open air bar at the marina, sipping beer and sharing tall tales, another afternoon in the large friendly bar in the village, it was just delightful. Since our villa had no internet connection it was a wonderful excuse to head to the village bar for a cold drink and a chance to use their wifi - purely for research purposes, you understand.  So there you have it, a brief introduction to Menorca.  There is more to come.....
Delicious, authentic paella
Long, lazy lunches at our villa