I had been stalking the weather forecast for the Balearic islands for 2 weeks before finally arriving to Menorca. I arrived on a Saturday after 5 pm and got one lucky stroll thru Mahon city center, in pleasant weather with lots of life around. My couchsurfing hosts were two American English teachers, and we made seafood paella and salsa danced the first night away. The next 6 days were nearly all lost for exploring local life, since all was dead on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday were holidays, and the only bits of Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I saw outside of siesta time was clouded by stormy winds and pouring rain.
On Sunday, me and Joe managed to hike 22km, most of it along the Cami de Cavalls track with circles the island. We didn’t ride horses, but found lots to cuddle with, and met one crazy farmed who only keeps land to house his 5 ducks, 10 chickens, and 25 cats! By the end of the day, it had hailed once, and we had to hitchhike the last 3 km to Mahon because the wind literally wouldn’t let us walk forward anymore.
On Monday the storms really started. Ferries got cancelled, shops didn’t open, and people didn’t leave their homes. It snowed in Mallorca for the first time in decades and people told me it was the worst weather week in 35 years for the islands. By Tuesday, all the holidays events had been cancelled, but not the holiday, so everyone stayed in another day, hidden under their blankets and jackets even inside (the houses here aren’t built for cold). But since it’s a tiny island with a few thousand inhabitants, the barbeque and dances and other festivities just got moved to Saturday.
I attended one indoor barbeque, where potatoes were roasted inside the fire place, and had other visits to locals home since no one was going out. I visited a wanna-be producer and jammed out on his piano with two singers/guitarists. I sat infront of a space heater with some other Spaniards on their couch under a blanket and shared travel stories.
On Wednesday the ferries were still cancelled, so I had to fly to Mallorca. These are the kinds of moments where I love to have airmiles laying around, so instead of paying 100 euros for a 30 minute flight, I just paid 2.20 in taxes and got my ferry tickets refunded. The Mahon airport was the loneliest little terminal I’ve ever visited, although a similar sight after being on a deserted island where everything was also closed.
Palma de Mallorca was a bigger city, where winter and siesta don’t affect the local life as much, and can still keep a tourist entertained in January. The shops were open, and streets full of pedestrians. I couchsurfed there with a 67 year old woman and her 34 year old ‘friend,’ who could have been playing the role of a male mistress but maybe he was just a lost artist. A lot of people are in Spain as transitioning musicians or something similar. He had the rockstar hair any guitarist would dream of, but unfortunately also half of it ended up on my breakfast. After the 5th hair in 6 bites, he noticed and promised he tried real hard to keep it back, but I gave him the rest of my eggs and potatoes garnished with hair. We were in the heart of the city, and another festival had to be celebrated Thursday night. San Sebastian is a day where everyone flocks to the streets for public barbeques and outside concerts, and finally the little bit of wind and rain never stopped anyone.
My ferry to Ibiza, however, did get cancelled, but it may not have been because of weather. Its strange to be from Iceland, where the average weather is equivalent to a storm warning in the Balearics, but the weather did interfere a lot more when you’re trying to be out and about with a backpack to explore a place deserted of life. I knew January was off season, but I didn’t know I’d be so off.