Friday, August 31, 2012

Menorca from Caribbean to lunar landscape beaches

If you are addicted to beaches I would risk to say that you will surely enjoy Menorca... Why? Because you can go from reddish gold sand and pink rock beaches, (most of north), to white, fine sand and turquoise water (mostly on south).
Below you can find the beaches where we've been, in our 5 days trip this summer... Despite I think its a good mix of north and south beaches, as one Menorquin told us: just follow your instinct!

Tips & Notes:
  • We stayed in Ciutadella, reason why all the routes start there
  • Most of the beaches We've been don't have any infraestructures so it is fundamental that you take your beach survival kit: snacks, enough water & sunshade
  • If you rent a car in the airport try to borrow them a sunshade, they usually have plenty that tourists leave there
  • Check the wind direction to choose the "perfect beach" for the day, mainly if it is south or north.

Macarella, together with its little sister Macarelleta, are two beautiful coves with fine, white sand where the turquoise water of the sea is more calm than a swimming pool. Sheltered by hills covered in pine trees and holm oaks, it was so warm that we spent almost all the time floating in the water...
Unfortunately, despite the "oversized"car park, was not full, the beach was completely overcrowded and there was almost no space to put the towel. To enjoy the best of this beach and its precious landscape, you may want to go  in spring or autumn. If you go in this time of the year it may be a good advice to go in the afternoon it is much more calm.

Macaralleta, known as a nudist beach, can be reached by walking a few minutes from Macarella.

- There is a paid car park (5€), less than 5 minutes walking  and a free car park about 15 minutes walking from the beach.
- There is a restaurant (Susi), where you can eat/grab a snack and buy cool drinks.

How to get there?
From Ciutadella it is impossible to miss the way, just follow the signs to macarella. It is about 20 minutes from there. 

En Turqueta

As in the morning the car park was already full, in the middle of the day we decided to take a 40 minutes walk from Macarella till En Turqueta.
As you may guess by its name it's another precious turquoise water beach similar, but a bit less crowded than Macarella. 
As in all the island is frequent to see everyone with snorkelling equipment whatching the fishes in the crystalline waters. 

- If you go walking from Macarella don't forget to take enough water with you for to go and for the way back
- If you go spend the day don't forget your beach survival kit (water, snack & sunshade)

How to get there?
From Ciutadella it is impossible to miss the way, just follow the signs to Turqueta. It is about 10 minutes driving from there.

Cala Pilar

A great contrast with the previous day, Cala Pilar is the perfect example of the difference between southern and northern beaches. As It is one of the virgin beaches with a more difficult access, you have to walk about 30 minutes from the car park (first among centenary old oaks and then without any shadow), It is less frequented and a perfect alternative to the overcrowded southern beaches.
As it is an area maritime protection, fishing is forbidden and especially here may result spectacular to get your goggles and go snorkelling in these crystalline waters.

- before you go check the weather, if the wind is north you may have a very disapointing experience after walking for almost 40 minutes.
- there are no infrastructures in the beach so don't forget the survival kit. 
- As there is no trees where you can hide yourself from the sun, don't forget the sunshade otherwise in a hot sunny day you will have to create it by yourself as we did with the help of some sticks.
- I must confess the only thing I didn't like in this beach is the orientation, almost all the morning if you are in front to the sea the sun is on your back...
- It is frequent to see people covering themselves with clay as there is the mith that it is good for the skin...

How to get there:
On the road that connects Maó to Ciutadella take take the detour that says cami de pilar (aprox Km.34) and follow the road till the carpark. then enjoy the walking till the beach.

Son Saura

We went there in the afternoon after Cala Pilar.
Other of the "virgin" beaches, this may be one of the most spacious beaches. When its water is clean may be one of the most similar to Caribbean beaches in Menorca. Unfortunately when we went there the weather was very windy and too many algae, reason why we just went for a walk... 

- Despite there is a lifeguard, no other services are available on the beach.

How to get there:
From Ciutadella it is impossible to miss the way, just follow the signs to macarella/turqueta/Son Saura and after leaving the main road, when you reach the first crossroad go to the right following the sign Son Saura, (opposite to the one that indicates Macarella, Macaralleta, Turqueta).

