8 Secret Reasons to Visit Ibiza in September

Ibiza in September: Is it the best time to go?

 Easy answer: YES.

OK, end of the blog. That was easy, see you next week. What do you mean, why? Surely over the last few months, you have learned to take everything you read here as a cast iron fact? But, ok. This blog is nothing if it is not geared around catering to your every whim. Here we go with the finest 8 reasons to get a flight to Ibiza in September. 

ibiza temperatures ibiza in september

1. The Weather is Better

We don’t mean the weather is better than in the UK or the rest of Europe (even though it is). Look at the forecast here, and this is early September. Sorry, Glasgow, Sorry Cardiff, you’re both beautiful cities; but you’re covered in cloud and you’re not hitting 25 degrees in the shade all month long.

glasgow temperatures ibiza in septemberCardiff temperatures ibiza in september

My friends back home are already pulling on jumpers and hoodies, and here we are on Ibiza, in September, not even remembering what socks are for. It’s actually kind of cloudy today and has been for the last two or three, and no one wears anything more than shorts and t-shirts- and even then, you’re overdressed.

Anyway. What I mean by saying the weather is better in Ibiza is that the brutal heat that visits us from mid-July begins to diminish. a near 40 degrees centigrade peak is too hot for most, which is perhaps why August is known as Italian month. Our neighbours over by the Tyrrhenian Sea are as accustomed to high temperatures as we are in Ibiza. That’s just my theory, any Italians out there, put me straight in the comments below.

My Polish friends who also (foolishly) visit us in August are generally more familiar with the cold and return back home a curiously luminous pink. We do try to warn them. Visit us on Ibiza in September or you will burn to a crisp. They do not listen.

Cooler by a couple of degrees, the highest peak of the season has passed on Ibiza in September, which leads me to…

2. There’s room to swing a cat on the Island

Note: Do not swing cats. It’s not nice.

August on Ibiza is partly a state of mind. The residents greet it with a mixture of excitement and terror as the roads turn into a Death Race sequel and the beaches are so many paltry inches of sand betwixt spread out towels. It’s really not all that bad though, we just think it into being bedlam. Creating our own reality.

villa pool ibiza in september

Ibiza in September is different.

While there is still packed flights landing at the airport and the clubs are, if anything, getting ever more exciting as the legendary closing parties approach; you can feel the extra few inches of space.

As there are slightly fewer package holidays sold, the traffic is a little faster flowing, parking is a possibility, and the stress levels drop. This is nice for everyone, you might see the smiles on the waiters be that little wider. Ahhh.

3. The Parties Are Better

August is crammed wall to wall, as I say. Even Cafe del Mar can have trouble squeezing in all our guests, and that’s with the giant Cafe del Mar Lounge available. Clubland in late July and August feels a little cramped for my taste. The DJs feel it too I am sure, it’s nice to have a dance floor go off, right? That necessitates some space for people to move.

This September in Amnesia alone there is Adam Beyer, Chase and Status, Andy C, Pendulum, Paul van Dyk, Eats Everything and Nathan Barato. Not bad, for one week in just one club on the island. The closing parties start to appear on the horizon. Despite the gruelling months that are behind them, the promoters and club workers always find that extra gear. Which, of course, means truly unmissable events.

woomoon ibiza in september

4. The Price is Right

Yeah, September is great for the parties, the extra space and the awesome weather, but the real deal is how happy your wallet is. Flights from most European cities lose at least 25% of the price- and it doesn’t end there.

It may stun you to know but many day-to-day items on Ibiza mysteriously increase in price during peak-season. Funny, huh. We can’t be too snooty about this practice, almost everyone depends on the tourist trade here to survive- and through winter every centimo can be important.

The good news for the tourist though is that it costs less to get here, it costs less to stay here- and it can even be easier on the spending money. Win Win Win.

5. Look out of your window right now

Does it look like this?

Es vedra ibiza in september

Well then. 

6. The Storms

I know, I’ve been saying how great the weather is here, but the end of August heralds the season of storms. Incredible views of the power of nature are available for the brave- it’s still warm, of course.  Last year we stayed in a house overlooking a cliff and were treated to a thunderous lightning storm. So low were the clouds that for a short time, we were inside them!

Also, a couple of years ago there were even tornadoes out to sea. Cool, and a bit scary. But mostly cooler than a mojito in an ice box.

7 The wild side begins to live again

As visitors to the White Isle will know, a major problem during the summer is the threat of forest fires. One chap has been arrested for deliberately setting fires this year, and a sizeable chunk of woodland went up in flames in August. Thanks to the amazing skill of the bomberos and the seaplane and helicopter pilots, the blaze was controlled quickly.

