Anywhere (Spain)

Here’s the latest blog post ever! This actually isn’t the first time I wrote this blog post… I had gotten motivation to write this back when I was on my flight home from Toronto to Saskatoon, and I spent two full hours typing out all of my stories – to the point where the person sitting beside me made a comment about how long I had been typing and asked what I was writing. Anyway, I made the stupid decision to write my blog in Notes on my computer (which I’m actually doing again right now – apparently I don’t live and learn) but because my phone hit wifi before my computer did, it updated my notes first. Therefore, when I turned on my computer to edit my blog before posting it, I was horrified to see that my post no longer existed. Needless to say, it’s taken a lot of motivation to get me to sit down and start this blog post again. Anyway, as most of you know I’ve already been to Canada and back, although that will be saved for another post. This post is dedicated to my trip in Spain! The last week of teaching was very quiet, and I only ended up getting three and a half days of work, mostly at random schools that I had never been to before. At one school, all of the students called me

Menorca Map

“Ma’am” instead of “Miss” and it made me feel like I had aged at least 30 years. The last day of school was on July 20th, which was a Wednesday, but I decided to just give myself those three days off since I figured I wouldn’t get work anyway.

On the 16th of July, I flew to Menorca in Spain. I was extremely concerned because my flight was due to arrive at 10pm and there were only two hostels on the island: one that accepted check-ins until 10pm and one that accepted check-ins until 11pm. I obviously opted for the 11pm one but I knew it was going to be a tight squeeze. When I checked in, the agent asked if I’d be checking in any bags (which the answer is always no in order to avoid baggage fees) but for the first time ever, I was asked to put my carry-on bag onto the scale. I wasn’t too happy when I saw that my bag was a kilogram over the allowed weight requirement. It must have been my lucky day because the agent offered to check in my bag for free! Anyway, everyone ended up checking onto the plane so fast that we actually left and arrived a half hour early. I still ended up having to wait for my bag to come out, and later realized that an older couple had it for a half hour until they saw their ACTUAL bag and put mine back onto the carousel. I then ran to the extremely long line to get a taxi. Well, it seemed like they only had two taxis on the entire island, because one would come every five minutes or so, so it took forever until I finally got my own. The taxi only took about 15 minutes but it ended up costing me 20 euro – the same amount as one night in the hostel! I got to the hostel with a half hour to spare, but all of the lights were out and there was

Es Grau

 
no way of getting inside. Luckily, the hostel owner must have been watching on a tv screen, cause he showed up shortly after. Menorca is one of the three main Balearic islands (including Mallorca and Ibiza), but unlike its sister island Ibiza, it’s not a party island. It’s the most relaxed place I’ve been to in a long time. No one was ever in a rush, everyone was really easygoing and friendly, and people would stop for you even when you were three metres away from getting to a crosswalk (Note: This would NEVER happen in London, where the cars don’t even stop at crosswalks unless the lights tell them to. If a crosswalk doesn’t have a light, then you better run as fast as your legs can take you, because no car will ever slow down for a pedestrian). Menorca has more beaches than Ibiza and Mallorca combined, so the possibilities were endless! I was staying in a small town called Sant Lluís, which was about a 15 minute bus ride from the main town, Mahon. On Sunday, I decided to spend the first part of the day in Mahon to try to find a beach. Unfortunately after feeling like I had walked along the entire Mahon port, I never found one so I decided to take a bus to Punta Prima, which was somewhat of a busy beach, but I ended up spending the entire afternoon there. On Monday, I went to a beach called Es Grau with two people from my hostel – a girl from Chile and a guy from France. We arrived at about noon and the next (and only) bus to take us back was at 6pm, so we were pretty much forced to sit in the sun for six hours. The further you walked along the beach, the more private it got so we finally found our own private beach (with the exception of a nude couple who likely wasn’t too happy to have the extra company). The weather was scorching hot and I definitely started to feel it towards the end of our time there (Note: My back was so painful that I couldn’t even roll over in bed without waking myself up. For the next few days, I shed a whole layer of skin off my back so I had to start from square one all over again). We went back to the hostel to shower and get ready for the evening and then we decided to take the last bus to Mahon. We found a nice little restaurant and ordered a bunch of different tapas, which were absolutely delicious! My friend also ordered us a round of drinks called Tinto de verano, which I wasn’t too excited about because it’s red wine mixed with lemon Fanta. I was pleasantly surprised how much I actually liked this drink, as I always stay away from red wine, and I ended up drinking these for the rest of my holiday. However, I also started to notice that every time I had one of these drinks, my nose would get completely stuffed and then I’d sneeze for the rest of the night. Allergy to red wine perhaps? That wasn’t the only thing I found out I was allergic to during the holiday… Even though it looks like all of my holidays are a lot of fun and I’m enjoying myself (and they are and I am, don’t get me wrong), it’s during my holidays when I’m also usually in the most pain since I end up not using bottled water to wash my face and my skin spends the entire time going through multiple reactions. Anyway, this time it wasn’t only the water that my skin reacted to but also the sunscreen. I started to notice that

