Raving in Ibiza?
The mention of Ibiza terminally categorizes the island in many peoples’ minds. Made famous by the hippies in the 60s and 70s, it has never really recovered from its image of being the clubbing and raving capital of the Med.
A small island it may be, but far from the enclaves of sweating, intoxicated youth, you will find a landscape brimming with interesting contours, sparkling white villages, ancient buildings that betray the presence of Phoenicians, Carthaginians and marauding Moors and Turks.
Large towns, like Eivissa and Santa Eulalia, proudly present their lofty fortified citadels, built during a period when safety from invaders was paramount. The many secluded Calas (Bays) with their protected beaches, make perfect places for bathing. The surrounding buildings are so perfectly white, they betray a winter spent applying the fresh coat of whitewash before the tourists return in the spring.
Each village will have restaurants with sunny terraces, boldly advertising their $10 euro ‘menu of the day’. Choose not just where the locals eat, but where the local workmen eat, and you will enjoy a hearty three course meal, with wine and coffee, and find yourself leaving the table as the clock strikes 5pm. Well, this is Spain, after all……
Or is it? Yes, everybody speaks Castellano (Spanish), but the local language is Ibecenco (a dialect of Catalan), and all education is imparted in the local language. In fact, what is currently ruffling a few feathers is the attempt by local government to impose a tri-lingual education, adding English to the portfolio of languages. And we are not talking about giving English lessons as a foreign language, but the use of English as the medium of education for some subjects. An ambitious plan when you consider that the use of fluent English is as alien to Spaniards as is the use of fluent French to British people.
I puzzled over the use of the word ‘pitiuso’, and later discovered that it is an ancient Greek term for describing both Ibiza and Formentera. And the latter is only a 30 minute ferry ride from Ibiza, and by bike you can just about cycle the whole island in a day, taking time out for a meal and bathing.
After three days on a tandem, and one day on a solo, we had covered large tracts of both islands, seeing them in a uniquely different way, and pedalling ourselves daily to an appetite that fully justified the long, leisurely lunches which, naturally (after a glass of wine or three) made the homeward journey a veritable ‘breeze’………;0)