While the lone fool with a lighter out for arson is hard to stop, it’s still a relief when the tinder-dry underbrush gets a little moisture. Even better, a little drop of moisture in the air is enough for the green leaves to pop with colour.

We’re along way from the lush tones of February. but it’s a start!

8. Scuba time.

scuba ibiza in september

Take it from me, there’s nothing better than getting out around Illa sa Conillera on a boat, rolling off the side with a tank and diving for an hour.

Why is SCUBA so much better during September in Ibiza? Firstly, the waters are far less busy. Less engine noise means that the undersea world is happier, behaving in a less stressed manner. Kind of like how we are on land with lighter traffic. The waters are warm and clear still and you can encounter all manner of fish and other aquatic life.

Don’t delay, get your fins on!

Naturally, the best part of all is that Cafe del Mar is open all month long… and it’s a poorly kept secret that the sunsets in September are some of the most spectacular. What are you waiting for?

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Cafe del Mar Vol. 23 Review

Cafe del Mar Vol. 23 Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

So, I finally (6 weeks after release) managed to get my hands on a copy of Volume XXIII.

Cafe del Mar Music has been producing chill-out albums for a long time. A really, really long time. The first release of Volume I was back in 1994, which is a year I remember most for being a bit scared of Diego Maradona at the FIFA World Cup and discovering Green Day’s seminal pop-punk album Dookie.

Don’t judge me too harshly, I was 13 at the time and had just discoveredvolume 23 cover distortion pedals. Thankfully, musical taste evolves with age, experience, and exposure to disappointing pop-punk concept albums about the president being bad.

In any case, I can be grateful for the role the music of Cafe del Mar played in improving the accompanying soundtrack from Calo des Moro all the way to the council estates of Yorkshire.

If you were making a playlist to soundtrack your life, wouldn’t there be some moments that dovetail with chill-out? We all have those songs that are inextricably linked with moments in time. Have you ever thought about what songs would go on the film score in the movie about you? Your heroic moments might be backed by Eye of The Tiger. It’s almost involuntary, how we collate these songs into a soundtrack. It seems like Cafe del Mar records are genetically coded to weave their way into our lived experience.

Cafe del Mar Volume 23 brings the atmosphere to the fore. As you would expect from a double album with soundscape luminaries such as the Cinematic OrchestraBrian Eno and Bonobo on board, the layers are soporific, weaving sweetly to create an otherworldly new reality. 

Cafe del Mar Volume 1-23 and on…

After so many albums we might be forgiven for assuming that the series would cafe del mar volume 1get stale. Granted, the archetypal Balearic sound was more evident on earlier albums like Volumen Ocho or Cinco, but this is at least down to our nostalgia. The times they are a changing, and like every other genre of music in history, chill-out is not immune. Archetypes become archetypes for a reason, after all.

This is a good thing.

Staid obedience to giving the crowd what we *think* they want has led humanity to baffling decisions. Producing a road version of the Jaguar XJ220, for example. KISS making a disco record in 1979, which sure, was a commercial success but… it’s disco.

There are other examples I’m sure. The point is that it is not 1998. The same advancements in production technology that make Adam Beyer sound like he’s from the future are also changing chill-out music. There is a reason why dance songs from the 1990s sound so dated. We are simply so far advanced from the technology used back then.

For the non-electronic tracks on Volumen Vienti-Tres the loudness war is over, and this has led to higher density, movie-score layers of sound that delight the senses. Zero 7’s Last Light is gloriously recorded and through a good sound system the depth is really apparent. You can say this about every track on the Cafe del Mar Volume 23 album, in all honesty.

A double album is a rare thing these days– one might even say a risky move. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips once said “[A] double album. Just this idea that you can weave a couple of themes into there and you can sprawl a little bit.”

I don’t know if this idea was in Toni Simonen’s mind when he cut this record, but it pleases me to think that it was. Thematically we always have Cafe del Mar as a concept, underpinning the music itself. There’s still a lot of space to explore ideas and sound within the chillout genre, and Cafe del Mar Volume 23 brings a luscious ocean of sound to dive into.

Top marks!

Cafe del Mar Volume 23 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can get your copy of Cafe del Mar Volume 23 here.

 

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Correfoc: The Fire Run

To Dance With the Devils….

For all Ibiza’s well deserved and legendary status as the global leader of dance music, there is another event that, for me, is better than any superstar DJ or secret villa party.

You never forget the night of your first correfoc.

A corre-what?

Well; to talk about the Correfoc on Las Islas Baleares, we must, of course, begin our story in Norway in the year 1107 at the court of King Sigurd I. These times -in the aftermath of the First Crusade to conquer Jerusalem- were ones of great upheaval in the Mediterranean. Much of Spain was controlled by the Berbers of the Almoravid Dynasty (from what is modern day Morocco). Although technically the land was split into independent taifas (territories), the rulers were weak and the threat of invasion by the bellicose Christians led to a great annexation by the Almoravids of these smaller states.

