We travelled to the south of Cyprus, quite a few years ago now, for a two-week vacation. The north at that time was not visited by western holiday-makers much at all.
Today the north has some tourism, but in a lesser degree to the south. Northern Cyprus is Turkish held and Southern Cyprus is Greek. There is still evidence around of the Turkish invasion and there is still quite a lot of bad feeling between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
We took our vacation January, after working over the Christmas period in the UK. We stayed in Paphos on the south west coast of Cyprus and enjoyed a lovely relaxing winter break.
Cyprus has an all year round holiday climate, however it can be chilly during January and through to March. We were glad that we had took a mixture of clothing as we experienced everything from warm days on the beach, to snowy days when we visited the Troodos mountains.
Cyprus is an interesting destination with lots of history and sights to see. Enough to satisfy even the most well travelled tourist.
There are archaeological sites, beautiful traditional villages, architecture, lovely beaches and much more. The locals are friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy chatting with tourists.
Local food served is similar to Greek food with Meze's, and kebabs, as well as European offerings. The local specialty to drink is Cypriot brandy mixed with fruit juice to make Brandy Sour's.
We visited the Island's capital Nicosia where you can see the divide between the north and the south quite literally; the green line.
Nicosia is a bustling capital city which is interesting on many levels
One of the best sights and visits for us in Nicosia was a Museum which housed a huge statue of Archbishop Makarios in its grounds. This man was a previous leader of the country.
Nicosia has great cafes and restaurants also and you can travel to and from here by local buses.
Paphos in winter was lovely but, during the summer months, the over commercialism it has suffered is more evident. This is true of other resorts such as Ayia Napa and Limmassol.
Stay in these resorts, in high season, only if you enjoy hustle and bustle and a wild night-life. Cyprus however if you pick your destination, and time of year well, offers something for everyone.
There are still places a little of the beaten track and the Cypriot countryside is beautiful.
Travelling in winter we had the benefit of seeing a fairly green terrain. Spring would probably be lovely with all the early flowers too.
Cyprus is one of the largest Greek Islands in the Mediterranean
It's position means it is not far for anyone wanting to visit Israel and Egypt and back then many tourists did short stays. Current conflicts mean both countries are not such good options in 2018. Short cruises were available to take whilst holidaying on Cyprus and I assume they are still around and easy to book. Recent conflicts in these countries though may have limited such tours.
The island of Cyprus is a military base for some including British units.
No special visas are needed for holidays on Cyprus and there are no special health requirements such as vaccinations. However take an anti-mosquito plug and repellent as you may need it.
If you choose to visit Cyprus you will find a warm welcome and have a great holiday. You may find however it is a little more expensive when you are there than when you visit the Greek Islands.
Accommodation ranges from luxurious five-star hotels to basic bed and breakfast. As always the choice is yours but on the whole the accommodation is pretty good.
The currency is the Euro.
We have visited the Balearic island of Menorca a fair few times now but still have lots of places left to visit. Part of the reason for that is we do not drive. Many tourists hire a car, race around the island and see most of what it has to offer in two-weeks or less. In reality though there will always be new places and things to see.
Menorca is more about chilling out anyway
The bus service around the island is pretty good but covers much more of the island between June and September. Check out the local tourist board for the exact timings. We have visited more in late October and May when the public transport is more limited, meaning there are places still on our Menorca Bucket List.
At these times of year though the temperatures are better, unless you yearn for the searing heat of July and August; then the bus services run at their peak but you may feel too drained to trot around Menorca, plus it will be full of like-minded tourists.
One September, during a two-week stay near Mahon, we decided to hop on a bus to Binibecca.
We had not visited that resort in the south of the island before and had been given mixed reviews by others.
Well for us we loved it and it was a treat as a beach bum day out.
You will need to bear in mind that the bus service, at least when we visited, was not frequent and ended fairly early in the day. Taxis are reasonably priced if you want to visit for longer.
The weather was glorious when we visited.
It was a stifling hot mid-September day which was perfect for lazing on a beach. The sun-beds were a reasonable price to hire and much more comfortable than laying on a towel on the beach. They included an umbrella to give some much needed shade.
There is small residential area, with presumably a few shops, that you can wander around but we stayed on the clean, sandy, man-made beach.
