My final Spanish island is Ibiza which I have visited only once, in 1988 and once, I can tell you, was most certainly enough!
We were staying in the resort of Santa Eulalia just east of Ibiza town and the first thing that went wrong was accommodation allocation shortly after arrival. We had booked with a package holiday company and the brochure showed attractive little two story apartments surrounded by flower filled gardens and with an inviting azure blue swimming pool in the centre but the transport coach drove us straight by these to an alternative part of the complex where there was an unattractive high rise, grey and ugly, which looked like something that had been relocated from Stalinist Moscow.
We told the holiday representative that we thought there must be a mistake but she assured us not and after she had persuaded us to leave the coach told us to take the matter up at the on-site office. Getting off the coach was my biggest mistake because once off one thing was certain – they were not going to do anything about it.
So we allocated a third floor room without any of the facilities that we had been promised in the brochure and to make matters worse a dangerous balcony with a gap at the bottom wide enough for a young child like my twelve month old son to wriggle underneath and fall to a certain death. I complained about this and several other things too but the office staff were completely unhelpful and said that they could only move us to different accommodation if we paid extra money.
Paid extra money? This was another problem because I hadn’t actually got any extra money! Two young children, one income, big mortgage, credit card maxed out – that’s why I was on a budget holiday in the first place!
So we put up with it and to cheer ourselves up hired a car for three days to get away from the place and used most of our holiday spending money in the process which on reflection was a rather silly thing to do.
We weren’t to know until three days later of course that hiring a car was not only a silly thing to do but also a complete waste of money because Ibiza is not the most exciting or picturesque sort of place anyway. Up in the north we went to the bay of Portinatx where they allegedly filmed some of the scenes from the film ‘South Pacific’ but if they did I couldn’t understand why because I didn’t find it very thrilling and surely it would have been better and more authentic to do it in the South Pacific!
Once the three days were up we had to hand the car back and then we were stuck in the sub-standard accommodation, quite a walk from the town centre and desperately short of cash. We spent the days on the beach with the children, one day we walked to the hippie market at nearby Es Cana and in the evenings we would take the walk across the river via a shaky wooden bridge and walk around the harbour and the streets and look at the restaurant menus that we couldn’t afford and envied the people in the cafés and the bars who could.
On the way back we would buy food in a mini-market and take it back to the apartment to cook for ourselves. About half way through the holiday I found a take away pizza shop which had one of those old fashioned credit card swipe machines so I went there quite regularly reasonably confident that without an electronic payment system I was unlikely to get the card rejected and confiscated.
I remember my holiday in Ibiza being a rather miserable affair and as a consequence of that I have never had the inclination to return. The only thing that might persuade me is an invitation to an Ibiza town foam party but to be honest time is rapidly running out on that personal fantasy.
Or maybe I am just being plain unfair, after all, I didn’t visit Ibiza town which must be worth an afternoon of anyone’s time and since my holiday there the island has acquired UNESCO World Heritage Site status and that sounds very exciting:
“Ibiza provides an excellent example of the interaction between the marine and coastal ecosystems. The dense prairies of oceanic Posidonia (seagrass), an important endemic species found only in the Mediterranean basin, contain and support a diversity of marine life. Ibiza preserves considerable evidence of its long history. The archaeological sites at Sa Caleta (settlement) and Puig des Molins (necropolis) testify to the important role played by the island in the Mediterranean economy in protohistory, particularly during the Phoenician-Carthaginian period” – UNESCO Website.