We have been thinking of coming to Menorca for several years but the sticking point for me was how to get here with Bonnie. I read that the conditions on some of the ferries were very poor for travelling dogs with dirty cramped cages, times where you were not allowed access to the animals and in one story the cages were in a lower deck that was hot and noisy close to the engines. I asked the ferry companies, wrote on travel forums and got in touch with people who live in the Balearics but the stories were mixed and in the end I never trusted that it would be comfortable for Bonnie so we didn’t come.
Now of course Bonnie is no longer with us so we decided to come to Menorca for Easter.
First the practicalities:
Balearia and Acciona-Trasmediterranea are the two ferry companies that take you between Barcelona and Menorca.
We came out on Balearia to Ciutadella and will return from Mao on Trasmediterranea. One of my tasks is to look for myself at the dog accommodation areas so that in the future I will know what to expect. You never know – one day I may be travelling again with a dog!
There were a lot of dogs on the crossing to Menorca. They were housed in portable cages in two different sizes. The cages were lined up on a small deck with an area for exercise which was protected by a roof but otherwise open to fresh air. The cages were basic and small and the area was not large and could be noisy if there was barking – which there was. But there seemed to be no restrictions on visiting and letting your dog out to sit with you in the exercise area. I was glad that Bonnie wasn’t having to travel there but I could imagine doing it with a younger dog. The journey is 10 hours so it could be stressful but it wasn’t impossible to imagine doing it.
We are staying in Ciutadella in a lovely flat lent to us by a friend of a friend. We were met at the harbour, given a key and a place to stay and a beautiful reminder of the ancient art of hospitality. Both Greek and Celtic cultures are known for the sacred practice of hospitality to friends and strangers and it is alive and well in Menorca too.
We are walking the Cami de Cavalls, exploring different parts of the island.
The beaches are sandy and clean
The water is an incredible turquoise
The path – which is for walkers and bicycles and horses – winds around the island and is well marked
There are cliffs
And many beaches covered in seaweed
which the action of the wind and the water turns into thousands of small hairy balls
What do you do while walking? Here is what I do…..
Singing, thinking, listening to music, talking, pretending my dog is with me and calling her or throwing one of these little balls for her to chase. Thinking some more.
It is strange to be on holiday without Bonnie but it is also much easier of course. I feel bereft and sometimes the memory of her comes at me like a punch in the belly and tears surprise me running down my cheeks. But there is also a new freedom that comes with loss. I am free to come and go as I please. With no-one dependent on me, I am alone again and this is both sad and liberating.
I spent day 1 thinking of this and many other things, of people who have gone, of times that are past, of my own family and childhood. Swimming on one of the golden beaches I suddenly had a strong sense of being alive and living the life that I always wanted to find. Ever since I was young I had a dream of living abroad and learning new languages. And here I am! It has not been just a series of accidents although sometimes I see it that way. I have actually created the life that I dreamt of. Surely that must be something to feel good about? My next step – self confidence for real!