The village houses are crisp white and resemble those on postcards from Greece or what you will find on the Greek Islands. Some visitors to this area head for those white houses to wander the streets and relax..
A bar come cafe on the beach was fairly good value. The nearby toilets were clean and free to use.
It was a great relaxing day, reading, dipping in the water and people watching.
The majority of tourists staying in and around Binibeca are Germans. I lost all interest in my book and became fascinated with an older lady, much older than myself, with pert teenage breasts. This German lady was happy to be topless and why not? However those overly youthful breasts just looked so wrong and out of place. Still to each his or her own.
In no time we had to race for the last bus back to Mahon in the late afternoon.
However Binibecca did not disappoint and is on our return visit list. If you do not want to pay bar prices make sure you take some water and a snack with you on a day trip to Binebecca.
If it is not too hot it is fairly easy to walk to the nearby resorts and during high-season a tourist train operates in the area.
Note: The following brief video was a bit of a lash-up. Without my reading specs I could not make out when I was snapping photos or taking footage. It will however give you an idea of the beach at Binibecca.
Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England, was Britain's first Seaside Resort
Scarborough is in the county of North Yorkshire, in the North of England. If I visit from where I live it is a 3 hour journey by the bus and around 11/2 hours by train.
Of course many tourists choose to visit by car but parking can be difficult in Scarborough.
There are many Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and camp sites nearby so it is a great place to visit for a weekend, a week, or longer even as a base for touring the county.
Scarborough holds lots of fond memories for me of my childhood. As one of the furthest destinations that we visited as kids for just a day out it was always a little special. It was less commercial when I was a child but still had plenty of attractions.
Like so many resorts these days it has become more commercialised however it is still easy to explore Scarborough and avoid the one armed-bandit machines and bingo halls. Visit slightly out of season, and the school holidays, in order to see Scarborough at its best.
Scarborough was the first official seaside resort in the UK and has retained many traditional features
With two splendid bays, that are situated either side of a headland, it is a resort of many faces.
The headland holds the remains of an old Castle which can be reached by foot, either a long, tiring, uphill but pretty walk or a shorter cut via the road. However half the fun of a visit to the Castle is the walk to the top.
On a sunny day it is a perfect place for a picnic but it can be cold and windy at the top even when the sun is out. The Castle allows access to either the North or South Bays of Scarborough, it just depends which way you choose to make your descent.
If you walk down into the North Bay you will find a more old world Scarborough. You can however take a bus back along the seafront. These are double decker buses and the top deck is open to the elements, for those daring to brave the often cold sea breezes.
South Bay Scarborough
The train and bus station are situated in the South bay. There is an old funicular railway which takes you down to the sea front, at a cost of next to nothing. Valley Bridge is close by and will lead you toward the old Spa building. Unfortunately this bridge has seen too many suicide jumpers over the years and now has some protection.
If you choose to walk down to the sea front you will pass a myriad of shops, cafes and bars. Scarborough is hilly and the walk to the sea front is downhill. Remember that the walk back will be more tiring. It is a better option to take the funicular on the return journey.
Not far from the train station there is a fairly new theatre, which is much acclaimed and has a good programme throughout the year.
The Seafront of the South Bay has a long sandy beach. It is fairly commercial though. There are plenty of tacky tourist shops and amusement arcades. Venture a little away from the centre to enjoy a better selection. Further to the South is the traditional Spa building where you may find a craft show or an afternoon tea dance.
Toward the Castle there is a working harbour with freshly caught crabs and fish on sale. Treat yourself to a Fish and Chips lunch near here. Scarborough has more of a traditional feel around this harbour.
Across from Scarborough Castle is Oliver's Mount. I have never actually visited Oliver's Mount. It is often the venue for motorcycle races and as children we were told that it was named after Oliver Cromwell, and a battle that took place in Scarborough.
The seafront of the South Bay is also the home of the Grand Hotel a fine old building that is used now by Butlins Holidays.
Heading to the North there is Scarborough Castle, with funfair rides on the headland near to the lighthouse.
North Bay Scarborough
As you leave the South Bay behind you will see a totally different coastline. The bay here is initially rugged and there are rugged cliffs above which can be dangerous. This is where Scarborough Castle sits above the mayhem of 21st Century seaside life.
