We have more than a soft spot for Menorca; it’s where we like to take summer vacations and it’s where co-owner Oscar spent his formative years. With the island being such a tightly knit community, Oscar’s family and friends’ contacts have enabled us to set up some extraordinary insider activities on the island. Oscar tells us about the discoveries he made as a teen on the island and shares some of his favorite experiences.
“I was born in Barcelona and lived there until I was 13, until one day my whole life changed when my father came home and told us he had accepted a job offer, a new job that would bring him new challenges and adventures and would take us far away from home… to the island of Menorca.”
“I remember it like it was yesterday, my first contact with the island. I arrived from Barcelona by boat early in the morning with the mist slowly disappearing to reveal a spectacular sight: the port of Mahón, the capital city of the island and at 4km long, the largest natural port in Europe.”
“It was a peaceful morning, the people of the island were still asleep, the water was calm, and the sheer serenity of the silence made it a truly magical and unforgettable moment. The port of Mahón is not only one of the most beautiful places on the island, it’s also rich in history and life.”
“I quickly found that the island was “my place”. The crystal-clear water, the color of the landscape, the green of the fields, the animals grazing, the white villages, windmills, hiking trails, crops, people, personality, and of course, their unique, fun, and centuries-old fiestas.”
“Menorca is a world unto itself. Many civilizations have fallen in love with this “great little rock” and have left their legacy as a way of letting us know that they had the privilege to be there. And still today, you can find perfectly intact prehistoric remains, well-conserved Roman ruins, and those who left their mark the most, the French and especially the British. An incalculable and fascinating wealth of history that makes Menorca even more authentic.”
“As a teenager, I fully embraced island life, discovering every corner I could find (and those I have yet to discover). I used to think, and I still do, that it is a great island, not only because of its size and how fantastic it is but because it is endless… you never stop discovering Menorca, there is always something new to surprise and delight you.”
“Over the years, I have free and scuba-dived in its clear, infinite waters; I have walked its paths, in land to the coast; I have enjoyed the scents of its plants, its flowers and played in its sand – fine and white in the south and clay and brown in the north; what’s always surprised me is the diversity.”
Menorca is considered by UNESCO to be the largest biosphere reserve in the Mediterranean where countless animals and flora that can only be found on the island, coexist, and fit together perfectly like a puzzle.
“I have felt its wind pushing me when windsurfing in the bay of Fornells, in the north of the island and been caressed by its waters when I have dived, sailed, and paddled on a kayak.”
“I enjoyed meeting the people on this island, my new home, and it felt like I knew everyone. From the lighthouse keeper to the farmer. From the fisherman to the pastry chef who made magic during the night so that we could wake up to the taste of some of the best pastries typical of the island: the “ensaimada” and “pastissets”. Even now when I try them, they take me straight back to my childhood and the enjoyment I felt as a young boy without a care in the world.”
“Menorca’s gastronomy is based on local produce. Vegetables, meat, fish, and delicious seafood. “Sobrasada” is one of the star products, a sausage that is a work of art and flavor whose secret recipe is kept by just a few and passed on from generation to generation.”
“The wide green, fresh grass meadows of the island produce the best cow’s milk from which a very special Denomination of Origin cheese is made. It’s a blessing more than a cheese actually and together with the variety of local cold cut meats, the perfect combination for an aperitif in good company. All accompanied by the typical and local drink: a Menorcan gin and lemon.”
Menorcan pastries and cakes are made to tempt you over and over again and what better to take along to the beach for a picnic than a typical savory “empanada” with different fillings; without a doubt my favorites are the spinach and tuna.
“If I were reincarnated as an animal, I would certainly ask, or rather beg, to be raised on the island of Menorca. The green grass of the fields, a velvety carpet that gives food and vitality to many animals such as cows, sheep, lambs and of course the symbol of the island, the majestic Menorcan horse.”
“Now that I no longer live on the island, I continue to go back as often as possible. I just have to see the familiar coastline and feel the earth beneath my feet and see my family and my people again.”
And now, going back with my own family, I get to discover Menorca all over again, through the eyes of my daughters, seeing how much they delight in discovering the island in the same way that I did.
“And of course, I love to open the door to Menorca to Madrid & Beyond’s travelers and to share my passion for and knowledge of the island, hoping that they will go home with the best memories of a very special experience… and who knows… they might want to come back for more… Menorca is waiting for you and here I will be, ready to be your host.”