Thursday, September 10, 2009

Balearic Islands, Spain

We had a fabulous 4 day sail from Tunisia to Menorca in the Balearic Islands. We anchored in a well protected bay in Mahon harbour with 15 to 20 other boats and over the course of 2 weeks, 4 Canadian boats passed through. We had not seen any Canadian boats since Egypt several months ago so it was nice to make some new friends. In fact, we had not seen anyone we knew since Egypt but we here ran into several friends from the past including our Spanish friends Juan and Laura from Barcelona who were just completing their 5 year circumnavigation.
My sister Marlene and her husband Robin arrived from Canada by plane laden with the supplies we had asked them to bring for us…an electric sander, repair parts for our camera and our computer, Canadian Flags as well as gifts they brought us of some of our favourite things from home… Maple Syrup, Kraft Dinner, cheese and much more. After lightening their load, we toured around the capital city of Mahon which sits high on a cliff overlooking the harbour.
Robin, being of British decent, wanted to see some of the British history on the island. We took a tour of “La Mola” which is a huge fort built by the British in the late 1700s. We also toured the historic naval hospital that was built on an island so it could contain any quarantine risks like yellow fever and the plague. It was affectionately called “Bloody Island”.
Once we had our fill of history, we wanted to experience some traditional Menorcan cuisine. Laura, our Spanish friend had written down a list of all their favourites we should try and we settled on grilled sea bass and a traditional rice soup which is like Paella filled with seafood in a delicious broth.
The highlight of our time in Menorca was definitely the Jaleo. We just happened to be in Mahon at the time of their fiesta. The highlight of the festival is the Jaleo which is the most insane thing I have seen so far. Picture this:…truckloads of sand dumped in the streets for several blocks. Add thousands of very drunk people wall to wall in the sandy street, then parade a bunch of horses through the streets twirling around and rearing up on their hind legs while people try to touch the horses heart while the horse is standing on it’s hind legs. This is supposed to be good luck and I suppose if you can pull that off without getting trampled, you must have had good luck in the first place. I guess Marlene is one of the lucky ones. One of the hands on the horse in this picture is hers.
After 6 action packed days,
Marlene and Robin headed inland to St. Louis for 4 days before heading back to Canada and we started to get organized for our 5 day passage to Gibraltar.


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