Spanish beaches

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Beautiful, beautiful Ibiza....of all the places I wanted to go this may be one that I had the most pre-conceived notion of what it would be like.

I got in late thanks to some delays at the airport and wasn't really sure where my hotel was...booked it a couple days before from a discount broker online.  Found out I was in Sant Antoni, on the opposite side of the island, so decided not to chance it with a bus and grabbed a cab instead, despite the knowledge it would cost almost 30€ was late and had been a long day of travel so I just wanted to get to my destination the fastest way possible.

Got to Sant Antoni to the Florencia Hotel and found a note, informing me that my accommodation would not be at the Florencia Hotel that night but at the San Francisco apartments instead...sounded good...but could not get the phone number given to work on a pay phone and I had no idea where the San Francisco apartments where.

Ibiza is known world-wide as a party island...home of house music and massive world-famous nightclubs.  I was a little surprised though, standing on a street in Sant Antoni (party central on Ibiza Island) that there was no one around.  It was spooky in its emptiness. 

Luckily I found an old lady who didnīt speak any english but walked me the four blocks to find the apartments and I got settled in just after midnight.  Walked around a bit but found nothing going on.  Next day I found out a possible reason - thursday was Balearic Islands Day, a regional holiday affecting the Balearic Islands, of which Ibiza is one.  This is probably something I should have looked into before I came but March 1st didn't strike me as a big holiday date.  On Thursday when I got up (Balearic Islands Day) everything was was nothing like a holiday in Canada where you can find all sorts of shops still open...about 95% of everything was closed up here.  I did go down to the waterfront area and found a couple cafes open and a small market where I could get some meat & cheese for the apartment kitchen.  Otherwise it was a very relaxing day spent walking around the waterfront and getting a good feel for the town.  I did find the "party district" which was boarded up tight.  I planned to rent a scooter the next day to explore more of the island before hitting the "world-famous" Ibiza clubs on the weekend.

I was surprised when I got up the next morning to see that 50% or so of the shops where still closed.  I had assumed they would all be open by now since Friday was not a holiday.  I went to rent a scooter and found they only rent scooters in the summer, starting end of April as they only get insured for six months, when the tourists are actually there.  The awful truth started to seep in...I was visiting very much in an off-peak tourism season and the town was nothing like I had envisioned it to be.  My pre-conceived notion of Ibiza was something like New Orleans but on crack.

Instead, what I found was a very laid back island with lots of locals and very few tourists.  If anything the tourists I did see where from other Balearic Islands in town for their long weekend but not many of them.  I also found, very quickly, that the major nightclubs and most of the smaller ones too where closed for the season....the big-name DJs where not going to be spinning while I was in Ibiza. 

Despite all this, the island was amazing, pre-conceived notions smashed or not.  It was far from New Orleans on crack.  Despite coming in the "winter" season the weather was great...between 25 and 30 degrees everyday of the trip and I ended up adding another day at the end because it was very relaxing...just sitting at the cafes, looking out to the water and the people.  Ibiza is filled with the very beautiful and the very wealthy.  Prices for real estate are through the roof!  It makes Vancouver real estate seem reasonable. 

One part of Ibiza Town (nearer to the airport and a bus ride away from Sant Antoni) that was fascinating was the old town, or Dalt Vila.  It's a fortified area that can be dated back to the 6th century BC.  It is still to this day filled with residences, restaurants, nightclubs, shops and anything else you would find in a town. 

I did enjoy my time on Ibiza island even if it was nothing like what I had, in my mind, thought it would be like.  It would be interesting to go back in the summer, when it does turn into the legendary party island to see the difference and experience that part of the island too.  One year I will have to come back.  But, no regrets for this visit.

Since I had decided to stay an extra day I paid the money for the place and Ibiza and switched my reservation in Barcelona before getting through to Air Canada where I found that the only flight operated by Spanair that day was sold out.  Fully sold out...every seat.  I even checked at a website that shows seat class availability.  Nada. 

Air Canada wouldn't touch it but I got through to Spanair and they put me on a wait-list and advised I would likely be leaving on Monday instead of Sunday due to the fullness of their plane.  It's not like another day in Ibiza would have killed me.  I am on vacation and no reason I couldn't push Barcelona back another day.  Regardless, I headed to the airport Sunday afternoon a little early to see if I could get on the flight.  Talked to the guy at the desk and within a few minutes I had my ticket.  Not sure if people didn't show up or not but I do know that when I boarded there were still people waiting by the gate to get on the plane and the plane was at full capacity.  The lesson here?  I'm not sure there really is one...I was just trying to be dramatic. 

Ibiza was beautiful...only thing missing was the parties.  oh yeah, and I really should have paid more attention to Spanish class in high school.  It's finally coming back to bite me in the ass.
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Where I stayed
Florencia Hotel
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