My Perfect 24 Hours On A Spanish Island
It is almost September in Alaska, which means one thing: rain, rain, and — guess what?! — more rain. This is when I start to dream of beaches, non-Alaskan men, and SUN.
Which brings me to this post. Beth & Randy at the amazing travel photography blog Beers & Beans are running a contest. If I tell them what I would do with 24 hours in the Balearic Islands, and they like it, I win a prize. Being that beach fantasies are all my mind has been coming up with lately, I thought I’d give it a go.
Alright, so here is my perfect 24 hours on a Spanish Island.
First off, which island? I chose the island of Menorca, because of its natural beauty and laid-back qualities. Though the islands of Ibiza and Majorca are beautiful, they are also famed for their ultra-chic, ultra-all night, ultra-not my style nightlife. For those wishing to enjoy a quieter, more nature-centered holiday, I’ve heard that Menorca is the place.
2:05 pm: I arrive in Menorca. Why so early in the day? Because I’m not coming from the States, that’s why. No jet lag for this girl! I just hopped a flight from London (booked by On The Beach), where I’ve been pub-ing and fish-and-chips-ing all week, obvs. Oh, and playing, um, poker with Prince Harry.
Why not Ibiza? Did I mention that I live in Alaska? I don’t even think I have the clothes to get into a McDonalds there. Menorca, that is definitely more my speed. (It also has as many beaches as Majorca and Ibiza combined, so take that!)
2:22 pm: My bags are not lost and are first off the carousel. As I attempt to wave down a cab, my seatmate from the flight approaches me. He is tall, with tousled dark hair and a tanned physique. (I will tryyyy not to get too carried away here.) Javier, as I learn he is called, is from Menorca and is NOT a serial killer. He offers me a ride to my hotel. Since I know he is not a serial killer, I accept.
3:40 pm: We arrive at my hotel, the fabulous Port Ciutadella, which was also booked through On The Beach. I’m already liking the looks of it.
3:51 pm: OMG. This place is ballerrrrrr. Feeling generous, I ask Javier if he wants to hang out for a bit. I mean, I have to repay him for giving me a ride here, don’t I?
4:00 pm: Drink in hand. Poolside chair claimed. Cool ocean breeze, warm sun… and hot Spaniard? Check.
4:19 pm: As we sit by the pool, Javier tells me about all the exciting activities on offer in Menorca. It is a paradise for outdoors lovers, with sea kayaking, scuba diving, horseback riding, hiking, swimming, sunning, and many other -ings.
7:04 pm: Whoops! Where did the time go? I guess when you are lounging in the sunshine of Menorca, time kind of disappears. My stomach is grumbling, though, as I haven’t really eaten since the airline peanuts. And everybody knows that those don’t fill you up for squat.
7:11 pm: Javier, in addition to being gorgeous, is also a mind-reader. Or, maybe he’s hungry, as well. Whatever the case, he suggests that we head into town for some cena. This guy clearly knows the way to my heart. Si, senor!
7:25 pm: I am strolling hand-in-hand with Javier towards the beautiful port city of Ciutadella. Who do I have to thank for this?! Oh, right… thank you, On The Beach, for booking me such a wonderful vacay!
7:48 pm: Wow, the city of Ciutadella is incredible. The former capital of Menorca, it is rich in history and filled with 17th century buildings. It was founded before the turn of the century, and I start to feel as though a Carthaginian or a Moor might pop out at any second.
It’s the little moments while traveling that you remember the most, the snippets of a time and place and feeling that end up seared in your memory. Exploring these dimly lit cobblestone streets, turning corners in search of the perfect restaurant — this is not something I shall soon forget.
8:33 pm: We find it. A small restaurant with paper tablecloths, dripping candles, and a friendly, rosey-cheeked proprietor. We order our fresh fish, dining al fresco with carafes of wine as our only company.
10:39 pm: After lingering over our meal as only the Spanish can, we start to make our way back to the hotel. We stop at a small bodega to get one more bottle of wine (our last, mom – I promise!).
10:56 pm: We end up on the beach, sharing travel stories and our final bottle of vino.
11:27 pm: Once the wine bottle has been emptied and is gone from my lips, it is soon replaced by a kiss. [Insert swoon here by all the girls. Gagging by all the boys.] Did I mention he has an accent?
11:54 pm: Javier walks me to the door of my hotel. We say goodnight, and he whispers “hasta mañana” as we part ways. (Yes, I’m sure there’s something sexier some dream Spanish man would say, but work with me here.)
12:01 am: I’m cuddled up in my bed, listening to the roar of the ocean outside. Most people my age would be just getting their nights started over on Ibiza right now, but I am happy as a clam. I begin to think to myself, “Am I old? Lame?” Then, realizing that I will actually be able to enjoy the sunshine tomorrow, I sigh contentedly and fall into a deep, wine-induced sleep.
8:07 am: The sunlight peeks through my window, gently waking me up. Oh my, how I love getting good and schwasted early and, thus, passing out early. I feel great! Scratch that. I feel… not shitty!
8:26 am: Time to mow down on some of the hotel’s buffet breakfast. Though I feel a bit affected by the, oh, five or so bottles of wine that were consumed last night, it’s nothing that a hearty breakfast can’t cure.
9:03 am: Hello, sun! What a beautiful day. It’s time to play on the Mediterranean ocean, and what better place to do it than the Spanish Island of Menorca? Snorkeling? Kayaking? The options are endless. Eventually, I sign up with one of the local dive companies to go scuba diving.
9:45 am: I get suited up in my (shorty!) wetsuit and gear. I’m feeling really thankful for the fact I didn’t drink too much, and that this is a shore drive. (I don’t ever want to endure a repeat of my time diving with thresher sharks in the Philippines!)
10:02 am: We dive “The Slipway,” a sheltered bay with canyons and caves galore. We meet a school of barracuda and encounter several octopuses along the way. The water is crystal clear and a balmy 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, yes, and yes.
11:30 am: Back from my dive. Javier is supposed to meet me for lunch, but hasn’t arrived yet. I look impatiently at my watch, thinking “Isn’t this supposed to be my perfect 24 hours on a Spanish Island?” Then, as I turn my head to look down the beach once more, I see Javier trotting in ON A HORSE. (Shutup – this is supposed to be a fantasy, okay?!)
11:32 am: He apologizes for his tardiness. I forgive him.. DUH. He could’ve been six years late, as long as he arrived on a horse. We ride out into the stunning countryside of Menorca, exploring the green hills that surround the former capital.
1:41 pm: Back from our relaxing horseback ride, we enjoy a lazy lunch at one of Ciutadella’s many outdoor cafes. I realize that I really do love it here in this quaint beachside city, with its historical walls and bustling boat harbor. It is going to be hard to leave. Especially now that it’s siesta time.
1:45 pm: Javier turns to me, and asks if I have ever heard of the Festes de Sant Joan. It’s an annual festival that occurs on June 23rd & 24th. I look at my watch. Today is June 21st. I listen as he tells me what the festival entails. Music, parades, dancing, drinking, horse racing, and JOUSTING?!
Looks like my perfect 24 hours on a Spanish island has just begun.
This is my version of a perfect 24 hours on a Spanish Island. This post was written as an entry for 24 hours on The Balearics contest sponsored by OnTheBeach.co.uk. The prize is £500 in Amazon Vouchers and the contest runs until August 31, 2012. Please visit BeersandBeans.com to learn more about the contest and how you can also enter.”