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Day 6 - Tortoises and Getting Lost

Day 6 (Friday) – A delightfully quiet day today. The groans and complaints from the early risers are overridden with practical ‘who’s bringing sun-cream’ chat and we head to the bus depot in Mahon to catch transport to the north of the island in search of wild tortoises. After a pigeon Spanish discussion with the driver regarding return times (I forgot the phrase book), the best spots for tortoise spotting, and payment, he drops us off 2 miles short from where we need. We presume this was the closest point and not just because our mischief is annoying the other passengers. We depart the bus with much faffing, pocket patting and phone-finding, enthusiastically sending the driver our best “muchas gracias” that we possibly could in varying accents. The other Spanish passengers roll their eyes but smile kindly. They get a wave too… They can laugh when we’re out of ear shot, that’s fine.

After only 15 minutes of walking, we hike on with shouts of ‘who’s bloody idea was this’ hanging in the air. Granted, it was hot but a breeze picks up as we continue towards our destination; a virgin sandy beach surrounded by greenery and a hopeful expectation. We wander a while, find a quiet spot, drop our bags and sit, watching quietly for over an hour as tortoises of all sizes go about their day and forget our presence. This is what I signed up for… Dusting ourselves down, some of us decided to head to the highest point on the island. Deliberating that enough food, water and sticky-plasters were had, we wave our goodbyes to the others and headed towards Monte Toro. Map in hand, it was realised that this could be reached by car and the romance disappears. We decided to stick to lower, more interesting undiscovered ground where a whole host of nature is enjoyed; noises, smells and sights hindering our speed making the adventure far longer than most people would have taken. A few hours later, most of which was us meandering off track and getting lost, we stumble upon a road and a well-timed bus drives towards us. Texting the others, we arrange to meet in Mahon for dinner and the promenade walk back to the villa is interrupted only by a stop at Bar Es Cau to refuel.

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