There is a small cafe on the seafront for those walking to the North Bay and then, as the paths down from the Castle peter out, there is a small sandy beach. Near here there used to be a large open air swimming pool. It may still be open.
There is a quaint park called Peasholm Park that was always fun when we were kids. Recreations of naval battles were held every afternoon. The ships were small craft which were just big enough to hold a man who, hidden away, operated the controls.
The park has a central section, like an Island, which these days is set out as a Japanese Garden. A small, miniature train runs from here and will take you to the nearby Sea Life Centre. This centre is interesting and has plenty of sea creatures to amaze you. The train, although a children's ride, is suitable for adults and will. save your poor old tired feet.
North Bay has only a few shops and has retained a more refined stance. In the past the wealthier holidaymakers tended to stay in North Bay. There are still some lovely old guest house buildings dotted around Scarborough Castle's slopes.
When I was a child, in the late 1950's and early 1960's my Mum always visited Scarborough's open air theatre in the South Bay, for a Summer performance of a production of Carousel or the like. Now it hosts very different productions.
Scarborough is a great place to use as a base for your holiday.
Once you have explored Scarborough, head out to the North Yorkshire Moors or explore other coastal resorts such as Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, Flamborough, Filey and Bridlington.
Scarborough Tourist Information
What a name for small and scenic village by the sea - Robin Hood's Bay.
It conjures up many visions but the reality is one of the most scenic bays in North Yorkshire.
Robin Hood's Bay lies about seven miles along the coast, to the south of Whitby. My first visit was about 16 years ago although we were actually holidaying in Whitby.
Wakening one morning to a beautiful, clear late spring day we grabbed a quick breakfast, crossed the bridge over the River Esk, walked through a cluster of quaint shops and set off up the 199 steps in Whitby which lead to the Abbey ruins that include Whitby Church and Monastery.
As the day looked so clear it was decided, keenly by me but reluctantly by my husband, that an after breakfast walk was needed.
We set out along the cliffs, following what is known as the Cleveland Way. It was not our intention to walk as far as Robin Hood's Bay but somehow we did.
This walk takes in a large part of the coastal countryside of North Yorkshire.
As we were both dressed in casual day wear, wearing only sandals on our feet, it was lucky that the day stayed so warm and clear. The North Yorkshire coast can have dense fogs, especially in spring and the walk turned into a bit of a marathon.
It became too far to go back, but still too long a distance to the Bay and it seemed as if the trek would go on forever.
Then all of a sudden we were there.
We had seen some fine scenery on our journey but nothing to compare to the sight of Robin Hood's Bay as we approached it. We were on the cliffs at the North of the bay and, as you look down, you can see the full sweep of the bay.
The traditional houses have red tiled roofs and are very higgledy piggledy in shape. We stopped at the first cafe which was just as we left the cliff approach.
After welcome refreshment we set off to explore.
There is a small village with a few bus stops and some lovely surrounding countryside.
However the tourists tend to head straight down to the sea front. The beach is not a lovely sandy beach although it is sandy in parts.
Fishing boats are launched from here and when the tide is out the beach is a mixture of sand, stones and rock pools.
It does feel like an unspoilt natural beach which is good.
It is one of those beaches that children who love exploring rock pools will adore. When the tide is in it comes very close to the buildings at the front.
The actual walk down to beach is part of the attraction of Robin Hood's Bay, as it is all downhill and through a real mish mash of shops, pubs and buildings. Parts of the walk down have railings which you can use to steady yourself in bad weather as it is so steep.
Obviously the walk down is generally a doddle but the walk back is another matter altogether.
Still you can keep stopping off at ice cream stalls, pubs and cafes for much needed refreshment. Among the buildings there is at least one museum, a church, some houses and many more unusual shops, rather than the old run of the mill seaside sellers.
I have visited Robin Hood's Bay many times since and have always enjoyed my visit.
The air is clean and fresh and the whole area is so picturesque whatever time of year, although it looks different depending on the particular season.
Robin Hood's Bay like Whitby and surrounding areas is very dog friendly. Though there are beach restrictions in the area many shops, bars and cafes allow dogs inside. Just make sure you ask first.
