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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


We've just been to Menorca an island about the same size as the Isle of Man and the most easterly point of Spain. Ryanair had an offer on cheapish flights and, as we've only ever done Mallorca in the Balearics, it seemed like a good opportunity. We went for a long weekend.

I have this marking system for films that I go to see. The scale is from one to five. I work on the assumption that if someone manages to finance and release a film in ordinary cinemas it will be perfectly OK. So the natural score for any film is three out of five. If it's better than expected it gets four or very rarely a five and if it's not so good a two or even a one. The problem with this system is that some perfectly well made Hollywood romcom will get the same score as a well made art house film. To solve the problem I added a couple of grades, three plus and three minus, to allow for a bit of personal comment on a film. Basically three plus is for a well produced film that I enjoyed and three minus for a well made film that wasn't my cup of tea.

Menorca gets a three. Everyone told me that it was beautiful. There were certainly plenty of us tourists there from all over Europe and farther afield. A lovely coastline they said and it's true but I wasn't that impressed to find it littered with retirement developments and overly twee housing. We were told that the two main towns, Mahón and Ciutadella, had a real historic feel to them with lots of architecture left behind after the 18th Century occupation by the British. True again; quite a lot of nice buildings and I noticed some sash windows as billed but I've seen places on the mainland that are much more impressive.

Menorca is dotted with things described as talayots - pre Christian stone mounds often with the remains of stone circles, altar pieces and houses close by. I'm a big fan of sites like Avebury, Carnac or Castlerigg but somehow the Menorcan sites we saw failed to light my imagination in the same way.

Acting on the advice of at least three "Top ten things to do in Menorca" that I found on the internet I dragged Maggie along to eat caldereta de langosta which turned out, as the name suggests, to be a lobster soup. It was fine but not so different from the seafood soups you get as part of cheap set meals. Maybe we only got sub standard examples of Menorcan cheese too but despite it being touted as a rare pleasure it all tasted a bit bland to me. Prices were generally relatively high for drinks and snacks wherever we went and despite being used to Spanish prices we constantly found that the banknote we had ready wasn't big enough, Service was remarkably friendly (for the most part) but it was also often notably slow.

I don't want to go on and sound negative. Maggie has already decided that I had a horrible time and I didn't. I thought it was jolly nice, I'm glad we've been there, I had a perfectly pleasant time but I'd hoped and expected to be impressed and I found it all a bit ordinary.

Maybe we just didn't have enough time there to get the real feel of it but much more likely is that I'm just a grumpy old man nowadays.

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