Friday, December 9, 2016

La Bonanova

A couple of milles before reaching Ciutadella on the left handside of the road as you arrive from Mahon rises a majestic country house in ruins, with the name of "Bonanova". It is a building that follows, religiously, Palladio's scheme for the villa "Sarraceno" in Finale de Vicentino.

The situation of the house in relation to the surrounding landscape is also markedly Palladian.

 Foto Andreu Beltrán

I have always been fascinated by this building in such a decadent state. As if no one could or would have never enjoyed its arcaded terrace and gardens.

By the light that is perceived through its boarded up windows, it must be deduced that the ceiling has already fallen. And so that nature claims its part.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mahon 1959, ....and Collingwood House too!

In this video you can see (minute 5) how was Collingwood House in 1959. It was not a Hotel yet. The works to make a 'pension' here started in 1961.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Atlante in Cala Figuera

The ship that appears in this picture was called 'Atlante' and during the Spanish Civil War, was used as a prison boat.

Today exactly 80 years ago that 52 people who were imprisoned in this ship were shot and killed. Most of them were people of the clergy.

I belong to a facebook group that publishes and comments old photographs of Menorca. Today this image has been published and a great controversy has been generated among descendants of the relatives of the murdered and defenders of the Spanish Republic. It is not a novelty. 80 years later the wounds of this war remain unhealed.

By the way, the building that you can see at the top of the cliff
 is the Collingwood House, the Hotel del Almirante.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hotel del Almirante, Nelson's Home?

A pencil drawing made in 1851 that shows the South shore of Mahon harbour and Collingwood House on the cliff. 


The original is in the Maritime Museum of Greenwich and erroneously the author, George Pechell Mends, naval officer, indicated that it was the house of Lord Nelson.

Friday, November 4, 2016

End of the Season, Santandria Beach and Smoix Restaurant

After a few days of autumn weather, the first day has ended after the tourist season have been radiant and warm. Just perfect for a walk on the beach and lunch at a good restaurant. 

In both cases, the choice has been adequate.

Santandria Beach, calm and quiet she invited to take a dip

Smoix is today one of my favourite Restaurants in Menorca. Imaginative and very fresh food.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Cotaina Gran
Chilly mornings and northern winds, looks like the fall is just around the corner.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Genesis of a storm and some of our wonderful guests

With Summer gone and Autumn underway its traditionally a good time for 'End of Summer Storms' in the Mediterranean Region.

This year’s exceptionally high sea temperatures may have been a catalyst for storms like this one which was forming a few miles North of Mahon.

And not only storms. We have had a number of repeating guests visiting us this end of season too.

The Gang, in words of Mrs. Haggar, 
Left to right: Mr. Luff, Mrs. Crook, Mrs. Maycock, Mr. Crook, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Maycock, Mrs. Luff, Mr. Langley, Mrs. Buckman and Mrs. Haggar.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Newly hatched Mediterranean Tortoises

These days when the fields become green again after the recent rains, we have seen in the land surrounding the hotel some tortoise hatchlings.


It seems that the tortoise (Testudo hermanni hermanni) was introduced in Menorca some three thousand years ago, and it was a staple food for the first settlers of the island.

Early in the morning, the animals leave their nightly shelters, which are usually hollows protected by thick bushes or hedges, to bask in the sun and warm their bodies. They then roam about the Mediterranean meadows of their habitat in search of food. They determine which plants to eat by the sense of smell.

Between May and July, female Hermann’s tortoises deposit between two and 12 eggs into flask-shaped nests dug into the soil. Most females lay more than one clutch each season. The pinkish-white eggs are incubated for around 90 days and, like many reptiles, the temperature at which the eggs are incubated determines the hatchlings sex. At 26 °C, only males will be produced, while at 30 °C, all the hatchlings will be female.

In nature, the animals dig their nightly shelters out and spend the relatively mild Mediterranean winters there. During this time, their heart and breathing rates drop notably.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rainy day...and hoopoes

The rain, which started in the morning, has not stopped falling throughout the day. At times it fell hard and other times it was very light, almost imperceptible.

And it is in those moments when you can see some movement among the small animals of the field. The hoopoes, which are insectivorous, taking advantage when the ground is wet to peck worms and slugs.

Rock Samphire inflorescence, near Binidali.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mostra de Cuina Menorquina 2016

In late September, and every year, some of the best restaurants on the island hold this gastronomic event in which the ingredients to make the dishes are exclusively local.

