My love affair with Ibiza – how it all began

My love affair with Ibiza

My love affair with Ibiza

My love affair with Ibiza and this blog began by pure chance, about 10 years ago a dear friend of mine gave me some podcasts to listen to which included Trance Around The World as it was then by Above and Beyond and I loved it and became a fan of theirs.

A couple of years later we got the opportunity to see Above and Beyond live at Brixton Academy in London and had one of the best nights ever. We had our children young so clubbing and going to gigs had never featured in our lives but from the euphoria of that night we were desperate to see Above and Beyond again.

We looked through their tour dates and the only one which worked childcare and work wise was Amnesia in Ibiza flying out of Bournemouth on Monday and returning Friday with the gig itself on Thursday night so we booked without hesitation.

Ibiza we had heard a little about but not much so asking friends we started to worry they were all telling us it was only for youngsters, clubbers and hedonists and being in our mid 30s we wouldn’t like it or get it and it wouldn’t get us.

The next step was to book a hotel so we picked one which had a bar, served food and had a pool so at worst we could hold up there for the few days and only venture out to Amnesia to see Above and Beyond.

After much hunting, we chose the Hostal Marino located in San Antonio and friends were in real disbelief at this decision, it’s only good for stag and hen do’s, it’s rough as, you’ll be mugged or worse, you should cancel.

Hostal Marino San Antonio Ibiza on our first trip to Ibiza

Hostal Marino San Antonio Ibiza on our first trip to Ibiza

I also hunted the internet and wished I hadn’t. It did not fill us with confidence at all. Scathing news reports of Ibiza and San Antonio, Youtube videos full of fights as well as clips from various reality shows.  It was not a great picture and to say we were nervous was an understatement.

However, our budget was small, it was booked and there was no turning back despite being somewhat apprehensive for what we had let ourselves in for.

We drove to the airport on the allotted day in early September and looked around at our fellow passengers most were in their early 20s but a few were our age or older and the flight was as uneventful as they get landing in Ibiza mid-morning.

Grabbing a taxi to take us to San Antonio I was staring out of the window amazed at the sights passing by the window, billboard after billboard for an endless array of events, venues and DJ’s but it was the countryside that fascinated me.

The landscape of Ibiza just appealed and intrigued me and was not what I expected.

The landscape of Ibiza just appealed and intrigued me and was not what I expected.

The last thing I expected was a rich landscape of steep pine covered hills dotted with white washed buildings, open fields with a rich red soil everything I saw just appealed and intrigued me.

I would love to start this paragraph with all too soon we arrived at the Marino but the taxi driver had no idea where it was and if not for my OTT planning, having a printed map and directions to the Marino with us I hate to think how those first few hours would have turned out with us walking the streets with cases no doubt lost and somewhat nervous about our surroundings.  However, thanks to the map eventually we did arrive if not a little flustered.

Entering the Marino we were met by Miki, who is one of the loveliest people I have ever met.  He checked us in, showed us our room and invited us for a drink, no doubt seeing the fear in our eyes of this middle aged couple on their first ever trip to Ibiza.

Over a beer, I explained the story so far and he just laughed and said go for a walk along the front and see what San Antonio is all about,  as well as giving us a few recommendations for that our first day in Ibiza.

So map in hand we left the hotel walking through the narrow streets past hotels, bars, apartments, shops and came out beside the fountains on the front and crossed the road to look out across the harbour and the view beyond.

The harbour in San Antonio where I first fell in love with Ibiza

The harbour in San Antonio where I first fell in love with Ibiza

I just stood there and fell in love in an instant, the boats bobbing on the sea, the people bustling around and noticed lots of English speakers mixed in with other nationalities and Ibicenco locals. It all just felt right and I felt at home.

We walked around past the egg roundabout passing Eden, Es Paradis (not having a clue what they were mind) on along the promenade passing Ibiza Rocks Bar, Linekers and settled down for a drink at the Bay Bar and I just sat there people and boat watching it was heavenly.

s'Arenal beach and waterfront in San Antonio Ibiza

s’Arenal beach and waterfront in San Antonio Ibiza

Taking Miki’s advice as the sun started to dip in the sky we walked back along the prom passing the little huts offering endless water based activities, excursions and the water taxis grabbing every leaflet possible to see what we could do over the upcoming days.

