Kiko, you tourist guide
Kiko discovers how cheese is made in Menorca
Today we will make an excursion through the countryside. Menorca has many rural roads for walking and in wintertime is a good time to do so. The climate is mild, the sun is not as hot as in the summer, some fruits begin to bloom from trees and the "Sylvester flowers" give it all of this a special touch.
I've managed to get Cuqui up early and after having breakfast we prepared ourselves with appropriate footwear, a backpack and water. Cuqui also takes mandarins and apples. We start from the Hotel Royal Son Bou Family Club. Nearby the Horse Riding Track¨ Cami de Cavalls¨ there is a path that has a dry wall lined up along.
How do they make the dry walls?
They are one of the main characteristics you will find in the countryside’s of Menorca. All the fields are defined by this curious construction. The walls are built by using nothing else other than stones. It's like making a puzzle with stones out of different sizes.
It is an old tradition and it is not easy to do, that´s why there are special experts called "paredadores" that build the walls with the same techniques they use in the yesteryears. It does not just serve to separate the fields but because in Menorca it can often be very windy, the North wind, called the ¨Tramontana¨ can blow very hard and it burns the plants. Thanks to the dry walls, the crops are protected like this.
They estimated that if all the dry walls of the island are to be placed in a line along each other, it would measure up to about 70,000 km. How far do you think it would reach?
Turtles for over 2000 years
Cuqui is very excited. We just found two turtles along the road, but this is not unusual. They say that the Mediterranean turtle has lived in Menorca since the Talayotic era. Do you remember the village called Trepucó? Well, they think that turtles have been living on the island for over more than 2000 years.
Here there are many of them, however, elsewhere in the Mediterranean they are disappearing. Therefore, sometimes they take groups of turtles and gather them to other areas, such as Valencia so that they can continue to breed there.
Chatting with cows
Here we are, sitting on a wall, eating mandarins, when Cuqui starts talking to the cows standing around us. They watch in silence whilst moving their mouthful of grass. When one of them said "mu", Cuqui jumped up and ran away terrified. It was hilarious!
They are very quiet animals and in Menorca there are reddish brown cows that provide very good milk, and they make typical cheese from the island that’s delicious!
Do you know that the cheese is made with curd?
Joseph is who takes care of the cows. He approaches us and we ask him how the cheese is made. We are invited to have a look. They curdle the milk and put pieces of curd in a fine white cloth which is tied at the top. By squeezing it with their hands, they pull out the water and then put it into a press to give them a square shape.
What are ¨Sylvester flowers¨?
We have been so entertained and busy that we didn´t even notice the morning had already flown by. We're back now and it's a nice to feel the sun on your face. We have taken off our jackets because it's hot now.
Cuqui has seen a hedgehog on the side of the road. He wanted to catch it but I explained that we must leave them peacefully. The countryside is their home and we should not bother them. Besides, when hedgehogs get angry they prick you with their quills.
I prefer to look at the colors you find in the countryside´s in the winter. It's all full of yellow dots with flowers called Sylvester flowers. Did you know that they are originally from South Africa and they appeared in Menorca over nearly 200 years ago? They say that the British brought them to the island.
They are not good for the crops but in the winter, the roads and fields are full of them. The green and yellow colors are a characteristic picture of the island at this time of year.
We have already reached the Hotel Royal Son Bou Family Club. Let's take a shower and eat. We are hungry! And after that, we will prepare another tour. Will you join us?