World Cup Aside

How I’ve spent my night at the hotel restaurant:

“Let’s go Germany! No one? No one…?”

I might be on the wrong side of the fans in this restaurant.

#anyonebutargentina

That German keeper is too turnt for this game. Bow down, Argentina.

AND GERMANY WINS!!! LONG LIVE THE MIGHTY NECKBEARD!!!

#runsawayfromangrymessifans

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Day 34: Sundays in Ciutadella

Venture into the old city section of Ciutadella and you’ll find the nicest Burger King you’ve ever seen along with perfect cafes, the main cathedral of the island, and buildings that would make any architect and historian drool.

Welcome to an afternoon in Ciutadella.

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The Cathedral Basilica de Minorca

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Walled gardens

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Coffee at Bar Oar while waiting on the bus

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The coolest Burger King with the most expensive Whopper meal you’ve ever seen

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Day 33: Saturday Night Party Rules

Want to go out on a Saturday night in Maó? Here’s a few things you should know before you hit the pavement:

Everything Starts Late

Coming from Boston where bars have a universal closing time of 2am, it was a culture shock the first time I discovered that most of the fun here doesn’t even start until that time. Clubs and bars don’t get packed until at least 1:30am if not later, and most places have stopped serving food long before that.

Eat a late dinner, stock up on snacks, and plan to hang out with friends until it’s prime dancing time.

Bring Small Change

This applies no matter what country you party in, but chances are, a bar is not going to have change for that 50 euro note you got from the ATM. Bring 20 euros or smaller. Those cocktails might be pricey, but alcohol like beer is beyond cheap. If you play your cards right, you shouldn’t have to bust your bank to have a good time.

Walk Along the Port

Most of the clubs that cater to dancing and younger audiences are along the port. This is also where the handful of restaurants are located that might still serve you tapas after midnight. By the time you and your friends make it to the end of the port to the line of dance clubs like AMAGI, you will have already had the chance to dance in a Western-themed bar, a jazz club, and eat something fried with a cold beer.

Stay in a Group

Especially if you don’t speak Spanish well, make sure to stay with your group of friends. Bartenders will most likely be able to speak to you in English if you are an English-speaker, but unwanted advances from other patrons will be harder to fend off if you find yourself alone and without group dance-block support.

Have fun, and if you find yourself in the western bar like I did, make sure to scream as loudly as you can, “DO YOU HAVE ‘AMERICA’ BY NEIL DIAMOND?”

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Day 32: Cala En Porter

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The perfect waves for floating, the freedom to go topless, and pomadas at the beach. The picture says it all.

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Day 31: Sway down Narrow Streets

Turn on some Dean Martin.

Now then.

European cars seem so small to Americans, but Americans don’t generally have to deal with old, winding streets that are barely wide enough for an SUV. Driving through the centers of Maó, Alaior, or Ciutadella in compact European automobiles means navigating one-way streets overshadowed by balconies and terraces with protruding cafe tables. The pedestrian zones look and feel like you are walking backwards through time, and you almost expect the world to dim into a monochromatic, unbearably romantic film reel…

CIUTADELLA

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MAO

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ALAIOR

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Categories: It's Not Traveling, It's Gallivanting, Yo, Ho, The Archaeologist's Life for Me | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 30: The Cats of Menorca

Everywhere you turn, you see a cat. They roam the sidewalks and country roads. Two of these solemn darlings have become archaeological mascots of sorts.

Meet Hannah. She is the only full-time resident of Torre d’en Galmés and recently gave birth to a great number of cute kittens. We feed her spare food, and she gives us purring entertainment.

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Merida was dubbed so for her reddish fur and green eyes. She’s the resident princess of the barranco where our professor’s house is. Merida comes around the pottery washing station to see if we have any cuddles to spare. She loves being held, though you would never know that from her face.

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There’s also Keanu Reeves and the other cats around the hotel that we regularly coo to and pet. Yay for cats!

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Day 29: Cheating on Starbucks

Cafe con leche for less than two American dollars. A Storm of Swords. Men chatting animatedly in Catalan about the soccer game on TV.

How am I supposed to ever go back to an American coffee shop after this?

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Day 28: Under the Fruit Trees

Time for another Spanish lesson.

A barranco is a dry stream bed that resembles a ravine. In Menorca, they are very obvious in the landscape as depressions in the land filled with scrubby vegetation. The Talayotic culture used the natural limestone caves in these barrancos for burials, effectively turning them into necropolises.

Situated in a barranco near Torre d’en Galmes and Son Bou is a house owned by a professor on this trip. We used the orchard area of her yard to wash pottery sherds (it is sherds, not shards, don’t ever say shards) from our two excavation sites of Isla del Rey and Torre d’en Galmes. The silence of the area was only punctuated by the chirping of cicadas and the running of fresh water from the hose. The plums and fruits picked off the trees made the perfect snacks. It’s almost hard to imagine that a place this beautiful and almost quaint even exists, but here is photographic evidence that it does.

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Days 26 to 27: White, Sandy Beaches

Menorca is split into two distinct geological halves. The southern half of the island is limestone, while the northern half is a mashup of different kinds of rock. The reasons for this happened millions of years ago, but today that geology means that Menorca has many, many kinds of beaches.

In the north, there are slate beaches, purple mud beaches, red sandstone beaches, etc. The beaches of the south range from small to medium in size and are all a soft, glowing white. If you are from the U.S., these stretches of southern waters might look to you like the Gulf Coast, but even those emerald waters aren’t as clear as this Mediterranean swimming pool.

Here are pictures from only three of these southern beaches that once again prove that Menorca is one of the world’s slices of paradise:

1. Binibeca, the Fairest of Them All

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2. Cala En Porter, the Beach between the Cliffs

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3. Son Bou, the Largest

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Days 12 and 13: Rethinking Siesta

Every day from around 1pm to 4pm, the shops close up and the streets go quiet. It’s siesta, and as my professor from Madrid clarified, it is NOT nap time.

The town might seem silent, but most restaurants and cafes stay open and are teeming with life. Meals like lunch and dinner happen later in Spain than they do in America, so siesta is the traditional time to grab a bite of tapas and a cold beer. Of course, even Spain hasn’t managed to be free of the 9am-5pm grind, so not everyone can go home for a cooked meal. Even so, it’s the perfect time for someone like me to have a girls’ lunch date or sit in a square enjoying a gelato.

Just don’t plan to do any shopping.

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