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Going to (the real) Ibiza
The world's party capital isn't just about super clubs and super DJs. There's also fabulous food, for starters.
I had always avoided invitations urging me to come along to Ibiza, the world's party capital - it had sounded too commercial, too debauched to me. But they say everything happens at the right time, so perhaps my first ever trip to Ibiza, not as a teenager but a young adult came as a blessing. And what a blessing it was considering I was travelling with friends. Plus, there was also the VIP treatment at all the clubs, courtesy being a panelist at the International Music Summit.
Ibiza, or 'Eivissa' as the locals call it, never ceased to amaze me for the two weeks I was there, a rollercoaster journey, where I discovered two interesting things. One, Ibiza is not only about the clubs and wild parties, there's some amazing cuisine and a more relaxed side as well. Two, a whole bunch of people living and working there have been to, and are influenced by, India.
But let's start with the crazy parties, which are on 24 hours, unlike most places in the world.
On day one, we dove straight into the abyss. Battling jetlag and exhaustion we went for the opening night at superclub Pacha Ibiza. But the real highlight of the evening was dinner with Carl Cox, celebrating 50 years of the legend and his 36 years as a DJ. A spectacular event took place at Lio restaurant;attendees included the owners of superclubs like Space, Pacha and DJs like Pete Tong. It was a very warm, intimate, celebratory moment and a real inspiration to see how Cox has stayed true to his love for music all these years. And more importantly, how he's influenced so many industry leaders and big name artistes.
Meeting up with David Guetta on day two for a brief tete-a-tete was interesting too. The memory of his recent India tour was fresh. "I never expected 6, 000 people to be there and I'd love to come back, " quipped Guetta, as we chatted about the scene in India and making collaborative music together. Coincidentally, we were slotted to play at the official IMS after-party, after Guetta's set.
The next couple of days were a precarious balancing act. While the sun was out, it was more serious affair at the IMS conference, listening to and meeting industry legends. As the evening approached, exotic cocktails would make their appearance and before you knew it, it would be 7 am at the beach with famous DJs goofing off like we were in high school again.
Sifting through the haze, I recollect Ushuaia, located at Playa D'en Bossa, having the most amazing outdoor vibe - beautiful people and even more amazing music. We went for Fatboy Slim and Luciano's gigs there. Then there are the famous names like Pacha, Amnesia and Mambo's, Cafe Del Mar.
Of the unique concept-based events, "We Love Space" (at Space Ibiza) is one of the longest running clubnights on the island, and a must-do on a Sunday. Mark Broadbent, co-founder of "We Love" recommended "Ibiza Rocks", a great place for live music where acts like the Kaiser Chiefs, Mark Ronson, Major Lazer take to the stage and the clientele is older than some of the other hotspots.
Besides the clubbing, Ibiza's cuisine is definitely something to write home about too. Danny Whittle, boss at Pacha recommended Bambuddha Grove, Nagai for their Asian cuisine and Es Caliu for its stonecooked meats. I, however, particularly liked the organic pizzas at Slow Food, San Juan, French-Asian cuisine at Fusion, Carrer Del Pais Basc and the spanish omlettes at Bar Barlovento, Marina Botafoch. Mark recommended the Fish Shack at Sa Punta for its "perfect fresh food served in the perfect setting with views over the sea of the old town of Ibiza in the distance. " He also encouraged us to be more adventurous, "Rent a boat and sail to Formentera, eat at one the fantastic restaurants on the coast there. They're all good, take your pick!"
Duly inspired, we headed Formentera, to Ibiza's sister island. The place reminds me of Goa, complete with Vespa scooters and minus the party places. The beach at our hotel, Cala Saona, was quite picturesque as was the market at Es Pujols. I highly recommend the pizza and waffles there, as well as a visit to Es Moli De Sal, a superb restaurant with the most spectacular view.
Inspired by what we saw outside the clubs, we rented a car in Ibiza and took to the highway. Our real find was San Antonio to Cala Vadella, a spectacular road that navigates cliffs along the seaside. There are some amazing picnic spots and reasonable hotels hotels here. Hidden beaches, strange natural structures, beautiful sunsets and staying at a 100-year-old Ibiza farmhouse in the centre of the island at Santa Gertrudis were some highlights. Fresh oranges, lime, nectarines, tomatoes and many more vegetables within arm's reach, who would've imagined this in the middle of the world's clubbing capital?
Think about it. Less than 10 per cent of tourists who go to Ibiza take the time to see Ibiza's real sights, food, sunsets and amazing people - sad. Yet Broadbent best sums up the transient nature of this paradise: "The opening parties are always filled with excitement for the season ahead, and closing parties are filled with emotion knowing that this will be the last time we see each other for eight months;the interaction between everybody on this date is spectacular. " How true. My fleeting visit to Ibiza has left an indelible impression. I long to go back for more. Back to the island.
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