Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.
Save the Bees Flower Festival
We were lucky enough to be able to take a two-week vacation in Minorca—also known as Menorca—at the end of May 2017 and May 2018. In 2017, we simply enjoyed the sights and sounds of the weekend flower festival, but we did not have a clue what it was all about!
The streets, shops, bars and restaurants were all decorated with a flower theme, and it was a sight to behold. It was imaginative and creative, and thankfully the sun shone. With so many paper-based displays, I doubt even Minorcans would have coped well if the heavens had opened and unleashed a torrent of rain.
There was music on offer dotted around the city at various venues, and tourists from various resorts flooded to the island and packed the streets and venues. But we were fascinated to see so many locals all walking around carrying potted plants in their hands. We wondered what that was all about, and in 2018 we discovered the answer.
World Save the Bees Day
In 2017, the United Nations declared May 20 World Bee Day, and Minorcans embraced the news by launching a flower festival weekend.
The World Bee Day website explains:
"Slovenia proposed that the United Nations (UN) proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day. On 20 December 2017, following three years of efforts at the international level, the UN Member States unanimously approved Slovenia’s proposal, thus proclaiming 20 May as World Bee Day.
The purpose of the www.worldbeeday.org website is to present the initiative and its implementation, raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, inform the public of major beekeeping events around the world and celebrate World Bee Day."
In 2018, May 20 was a Sunday and the flower festival ran all weekend.
On Saturday, there was a free outdoor rock festival held in the square or plaza of Es Castell. The bands were belting it out from 12 am until midnight with refreshments (including alcohol) on sale and people selling vinyl and CDs.
We popped along to this music fest until late afternoon but it was much smaller than anticipated. Still, the music was good, the day warm and the mood chilled.
We arrived in Menorca on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, and by Friday, tempting glimpses of what the weekend would offer were spotted here and there.
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Free Potted Plants
The potted plants were given to locals, and we decided to join in. We chatted with an ex-pat who has lived in Menorca since 1999 and she explained the free plants. The idea is everyone will take a potted plant and nurture it, planting it outdoors if appropriate. The plants are specifically selected as ones that will encourage those always-so-busy bees to drop on by.
The plant stalls were located up some steps and in the outside foyer of Mahon town or city hall. It is a magnificent building, which we have never entered previously. The doors were wide open and so we explored what was open to the public. We cheekily queued up and took two free plants to give to whoever at the hotel. We would have been happy for the hotel to keep them and plant them out but when we handed them to Maria at reception, she asked if she could have them and, of course, we said yes.
Like so many Minorcans who work in hospitality, such events tend to be closed by the time they finish their day's work. If not, most staff are just so tired after a long shift at work that all they want to do is sleep.
Here Comes the Bride
It was Saturday, May 19, 2018, when we snapped the images of the flower festival.
We walked into Mahon along the harbourfront thinking there may be some flower decorations, but the first we glimpsed was as we mounted the steps leading up from the waterfront. Also walking up the steps was what looked like a local family all dressed in their finest clothes. In spite of the many steps, the glamorous young woman in red was wearing killer heels.
As we and they arrived at the top of the steps, we parted ways. We stopped at a nearby cafe for much-needed refreshment while the Menorcan family joined others gathering outside of the main church. There was a wedding scheduled for 11 am. We were lucky enough to catch the guests and bride arriving for the wedding.
Tourists being tourists—that is having no shame—we all hung around outside of the church to catch a glimpse of the bride when she arrived. It was, of course, the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot over in Windsor in the United Kingdom.
The wedding in Mahon was a classy affair with guests arriving dressed fit for any royal wedding. Most of the female guests wore killer heels to accompany their bright and stunning gowns. The bride kept everyone waiting, and arrived traditionally late. She looked stylish and almost understated in a gold-coloured gown. As the wedding march began and she entered the church, the crowds began to disperse but I for one wish them a long and happy marriage.
© 2018 Ethel Smith