Despite being a dreary day with some showers, our choice was the Restaurant Binissues, north of Ferreries.

Located in an old farm house that once belonged to a famous noble family of Menorca, the architecture of the building imposed by its chromatic impact on the countryside.


Pork Fillet with Dates, Bacon and reduction of Sherry Wine.

 Baked Gilt Head Bream. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Morning Glory

Most morning glory flowers (Ipomoea indica) unravel into full bloom in the early morning. The flowers usually start to fade a few hours before the "petals" start showing visible curling. They prefer full solar exposure throughout the day, and mesic soils.

Although this plant grows wild on the island, its presence could be considered a sign of civilization and that is found mostly on trails and paths where it often covers tha dry stone walls.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Menorcan Pastissets are sweet five or six petals flower shaped cakes made from sugar, butter, egg yolks and flour and covered with icing sugar.  

They were formerly served in the Menorcan homes during the holidays, gatherings and important family cellebrations and each family had their own elaboration recipe,with its own personal touch. 

Today, they can be purchased anywhere on the island throughout the year, in most bakeries or grocery stores specializing in typical products from Menorca.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

52 Super Series in Mahon Harbour

Twelve TP52s are competing for the 52 World Championship title on the Balearic Waters off Mahón, starting yesterday.

 Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Whilst there is no denying that Quantum Racing are the stand-out team this season – starting the fourth regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES with a handsome overall lead on the season standings – it would be no surprise at all if it were to be any one of half a dozen different crews which leave Menorca clutching the title and the silverware next Sunday.

Some members of the Crew of the Ran Racing Team are allocated in the Hotel del Almirante, so no doubt the RAN is our favourite for the victory.

Monday, September 5, 2016

25th. Regiment of foot

The regiment was raised on 18 March 1689 by David Melville, 3rd Earl of Leven to defend Edinburgh against the Jacobite forces of James II.
For a period it was known as Semphill's Regiment of Foot, the name under which it fought at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 and the Battle of Culloden in 1746. With the introduction of regimental numbering in 1751, the regiment became the 25th Foot and it was as such that it took perhaps its most famous battle honour at Minden on 1st August 1759.

Following prolonged garrison duties on Minorca from 1768 to 1780, the regiment was sent to relieve Gibraltar, and in the same year, for a number of reasons, was retitled ‘the 25th (Sussex) Regiment of Foot’.

There is a remarkable collection of paintings and engravings of the time when the regiment was located in Menorca.

In August 1799 the regiment sailed from the Isle of Wight to Kent, where, at Canterbury General Abercromby was assembling a force for the invasion of the Netherlands. In October 1799 the 25th won a third battle honour at the Battle of Egmont-op-Zee, fighting in the vanguard of Sir John Moore’s brigade on the sand dunes.

In 1801 the Regiment was sent to Egypt with Sir Ralph Abercromby’s force and took part in the capture of Alexandria, thus earning, the right to bear the emblem of the Sphinx on its Colours.
The 1st battalion spent the most part of the Napoleonic Wars in the West Indies. Martinique was taken in 1809, and Guadeloupe in 1811. During this campaign the Battalion lost more men through disease than as a result of enemy action. Also during this period, in 1805, at the order of King George III, the regiment was retitled the ‘King’s Own Borderers’ and its facings changed to royal blue.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The shipwreck of the 'Francina'

It happened in 1974. Specifically, on February 3.

The Liberian flag merchant ship, had left the day before Marseille towards the Algerian coast, carrying oranges, iron, primers for explosives and chemicals on board. The explosives had been stowed in the ship's bow. Due the bad weather, with strong winds and high waves, there was a chain reaction explosion on board that caused the fire in the ship.
Only four of the fourteen members of the crew saved their lifes in the fatal accident.

More than 40 years later, they are still recognizable remains of the old engine room of the 'Francina', 12 meters deep, near the cliffs of Cala Morell

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vava II. Another Colossus of the Sea.

Tourists and residents who in recent days have walked nearby Fornells have been surprised by the visit of a 96 meters long megayacht that stands above the rest of boats moored in the area. This is the ship Vava II, owned by pharmaceutical tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli.

Local gossip published by the press are saying that fill the fuel tank of this giant costs 300,000 Euros.

