The Myths of Es Vedra

Es Vedra is an island of mystery.

You cannot strike up a conversation about Es Vedra without talking about the many stories that wrap a nd occlude this little rock like the spells of cloud that sweep in from the sea.  Describing Es Vedra is nearly impossible. Why does it enrapture us so? Maybe that’s why we find stories about Es Vedra so fascinating- they help us put what we are seeing into context. It is a place of great beauty, intense power, and magic that you need to see to understand… and even then…

Islanders, fishermen, and researchers of paranormal events claim to have witnessed strange events in the waters near this islet of just 3.8 kilometers around and a height of 382 metres. 

According to legends, some millennia ago the mother goddess of the Phoenicians was born here. So much mystery surrounds the island that nobody really knows what is the truth, what is fantasy, and what is a myth based on truth.

Many swimmers (including the famous José Amengual, an underwater hunting hero in Spain) claim that they’ve heard loud underwater deep bass notes near to Es Vedra, seeing huge shoals of fish changing direction in fright. Could it be undiscovered sea life or something… else?

There are those who believe that Es Vedra gained properties of energy accumulation when it separated from Ibiza millennia ago. According to legend, it forms with the rock of Ifach in Alicante and the southwest coast of Mallorca a sort of Mediterranean Triangle. It is known as the Triangle of Silence and some associate it with the famous Manises UFO Incident. If you look on this chart, you can see that Cafe del Mar is almost at the epicentre of a spooky triangle that could cause strange, magical things to happen….

es vedra triangle of silence

The Manises UFO

On November 11, 1979 (at 11pm on the 11th day of the 11th month, incidentally) A Super-Caravelle aircraft en route from Palma de Mallorca to the Canary Islands with 109 passengers on board had to make an emergency landing at Valencia airport Because of a UFO. The pilots claim that they were pursued “by several points of red light, which went up and down in an unconventional way.” The lights appeared just as the plane flew over Es Vedra. By any reading, that’s an unidentified flying object!

Pilot Francisco Javier Lerdo de Tejada, who had fifteen years of experience and more than 8,000 flight hours, reported the events as follows. “At 23.08 I started a climb, according to the flight plan, from 23,000 to 33,000 feet. In the middle of the climb I saw two red lights, in parallel, of such enormous intensity that they were brighter than our instrument lights, or whatever it was, in which they had to be installed and followed a path of collision with us. They were moving at an incredible rate, faster than any conventional aircraft, and they stopped instantly at a very short distance from the Caravelle.”  Tejada claimed to have made the emergency landing at Manises airport due to “a real risk of collision.”

Once the plane was on the ground, several people still reported observing the strange lights from the Manises control tower for more than two hours. Imagine the stories the ground crew would have for their families that night!

Lights in the sky

The Caravelle crew detected the alleged UFO half an hour after takeoff, between Ibiza and Alicante, the same area where a boat crew claimed to have seen a “rain” of UFOs. “About nine o’clock at night last Tuesday, when we were about fifteen miles from Formentera, there appeared before us lights like flares that did not remain static. Yellow lights less than eight miles from us” said Jose Luis Gonzalez, captain of the ship. He claimed that more than fifty UFOs had surrounded them for six hours.

“The” UFOs” turned out in this case to be paratroopers with lanterns that were taking part in the recording of a program for the National Radio of Spain. At least that’s what the government said. And Roswell was really a weather balloon, of course. 

ufo newspaper clipping es vedra

The Hermit of Es Vedra

The mythological pedigree of Es Vedra was further enhanced by Francisco Palau y Quer (1811-1872), founder of the Tertiary Carmelites of Spain. 

Francisco retired to pray in a cave on the islet. “This mountain is an islet west of Ibiza. Separated from the island, rising from the depths of the waters to the sky. There are no more inhabitants here than I. I have the Hermitage two leagues at noon of the island. The brothers, who have a fishing boat, bring me here, leave me alone and they return. At the top of the mountain, there is a fountain, and the openings of the rocks are my cells. Here I retired ten years ago and I find what a hermit can desire, ” said Father Palau.

Palau, like so many of us, wanted to escape the pressure of the so-called civilised world. Perhaps he, like us, was drawn to Es Vedra by the magic contained in the rocks themselves.

On this island “which rises on the crests of the Mediterranean Sea,” he remained there for days at a time. His mission was “to unite with God and his Church”.

Father Palau was the person who has spent the most time on the island and his mystical experiences in which he describes ladies of light and celestial beings have been reinterpreted by some, after the Manises UFO Case, as UFO sightings.

Catalan mountaineers climbed the island for the first time in August 1950 , challenging another ancient legend that states “it can never be climbed, because whoever tries it and mounts the summit will instantly change sex.”

