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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. HAVING LIVED IN SPAIN FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS I HAVE TRULY MANAGED TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN THE LOCAL CULTURE AND FEEL TOTALLY INTEGRATED. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT MY PASSION FOR SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AS WELL AS ITS CULTURE, PEOPLE AND PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.

Back To Paradise
07 September 2018 @ 21:12

Many of you who are not familiar with Spain will probably know Spain's Balearic Islands: Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca all popular destinations for British tourists. But it wasn't until my wife took me to Formentera that I knew I had discovered heaven right on my doorstep. Before stepping onto the island I thought one would have to travel to the Caribbean or the South Pacific to get this experience. But no, here it was a stone's throw away. I was totally taken away by it and fell in love immediately.

The smallest of the Balearic islands, Formentera gave me the most relaxing summer I could ever dream of. Sheer bliss, fortunately, and after many years away, we returned this summer having longed for those white sandy beaches and turquoise waters for such a  long time, here we were again.

Known as the last Mediterranean paradise, Formentera has been able to combine tourism with environmental protection, which is it's secret.

There are no large hotel complexes there, in fact, accommodation is very scarce and most properties are booked from one year to the next by the regular tourists who frequent the island every summer. Funnily enough, these tend to be Italians and Germans, it would seem the British haven't caught onto this paradise yet. I will say, in general, it is not cheap. It is a small island and freshwater is a rare commodity on the island and pretty expensive so you can imagine how that affects the prices in restaurants and hotels without taking into consideration the logistical costs of delivering goods to the island. Many properties just offer salt water and you have to bring in your own freshwater for drinking and cooking from the supermarket.

If one is looking for an unspoiled land, seeking sun, sand and sea, relaxing moments away from the hustle and bustle of normal life, I couldn't think of a better place than Formentera. It is the ultimate antidote for stress. Never have I felt so relaxed or calm in my entire life. The island breathes calmness and peace, there are no nightclubs, very few bars, and you spend nearly all your time sunbathing, swimming, eating and sleeping. Apart from the sheer breathtaking beauty of the island, fact that there is pretty much nothing to do on the Island unless you're into water sports, makes it really easy to focus your days! You just find a divine spot and go into vegetable mode until you need feeding, and I can sure you, you are not missing out on anything! No sightseeing, No "oh we should've done that" or "What are we going to do tomorrow? As we are here we ought to do this….". No none of that, there is no thinking to be done at all, this isn't like going to Greek island where you should be visiting ruins now that you've made the trip, this is the only place I have found where your entire body relaxes, including your brain. Total switch off! Mental hibernation. Which is great from time to time.

The struggle of various generations of Islanders has made it possible to conserve an island whose beaches, transparent waters and climate make it a little jewel in the Mediterranean. It is virtually impossible to build a property there, you can only build on less than 10% of your property now, so you need a large plot of land to even build a small place and that is an even rarer commodity than water. The island's entire circumference is only 69 km's, but that 69km's of stunning beaches, coves and cliffs. There are only about 100 inhabitants for every km2, so it's just idyllic.

Formentera can only be reached by boat from Ibiza or Denia in the Summer, but this inaccessibility makes it a peaceful place where you can flee from stress and overcrowding; enjoying the island on a cycle ride, moped or swimming from its more than 20km of beaches of white sand and infinitely transparent turquoise water. The secret behind its crystalline sea and long beaches is the Posidonia Prairie that surrounds the island, a natural "treatment plant" that cleans and filters the water and makes it possible for sand to be deposited on the coast. It is a real underwater jungle, declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.

The tourist success of the island loved as much by residents as by visitors, is rooted in the fact that people still find something very different in Formentera. The difference is marked by its respect for nature, the survival of its own culture and the vision of achieving exclusivity through protecting the environment.

If there is something that makes Formentera different from other Mediterranean destinations, it is its beauty and the absence of buildings from most of its coast. The commitment of several decades to sustainable development has made it possible to enjoy heavenly beaches today, but with all the services and safety of a western destination. No funny flues or vaccines.

A strange, captivating geography, a gentle climate and Mediterranean vegetation combining dune areas with woods of pine and juniper-conifers that give the island its character.

Fortunately for me, my wife has relatives who are authentic Islanders, living and working on the island for over 60 years. I went there for the first time 20 years ago, and I will never forget my first visit to the island. I was instantly enchanted by its magic and the locals. My wife's Aunt has a typical "chringuito" on the beach front. It is totally the opposite of the classy restaurants you can find on the beach of Illetas, such as "Juan and Andrea". It is a make-shift hut out in the sticks and virtually on the seafront. An absolutely fantastic place that defines wild island living, where only the bare necessities are needed. A lazy relaxing restaurant-bar where you can calmly pass the day, eating, drinking, sleeping in a hammock under the pines, sunbathing and swimming. What more do you need?

 

Now I don't for one second want you to think I am plugging a family business here, as I am not. They are lucky enough not to need publicity. Not once in 60 years have they ever made a publicity pamphlet, done an advert, set up a website or even a promotion. To give you an idea, they haven't even bothered to put up a signpost to direct you to it and I can assure you unless someone told you about it you would never find it. It's way off on the beaten track, cross country, through woods and eventually it just appears through the pines, a simple place with an idyllic background. There are regulars who year in year out spend their entire summer there socialising and drinking and chatting the afternoons away. It was simply one of the most stressless moments I have ever lived. I was fortunate enough to discover "Rambo" there, as I affectionally call him, my wife's cousin! Who spends most of his time running around like a madman preparing giant paellas and dealing with the customers, if you look at the photos you'll see what I mean. Fantastic guy who is a spitting image of Stallone without an M-16 but with a killer spatula. However, his true ammunition is his homemade Hierbas Ibizencas, a local herbal liquor, which he makes and gives away every year to the season's customers. Mind blowing stuff, and extremely addictive. It is quite effortless to spend the evening in good company drinking away to the early hours of the morning under the stars and listening to the moonlit waves break on the beach. Heaven.

Now if you read my post on paellas you'll know my opinion on mixed paellas, but this is the Balearic Islands and here the "Mixta" is king. Never in my entire life have I ever seen anyone put so much meat and seafood into a paella. It was outrageous, kilos and kilos and kilos. His Mum is constantly trying to stop him using so many ingredients but even after twenty years of nagging no one can tell him otherwise when it comes to paellas and it seems to work, as the customers keep coming back, take a look at the photos and see how it's done in Formentera.

Anyway, for those of you who still don't know Formentera, I will not hesitate for one minute in saying it is a place you must visit at some point in your life. A truly unique experience.

 



Like 5




4 Comments


Falcón said:
07 September 2018 @ 22:02

LOVE the paraiso, back of paraiso is this.
Ibiza, Menorca, and Palma are three great island where water is spectacular and you can eat fantastic paella so all wonderful.
LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE...


anthomo16 said:
08 September 2018 @ 08:19

wonderful just as you describe it "Paradise" I could really spend my summers there


grapow said:
08 September 2018 @ 08:54

We normally take the ferry from Dénia every summer for a few days and it truly is stunning. Caribbean in the Med is not an exaggeration! To be honest we have never seen any significant increases in prices compared to mainland Spain.
September in Formentera is spectacular!


grapow said:
08 September 2018 @ 08:54

We normally take the ferry from Dénia every summer for a few days and it truly is stunning. Caribbean in the Med is not an exaggeration! To be honest we have never seen any significant increases in prices compared to mainland Spain.
September in Formentera is spectacular!


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