Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Woah, we went to Ibiza!

... please have understood that the title of this goes to the tune of Vengaboys. Otherwise that was totally lost and thus pointless.

Back in England and it has been truly English in its grey, miserable presentation of 'summer'. Deciding to give in to the fact that we clearly already had summer, somewhere between May and June, I've actually been feeling rather excited recently by the prospect of autumn and the return of tights under my denim shorts, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and the leaves changing colour. Nevertheless, a short visit to somewhere where the summer is still in full swing did remind me how much I also love the sun, and the warmth that can sometimes come with it. Such a cynic.

This holiday has been mostly spent slaving away over my dissertation which it's beginning to feel like I've been writing forever. Ten days til I'm free and I cannot wait. I haven't written for pleasure in so long, I'm not even sure I remember how. So forgive me if this is even more long and rambling than usual. Postcards, postcards!

Made friends with an inquisitive little lizard

Despite the pressures of academia, I couldn't go the whole summer without an escape so managed to book a few days away with a most excellent travel companion, and so began our adventure. Friday night arrived and off we flew to the island, far away from 'this big town and the rain' (Vengaboys got it so right). I've never been on a flight with so much excited buzz. Time flew as we caught up on recent happenings, laughing and chatting too with other passengers. Choosing to stay on the quieter side of the island, even the bars in our hotel had closed by the time we arrived so we were straight to bed, eagerly awaiting what tomorrow would bring.

... a room with a view

Our first day was spent blissfully enjoying the hotel's facilities; reading, eating, napping, drinking, then eating and drinking some more, all from the comfort of a lounger in the sun. Only my second stay in an all-inclusive hotel, the constant food rotation (breakfast - continental breakfast - lunch - snack - afternoon tea - dinner) was a delight. In the evening we were treated to a beautiful sunset before being entertained by the sounds of the most surreal covers band complete with 'keytar' and multiple costume changes. Also tried to teach each other a few card games, which after several glasses of bubbles proved a challenge, but also highly entertaining.

The hotel sat right on the sea, with beautiful views over the bay of Cala Llonga. Only a small stretch of sand, the beach was a matter of moments away along a coastal path lined with pine trees, incredibly reminiscent of Mallorca. Here we spent a few hours napping some more, with the occasional visit to the sea for a cooling paddle and an attempt at spotting some fish in the crystal clear waters. Eventually rousing from an incredibly cosy nap, curled up in the foetal position under the shade of a parasol, it was already time for us to head back to the hotel in preparation for our impending doom. An actual night out in Ibiza.

Ushuaïa was another surreal experience; somewhere between a music festival and a club night. The first set already under way as we arrived, groups of guys and girls hung around the edges a little like at the school disco, only each one was armed with a drink that had set them back almost 20€. Lost in people watching from our chosen spot on the edge, we didn't really notice the place fill up but suddenly it did and we made our way to the middle of the crowd where we very much enjoyed dancing and singing along to the next two sets. Smoke machines, pyrotechnics, confetti and costumed dancers, all around a pool where a few of the happier members of the crowd danced knee deep in water, it was certainly a fun experience and enough to make us realise that we need to revive at least a little bit of our love for nights out. In our old age, we were glad that this one had a midnight end point so we were safely tucked up in bed with cups of tea by 1am. Perfection.

EDX's set was definitely my highlight

Already at our penultimate day, spurred on perhaps by a small taste of the Ibiza experience, we decided not to hide out around our hotel again but instead to venture to Ibiza Town (Eivissa) for an explore. I had hoped from a little research online that it might have some pretty bits but neither of us were prepared for just how pretty it actually was. Our taxi dropped us at the port and from there we wandered along to the marina, ooh-ing and aah-ing at super-yachts of the rich and famous. 

Super-yachts were yet to come...

Pretty cobbled streets wound away from the marina so we took one of these, sort of following sign posts of interest where we felt that we could understand at least some of the Spanish. So many pretty doorways, colourful flowers, and bright painted window frames all looked beautiful against the white walls of the buildings and blue sky above. Agreeing to take it slow uphill and in the heat (we learned our lesson in Santorini), we took many short stops on brick walls in shady and breezy spots. 

Our wanders took us most of the way around the walls of the old town, each battlement providing yet another panoramic view of the island's rolling hills, rooftops and the sea beyond. Passion fruit sorbet, a seemingly impossible-to-find cathedral, a busker with a beautiful voice and plenty of small gift shops to pop into for browsing and air conditioning kept us well entertained. So we headed back to Cala Llonga for the evening sun and a meal in the hotel's Japanese restaurant where our lack of subtlety in wanting to try as much of the menu as possible resulted in an extra dessert (apple and wasabi sorbet; actually so much tastier than either of us had anticipated). 

The final day of our stay came around all too quickly. It seems we built ourselves up from dozy to active as, despite the exertion of the previous day, our final day was definitely the most active. We began the day with an early breakfast followed by a serene yoga session in the dappled shade of the hotel's tennis courts. By the time we had then packed ready for check-out and got outside, there seemed to be no room for us to lounge in the sun but fortunately we found some stray loungers and pulled them together by the pool. There we enjoyed watching others exert themselves in aqua gym and a game of water volleyball whilst we made full use of hotel perks.Well rested, we made our way again to the beach where we hired a pedalo for an explore of the bay from a different perspective. Trying to navigate nude sailors, snorkelers galore and many a mysterious floating object, we had great fun and felt like expert pedalo 'drivers' by the time we were pulling up on the shore.

Not long til our departure, we decided to have a game of table tennis which proved incredibly challenging in the wind. Accidental trick shots played by the peak of a cap, our bat-free hands and other body parts which shall remain nameless provided much entertainment until it was time for our scheduled shower, one more sunset and a final go at the buffet before our transfer to the airport.

Considering I'd never been to Spain until only a few summers ago, I'm thoroughly enjoying becoming better acquainted. Ibiza is a beautiful island and true to my style I feel like we did plenty for a few days away but have also left plenty to be done if another visit arises. We shall see!