Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mahon, Menorca

Thought I'd have abreak from adventure cruising today! You know it is the windows that draw me back to Mahon, that most British of Spanish cities. Situated on the eastern tip of Menorca, Mahon is the first city in Spain to see the sun rise in the morning and more often than not her windows throw the orange light around her streets, bouncing it back off each other as if playing with a football.
These are no ordinary windows however as they are huge bow windows with sashes brought by the British when they moved the capital here from Ciutadella in 1722. Still known in the local dialect as “boinders”, streets such as the Carrer Isobel II are adorned with these magnificent Georgian structures with their Sheraton and Chippendale style furniture in situ behind.
The British moved the capital here because of Mahon’s superb harbour, the largest in the Mediterranean, but the Phoenicians had a settlement long before as did the Carthaginians and the Romans. The harbour is indeed a magnificent site, it is also far easier to park, and it’s free, rather than in the city with its pay and display bays or in the underground carp park in the Placa de S’Espalnda.
The word ‘Mahon’ is being replaced by the word MaĆ³ on posters and signs. This in fact is the original name of the city, the Spanish version of Mahon being imposed upon it at a later date. Now with the ascendance of the everyday tongue of Menorquen, a dialect of Catalan, the city is becoming known more and more by its ancient name.
The name of the city is also enshrined in one of the world’s most popular sauces. During the French occupation of the island the Duc de Richelieu’s housekeeper mixed some raw egg, olive oil and a touch of vinegar with lemon juice and created what we know today as Mayonaisse Sauce.
Have agreat day now.

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