I never thought I’d ever visit Ibiza, especially considering that I haven’t visited the Mediterranean since my late teens and my only overseas trip in the last decade was a stag party in Germany.
So you can imagine my surprise at being invited on the annual work’s incentive trip – a VIP affair that invites our key business partners to join us for a weekend in exotic or luxurious locations.
Initially, I was cautious – I’m not a clubber, I may enjoy a variety of trance, psychedelic and even some dance music but I’m not a fan of hot, sweaty claustrophobia that a vibrant club environment has to offer.
That being said, I have missed travelling and love to explore new areas; the idea of exploring the diverse areas of Ibiza’s Old Town was exciting enough to set aside any fears I had around an unfit, overweight forty-something bouncing around Space during its dying days.
As an aside, it’s only as I type this that I realise, as many men do throughout their lives, that I am slowly becoming my Father, who has kept holiday logs for as long as I can remember and travels frequently.
I hereby set out, in a disjointed and succinct attempt at paternal emulation, my own travelogue.
Being a “VIP” work related trip, the expense wasn’t really an issue.
Actually, money is always an issue but in this context I had to pay for very little out of my own pocket.
Accommodation, travel and sustenance were all covered and the (seemingly) meager €100 I brought in hard currency was largely sold back on my return home.
My biggest worry prior to the trip was clothing; Ibizan fashion allegedly centers on Boho Shabby Chic.
My only exposure to Shabby Chic is through my Sister, who used to buy old tat at auctions and do them up to sell on eBay as “Shabby Chic”.
I’m not the best dressed person on the planet, to be honest I’m not that conscious of my appearance – vanity seems a waste of effort to me – but hippy linens and arty T-shirts are something I can work with; overall I don’t think I let the side down.
The flight out was uneventful, albeit I was subject to a “berenger” whatever that is – I must have looked dodgy to them, even as I stood – arms akimbo and jeans falling down – awaiting for the results of some kind of swabbing.
I was only on the isle for 3 nights, staying at the Destino Pacha Ibiza Resort in a lovely little room designed to feel like a villa-cum-bedsit.
The resort was luxurious and full of beautiful people with more money than sense. I only paid for a single drink through the whole weekend, and that was a €9 20cl soda water!
On the first day we relaxed at the pool, soaking up the sun and mojitos.
On the evening we dined at a waterside restaurant, Sa Punta, where we were offered an amazing mix of seafood, olives and antipasti.
The selection of food may have seemed limited but the dishes we were presented with were well balanced, flavourful and filling.
Once we had consumed our fill and midnight closed in, we moved onto Club Il Lio in the marina itself.
Now, I’m not a fan of clubs at the best of times but the cabaret in life before us was inviting…
I lasted maybe an hour, if that; offensive and officious security guards constantly moving us out of the way – our “VIP” tickets meaningless in a world of regular big spenders and overly flamboyant dress.
That was my only nightclub experience of the weekend, thankfully; we visited Pacha on Sunday and some of my colleagues had the pleasure of experiencing Basement Jaxx in the dying days of Space but I only ate at Pacha (succulent and satisfying sushi with a minuscule offering of wasabi).
Prior to the visit to Pacha on Sunday, I spent the day exploring Dalt Villa itself.
I wandered the old town, making my way up to the Cathedral that overlooks the bay and back down through the various boutiques and bars.
I completed my first overseas Ingress mission and discovered that the Pokémon native to Spain are different to those we find in the United Kingdom (Growlithe and Ekans).
This supplemented my morning walks across the bleak, desiccated clifftops surrounding the resort – where the odd lizard and dragonfly skittered away from concealed lovers enjoying the morning after the night before.
Overall my favourite day was Saturday.
We visited Blue Marlin Beach Club and spent several hours being treated to a selection of edible and potable treats whilst dipping into the warm embrace of the Mediterranean.
I haven’t swum for around 11 years and its been longer since I enjoyed a dip in the sea.
It was during conversations with people on Saturday that I uncovered a mysterious side to Ibiza.
I’d already reconciled Ibiza with the isle of the Lotus Eaters in my own mind…
I had no idea that Nostradamus had predicted Ibiza as being the only place to survive the coming Armageddon.
It’s hard to dispute the legends of Ibiza’s magic when I came away so relaxed and purified from what should have been a frantic and intoxicating visit – I wasn’t shy when it came to indulging in the food and drink on offer and yet felt no ill effects throughout the trip.
The meal that evening was a long drive away at a “hidden gem” named La Paloma; an illusive array of starters avoided my attention in the dark of the unlit outdoor dining whilst the darkness did little to prevent me from devouring a perfectly grilled steak.
The journey back on Monday was hard, not from any kind of lethargy or illness on my own part but the plane was full of casualties suffering from over-indulgence and weak constitutions.
The Ibizan border authorities had not made the same assumptions as their UK counterparts, and so I wasn’t stopped and swabbed for narcotics or incendiaries on the way back.
I was a little disappointed when passing through the depressingly bureaucratic passport control in Manchester – whatever happened to “Welcome back Mr. Sugden!”… miserable jobsworth.