Monday, August 15, 2016

'Gran Mitjornale 2016'

An event that never disappoints its visitors. Year after year, a large number of artists take to the streets, squares and houses in the village of 'Es Mitjorn Gran' and show their work.

Artist David Monrós, is actually present in both private and public collections all over the world and recognized by critics as a new creative icon.

Rafael Vidal is a figurative artist who lives and works in Menorca. 
He was formed in the prestigious Arts Conservatory of Barcelona, and its base is engraving and lithography
that makes drawings in the internal structure of his work: still lifes, landscapes and portraits

The particular fish fauna of Maties Sansaloni

And a great dinner at the restaurant S'Engolidor in the same village of Es Mitjorn Gran.

A wonderful garden and the food even better

Friday, August 12, 2016

La 'Gran Mitjornale' is back

Indeed 'The Gran Mitjornale' is one of the most important cultural events on the island, which this year cellebrates its 10th. anniversary.

The most significant artist either local, visitors and guests show their latest creations in beautiful town houses in the littile village in Es Mitjorn Gran.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The 52 Super Series in Mahon!

The port of Mahon will be the base of a stage of this prestigious regatta next month.

The 52 SUPER SERIES is a high-performance, monohull yacht racing circuit.

The "Box Rule" associated to the TP52 Class, means that boats must, literally, be able to fit within a box of certain dimensions. This means that there are no time allowances or handicaps and the boats race in real-time – first past the post wins. The Box Rule is strict enough to eliminate the need to set handicaps, yet flexible enough to encourage small, yearly innovations. The 52 SUPER SERIES is won by teams of skilful sailors, and the setup of the class means that the ages of the boat is of less importance

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Superyacht 'Naia'

August is usually the superyachts season in Menorca. 

The 'Naia' is a ship that was built some time ago in Spain and it is now owned by an Arab sheik.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Amerigo Vespucci in Mahon Harbour in a windy morning

The Amerigo Vespucci arrived early today to Mahon Harbour and it will remain in port for a few days.

The Amerigo Vespucci is a tall ship of the Marina Militare, named after the famous Italian explorer. Its home port is La Spezia, in Italy and it is in use as a School Ship.

In 1925, the Regia Marina ordered two school ships to a design by General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi of the Italian Navy Engineering Corps, inspired by the style of large late 18th century 74-cannon ships of the line(like the neapolitan ship "Monarca"). The first, the Cristoforo Colombo, was put into service in 1928 and was used by the Italian Navy until 1943. After World War II, this ship was handed over to the USSR as part of the war reparations and was shortly afterwards decommissioned.

The second ship was the Amerigo Vespucci, built in 1930 at the (formerly Royal) Naval Shipyard of Castellammare di Stabia (Naples). She was launched on February 22, 1931,[1] and put into service in July of that year.

The vessel is a full rigged three-masted steel hull 82.4 m (270.34 ft) long, with an overall length of 101 m (331 ft) including the bowsprit and a maximum width of 15.5 m (51 ft). She has a draught of about seven metres (23 ft) and a displacement at full load of 4146 tons. Under auxiliary diesel-electric propulsion the Amerigo Vespucci can reach 10 knots (19 km/h) and has a range of 5450 nm at 6.5 knots.

The three steel masts are 50, 54 and 43 metres high, and carry sails totalling 2824 m² (30400 ft²) The Amerigo Vespucci has 26 sails – square sails, staysails, and jibs: all are traditional canvas sails. When under sail in severe sea and wind conditions she can reach 12 knots (22 km/h). The rig, some 30 km of ropes, uses only traditional hemp ropes; only the mooring lines are synthetic, to comply with port regulations.
The hull is painted black with two white stripes, harking back to the two gun decks of the ships her design is based on, but she carries only two 6pdr saluting guns in pivot mountings on the deck, forward of the mainmast. The deck planks are of teak wood and must be replaced every three years. Bow and stern are decorated with intricate ornaments; she has a life-size figurehead of Amerigo Vespucci. The stern gallery is accessible only through the Captain's saloon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


In one of the driest summers I can remember I have visited Bellver, an old grain farm in the region of Momplé, South of the island.

This site is home to a community that offers retreats for yoga. The place is certainly special and away from any worldly noise. This afternoon only crickets could be heard.

