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The Vacation from a Vacation from a Vacation: Ibiza

5 Apr

“What is this place like in the Summer? I just can’t even imagine.”  – Said every 10 minutes

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No one will understand the difference between Ibiza’s culture in the Summer and its off-season until they have experienced both first hand. Before you make any assumptions about our reasoning for a trip to Ibiza, I will have you know that we were fully aware that it’s a seasonal island and we weren’t expecting to get buck wild in skimpy bikinis in STD infested waters! Especially after no sleep in Barcelona, we were all ready to land in paradise and pass out on the beach for a couple days.

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I assumed that everyone knew what Ibiza was, but I was wrong, so I’ll explain. Ibiza is a small island off the east coast of Spain that is world renown for its INSANE nightlife, beach parties, and unreal DJ appearances. This clubber’s paradise was created by the hippies in the 60s and 70s when they settled for free love, the rave scene and a melting pot of drugs. That’s all most people picture when they think of Ibiza (Thanks to Pitbull and Swedish House Mafia) and it took my mini vacation to see it differently. People have their whole lives here. Towns like Ibiza Town on the southeast coast, where we stayed, reveal the glamorous side of life on Ibiza with its luxurious stores, restaurants, and hotels. Everyone’s walking around flaunting their designer clothes and their beautiful Mediterranean bods. As private school children in their uniforms clustered around the marina I tried to picture how this island is transformed into a giant beach party in the summer, but I couldn’t.

As you may have guessed from the conclusion of my Barcelona post, we were dead to the world when we rolled into Ibiza. We arrived on a Sunday which messed up our perspectives at the start because it felt like a ghost island. Everything was closed and no one was outside. On the drive into town we passed tons of “Closing Party” billboards still up from October. We stayed at Hostal Ibiza right on the marina. We had really nice private doubles and it was nice and quiet. From what I saw on their reservation book, most of their reservations don’t start rolling in until late April-early June. It was about 10 AM when we got settled and the 4 of us took a long (much needed) 4 hour cat nap.

First priority when we woke up: Food! We hadn’t eaten since those cheapy doughnuts from the “Paki-Mart” the night before. Right down the marina we found a doner kebob place which is typical European fast food where they shave the meat off the spit in front of you. I’d take doner kebobs over McDonalds anyday. We devoured those pitas in the sun and dangled our feet off the marina pier.

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After trying to savor every last drop of tzatziki, we went on a walk along the water searching for sand. The only person we came across along the way worth noting was a man in hiked up short shorts passed out (sunbathing) on a park bench. Still, we couldn’t imagine what a zoo this place probably is in the summertime. Finally we found Talamanca Beach which had that no worries-care free Caribbean beach feel. Smooth fine sand and calm crystal blue water with a couple of beach bars and restaurants and some competitive beach volleyball down the way. Finally, some human life!

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Day 2 in Ibiza we were fully energized and ready for some adventure! Surprisingly we all slept like logs (well I guess I should speak for myself.. and my snoring). I’m surprised because the hostel walls were paper thin and it sounded like the people in the rooms next to us were actually in our room. Lets just say we were very thankful that our neighbors weren’t a bunch of fearless lovers.

SO many more people were out today. It felt like a completely different town. Placa del Parque behind our hotel was packed with street musicians, shoppers, and patio bars. We sat on the ground underneath some palm trees to eat our breakfast: yogurt using the top as a spoon, apples, and crackers. Life of a broke college student. We spent the first half of our morning in Dalt Vila, which is the town within castle walls founded in the 600s BC just a short walk up the hill from Ibiza Town.

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The winding cobbled streets and white buildings with blue shutters and doors felt a little bit like a town you would find in Greece.

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The view from the lookout over the town was absolutely stunning..

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The winds were strong but that sun was HOT. We hiked along the coast, to the edge of the water, and through the castle walls to the tippy top of the hill.

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Once at the top the only sense of direction you have is up and down. As we shuffled back down the hill, guessing whether to go left or right at the forks, we came across the Walk of Fame outside Il Palacio Ibiza, hotel for the stars. With pictures of Marilyn and Charlie Chaplin, the wall was covered in cemented handprints and signatures of famous journalists, producers, and movie stars. This was the only name I recognized..

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The second half of our day was spent across the island in a town called Sant Antoni de Portmany. To picture how small the island really is, it was only a 25 minute bus ride from one side to the opposite side. On the bus ride over, some smelly man with dreads who looked like his clothes hadn’t been washed in years, sat next to us and played some sort of recorder type instrument the whole ride.. what did I say.. hippies. Then the bus made a huge sudden halt, probably to let a small pack of raccoons across.. common excuse, and the man in front of us dropped and shattered a huge glass bottle.. probably alcohol because come on, it’s Ibiza.

Sant Antoni is another huge clubbing town, but right now it feels deserted. We were the only people on the beach that afternoon. And I wouldn’t be kidding anyone if I said I got a shade tanner, but it was still the most relaxing afternoon we could have asked for.

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This town was a little sketchier than Ibiza Town and definitely not as glamorous, but the view of the sunset was beautiful enough for me. Cafe del Mar on the water is known to have the best view of the sunset in the summer, but knowing how closed down the island is we posted up just a hop, skip, and a jump away, on the rocks to watch the sun slowly go down over the fishing boats that were bringing in our dinner!

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We had the most incredible fish dinner at a tiny restaurant literally right on the corner of the port, down Carrer Madrid. The cook who spoke better English than the waitress came to our table to translate the menu and give his recommendations. ALWAYS take the cook’s recommendations. That’s what 3 of us did and couldn’t have been more satisfied. We had Bacalao, a salted cod that’s really popular in Spain (which we’re all obsessed with now) cooked like fish and chips with savory garlic potatoes cooked to perfection and a refreshing salad which we sadly don’t eat much of.

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It was SO GOOD that we felt the need to sneak past the bartender/waitress (who kept giving us the stink eye because we couldn’t speak or understand her language), into the kitchen to thank and compliment the smiley (and also pretty attractive) cook. When we looked down at the time we realized we only had 5 minutes to catch the bus back to Ibiza Town. In a panic we sprinted out of the restaurant, down the port, up a couple side streets, and with the bus in sight we headed full speed and approached it just as the doors were closing and it made that bus fart sound as it departs from a stop.

It was really nice and relaxing to get out of the hustle and bustle of a big city like Barcelona for a couple of days and to feel like there wasn’t as much worry about like being mugged or separated from the group, but that mini vacation only lasted a quick 2 days and then we were on our way to the next big city: Madrid!

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