Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's Thursday, we should go to Ibiza...

Ibiza is located in the Balearic Islands which is just off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.  It's a little bit further off the coast than say Nantucket to the Cape but a totally doable trip - just a half hour by plane.  Literally you hit your cruising altitude and they announce that they are preparing for landing.  Known for it's wild parties and nightlife, there is also another side to Ibiza - the relaxing side, especially in what is called the shoulder season (just before the tourism season begins and after it ends). 

So my friend Cristy asked me if I wanted to go to Ibiza for just two days to recharge and relax, it was hard to say no.  Not to mention that her intial proposal would cost us just 4 euros each for the flight.  Unfortunately that first option was also Liam's birthday.  So after some date finagling, we finally decided to go this past Thursday though the cost had jumped... to 21 euros.  A deal?  Oh yes!!!  And it got even better when she found us a 4 star hotel for just 25 euros.  So less than 50 euros to spend 2 days in Ibiza - how could I even think of saying no?  As she said, they are practically paying us to go to visit!  There are people that save years to go to this island and we are going for 50 euros???  That is the life I have to say, and I will admit, I'm incredibly lucky to have this life.

Ibiza here we come!!!

Off we go on Thursday for our journey. We are loaded up with just backpacks - there will be no need for bags of luggage for this trip. A sundress, a sweater and a bathing suit... oh and a book for the beach. That's it, that's all we need to jump start this adventure. We land in Ibiza and are at our hotel by 11AM. By noon we are off to explore.

View from my room to the left - you can see Old Town (the walled city) in the distance

Our hotel - 4 star for just 25 euros each!! 
The picture on the right, the tall building is our hotel - right on the water!

For once, neither of us did any research in preparation for this trip - and both of us are planners by nature.  But it was step one in the relaxation process - just let the day takes us where it takes us.

It decided for day one to take us to the Old Town in which is located in the town of Ibiza (spelled Eivissa here).  Our hotel gave us so-so directions and we were off to explore.  We walked along the beach for a little bit trying to figure out if this was the way to Old Town - given it was a dirt path, we eventually figured out that no, that was not the way we were supposed to go... but it got us to where we needed to be in the end and was a scenic walk along the way so all is good! 

We saw several little geckos along the path to the boardwalk - cute, but keep them a good distance from me, ok?

This was part of the beach "boardwalk" - or what we initially thought was the boardwalk...
we were wrong!

When we finally got on to the walking path, the views just became even more stunning. The water was turquoise in many areas accented with the dark of growth on the bottom of the Med. Palm trees swaying along the water - it was paradise.
View from the boardwalk

Another view from the boardwalk

That is til we had to start walking up and up and up.  At least it was a pretty staircase that we had to go up.  And eventually, that same staircase went down - whew!!!  But we definitely got our workout that day and it reminded me of the stairs we had to climb at the Spanish Stairs in Rome, only more narrow. 

This is only the start of the stairs we had to climb!  At least they were pretty!

View from one section of the stairs

We walked thru Eivissa and it was a lovely little town.  It had all the amenities you could expect but with an old world feel to it.  The marina was slightly disappointing as we were hoping for more dining options however, it was also a beautiful area to explore for a little bit.

Building along the center of town
Stunning hotel in the center of town - beautifully maintained and amazing colors that looked spectacular against the bright blue sky

These sailboats are probably the biggest I've ever seen - see the next picture to get a perspective of just how big they are!

With all the buildings surrounding those boats, all you can see is the masts soaring above everything else.  They were HUGE!

One of many upcoming shots of flowers

Old Town is a part of Ibiza where it had a walled city, or fortification.  This fortification which is a World Heritage Site is full of old, beautifuly windy pathways, roads and buildings covered in hanging flowers.  There is a castle and a cathedral up here as well.  The walled city was built in the mid 1500s to ward away the Berber pirates who would try to invade and plunder on the island. 

Cristy at the entrace to the walled city

This is me screaming like a girl because as I walked thru the tunnel all of a sudden I saw this guy's (look to the left of me) feet and thought there was a dead guy next to me.  We laughed til we cried on this one!

Our goal - to reach the top!

But first... lunch!!  Hmmm...where to eat?

Pretty flowers along the entry to the city

Cool arches

View once inside the archway

Drawbridge!  Who doesn't love a drawbridge?

The other side of the drawbridge

These looked to be roses though I can't be 100% sure on that

More stairs... I think they are never ending on this trip!  At least I'll have buns of steel right?

Panoramic view

View going back down - the palm tree is framed just right

Love these flowers!!!!

More freaking stairs?  Seriously????
Cool canon overlooking the water

View from the top

In one direction the water, in the other direction a windmill

This was the plaque by the canon - interestingly the canon is called the 24 lb canon but it shot out 25.75 lb cannon balls.  But they reference that they call it a 24 lb canon because that is what they used.  Hmmm... someone doesn't have their math correct here.