Where to stay
Images below are from a more recent visit to Robin Hood's Bay, late Summer 2017.
Even now I am not as well travelled as many people my age but I have been lucky enough to visit a fair few places I guess. As with most things in life it is all relative.
There are still so many places that I would love to visit and any of these could become a favourite but one that provides very fond memories is the Portuguese Island of Madeira which I was lucky enough to visit in 2006.
I love Madeira because:
The nearby island of Porto Santo is a beach lover's paradise.
Our vacation also included good company. We were lucky to meet up with a lovely couple from Yorkshire and enjoyed each other's company.
All in all a wonderful holiday and a place I would love to experience again.
Is there any wonder it is often called "A floating Garden"
As a child Cayton Bay was a beautiful place that I only ever viewed longingly as a passer by.
When we visited Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, on the East coast of England, our mode of transport was bus and the bay was the last notable place we travelled through as we approached our destination. Of course this meant that excitement levels would be rising at the prospect of a fun day by the sea.
Cayton Bay though always managed to enthral me, even though only glimpsed. The double decker bus travelled along the cliff road, the last major lap of the journey from Bridlington, which at times seemed all too close to the coastal edge; this though did give spectacular views of what was only really a bay, albeit a very beautiful one.
The bus would pick up day-trippers who were staying at Cayton Bay's holiday village, for the short trip into Scarborough.
What's on offer at Cayton Bay?
Well if you are in the area, and the weather is beautiful, you may just fancy stopping by for a day at the beach. Surfers brave the cold North Sea and with a clean sandy beach it is perfect, given the right weather conditions.
However as the great British Summer regularly misbehaves each Summer you may experience rain, rain and more rain.
With such a small resort there may not be a lot on offer at Cayton Bay in dire weather but is great for a holiday base.
Within easy reach either by train, bus or car you have Whitby, Flamingo Land, Scarborough, Filey, historic York and more,
A few miles north of Cayton Bay Scarborough offers much for the visitor. Beaches, two large bays, shops, restaurants, pubs, a Castle and much more.
To the south there is the brash seaside resort of Bridlington. Not my cup of tea, as we say, but it may be yours.
Between the two
Between the two above resorts there is Sewerby, Flamborough and Filey plus lots of small villages. Sewerby has an interesting park and museum. Flamborough is great for coastal walks and bird watching, of the feathered kind. Filey is a quaint seaside resort that has a bygone feel.
Even smaller resorts and villages such as Hunmanby and Reighton Gap offer stunning scenery, quaint villages, local pubs and clean unspoilt beaches.
The Dales area of Yorkshire will be on your doorstep and will provide scenery, fresh air and more.
Cayton Bay has a village caravan park that is set in stunning countryside. There is also a holiday park resort which has holiday homes, restaurants, a water-world, crazy golf and more.
Cayton Bay is one of Yorkshire's best kept secrets. This means that although there has been some development in recent years it has retained much of its beauty and charm.
Discover Yorkshire Coast
Goathland, situated in the county of North Yorkshire, England
I first visited Goathland as a young child, aged around eleven as part of a school trip to Whitby. It included a few hours stop over at Goathland.
It was the early 1960s and we had travelled by train to Scarborough, and then on to Goathland.
As a child my memories from the day are of steam trains, plenty of wide open spaces and far too many sheep. I had assumed that Goathland would be full of goats and was somewhat disappointed with this turn of events.
We ate our picnic lunch outdoors at Goathland, ran about in the sunshine and generally let off steam before travelling on to Whitby. I cannot remember if the last part of our journey was by train or not.
These days daily operational trains do not run to Whitby and neither do they run to Goathland. However, steam trains do tourist trips around this neck of the woods and still pass through Goathland and nearby Pickering. In high season these trains will be more frequent.
People in the U.K. may be familiar with images of Goathland as it was the location for the successful television series Heartbeat which aired from 1992 until 2010 and is still repeated.
Heartbeat was set in a bygone somewhat nondescript age. Certainly there were many hints of the sixties in the program. One of the most memorable aspects of this series remains the music. Heartbeat will be remembered as much for its pop music as its action. Despite running for many years the times hardly moved on and Heartbeat seemed stuck in a pleasing time warp.
Of course, the next memorable Heartbeat positive is the scenery.