Ciutadella port

every time I put on sunscreen, my face would burn and sting as if I was pouring some kind of acid on it. My hands also started reacting since they had the most sunscreen on them. Halfway through the week, I had to make a decision about whether I’d rather suffer through the pain of the sunscreen, or risk getting a burn. Eventually I opted for the no-sunscreen, as the pain was getting unbearable. Basically the sunscreen was blocking my sweat glands and because I was in a 28-degree place, my body would try to sweat but it couldn’t, so the glands would become infected and make multiple pustules on my skin, which would eventually break open and cause extremely dry skin. Obviously, one would put on moisturizer to get rid of the dry skin, but that would just cause another vicious cycle of blocking my sweat glands and make them infected again. Needless to say, I was in extreme pain during my holidays, especially when I had to put my raw hands in the salty ocean water… I didn’t even try putting my face in the water because whenever a drop of water would splash on my face, it would end up being itchy for 20 minutes. Anyway, because we ended up taking the last bus to Mahon, we had no choice (at 2am) but to walk back to the hostel, which took about one hour so we finally arrived at 3 that morning. It’s always so nice meeting up with people that you just mesh with! I often get annoyed when I hang out with people at hostels because someone will make a suggestion that no one wants to do, but everyone will agree since they don’t want to be rude. This time around, we all seemed to be on the same page whenever we wanted food, drinks, beach time, etc. It was awesome! 

 
On Tuesday, I woke up realizing how much I had burnt so I decided to take a break from the sun and go to the other main city of the island – Ciutadella. I spent most of my time wandering around, going to cafes, or shopping, but trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Even when I would HAVE to walk in the sun for ten seconds, I could feel my arms burning. After spending the day there, I went back to Mahon where there was a huge night market. They also had a bunch of entertainment outside – I felt like I was at a resort!
 
On Wednesday, I went to a different beach called Playa de Binibeca, but I made sure I watched how much time I spent in the sun once again. I went to the main beach for about an hour and then I walked to a small town about a half hour away (Binibequer Vell). I had lunch there and checked out some of the shops and then I walked about another half hour to a more private beach.
 
On Thursday, I spent the day with an Italian guy from my hostel. I was determined to go to Cala Galdana because it was supposedly one of the nicest public beaches on the island, and it did not disappoint! The beach was huge, and the water was clear no matter how far you went out. We stayed there for about an hour and then had lunch, but I was determined to

Cala Macarelleta

go to the NICEST beach on the island – Cala Macarelleta. We made the long trek through the forest, but it was so worth it because we got beautiful views of all the beaches. The walk took us about an hour to get to the first beach – Cala Macarella, but we continued on to Cala Macarelleta, which took about another 20 minutes. It was one of the hottest days there, and we had little to no shade. It’s a good thing cardio doesn’t bother me, but stairs do and I nearly thought I wasn’t going to make it towards the end. Drinking my warm (almost hot) water didn’t help… The beach was so nice, but it was also pretty crowded due to its popularity. And you know it’s hot when your nail polish starts melting on your toes! Not only that, but when I got back to my towel after going for a swim, the pages of my magazine were ripped out. I thought someone had tripped over my magazine, pulling some of the pages out with it, but no – the sun had melted the glue of the magazine! We stayed there for about an hour and a half before we had to make our trek back to where we came from so we could catch the final bus back to Mahon. I decided to stay in Mahon for a little while longer before heading back to the hostel later that night.

