Finding gods in island paradise

2012-08-03 15:10

Ibiza oozes self-confidence. Like a 30-something, it knows what it is and is comfortable in its skin.

And so it should be. Ibiza is the trendsetter.

Countless destinations aspire to what it has become, but, like teenagers flitting between styles, are insecure in comparison.

This jewel of the Mediterranean, which is part of Spain’s Balearic Archipelago off its Catalan coast, has become infamous for its hedonistic nightlife.

This is the world’s premier clubbing destination, where boppers flock each summer to spend their cash over a few rampant nights.

Here, masters of the turntables forge reputations and cultivate global followings to become über DJs. Lucrative billboards off the airport access road are scrubbed-off car brands and replaced exclusively with club night promotions, affording the commercial status bestowed
on this industry.

Each night, party-goers lose themselves to rhythmic beats amid a flurry of natural and chemically enhanced highs.

My god is somewhat more pagan. I worship the sun and my temple is the beach. With little interest in partying to hard house, UK garage and dub step; and with a propensity to yawn rudely if I’m kept up beyond midnight, the nightlife of Ibiza is wasted on me.

I’m on a pilgrimage to relax, recharge and explore the quieter side of the island.

Thankfully, steeped as it is in a hippie tradition, Ibiza is accepting of polytheism.

Accordingly so, it offers a myriad opportunities to make one’s devotions and extol gratitude to my giver of life.

The remarkable aspect of Ibiza’s beaches is that, for a small island with a single geological history, there is such diversity among its coastline.

Virtually all parts of it are accessible except plunging cliffs along the northwest seaboard. And all have individual character.

From golden sands, pebble and shingle, tiny coves and two-kilometre expanses to deep inlets cut into the shore to exposed swathes, backgrounds of dramatic cliff faces, pine forests and salt flats.

Most are replete with a small beach bar or Chiringuita or two to order cocktails from and buy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Some beaches are washed by gentle waves, some with water stiller than a tropical fish tank, but all with clean, refreshing Mediterranean seas, with sparkling visibility and an azure clarity to rival the famed waters of the Caribbean.

Salines beach, named after the impressive salt pan it flirts with at the southern tip of Ibiza, is where the beautiful people go.

For people watchers, here is the place to study those that turn posing into an art form.

A short trip to the bar, or a skip along the hot sand for a dip, turns into a spin at a European fashion week.

Bronzed, skimpily clad club reps marshal the beach along with girls in matching, teeny outfits, with their bikini bottoms hitched as high as they can go.

At the heart of this parade sits the expensive and pretentious Jockey Club. Unless you have the body, the nonchalance or the strong-mindedness to lounge among Europe’s self-professed “elite”, this is not the place for you.

La Trinxa beach bar, a Chiringuita at the southern end of the sand, serves Sangria to the more laid-back crowd lazing on its perch.

Ibizan food is widespread and accessible, and naturally takes full advantage of the edible delights from its nourisher, the sea.

Nearby Cala Mastella, a tiny deep inlet which shelters a 30m-wide beach flanked by steep forest punctuated by sea view villas belonging to the rich and famous, hosts a magnificent and unique eatery.

Whatever your holiday god, Ibiza can accommodate your veneration. The real beauty of this island is discovering it for yourself and heading out on a travelling odyssey to find your getaway zen.

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