Set in and around Goathland, with views of Whitby occasionally and the Moors, the scenery was spectacular.
Hubby and I had visited Goathland a few times before Heartbeat was filmed on location. Tourists increased when the series was being filmed and some changes followed. Now that filming has ceased hopefully things have gone back to normal.
Here are some of my Goathland memories
When we stayed over in Whitby we travelled to Goathland by the local bus. The fare from Whitby is quite reasonable and the journey not long. However, it does take in some beautiful scenery.
You can take an old steam train from Whitby if you prefer but it costs a little more.
Goathland has very little in the way of tourist attractions. It has an old train station and steam trains, a handful of local shops, a hotel, cafe, beautiful scenery and lovely walking areas. The latest tourist attractions include memories of Heartbeat the TV series such as Cripps garage.
That may not appeal to all readers but it will to some. Even though Hubby is not a lover of walking and usually only under duress on holidays he enjoyed mooching around Goathland. We followed a trail which initially looked like the proverbial road to nowhere but we encountered many treats.
Beckhole was picturesque with a quaint pub. The bridge was pretty and there were ducks living here. The pub is a perfect place to sit outside on a sunny day and watch the world go by, or the world does not go by in reality. There was little more than other walkers, ramblers and birds.
Walking on we came into a wooded area and happened upon a pretty waterfall [Mallyan Spout]. This shaded area was cool and welcome away from the unusual hot British late April sun.
A visit to Goathland will not set you on fire in many ways but it is perfect for thinking, chilling, relaxing, walking, exploring, bird watching, fishing or even painting. For those who visit by car the North Yorkshire Moors are but a spit away.
If you happen to be in this neck of the woods drop by. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway timings and fares
Just where is Whitby?
Let's start by making sure that we know where Whitby is. I gather that there are other towns with same name around the world. The Whitby in question here is in the North East of England on the River Esk.
It is close to seaside resorts such as Scarborough, Bridlington and Robin Hood's Bay. However unlike some British seaside resorts it has retained much of its charm and has limited its modern development. This means that, unless things have drastically changed recently, you will not find masses of amusement arcades and the like.
Whitby is primarily a fishing town but has much to attract visitors.
Whitby is easily accessible by road either by car or bus.
From where I live in Yorkshire Whitby is not very far. However getting there can be a little tricky unless you have your own vehicle or are able to hire one. There is a train link but this only takes me as far as Scarborough; then I have to travel by bus. This can make the journey a little long for a day visit. However there are coach trips which are much better for a day visit. If I visit by my local bus service it would take over fours hours to get to Whitby, without local travel counted in, and the same for a return journey; it is much better then if we visit for a short or long weekend.
Trains do visit Whitby but only from certain places and some are not direct.
Whitby is good for short breaks as it has many Bed and Breakfast, B & Bs, that are perfect for short or long vacations.
The one thing you have to remember is that as Whitby is in the North of England the weather can be a little cooler even in summer. However we have always been lucky when we have visited. At times Whitby does suffer from sea fog but this makes the place all the more atmospheric with its Dracula links.
As a child Whitby was one of those places that we visited but only occasionally. As it was a little further than resorts nearer home, such as Scarborough, Hornsea and Withernsea, Whitby was a special destination. As we still do not drive it is still a little off our beaten track.
The last time we visited we took the Northern Rail train from Kingston-Upon-Hull to Scarborough. This journey took just over an hour. We then took a bus from Scarborough to Whitby which was around a half-hour journey. This bus journey is lovely as you travel over the moors. At some times of the year the landscape is bare but at others it may be lush or even full of wild growing purple heather. The journey takes in the quaint resort of Robin Hood's Bay and then you make your dramatic entrance into Whitby.
The bus travels over a high road bridge, Scarborough Road Bridge, from which you can see Whitby before you. The Abbey, the harbour, the boats and the sea front are all visible as long as there is no fog.
We usually choose one of the B & Bs that sit at the top of the cliff near the whale bones. These huge bones are stood on the cliff opposite to Whitby Abbey. The Crescent here has a range of tall old buildings which make for a great base. If you choose to walk and explore you can set off along the cliffs. If not you can walk down to the town or across to the other side of the bay. The beach is just a short distance in front of you. Across the bay you will get a splendid view of Whitby Abbey.