King Sigurd set off on his own crusade (with a skaldic poet to record his deeds) and promptly started fighting almost everyone he met along the way. Working his way at sword point around the Iberian coast, his longships eventually had to pass Las Pituisas- The Balearics. Imagine, the next time you are sat at Cafe del Mar that amongst the yachts, sleek longships are paddling.

His army passed by Formentera, where they noticed a great number of Saracen pirates had made a base. Located in a cave high on a cliff and well defended, it seemed a fortress. Being of Viking stock, Sigurd attacked anyway. Using ingenious tactics to overcome the pirates, he made off with large amounts of booty.

formentera cave correfoc
Interestingly, there is a ‘Cap de Barbaria’ on Formentera…. Berbers, or Barbarians?

Nordic Sagas of the Balearics….

skald poetry correfoc

The poet Halldorr wrote this verse to commemorate this part of the campaign.

“The highly renowned marker of slaughter-wheels (shields) came with his fleet to Ibiza. The chieftain of battle was eager for glory. The eighth storm of weapon points (a battle) was yet later stirred up on green Menorca, where the King’s host reddened their arrows.” 

From this part of the saga we can see that Sigurd of Norway visited the Balearic Isles, killed a lot of people, and then carried on his way to the Holy Land. Once there he decides to do some more fighting, eventually returning to Norway by land; undefeated and with a splinter of the True Cross for his trouble.

This was the first Christian assault on the Balearics, which at the time was a strategically critical location in the Mediterranean. From the islands, one could raid across a huge area of Southern Europe and North Africa. The potential for piracy on the seas was also not lost on the Berber occupants, and for centuries they were a thorn in the side of both the Christians to the North and rival factions on the Barbary Coast.

Inspiration.

King Sigurd’s battles showed that a conquest of the islands was at least possible. Therefore, in 1114 another crusade by the Count of Barcelona and his allies destroyed Ibiza’s defences, laid siege to Palma on Mallorca, and captured the ruler of the taifa, taking him to Pisa in chains.

Count of Barcelona correfoc
Visitors to Barcelona might know Count Ramon Berenguer III from his statue

This did not wrestle control of the islands from the Berbers. However, the Catalan crusade finally ended the piracy that the inhabitants of the islands had perpetrated. It would not be until 1235 and the Reconquista by the King of Aragon that the Balearics would be brought into what we might consider the beginnings of modern era Spanish control.

So what has a Norwegian king and the crusades have to do with 21st Century Ibicencos setting off fireworks and dressing as devils?

Not so much- except that without these events, and the subsequent Catalan suzerainty over the islands, the Ball des Diables might not have crossed the waters to Ibiza. The first recorded event of this kind- a clear precursor to the Correfoc- was in 1150. By the time of the Reconquista, the event seems to have been a popular occurrence at court.  Imagine a sort of play that takes place in-between meals. Like an intermission featuring devils and acrobats, and we’re getting close.

At some point in the mists of time, the Ball des Diables moved outside, adopted by the church. A regular feature of catholic Corpus Christi events, it is likely that the Correfoc/Ball des Diables persisted as part of the Catalan lifestyle until the times of cultural repression under General Franco.

A Correfoc -literally ‘fire run’- was popularised again in Catalonia and the Balearics during the 1980s. During this time, a great wave of rediscovery for folklore and history took place. Accompanied in the modern age by a team of drummers (Batucada) that take their musical influence from Latin American Samba, local people revitalise an old tradition with the spirit of modern Catalonia.

The bateria of drummers pound out deep rhythms as the devils dance and spray sparks at you. The smoke of spent gunpowder hangs thickly in the air amid the screeching fireworks. Leering and capering devils, horned and wrapped in cloaks show their wrath.

The tale is that of good versus evil. In the towns across Ibiza young people will brave the ‘fires’ of the devils to show their bravery. Historically this is likely to have been an important rite of passage- for boys and men at least.

I first encountered a Correfoc with complete surprise, at the Fiesta of Sant Carles in November 2015.San Carlos Ibiza

 

It remains my favourite event anywhere on the island. At first the beautiful town square. One side is a village green reminiscent of the small towns back home in England. On the other side, cobbles, and on the festival days, a stage is erected. Pleasingly, a bar is present too.

With carnival stalls with tests of skill and a barbecue, the fiesta appeared to be a regular village fete.

And then, the drums. And then, the fireworks and the fusion of pagan and Christian. Then, the dance in the fire. To see Correfoc is to look into Catalan culture. Whether it is the large Correfoc in Barcelona or the more intimate displays on the islands, it is not to be missed.

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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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