We passed the marina up the little hill past the breakwater and down and then turned the corner and. my oh my, I never expected the sight in front of me, thousands and I mean thousands of people crammed into half a dozen bars, covering the rocks and all standing along the prom for as far as you could see.

It was truly spine tingling and having actually heard of Cafe del Mar we settled there for a drink for our first ever Ibiza sunset and my word it didn’t disappoint. The music from the bars all drifting on the breeze, the boats sat just off the coast, all those people and the atmosphere is like no other anywhere in the world.

The sun slowly began to set and more and more people just seemed to appear of all ages from children to grandparents.  All nationalities were present and more boats arrived then all of a sudden the sun started to dip beneath the waves and it was truly a picture postcard moment.

Our first sunset on the Sunset strip San Antonio, Ibiza

Our first sunset on the Sunset strip San Antonio, Ibiza

As it slowly disappeared the crowd erupted into cheers and claps, not what I expected at all. I just wanted it to reappear so I could experience it all again. However instead a top name DJ jumped on the decks at a bar a little further down (Cafe Mambo) and we went to investigate.  It was truly amazing,  a mini gig beside the prom with thousands of people lapping it up.  Only in Ibiza as they say.

I was seriously in love with this experience and still to this day it is one of my favourite things to do and the sunset strip will forever hold a place in my heart.

Over the next few days, we explored some more based on Miki’s advice.  We took a trip out with Chilli Pepper Charters,  where if life would allow I would spend every single day. We took the bus to Ibiza town and got very, very lost but did eventually get to the top of Dalt Vila.  We visited Cala Bassa and were blown away by the location and atmosphere, took a boat trip around the magical Es Vedra ate and drank well and simply loved every moment of Ibiza and all it had to offer us.

Chilli Pepper Charters sunset boat trip was truly magical

Chilli Pepper Charters sunset boat trip was truly magical

As to Above and Beyond at Amnesia, well again with a few nerves we took the Disco Bus from the bus station and the journey was amazing. All these people crammed in, all with a shared love for music, chatting, singing and enjoying life.

Amnesia was truly spectacular. Above and Beyond smashed it as they always do when we see them and the ice cannons are something else.  That rush as cold air envelops the room and dance floor is amazing. I may be in my 40s now but I will never stop clubbing in Ibiza and to say they are Super Clubs in an understatement.

Above and Beyond at Amnesia why we came to Ibiza the first time

Above and Beyond at Amnesia why we came to Ibiza in the first place

We woke for our flight home on the Friday vowing we would return one day but by the time we got to the airport the emotion of that trip, that feeling Ibiza had given me, the love of the Islanders, the bar owners, the restauranteurs, the people we had met, those views, those experiences over those 5 days all came out and I am not embarrassed to say I shed a tear or two. Ibiza had stolen my heart.

Since that first trip, we have returned more times than I can count have taken our children, celebrated our eldest turning 18 by taking him to Fatboy Slim at Amnesia as he turned 18, explored the island, made some incredible friends have loved, laughed and embraced Ibiza and all it has to offer us as a family and as a couple.

Our little one enjoying the sunset in ibiza

Our little one enjoying the sunset in Ibiza in awe of its beauty

As to the blog, it was born from our experiences and our annoyance that Ibiza is painted with a one trick pony brush, only suitable for the young, a clubbers only holiday location or for those looking for the excesses in life and it’s associated tarnished image.

If Ibiza is suitable for mid 30s now mid 40s couple, our family, our friends (we have brought many to the island) then it is suitable for everyone of all ages no matter what you are looking for from a holiday, there is so much more to Ibiza than just clubbing and bars.

Yes it’s not perfect but where is? Ibiza has it all and more and every time we visit, be it for a few days or for many weeks at a time we always find something new, meet new people and fall in love with the island over and over again.

It is true to say that I have an affinity with this little island in the med, my love affair with Ibiza so why not give it a go you may find love too.

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