There is no escaping steps so if you do not like walking or are less mobile research Whitby further. We heard a rather large young lady shout in no uncertain terms to her guy that she was "NOT WALKING UP ANYMORE BLOODY STEPS" last time we visited.
The abbey is accessed via 199 steps or a steep road. You can take a more round about means of visiting but will have to walk further. Take the steps and stop for breathers if necessary to take in the beautiful view. The red roofs of Whitby, the harbour, bridges, boats and, in general, the scenery is lovely.
There is an entrance fee to enter the Abbey but you can just wander around the church, the nearby ancient seafarer's cemetery or take a picnic on the cliffs. We chose to take a long walk along part of the Cleveland Way to Robin Hood's Bay. At 7 miles it is rather long and at times precarious but it was a beautiful sunny day. Approaching Robin Hood's Bay along the cliffs you are treat to a view that has been painted many times by various artists.
The shops around Whitby used to be full of black Whitby Jet. These days it is a scarcer commodity and, although still sold, is a little pricey and rarer.
With people's fascination with Dracula, Whitby has decided to utilise its links. Stoker's book has Dracula landing at Whitby in England. From our accommodation, looking across to the Abbey ruins at night one can almost believe it for real.
Many Goths now visit Whitby and there is a Dracula museum.
Whitby also has a Captain Cook Museum. It is housed in an old house where Cook lodged when he was an apprentice back in the 1800s. This museum is at the side of Whitby where the Abbey is. It is quite central and well sign-posted.
Cook's first sea journeys were out of Whitby. Running between the old houses there are more steps and little alleyways. As you explore it is easy to envisage a Whitby of the past with people such as Cook milling around.
Attractions and events
Whitby has a full program of events throughout the year. Some of these are simply tea dances at the old Pavilion but there are craft fairs and the like.
For many years now Whitby has held a folk festival at the end of August. This is usually well attended and it can be hard to find accommodation at short notice. However there are plenty of campsites if you feel like roughing it a little.
In 2017 the festival runs from August 18 for one week.
If the festivities are held later, as they are some years, remember the last Monday in August is a Bank Holiday and so public transport may be less frequent. Also shops away from tourist areas may be closed. As it is the last weekend, almost, before children return to school expect Whitby to be busy.
Whitby has a large park set high above the main town of Whitby. It is arranged beautifully on the slopes and so offers yet more great views of the town, the harbour and more.
Nearby places of interest
I have already touched upon Robin Hood's Bay but there is much more nearby.
Goathland is within easy reach of Whitby. In recent years this has been the setting for Yorkshire television's Heartbeat series. However now this program has finished Goathland may become quieter again. It is a small village that is set in beautiful countryside with lots of sheep, rolling hills and long nature walks. You will encounter small villages such as Beckhole, stumble across natural waterfalls and just feel at one with the world. It is a beautiful place.
Nearby Pickering is a larger village, perhaps a town. It has shops, lovely old world pubs and at times old working steam trains. It is possible to book a journey on one of these trains.
Walking along, the opposite direction from the Abbey in Whitby will bring you to tiny Sands End. This small village is literally at the end of the sand. It is quiet, and peaceful with a nice pub where you can drink or lunch and watch the world go by.
Hopefully this diary has given you a taster of Whitby and its local area. Whitby attracts visitors of all ages and tends to be loved for being different by youngsters but still enjoyed by older people for its quaint charm.
There are local restaurants which serve dishes such as local trout with almonds, without charging you an arm and a leg (Yorkshire saying). Alternatively there is one of the best Fish and Chip shops around where you can buy locally caught fish and eat it either in the shop or sit at the harbour, and go thoroughly British as you eat your meal out of the paper.
Many of the local pubs have a great atmosphere and also serve lovely, good value pub meals. Wander away from the main streets to find the best value and food.
At night Whitby is lively but not too much so. I guess it depends what time of year you visit. During the annual Folk Festival week everywhere will be overflowing with tourists. However, visit in late spring and you will find that there is plenty of room to breathe; just bear in mind that the weather could be inclement at such a time of year.
If you visit out of season, and the weather gets foggy, you may hear the constant droning of fog horns, throughout the night, which can be very annoying.
