Before I go ahead and tell you about our trip, here's a little bit about me. I love to travel, exploring different cultures, foods and have visited many countries, born in the UK. I have seen Sorrento (Italy), Barcelona, Menorca (Spain), Bodrum (turkey) Sharm-el-Sheikh (Egypt), the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
Our flight was due to leave at 6.10am and we had a 45-minute car journey from Brighton to London Gatwick airport. We all woke up at around 3 am and put the children and our suitcases into the car.
The plane left for our trip to Minorca at 6.25, and we had a 1 hour and 50 minutes journey, which felt like a lifetime due to lack of sleep and a three-year-old asking 100s of questions. On the coach transfer to the hotel agua-marina, I was stunned by the abundance of greenery, natural rocks Mediterranean plants, trees, and rural looking buildings.
When we got to the hotel, I was so hungry and tired. We checked in our suitcases to our room and felt sad as the room didn't match the pictures, our expectations were set high and the actual bar was very low.
Prior to booking we had the choice "half board or all inclusive, we decided to go for all-inclusive because we have two kids and we thought it would make everything easier not knowing that the hotel had an all-inclusive plus deal which meant all of the things that were meant to be included weren't unless we paid an extra 16 euros per person per day, over the course of a week this would have cost a lot of extra money.
When we approached the luxurious ice cream parlor and saw all of the delicious flavors, we were all so excited to find out that those ones were 3 euro a scoop, and the all-inclusive one comes in a small plastic tub, no bother though as it tasted great!
The hotel charged a tax of 50 euros for the week which I believe is standard practice but charging 1 euro 50, for a swimming pool towel per person per day was a ridiculous clause that I simply wasn't going to stick too. Anyway, we arrived in time to try the snack bar, all inclusive drinks which were limited and then the lunch buffet which seemed to be unethical, serving pizzas, burgers, french bread, chips, slices of ham, etc.
I was expecting real Spanish omelet, olives, tapas, and some cultural foods that you' expect to find. They did, however, have paella which was tasty, I hoped that dinner wouldn't be the same but it kind of was. After the second night I realised that they are just trying to cater for fussy English people, and at home, I eat healthy foods, so that's what I should do whilst here.
I got more used to the foods and probably overindulged a bit more than what I should have when it came to the fresh stone baked pizzas, freshly cooked doughnuts and the profiteroles that were filled with a chocolate mousse topped with a rich caramel sauce. As a kid I was never worried about going into a freezing cold swimming pool, but as an adult its a completely different story, it's almost a whole process that I have to prepare myself for first with the toes, ankle onto the legs, and then I decide whether I'm actually going to go any further or not.
Looking around the pool, I can see so many people rubbing suncream onto their arms but simply burning on there back, don't be afraid to ask for some help. The locals were very friendly and seemed to enjoy teaching us many words such as muchas gracias (thank you very much), de nada (your welcome) and adios which translates to goodbye.
On our second day we decided to go to the beach, as we arrived we couldn't believe our eyes, we had stepped into a total paradise with clean sand, crystal clear sea water, exotic trees that worked as shade for the little ones, we had fun for a little while making sand castles with some cups that we had on us.
Then we went into the sea, which surprisingly was warmer than the swimming pools back at the hotel. Someone nearby found a jellyfish and caught it in a bucket to stop it stinging someone, and someone else found a starfish. Day three, it seemed as though with the kids that we were all getting irritable being so close together all in one room, luckily the hotel offered a two-hour kids club with a fun games room, face painting, etc which gave me and Sadie a great chance to spend some quality time together.
We did activities such as target shooting practice which I won scoring 32 points and then went into the swimming pool to partake in aqua-aerobics which is basically fitness in the water. After taking part in a few activities, I was then being invited for every event such as water polo (a cross between football and basketball).
There are two teams and two football goals but you play like basketball, The aim of the game is to score as many goals, the first one to twenty points wins. Whilst playing I just felt sorry for the people trying to catch the sun by the side of the pool. I bet they felt as though they couldn't relax and close there eyes without a ball flying full speed out of the water and at there head.
Next, I was approached by one of the Spanish staff members and I misheard what he had said. I thought he invited us to a fun party but in fact, it was a foam party. When I got there is when I realised because of all the foam on the floor, at first it was kind of fun I guess.
