Commentary by Samuel Strait – December 10, 2023
The trip to the “White Island”, Ibiza, was not without drama. A lost
Valencian Taxi driver, a medical emergency en route, a sleepless night
and some wet stuff…..rain. For certain upon leaving the ferry in the
harbor at Eivissa, Ibiza’s main town, the party was over sometime ago.
Popularly known as the “clubbing capital of the world”, this island
plays host to thousands over the course of the year. What is not widely
known is that the party only lasts from mid-May until the first week of
October. Sound familiar? At which point the party crowd packs it’s
proverbial bags and bids goodbye until the following Spring.
Arriving in the early morning hours of last Wednesday, not a soul was
seen, nor the sound of music and dancing was heard or experienced. Much
of Eivissa was in for the long winter’s nap. Many of the tourist
oriented businesses were either closed or scaled dramatically back, only
making preparations for the return of the party the following May. I am
staying in an apartment rental whose balcony looks out over the harbor.
The weather has turned into to being fabulous once again. Miles of
white sandy beaches extend to both the south and north of the city with
few but the birds to keep me company as I stroll along the shore.
Eivissa has a fourteenth century fortress with the old part of town
safely enclosed within its walls. I spent most of the second day
scaling the narrow road to within it’s walls. The cathedral located
near the top of the hill is a mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture,
truly spectacular. Viewed from the top, Eivissa is laid out for as far
as the eye can see. The town itself is a mix of new and old, something
quite common in most of southern Europe. Narrow streets around where I
am staying, and much wider ones in the newer parts of town. I’ve had a
chance to slow down a bit after the frenetic pace of Barcelona and
Valencia. Still there is plenty to see and do here even in the off
season. Sure wouldn’t hurt if Crescent City figures that one out.
The Christmas season appears to be one those in Spain hold near and
dear. A small Christmas market has sprung up with all kinds of goodies
to buy in one of the main squares. I’ve taken to the Spanish habit of
an evening stroll from 6 pm to 8. This is followed by an hour or more in
one of the local eateries. For me, the older crowd and those with
children it is a bit like an old time get together. The streets have
been transformed by thousands of colorful lights, particularly here in
the old section of the City. No ice skating here as in the cities on
the mainland, but plenty for the children to get excited about. The
broad Avenue facing the harbor is especially festive and shopping for
the adults is in high gear.. Something that will in all likelihood be
lost in Crescent City when the current City Council butchers Front
Street in the name of their current $30 million chase of fantasy.
I have my bags packed and will be starting my journey home in the
morning. Ferry to Barcelona, then flights to Munich, San Francisco, and
finally to Medford. Ibiza has given me a parting gift of warm weather
and blue skies. Sorry to leave, but I will always have with the
experiences of travel to near and far and not have to just dream about it.