We had visited Menorca and its capital city Mahon a few times before we realised that the city's cathedral held lunchtime organ recitals during the summer months.
The Church of Santa Maria in Mahon, Menorca, has a prime position. It is close to the traditional fish market and the indoor market now housed in a former convent and other fine buildings. A cafe offering panoramic views over Mahon harbour is a great place to take in a snack, coffee or beer as you watch the world go by.
During the tourist season the Church of Santa Maria holds daily organ recitals (except Sunday).
In 2014 the recitals cost 5 Euros per person, began at 1pm and lasted around 40 minutes.
We popped in to one session when the midday sun and toasting temperatures became too much. The calm cool atmosphere of the church was perfect. The organ recital soon broke the peace though, albeit in a tuneful way.
The huge organ sits high above the congregation. It was impossible to see the musician responsible until the recital ended. He spoke in Spanish but whether you know the classical pieces he plays or not it will be a stunning performance.
Here is some information about the church via Menorca Live: "Built in the 18th century on the site of a 13th century gothic church this impressive building creates one of Mahon’s chief landmarks.
The interior is of neogothic style but of great note is the monumental organ that has great instrumental and artistic quality. It was commissioned in 1806 by the rector Gabriel Alenyar from the masters Franciso Otter and Joan Kiburz who lived in Barcelona.
It took three years to make and when it was ready there were problems with its transportation not only due to the fact that the Napoleonic war was on but also due to its immense size. It has four keyboards, 3006 organ pipes – 197 of which are wooden and the rest are metal. Eventually it was inaugurated in 1810 and its artistic ornamentation was carried out by the Menorcan sculptor Francesc Comas."
An interesting place to visit but the organ recital is the icing on the cake.
Its central location means it is easy to visit when you are in Mahon.
In June 2014 when we visited the church bells went into overdrive to celebrate a new King of Spain.
Church from 07.30 to 12.00 and from 18.00 – 20.30
Office from 18.00 to 19.00
In May 2017 we enjoyed a brilliant sun-filled vacation on the Balearic Island of Menorca.
But the small and perfectly formed Island of Menorca can experience bad weather in particular when it is slightly off season.
The main tourist months are May to October with the hottest and driest months usually July and September. You can get very hot weather in May and June if you are lucky and September though rarely in October.
However each month has its own charm and usually fairly good weather.
But when it rains boy can it rain.
Here is a report come diary entry from a few years back relating to one particularly wet afternoon.
"A late vacation to the small but perfectly formed Balearic Island of Menorca was unexpectedly hot for October. However just to keep us on our toes there was one wet, wet, wet day the first week and a mega-windy one the second.
Neither really brought cold temperatures but both were predicted.
If you holiday on the island of Menorca check out the local weather forecast online or at hotel reception. Either can usually tell you exactly what days wind or rain is likely to occur. This is done with much more accuracy than in the UK.
Here comes the rain
We took a bus from Mahon station to Ciutadella during the morning. Mahon is the capital of Menorca and in the east, and Ciutadella the old capital and in the west.
Mahon has the deepest natural harbour in the world and was useful to the occupying British many years ago.
These days cruise ships and ferries utilise the port.
We arrived back in Mahon from Ciutadella after lunch. The skies were cloudy but the first few drops of rain only appeared as we reached our hotel a short walk away. By the time we arrived in our room the heavens opened and the rain set in.
The place looked deserted as other guests opted to sleep through the wet afternoon.
It rained and rained and rained until late evening but that was it. The next day the sun shone in clear skies and the temperature soared to 31 C, very hot for October in Menorca.
It was only afternoon during the downpour but the hotel lights automatically kicked in with the rain giving a dismal feel to the day.
I had rung reception but there was no reply as they were all busy closing windows and making sure the place was safe and dry.
Just as we thought we would have to go to reception the "cavalry" appeared in the shape of the hotel maintenance man.
We shot the footage below from outside of our room.
It includes the hotel maintenance man Augustine who was dispatched to lift drain covers and remove dead leaves from filters to prevent guest rooms flooding. (The other guy looking on is husband - the mutterings are Hubby and I)
We have visited Menorca many times but it never ceases to amaze or appeal.
And most days it is the sunshine that dazzles."
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