 
Friday was my last full day in Menorca, unfortunately. Usually towards the end of my week of holidays, I look forward to getting back home and getting back to my routine but this time, I really wasn’t looking forward to leaving. Even the bus driver knew who I was by the end of the week! I would recommend Menorca to everyone; it’s the perfect holiday destination! Anyway, that day I went to Son Bou, which was another really nice beach but for the first time since I got to Menorca, there were clouds in the sky and the wind was absolutely horrible. I had to keep cleaning off my towel and then every time I went into the ocean to clean off, I’d get sandy within five minutes. I decided to call it a day and decided to go have a late lunch. While I was waiting for my meal, a commercial came on with what I thought was a joke. “Right now, there are donkeys that really need a friend…” When I looked up, I saw it was anything but that. Apparently if you spend 2 pounds per month, you can adopt a donkey, become Facebook friends with it, and even go and visit it! Maybe one day I’ll get a donkey… After eating, I went back to the hostel to pack my things.
 
The buses to Mahon don’t start running until 8am each morning, but my flight to Barcelona left at 8:45. I absolutely refused to pay for another taxi to the airport, so I decided to walk to Mahon and then take the bus from there to the airport. I had to get up at 6am and leave by 6:15 so I could catch the 7:15 bus. I had to run the last few minutes, hauling my suitcase behind me and I made it on the bus just in time – it literally closed its doors and left as soon as I stepped on! I got to Barcelona at about 10:30 that morning and dropped off my suitcase at the hostel so I could go explore. Here, it had increased in temperature (with the average temperature in Menorca being about 28, while the average temperature in Barcelona was about 33). I actually didn’t like Barcelona when I first got there, as it was much more city-like than I had thought. It was just like being in London, and I wasn’t too happy to be there after leaving quiet Menorca. I just wandered around that day, and then that evening I went to La Festa Catalana, which was a festival showing many sacred and rare dances. The next morning (Sunday), I took a three hour walking tour, which showed me all of the sites, including where Picasso grew up and where Columbus brought back his spices from North

Castle Montjuic

America. I was planning to go to the Picasso Museum that afternoon because it was free, but the lineup was at least five blocks long – it was insane! I then made my way up a huge hill to Castle Montjuic, where there was a free jazz concert that evening. It was so awesome to be there, and it was such a great atmosphere! Monday I did a lot more walking around and I checked out the Barcelona beaches.

On Tuesday, I caught a bus to Madrid. The bus ride was about 7 hours long, but it went by quickly. When I got off the bus in Madrid in the underground parking lot, I was shocked at how hot it was down there. It was like I was standing right next to a warm engine and I couldn’t wait until I got upstairs to cool off. However when I got upstairs, the temperature didn’t change. The average temperature in Madrid was 38 degrees! That’s almost a 90 degree difference compared to the -46 weather that Saskatoon had last winter; it blows my mind!
 
Parque del Retiro

On Wednesday, I did another walking tour. Afterwards, I went out for lunch with three other girls from my hostel before we went to the Parque del Retiro. We found some shade and stayed there for a few hours, just to keep cool. That evening, I decided I should probably go to a Flamenco show while I was in Spain, so I found a really cheap 12 Euro one at Sala La Garrocha. It was insane how much emotion was put into the dancing and singing! The next day, I had to go back to London. I decided to go for churros and hot
chocolate before leaving, which were absolutely delicious! I then did a bit of shopping before making my way to the airport. I got home around 11pm that evening and had two full days to pack, before heading back to Canada! 

Spain was a fabulous time, and I’d recommend it to everyone! I think I actually preferred Madrid to Barcelona, and I absolutely LOVED Menorca! I’ll work hard on getting my Canada blog posted soon, I hope everyone’s doing well back home! Oh, and by the way, I’m somewhat famous now! Remember when I was in Luxembourg City and I was sitting at the Chocolate House and a photographer asked if he could take pictures of me while I was eating? Well I made it onto the website! I’m on the bottom stream of photos on the “Kreationen” tab. http://chocolate-house-bonn.lu/kreationen/ I can sign autographs when I come back home 😉 Hope everyone has an awesome rest of the month! Love always
 
Anywhere – Passenger