Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Day Ashore in Mao (Mahon), Menorca

MSC Sinfonia dwarfs the quayside houses and shops in Mao
Mao, or Mahon (depending which brochure you are reading!) is another picturesque Mediterranean town easily accessible from a cruise ship. By that I mean the ship will dock right beside the township. However, most of the town is up on a plateau, accessed by flights of stairs or a zig-zagging road. I have a few mobility challenges some days, so really had to take my time to get to the top.

It is quite a steep walk from the dockside up to the township
Once at the top of the stairs you'll find, on the left, a big church and beside it a market in the old cloisters. On the right, streets lead into the old town with its narrow lanes lined with houses several storeys high, many with wrought iron trimmed balconies. It is a lovely place to wander.

At the market in the cloisters

A typical street scene in the older district of Mao

We were lucky the day we were there. The weather was beautiful and there was a Festival of Flowers on. Many properties had decorated their balconies or shop windows with lovely floral displays.

Celebrating the Festival of Flowers
At sail away we went out on deck and watched as our ship slowly passed along the second longest harbour in the world. On the shores of the narrow waterway, houses (some with direct water access, jetties and boat sheds) were gleaming white in the sun. At the entrance to the harbour is a huge complex on the headland, the old fortress called La Mola. It's a forbidding looking place, even in the sunshine.

La Mola, the fortress at the mouth of Mao Harbour
So where to next? Tomorrow we'll be in Olbia, Sardinia, another new port for us.

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