Camí de Cavalls: The South, Stages 11 – 20

Day 6 19/4/22 Tuesday

Four trips to the breakfast buffet later it was time to leave the relative comfort of the hotel. I would have gone again but they had run out of ensaimadas. Freshly stocked with water and chocolate we headed out of Ciutadella at a blistering pace. We are walkers now, I chuckled to myself! Stopping, only occasionally, to take photos of some of the amazing villas that enjoy the almost panoramic view offered along the western coastline.

Today was a day of bays and pristine turquoise water. By mid afternoon we gave in and stopped for a refreshing dip in Cala en Turqueta. Although Menorca is home to some of the most stunning beaches Spain has to offer, the Med is still pretty cold in April!

We planned to stop before Cala Galdana however the south is far more developed than the north and we really struggled to find a spot that would offer us cover from the road. So we carried on. Climbing away from the development and high rise hotels of the tourist trap.

With the final light of the sun fading fast and desperation kicking in we had no choice but to stop in Cala Mitjana. The shelter had already been taken by a French couple whose progress had concertinaed with ours that day. So we decided to pitch the tent on a dry bed of seaweed that had washed up onto the beach.

As we made our way through yet another pack of noodles we noticed movement above us on the cliff. It was only when we were storing the cooking pots for the night that we realised we were sharing our spot with a mouse! It was pitch black by this time and the stars were amazing – we were too tired to care.

Normally we change into our camp clothes after we have pitched the tent but as there was so much dried seaweed in this spot we decided to leave it until the last minute as we didnt want to dirty the tent. Camp cleanliness is vital when you are on the road for a few days.

As we stripped down ready to put on our thermals and get into bed, Cristina suggested one more comfort break. No one wants to have to leave the tent during the night. This was to prove a very bad idea. As we took care of nature, both wearing nothing but our headtorches, two searchlights rounded the corner of the narrow bay. We frantically ran back to the tent, whilst rehearsing explanations for the Guardia Civil in our heads. We then covered ourselves with the first things we could find as the lights passed directly by the tent and disappeared down to the water´s edge. The French couple couldnt look us in the face the next day.

With the sound of the water lashing onto the shore we both drifted off into sleep but it was short lived. The night punctuated with thoughts of rising tides and floating tents…

Day 7 20/4/22 Wednesday

At 5am I gave in and got out of the tent to assess the situation. We were fine. The tidal range of the Med is metres at best. Camp packed away, we were back on the porridge. Our cooking was so expert by this stage that not even Goldilocks would turn down a bowl. Another morning of undulating coastal paths was only dampened by the turning of the weather. Rain was imminent, we had been lucky so far.

Shortly after midday we stopped in Cala Llucalari on a perfectly positioned plank for a lunch of cheese and sobrasada. As we sat and ate we noticed a small plume of smoke from across the bay where a man was living in the ruins of an old Civil War defence shelter. A caveman! Inevitably he made his way down to the beach and after building up the nerve came over to our position. He looked like he had been living out there for some time.

He asked me for a fag! Needless to say he left empty handed however I am glad that I took the time to speak to him and learn a little about his story. His ancestors were English, from Rugby! However, the thing that impacted me the most was the story of authorities sealing the nearest well and the difficulty he faced in obtaining freshwater. 

With the prospect of rain that night we were even more selective about our pitch. Although we had planned to find  another beach, the slightly eerie feel of Calescoves and near gale force winds forced us to press on. I’m glad we did as we found the perfect spot set back from the path in a field with a nice view to the sparkling lights of an inland settlement. This would be our last night in the tent.

Day 8 21/4/22 Thursday

Despite the intermittent showers in the night I slept like a log and knew I would miss life under the stars. Cristina on the other hand was ready to burn the tent and anything associated with it!

Day 8 was all about the rain. Never enough to warrant your rain jacket but enough to soak you through! We also passed through Menorca´s weirdest village, Binibequer Vell. Where silence is enforced. I don’t think we will be going back.

We called it a day just before Punta Prima, 13km away from our start point. After a long overdue siesta we  made the most of the comforts of our hotel apartment. With the rain becoming increasingly more torrential outside we were both grateful that tonight we would not be in the tent. 

Day 9 22/4/22 Friday

Today would be our final day on the road. Despite a brief encounter with a lost tortoise, the majority of the final section was through towns and villages. As the surroundings became more urbanised the finish drew nearer and I started to feel emotional at the scale of our achievement.

As we posed for our photos, holding our bags aloft as trophies, next to that same signpost where we had started 9 days and 208.7km ago, my mind turned to what lay ahead. Although I felt a great sense of accomplishment I was ready to go again! Bring on Corsica and the GR20, the last challenge before embarking on Mi Vuelta a España.

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