Click on link for information

AcroYoga Autumn Retreat In Menorca

At sea among whales in Son Bou

Two friends from Sant Lluis who had gone fishing in a small boat last week met with a group of pilot whales. The video is spectacular.

Pilot whales are cetaceans belonging to the genus Globicephala. The two extant species are the long-finned pilot whale (G. melas) and the short-finned pilot whale (G. macrorhynchus).

The size and weight depend on the species, as long-finned pilot whales are generally larger than short-finned pilot whales.Their lifespans are about 45 years in males and 60 years in females for both species. Both species exhibit sexual dismorphism. Adult long-finned pilot whales reach a body length of approximately 6.5 m, with males being 1 m longer than females. Their body mass reaches up to 1,300 kg in females and up to 2,300 kg in males. For short-finned pilot whales, adult females reach a body length of about 5.5 m, while males reach 7.2 m and may weigh up to 3,200 kg.

Pilot whales can be found in oceans nearly worldwide, but data about current population sizes is deficient.They are not rare in the Menorca but is very unusual to see them so close to the coast.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Hotel del Almirante had a surprise visit from Richard Branson today.  He played tennis with his coach.  Very accommodating chap.  He was very happy to have his photo taken wirh many guests.  Here'a mine. (Judith Lee)

This is a real VIP , Richard Branson came to play tennis, I hovered and he invited me onto court to have a photo, nice chat too, lovely guy. (Sue Wilson)

 Satur is the real VIP! (Reid McKillop)

Long time visitors to Almirante will know that the real VIP's for them are their regular customers. Exciting though isn't it. Two 'celebrities' so far this year. Nicholas Parsons who stayed with his wife, and now Richard Branson just popping in. Makes you wonder who's going to turn up next! (Barry Williams)

'Cel rogent, pluja o vent'

Hotel del Almirante. 5.22 AM

'Cel rogent, pluja o vent' is a Catalan proverb alluding to dawn with reddish sky presage rain or wind.

After several weeks of invariably blue skies, at little more than the five o'clock in the morning this was the color of the sky.

Clouds. Breezy South winds and some rain drops have fulfilled this portent once again. It is the popular wisdom.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A misty morning at Binixiquet

Binixiquet is a farm near San Clemente which is perched on a crag under which there is a large number of caves probably used since prehistoric times. In a walking distance there are numerous talayotic settlements such as Binixiquer, Binicalaf and Lloc nou d'es Fasser.

Experts in history and archeology agree that it is an area of the island that had human settlements since the time of the first settlers of Menorca.

 In the area there are many watchtowers also that often, as in this case, were attached to farms and also served as a fortress in case of attack. 

Purple Vetch, Vicia Benghalensis, 

With its beautiful purple flowers this plant is appreciated by farmers, a good green manure plant, it is fairly fast growing, an effective weed suppresser, fixes nitrogen and makes a reasonable bulk. A turquoise-green dye is obtained from the flower

Monday, March 28, 2016


The genus Tamarix (tamarisk, salt cedar) is composed of about 50–60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Europe, Asia and Africa. The generic name originated in Latin  and may have referred to the Tamaris River in the former Hispania Tarraconensis, province of the Roman Empire.

Seven species of tamarisk normally grow in Menorca, mostly near watercourses or on the coastline as they tolerate saline soils.

These trees  are used to help to prevent soil erosion because of their deep root systems. They also have slender branches with numerous small, gray-green, scalelike leaves. Clusters of small pink flowers, hanging at the ends of branches or from the trunks, give the plants a feathery appearance during their blooming season.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Abdellah and the blooming of Wild Orchids

Miguel Hernandez was one of the most important intellectuals who lived in Spain in the first half of the twentieth century. Poet and playwright committed to the republic, was tried and sentenced to death by the government of General Franco, although he commuted his death sentence by thirty years of prison which he did not had to suffer because he died of tuberculosis in prison in 1942.
His work often revolves around the drama of death and misfortune and his poem Elegy, dedicated to a great friend, has been set to music by Joan Manuel Serrat in an example of heartfelt sorrow for the lack of a friend.

Abdellah died Tuesday of last week after having worked at the Hotel Almirante for almost forty years. We will miss him so much ...

As a posthumous tribute, Menorca's wild orchids are blooming everywhere in these recent days.
 Ophrys tenthredinifera
  Ophrys lutea
Himantoglossum robertianum
Neotinea conica
 Barlia robertiana