We were in a shop stocking Berkeley East's wine bilge and asked the clerk for Laurel, a Spanish wine that we were familiar with. He looked perplexed. We repeated, "Law-rehl, from the Priorat, Clos i Terrasses". At that, his face lit up and he said, " Low-relle', si'!". We knew that many Spanish words are spoken much differently than how they look, but we had never heard this wine, that we knew so well, pronounced with an "o" and an accent at the end.
Our speech impediment continued throughout the Balearic Islands. For Port Soller, we'd say "So-ler," they'd counter with "So-lyay". Andratx, for us was obviously "An-thrax," their response was "An-drath". And so it went, Ibiza is "ai-bee-thuh". Mallorca is "muh-yaw-kuh".
Sometimes, even when we said a word correctly, it was heard differently, as was the case at a restaurant in Palma. In ordering the Menu del Dia, there were several main course selections, we both ordered the quail. When the food arrived, we thought it looked very different from the quail we had eaten in the past, but it was interesting. And as we cut into the stuffed pastry, we wondered how they got so much meat from such tiny birds. When the gentleman next to us was served the same plate, he said, with a British accent, "no, I ordered the kale," at least that is what it sounded like to us. We thought it odd since there was no kale on the menu. A short time later, he was presented with a dish that looked very much like quail as we know it. Our plates were empty, whatever they had given us was delicious. As we exited the restaurant, we glanced at the menu again and discovered that while we had said "quail," the waitress heard "tail," as in ox tail. We thought it was a good mistake and were very happy it wasn't sweetbreads.
While much of our time in the Balearic Islands was spent at anchor on Berkeley East, we took some time to wander through the streets of Palma, visit the historic cathedral, enjoy one of the prettiest towns in the islands, and explore options for some new art .
It was high season, so marinas were expensive, and hot, and the coves were packed with boats, more than usual for July (it seemed that the Spanish rediscovered boating as a COVID escape). And there was a new regulation that prohibits anchoring in the seagrass (Posidinia), with hefty fines for violations, so finding a place to drop the hook in sand was tricky.
We decided to revisit places we had been in 2010, our first time in the islands, which became a quest for the tastiest sangria, with friends Mike and Linda from SV Aquilla, and their guests Ray and Mikey. The six of us spent several days, in Mallorca and Ibiza, tasting the Spanish specialty in every possible variation, with red wine, white wine and sparkling cava, until we found our favorite libation.
We were excited to learn that Roxy's Beach Bar, our 2010 Sangria Competition Winner, was still open. But we quickly learned that 2021 was very different from 2010. Reservations were now required, so gone was the spontaneity of pulling up to the dinghy dock, whenever we felt like it, and grabbing the first table available. Also missing were the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of smiling, laughing people on holiday, and the chill music that created the unique island vibe. While the cava sangria was still delicious, we think the tweaks we have made to the recipe over the years make "Captain Larry's Cava Sangria" the current star.
The weather was a bit unsettled, and we found ourselves in a pattern of enjoying a couple of beautiful, calm days, then running for cover from the wind and waves. Coves that felt like paradise in the afternoon could turn to rocky horror by evening. Our plan to rediscover our 2010 haunts disintegrated; CafĂ© Del Mar in Ibiza was booked weeks out, The Blue Marlin, while available, was in an untenable location, the beach bar at Trenc was no longer in existence. So, we searched for new anchorages, and found several more than suitable for swimming, paddle boarding and relaxing.
We wrapped up our time in the Balearic Islands in the quaint town of Mahon, on the island of Menorca, where we splurged for a marina berth and gave BE a 200-euro wash. Since leaving Barcelona, it appeared that Spain, especially Catalonia, had become the current COVID hotspot in the European Union. When we told the marina office that our last port had been Barcelona, they said "no". Fortunately, we had our vaccination cards and had been in the Balearics Islands for more than two weeks, so they let us dock. Next stop, Italy, assuming they don't say "no".