10 Quirky Things I love about Winter in Ibiza
So, I´m back by popular demand (or rather everyone else ignored Virgil´s phone calls!), and following on from my last blog – 10 Things We´ve Learnt Since Moving To Ibiza, which I´m told might have been a touch too negative, this one is a much more positive (I hope) about the quirky side of Ibiza life during the long Winter months. Here we go!
1. Menu del Dias
Virtually every café you go into in Ibiza during the Winter will have a menu del dia, which includes 3 courses and a drink, for usually very good value, normally less than 10 Euros. However, virtually every café will always offer you ‘Ensalada Mixta´ as a starter (with raw onions), followed by some part of a chicken for main, and for postre (dessert), always flan! Now flan can mean anything, but in the places I tend to end up in, it normally means a yoghurt or chocolate mousse that they have bought wholesale from the next door Eroski supermarket. Or if you are lucky a custard tart with a biscuit on top! Or maybe I just need to stop being so tight.
2. Empty Roads on Ibiza
Coming from London, this is fantastic. Most people only experience Ibiza during the hectic Summer months, and although they are aware that it ‘quietens’ down in the Winter, until you experience it, you cannot imagine the contrast on a quiet early Sunday morning or dark Sunday evening. My record so far of distance covered without seeing another single car, is about 7km from the middle to the North of the island on the San Juan Road up to San Lorenzo. Just beautiful, it´s as if you have the island all to yourself.
3. Festivals & Fiestas
It seems as if there is a different public holiday for a different festival or Saint going on in some part of the island, or maybe the whole of the island, or even the whole of the Balearics, almost every week during Winter, although if you ask the locals, none of them really know why, and quite rightly none of them really care, and they all make the most of it. For example, recently the whole town of Santa Eulalia was closed, for a whole day, for a festival parade through the streets that started at 5pm. These guys don´t mess about when it comes to an excuse for a party. After all, it is in the island´s blood 2500 years ago the Phoenicians who discovered the island named the place after one of their gods, Bes, who was the god of Love and Dance, and clearly not much has changed since.
We love the festivals on Ibiza
With the island quiet and the majority of tourists gone, the main pastime of locals and ex-pats alike is gossip, and all varying forms of it. rumors about who is taking over which club, what hotel or restaurant has gone bust, which DJ is opening the next crazy golf course, and who slept with the husband of the sister of the local mayor are all rife throughout the Winter. In fact, if you´re bored, you can deliberately start off a new (and totally false) item of gossip around one part of the island, and wait for it to come back round to you a few weeks later, totally changed and ten times larger than when it set off. And when I say ‘you’, I mean ‘you’. Not ‘me’. Oh no.
5. The Weather Experts
In Northern Europe everyone has given up trying to predict the weather, even the forecasters on TV. However, in Ibiza, anyone who has lived on the island for more than 2 years can instantly tell you, that it will definitely/probably rain in Ibiza during the 1 st week of November, and the last week of February, but that it will always be sunny in December, with strong winds during the 1st week of March. Because it always does. Or it may be the total opposite to this of course, if you ask someone else the next day. But next year you can ask me, as I will be an expert…..
6. The Airport
In the Summer months the airport is packed to the roof with party goers and holiday makers, and the smell of excitement and potential for anything goes, is in the air. This is great, and is one of the reasons we all live here. But in the Winter the airport is a contrasting scene of tranquility and ultra efficiency. With some trial and error (and a very sad attention to stats), one can get from the drop off zone outside Departures, through customs control and into the queue for boarding in exactly 1 minute 47 seconds. And you will have to trust me on that one.
7. The Beaches
Not so much quirky this one, just damn right awesome. The endless beautiful beaches on the island which are so popular during the Summer and on which certain beach bars can charge you up to €100 per day just to sit on one of their loungers on the sand, can be virtually all yours during the Winter. We are talking the famous Salinas beach of Sa Trinxa and Jockey Club fame, Aguas Blancas, Cala Llenya, Cala Nova which hosts the new Atzaro Beach Bar, beautiful Cala Gracio in San Antonio, the list goes on and on all of these can be yours for free under beautiful warm blue skies, to be shared only with the odd dog walker, jogger, or swimmer. Thank you Universe.
8. Got Wood?
A large majority of island residents own or rent properties with wood burning stoves. To keep these fires burning, every night during the cold Winter nights, one needs wood. Lots of it. And for it to work properly it of course needs to be DRY. Now, there are lots of small supermarkets that will sell you a tied bag of pre-chopped wood for extortionate prices kept inside their shop. You need to buy a lot, regularly, and so it can get quite expensive. OR, you can go to the large timber yards to buy massive amounts of wood at much cheaper prices. However, it is normally all kept outside in their yards. And what happens in Winter quite a lot? Oh yes, it rains. So you end up buying a load of damp wood that either takes ages to dry, or turns your front room into an ash cloud and stinks the place out. Did I say I was from London?!
9. Sunday Shopping
There isn´t any. And it´s great.
10.Isn´t that Your Friend….?
Everyone has heard of the Six Degrees of Separation test, i.e that everybody knows everyone in the world through a maximum of 6 contacts. Well in Ibiza it is literally ONE Degree of separation. Everybody knows someone who knows the other person concerned, whether it be the hot waiter in the new bar in Ibiza Town, or a superstar DJ from Holland. Although this can make things slightly tricky at times (please see Point 4 above), it does create an absolute sense and feeling of being part of the Ibiza Family, a family which looks after itself, and which protects it´s members and the island in it´s many forms. This is a unique privilege, and is to be treasured and respected above everything else.
*Large parts of this blog have been embellished in a desperate attempt to make it vaguely more interesting. Thank you.