The number of events at this hotel was amazing, not only did they have activities in time slots every day of the week for all ages, but they had lots of variety at breakfast lunch and dinner, every day adding three or four new dishes, they also had awesome evening entertainment that involved: fire dancing, belly dancing, Disney shows for the kids, musicians, violinists, karaoke, and more.
I'm a lover of music anyways and they play it here, out loud, all day. After spending so much time by the pool, despite wearing sun cream, at 27 degrees Celsius, it was simply just too hot for my English shoulders, I decided that it would be best if I just kept a top on for a couple of days. This trip has made me realise that I am a bit uptight, strict and that I don't play with the kids as much as I should, I should try to have more fun at home and ill make it my goal to just try to enjoy life more, and focus less on the rules!
Leaving in a few days to go home and I'm not sure that I want to go, I'm excited to get back to work as I love my job, being self-employed running my own fairtrade handmade company brings me much joy as we are truly improving living conditions for others and our environment but the one thing that makes me not want to leave is the staff, they have become our friends, they approach me for each activity, speak to me every time they see me, they are like our new family.
However the food is getting rather repetitive, my stomach is not happy, and I am missing the healthy snacks from home such as dried figs, apricots, nuts, seeds, and rice cakes, etc. I am simply not used to all of the processed foods and I don't plan on continuing them.
The term home sweet home is so accurate in this context. Day five we wanted to do something a bit different so we went down to the beautiful beach and approached the pedalos.
We hired the pedal boat for 1 hour which cost us €15 euros, it had a ladder and a slide on top of it. After we hired it, we asked the guy to wave at us after the time is up because we didn't have the time on us, unfortunately, he couldn't speak a single word of English and used an app to communicate and the words didn't make sense so we just went off and hoped for the best.
The kids wore life jackets, and we set off on our trip across the sea, it was extremely tiring and the water was very choppy, pushing us out further than we wanted to go. We all had a go down the slide constantly checking in fear of the jellyfish swarms surrounding us. It was a great experience that I would highly recommend!
On our last full day new people arrived and unfortunately the entertainment was repeated, it seems as though they do a week and then it repeats. Due to not doing much research before we booked, we wanted to travel around Minorca and explore however it is a very quiet Balearic Island with not much to do outside of the beach and hotel.
The big question comes down to would we stay again? Well, personally I wouldn't. However I would still recommend it, but not for a full week, 4 days would be plenty as a short trip, that way the food would not be so boring, towards the end I started to dread each meal eating the same foods. If you have children like us then this is a great place to take them as there is so much to do around the hotel complex such as different activities, entertainment, childcare kids clubs, mini golf, volleyball, boat trips, basketball, park, water park, slides, playground park and more.
However as a first holiday for little ones that are under three years old I really recommend waiting until they are old enough because of My two-year-old son had many tantrums, ran off from excitement, got spoiled from the new foods and stopped eating healthy foods demanding non-stop juice and ice cream which is not something he is allowed at home.
They were too young for the big water slides, and they were too tired for the evening adult entertainment, and lastly, I and Sadie didn't get to bond as much as we would have liked. On the way home, we walked around the airport of Mahon and there was a couple of places to eat and shops but not much else to do other than wait as the plane is slightly delayed, prices, as you'd expect, are expensive here as with most airports, for example a small sandwich is approximately €6 and a burger is twelve euros.
Luckily we took croissants and tasty chocolate doughnuts from breakfast. We did, however, buy some unusual looking alcohol, we are not big drinkers however it was a nice opportunity to try something a bit different, we purchased a bottle of real sangria, Licor de Naranjas, aimada Spanish liquor, and herbas morey dulces which is a green looking drink, that supposedly is made from mixed extracts of Majorcan plants and aniseed, how you are supposed to drink these and what they taste like will have to be another article.
On the plane, both the kids fell asleep almost instantly, we experienced a little turbulence but overall a smooth flight. Comparing the Menorca trip to Sorrento. Italy in my opinion, Italy was nicer due to the food being much more ethical, natural, healthy and tasty. Markets, shops and of course the famous Limoncello.