Cala Pregonda

On the third day the kind receptionist of our hotel suggested us to go to this beach, that was one of her favourites and we discovered why... from the parking till the beach you have to go through a small but nice humid area and then a kind of lunar landscape , that must be precious on both sunset/sunrise... it's about 20 minutes walking, but it deserves it! its precious! just a pitty that in the middle of the day the quantity of Yachts increased a lot and we felt a bit of oil in the water...

As in Cala Pilar it is protected maritime area which associated with the small islands that surround it and that you can easily reach with your snorkelling equipment is a perfect spot for this activity.

- A restaurant is available next to the car park

How to get there:
From Ciutadella, take the road to Maó and on Es Mercadal, take the road to Fornells. on the exit of Es Mercadal you will see the sign to Cala Pregonda / Cavallería. Then on the secondary road there are small yellow signs indicating the way.

This was really the perfect way to end up our third spectacular day in Menorca... To let our bodies rest a bit from the sun we w

ent for a little bit of tourism among the area of Cape of Cavallería and Fornells. 
That was when, following the main tip I've told you in the beginning of this post: follow your instinct, we decided to go to Cavallería Beach. 
More than a precious large and golden sandy beach this is one of the perfect spots to whatch the sunset in Menorca. I must confess this was the only ocasion I missed a bar on the beach, or better a nice G&T...

How to get there:
It is just by Cala Pregonda, (see directions above), and follow Cavalleria Beach signs.


Known as Algairens or La Vall, this composed by two completly different areas: Els Tancats (first photo), and walking about 10 minutes "Platja d'Es Bot" (second photo).
Unlike other northern beaches this beach has also white and fine sand...
We went directly to Es Bot beach, where just arriving the beach you have a small humid area with lots of fish and some freshwater turtles...
As the majority of the beaches that you have to walk a bit this paradise was almost desert, what made me thinking that this same scenery in spring shall be incredible...

- No infraestructures are available so don't forget to take the beach survival kit

How to get there:
From Ciutadella take the road to "Cala Morell", and then follow the signs of "Platjes d'Algairens".


On the surroundings of Cala Galdana, a typical touristic "terrorist attack" of the seventies, you can find Cala Mitjana and Trebalúguer.
This was the perfect spot to end our vacations, it was almost like imagining Macarella with 2% of the people, (the photo was taken when there was more people in the beach). 
Like Cala Pilar this beach may be the best description of Menorca beaches: Paradise, touristic & relaxed...

- No infraestructures are available so don't forget to take the beach survival kit

How to get there:
From ciutadella, pick the main road to Maó and before ferreries take the road to cala Galdana. Arriving Cala Galdana you will see the sign to Cala Mitjana. Park here and when you arrive the beach pick the track that leaves from the left side of the beach (looking to the sea). After about 20 minutes you will arrive Trebalúguer...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Make your own burgers

Sometimes we don't even think that doing it by ourselves may be so easy, quick and much more tasty than buy it already prepared... It's what normally happens with burgers. 

Again, as I always say, don't get stuck in this recipe and try your own recipes by mixing whatever it occurs to you, and share if you want...

You will need:
minced meat (I used about 250 gr per person)
Dijon mustard
small toast or cracker
salt & black pepper

Put your griddle pan on high heat. Meanwhile, In a bowl, chop the parsley, and mix it with the dijon mustard, black pepper and one little toast smashed. Add the meat and mix it till the sauce is perfectly spread across all the minced meat. Make the burgers with your hands or with the help of a mould, I "stole"a burger mould from my mom's house... And grill it according to your taste...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can Bep, Like dining in your Grandma's home...

Once more we could confirm one of our travelling rules: always look for a restaurant out of the turistic area...

After the disappointment of the dinner in the port on the first night, fortunately we found Can Bep on Tripadvisor and as it was just by our hotel we decided to try it...

Unless you have any allergy its very easy to choose what to eat here. As a starter you must taste the grilled mussels. If you doubt read it in trip advisor  foursquare or tips and the restaurant staff won't forget to suggest this magnificent, exquisite starter...

Despite all the suggestions I must confess I doubted to choose it as till then I didn't like mussels... It remembered me a lunch in an Indian Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, as till then I wasn't able to digest spicy food and I ended that vacations eating spicy fried rice for breakfast...  

Other interesting starter onions filled with dusky sea perch and shrimps, and as main dish we shared a very good fried monkfish with garlic sauce, you can also ordered it grilled if you want to... 

To end another must try: Condensed milk pie, like the mussels you will remember it till the next time you come to this restaurant that in our case was the following day!