View from by the canon

Yet another scenic view

You can't really see it well but on the arm of the light, there is a cool castle etched out.  On the right was inside a gated area

And is this guy supposed to be puking?  Perhaps a medieval representation of the party atmosphere on Ibiza?????

On the left - the very top!!  And the one on the right is the view from the top!

Cool pathway

And another one

Yup, more stairs...

These were the handprints of various arts and entertainment people that must frequent this area

More flowers - what can I say, I love them!

Same flowers, from the end of the pathway

And again with the sun above

These look like doorknobs to me - I really like the way it's put together.  Josh's mom has a picture of Doors of Ireland...this could be doorknobs of Ibiza!

More pretty flowers

I think this is my favorite picture of the whole trip

Hmmm...what do you think they might put in here?

After Old Town we decided to grab a bottle of wine, some chocolate and head back to the hotel for a little R & R before heading out to dinner.  The hotel had a decent hot tub and sauna area in which to relax.  I will admit, we're getting old as we went to dinner around nine and were back at the hotel and in bed by midnight - pretty much when the island is just getting started.  But we still had one more day in which to chill out and enjoy the scene and neither of us wanted to be hungover from that (and we were still feeling the effects from the bottle of wine at lunch).

On our way back to the hotel

View from the hotel room around sunset - unfortunately the sun sets on the other side of the island

Sailboat going between two small islands

Viewo f the walled city from our hotel as the sun finishes setting

On another note, not only did we not go out after dinner, but on our way back to the hotel we counted our lucky stars that we were in the hotel we were in.  There were several hotels along the way with young 20 something's hanging off their balconies screaming to each other with music blaring.  At 25 euros a night for our hotel, that could just have easily been us stuck in that mix (now I feel really old).  We lucked out that we were in a more age appropriate hotel for us :) 

The next day we designated as our beach day.  A friend of mine from home has been to Ibiza and Formentera and has been a plethora of information for me regarding both.  We haven't yet made it to Formentera but it's high on my list and I'm thinking perhaps the September shoulder season would be a good one.  Marco had told us via Facebook that we should check out the area of Ses Salines.  Given it's relatively close proximity to the airport we grabbed our bags, checked out of the hotel and hopped in a taxi to the beach!

The beach was rather hidden.  As a matter of fact the cabbie pulls into a parking lot for a small country store and we kind of looked at him like, did he misunderstand where we wanted to go???  He did not and pointed across the street to a path next to a small restaurant and told us to follow it...

The path turned into this really pretty walkway that led us to Ses Salines beach

Yes, the water was this clear...

For the first hour we were there, this was the only boat out in the water - as much as I'm not a fan of sailing, I do love the look of a nice sailboat on the water!

Shortly after we were relaxing on our rented beach chairs with a good book and just enjoying the views of the Mediterranean in front of us.  Now the beaches in Barcelona are fine but the sand is just ok and the beaches are all very crowded.  Where Josh, the kids and I go on the cape, the beaches are almost completely desserted.  So when I see more than 10 people on a beach, it's crowded to me.  This beach was about as close as I was going to get to those beaches at home but with crystal clear water and fabulous restaurants that fit right into the scenery.  This is where the non 20 somethings go to relax we decided... this was not the party beach for sure and we loved it!!

However, about an hour or so after we arrived we noticed a decent sized yacht pull up and achor off shore.  We didn't make much of it until the people at the restaurant behind us walked out with a container full of glasses and dishes and went down to the beach were a small tender was waiting to take them out to this yacht.  Hmmm... celebrities perhaps???  Or just the uber-rich?  Intrigued we did try to zoom our cameras to catch the name of the boat.  I don't think either of us got a close enough shot.  But as the day went on, more and more things and people went out to it - they brought food and they brought a vase of fresh roses along with a container of rose petals.  And then to top it off, they brought a huge water slide out to them.  Ahhhh to be one of the weathy, right??

The yacht offshore 

The tender bringing the dishes out to the boat

The restaurant bringing food (the guy already halfway down the stairs) to the boat
And finally bringing the water slide out to the yacht.

Our final lunch was at a beautiful restaurant called Malibu that was right on the beach.  Set just above the beach we had amazing views of the Mediterranean and fantastic food and drinks to go with the view.  This was the perfect end to the perfect trip - can't wait for the next one!!!

View of the yachts anchored just off shore from the restaurant

Cool thatched roof makes the enviroment feel even more relaxing and tropical yet nicely upscale

I had a fantastic time recharging my batteries in Ibiza!!   Cristy enough for making the plans for this one!  Next up, we've got visitors coming this week and we couldn't be more excited!  Then it's off to Venice the following weekend.  Lots of fun and exciting things happening!


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