Lizards and goats and Catalonians, oh my

es vedra goat

Francisco Martí Ferrando and Manuel Puig were the first to tread the crest. “The top of [Es Vedra] is an esplanade 15 meters long, five meters wide. Many vegetation grows in the form of forest, but most were completely dry. The island of Ibiza can be seen very little, the mountaineers wrote in their notes. They were three-quarters of an hour at the top before descending. They saw lizards “about 10 or 15 centimeters long” and Martí Ferrando seemed to notice a wild goat, although Puig doubted that it was there. There were no traces of UFOs in 1950, and, of course, they remained male after their feat.

What are your favourite Es Vedra legends? Have you seen any UFOs, buzzing around Es Vedra at sunset? 

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Cafe del Mar & Privata: A Very Balearic Story

Let’s talk about fashion. Specifically, I want to talk about a clothing brand called Privata.

Fashion is a funny old game. Have you ever wondered how trends become trendy? Why is it that last year skinny jeans are in, but the by the next season boot cut is everywhere?  For a while, I entertained the conspiracy theory that companies got together like the Illuminati to collude together about how to maximize sales of denim.  Maybe that’s true.  Why are we even talking about this? I’ll tell you. Privata. They are the clothing company that makes the shirts we wear at Cafe del Mar, so they’re great blog-friendly content!

As an extranjero, I was unfamiliar with the company when first wearing the shirt. However, I am also inordinately impressed by the quality of the materials used. Throughout our careers, waiters have become accustomed to being shoe-horned into polo shirts of synthetic fabric, so to be clad in a sturdy, lightweight cotton shirt is actually pretty refreshing.  Still, the question remains: Who are Privata?

These sorts of questions tend to keep me up at night, so I have put my investigator’s hat on and I am going online in search for answers. Sure, I could ask my Spanish colleagues, but I already bombard them enough with questions about local wildlife, Spanish grammar and where to find good Hierbas. And so, down the rabbit hole of international fashion we go.

privata vintage 1

Did you know that the major fashion labels now employ multinational companies who are solely focused on predicting trends?  The opinion of a select few kingmakers influence the minds of Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and the other elites. Naturally, this filters down to what will hit the high street sometime after the catwalks premiere the new look.

How do you even begin to get that job?

So there is, apparently, a fairly elite section of the fashion world who watch trends, employ sociological analysts and pay attention to oil prices and other obscure data points, and use this knowledge to produce books on style for the forthcoming year.

This book is then bought at a price in the multiple thousands of dollars, turned into seminars on which shapes, fabrics, and colors will be popular, and voila. Lagerfeld’s show looks a little like DKNY’s, and for a little while, we all follow the same basic trends. Even if this is as simple as whether a bare midriff is in or out.

irene privata

IBIZA …

Then we come to Ibiza. The original bucker and starter of trends. Ibiza has her own style. There are the ubiquitous white outfits for when you’re particularly Moda Ibiza, but the fashion does not there.  From the beaches of Bossa to the San Joan set to the Sunset Strip, the varied fashions of world citizens combines and amalgamates into Ibiza chic. Even the West End has a signature look. Spot for yourselves, the slightly early 90s looking neon shorts on pretty much every young guy this year. privata vintage train workers

So, against this background of a globe-spanning fashion machine, you can imagine my shock when I found almost nothing online about Privata, at all. Their website is simple, they have a list of their stockists (exclusively in Spain and Andorra) and a social media presence that takes pride in being unobtrusive.

 

It turns out that Privata has been making clothes for over forty years, but have eschewed listening to the advice of the industry at large. Almost on purpose. I  see why Cafe del Mar choose them.  Many moons ago, when we were all much younger, Privata developed a technique that had gone out of fashion during the post-war prosperous years. There is a technique for recycling raw and used materials like wool into finer fabrics. But, that is another story. A story that begins at the dawn of the 20th Century, and fades during the intervening years as it becomes cheaper to produce synthetic fabric.

Still with me? OK.

It appears that in the early 70s, when our older relatives were about to discover the horrors of velour and lycra, Privata broke with fashion ideas entirely to make nautically inspired clothing from natural fabrics. Forward thinking indeed, when we consider that twenty years after Privata began, we British folk were wearing shell suits. privata vintage fishermen

It seems to me that Privata and Cafe del Mar have the same sort of mentality. It didn’t matter to Privata what other fashion labels were doing, and it still doesn’t matter. Privata are themselves, with their own identity. I wouldn’t hesitate to say the same about Cafe del Mar (though I am obviously biased!)

Privata take inspiration from their surroundings. Like the founders of Cafe del Mar in 1980 take inspiration from the sunsets of Calo des Moro. Like this, the architect Lluis Güell interpreted the island of Ibiza into the styling of the original cafe.

Privata country

The ideas of Privata are as true today as they were in 1973. Interpret the natural world around us, the sea, the countryside, and provide practical, stylish clothing that exudes timeless cool.  They also keep your servers at Cafe del Mar happy!

Find Privata’s full range on their website, or through their Facebook Page.

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