Can you help us find Kiko in Menorca? He is lost in the stone labyrinth
The hotel manager asks me if I can recommend him an excursion to do with his family. An entertaining activity, outdoors, where children can have fun and learn about a peculiar and unique landscape in Menorca? Of course, the S'Hostal quarries. A magical place that you will love. When shall we start?
From Son Bou to the quarries
A family wanting to sign up for the tour asks me to accompany them. We talk whilst we drive in the car towards Ciutadella:
- “These quarries stopped working more than 20 years ago and, if nobody had done anything, they would have been buried by vegetation. I explain that the association Líthica rented it and has been in charge of keeping it the same way so that people can see how they use to work here".
- And now it is them that move the stones?" a boy asks.
- "They have prepared several circuits so you can see the quarries, they organize musical concerts and also do workshops where they teach people how to carve stones and create sculptures, you will see," I say as we approach the entrance.
A red hand cuts us off
They have explained us the tour we can do to visit all the spaces. A father approaches his two children and shows them the signs shown in the quarries, the one that shows a red hand saying stop.
- "If you see this sign, it means that you cannot continue to move through that area because it can be dangerous. But you will soon find the blue arrow indicating the right direction", he says. "Anyway, do not get separated because this place is very big."
Do you know what the tide is?
The first sight is impressive. A large blue eye marks the area where there are viewpoints. From up here there are walls about 30 meters high that look like a cut square.
- "For more than 200 years there were workers in these quarries. They pulled rocks from the tides to build houses, "he said.
- What are "tides"? The smallest asks.
- "It's light-colored sandstone. I think its name comes from the "sea" because it is made of grains of sand collected from the coast of Menorca that came together with other elements. This is how the stone of the Talayotic period, 3000 years ago, was created by inhabitants. Do you remember my visit to the prehistoric town of Torre den Galmés? "
I have seen a lemon tree
The walk is very beautiful and you will find corners to rest for a while in the shade of the trees. Let's go to see the botanical circuit. They are the oldest quarries and they have been converted into gardens with many plants that have signs with their names on it and also futuristic trees.
We see a lemon tree full of still green lemons and a fig tree that seems to come out of the same stone wall. A green arrow takes us to the Quarry of the Almond trees. Throughout this area they extracted the stones manually. They used to cut it with a tool called "escoda", it´s a mixture between a hammer and an ax. As the cut was a little irregular they smoothed the parts of the stone to be able to use it in the constructions. The tide is very manageable and easy to carve.
The Totem greets us
We have passed through the quarries of Los Naranjos, Los Acebuches, the Medieval Garden, which is beautiful !, Los Manzanos, .... There are a lot of beautiful places with a contrast of green vegetation and the color of the stones, almost Reddish yellow in some areas.
We arrive at the most modern quarry where the extraction of the stones was realized with machinery that made straight perfectly cuts. It seems the high walls have been built by a giant.
We find ourselves facing the Totem, a huge stone sculpture that looks at us from the corner.
Music between high tidal walls
We go almost running down a slope because, from above, we have seen a labyrinth of stone.
- "I want to play for a while and go through the labyrinth," I tell them.
- "Is he the guardian of the labyrinth? a girl who has stood before a large rock near the entrance asks.
- "Come, quickly, let see who manages to pass all the obstacles and get there the first," a child says.
Meanwhile, the parents have approached the next open space where they are already preparing a concert which is held tonight. They say that the acoustics of this place is exceptional and that the music is heard clear. Will we come one day?
We call the guardian of the labyrinth?
I hear they are calling me from somewhere but I do not know where to get out. I am lost in this maze of stones.
- "I'm here!" I shout as I look at the walls that almost touch the sky.
- "Where is here?" The boy answers from the outside.
- "I will tell the guardian to come and look for you!” he says.
I think that the guardian should have come to save me because they are waiting for me at Club Kikoland for dinner. Have you ever seen a giant Totem? And have you visited the quarries? When visiting S'Hostal you will live an adventure just as exciting as the one that we have had today.
The quarry of S’Hostal is 39 kms away from Son Bou.
When arriving to Ciutadella, at the first roundabout of the Industrial Estate, you will find a pink sign that indicates the way to the quarries of Líthica on the South.
There is no public transportation.
The paths in the field are not paved and are not suitable for wheelchairs or baby strollers. If you go it is better to wear a baby carrier.
Do not forget to wear comfortable shoes, a cap, something to drink and something to eat.
To see the whole enclosure, it can last a couple of hours but there are alternative tours if you do not want to walk that long.
There are quite a few rest areas, some in the shade, highly recommended.
Líthica opens to the public almost all year round except from December the 20th until January the 19th. From November the 2nd until March the 31st admission is free. They open every day from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm.
From April the 1st until October the 31st it is open every day with the exception of June the 23rd and 24th (parties of San Juan). From Monday until Saturday, from 9.30 am until 14.30 pm and from 4.30 pm until sunset. On Sundays, only mornings.
From April the 1st until November the 1st the rates are:
Over 65s: €2.50
Groups (12 guests): €3
Children up to 10 years old: free admission
For more information, http://www.lithica.es