It was not possible to end this review without commenting the sympathy and attention of the restaurant staff that make you feel like eating in your Grandma's home...

Hope to come back soon!

Where to find it:
Can Bep
Passeig Sant Nicolau, 4
Ciutadella de Menorca, Menorca Island, Spain
Tel: 971 48 78 15

How Much?
Average Price 30 - 45€

San Sebastian G&T

I must confess that despite day by day I love it more what I'd call the Gin culture I am just a beginner in this world, reason why I don't dare to publish a detailed review of any Gin.

More than a G&T today I'll let you a different recipe that I found on Martin Miller's homepage and that I've just tried after my first contact this excellent premium Gin.

You will need:
Glass: Hi-ball or similar
Method: Build it over cubed ice in glass
Garnish: Lemon & Orange peel

50 ml Martin Miller's Gin
10 ml fresh Orange juice
10 ml fresh lemon juice
Dash orange bitters
Tonic Water (I used fever three)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A different Gin Tonic #1

After trying several brands of insect repellent, this summer I've discovered the best - Gin Tonic. Despite it may not be a scientific statement there are two facts: I am one day away of finishing my holidays in Troia without any mosquito bite till now an impossible mission at least for me... and on the other hand I substituted the use of repellents by Gin & Tonic, obviously not because the quinine effect to prevent the mosquitoes but because it is a perfect way to refresh yourself on the hot summer days.

You will need: 
50 ml Citadelle
140 ml Fever Tree Tonic Water
2 mint leaves
1 slice of green apple

As to prepare any G&T start by cooling your glass; smash the mint leaves with  the Gin in order to free all mint flavours; fill the glass with Ice; add a slice of of green apple by the side of the glass and finish adding the Tonic with the help of a bar spoon in order to preserve the tonic properties...

Dona Bia - a Rice Temple, Comporta, Portugal

On the Road that connects Comporta to Carvalhal, located by the rice fields, Restaurant Dona Bia is able to transform the excellent raw material of the region into unforgettable meals!

Behind the horrible mosquito net, but essential to avoid the implacable attack from the mosquitoes of the region, hides a restaurant that, despite the chaotic environment in August, continues to secure the loyalty of its clients.

Despite the rice dishes are the most recommended places, (also because it is the main product of the region), I must confess I always choose the same every time I go to Dona Bia. To start a salad, this time we had a Dog-whelk in a vinaigrette sauce (5€) and then the fabulous Moon fish Fillets with Spawns’ Alentejo Dry Soup (Bread past flavoured with olive oil,garlic and coriander), an exquisite and unforgettable regional dish! 

  • On the summer peak only are accepted reservations for the opening hour
  • If you go to dinner wait inside to avoid the implacable attack from the mosquitoes 
Estrada Nacional 261, entre Comporta e Carvalhal
7580-681 COMPORTA 

Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
Tel: +351 265 497 557

How Much?
Average price: 30-35€

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ventas Mojito

Mojito is the oldest and the classic cocktail in Ventas. If you ask me why? There is an obvious answer: It is the first request of my friends Madrileños

You will need:

Unrefined/Brown sugar
1/2 Lime
crushed ice

In a large glass, squash the mint with the sugar to get all the flavours and oils into the drink. cut the lime in four pieces, add two of them to the class, (Tip: take out the white part in the middle to avoid the bitter flavour) and squeeze it to get the juice. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the rum. To finish add a bit of Soda and a few drops of Angostura.Mix it with a bar spoon or with a shaker and serve it...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MEATing, A temple of good meat

MEATing is one of these restaurants which the name tells you perfectly what you can expect from it! It's a perfect place for a meat lovers group to meet...
Despite I went there after reading metropoli guide and recommendations, I still went out surprised and thinking about our next visit.

As it was the first time we went there we asked the waiter for some help, and the truth is that It couldn't be a better option. An expert on his restaurant raw material and so nice that also seemed to be part of our group.

We started with an a fresh tuna belly with tomato to share and then the star of the restaurant and if not the best it is surely on the podium of the best meat I've tasted in Madrid.

The room very pleasant, with space enough from the other tables and the perfect extraction avoids you to leave with the unpleasant smell of food...

Definitely a place to return...

Calle Villalar, 4
Madrid, Spain
phone: +34 914 31 69 97 

How Much?
About 30€
(depending on the wine you order we had two nice bottles of Ramon Bilbao edición limitada...)