18. Spain – Mermaids of Menorca

If ever you long for a seaside escape, keep in mind the hidden gem called the island, Menorca. Surprisingly, all you’ll need is a moped and a map to reach some of the more isolated beaches, where it is more than acceptable to slip off even your bathing suit and into the calming, crystal blue waters.


I stayed at a hostel on the southwest coast, a short bus ride away from the airport and main city. The following days were spent sifting through veggies at vendor’s shops, bashfully speaking elementary Spanish and being encouraged by the native speakers, and renting a bicycle to embark on the spectacular biking paths. Going off into one residential area in the south, I came upon a cove where, rather than everyone gathering at one swimming area, it was natural for each party or individual to stay to themselves and enter the stunning sea wherever they wished for a respite or swim.

One of the days, I was invited by another guest of the hostel to take a moped trip to some beaches away from the bus stops and visit a lighthouse or two. Sun bathing in crooks of the coast meant we would follow a path, winding around a cliff only to gasp when the beauty that lay below would come into view.


There was an unexpected privacy in Menorca that I’ve never found in the United States. For some of the more popular beaches, it was tricky to find a spot for just two to sunbathe, but the crowds by no means meant people were crowding one another. It was not rude to pretend your neighbors were not there. This made it much more comfortable for an American like myself to take advantage of the topless tanning, because there was an unspoken respect and general disinterest in the business of others. I don’t find such accommodating environments in the U.S. Most of the time, I feel a need to engage with everyone, from those standing in line with me at the grocery store, to others working out at a gym. Eye contact and greetings can be so celebrated in different regions, that I’ve sort of trapped myself into feeling a need to interact with anyone I come across. Menorca was a liberating place for that obligation.

Finding shade was essential for siesta and lunch. We stopped at a tiny market on the drive to purchase some breads, cheeses, meat, and vegetables and created a picnic under the boughs of a thicket.


After lots of water and laughs with the meal, we rested before jumping back on the moped to target another area on the map, Favàritx Lighthouse. A few minutes scramble past the lighthouse’s landing, we crept over the large, jagged rocks and relaxed as the sun said goodnight to the sea, buenos noches to Menorca, and sweet dreams to me.

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