A little bit of background…
We’ve had an absolutely wonderful week at Costa del Folk and now we have two days extra to relax so we go for a walk in the north of this beautiful island.
We hired a car for eight days in Ibiza for under £16 (€18), yes, you read that right! I followed the links from Ryanair and there it was with Centauro. I expected major issues of course, possibly eye-watering extra insurance or at the very least an old banger. Neither of these was true. We were transported to the car hire company with the assurance that it was only two minutes and guess what, it was only two minutes. There was no hard sell regarding insurance when we told Santiago, the Centauro representative, that we already had insurance bought by the Pilgrim in the UK to cover excess and at less than £40 per annum is well worth the outlay, The only other expectation was that it would be a ‘banger’, again we were wrong, it was a Seat ‘thingy’ (can’t remember the marque) but it had 200 kilometres on the clock and was pristine. For £16 we couldn’t have got to the hotel in a taxi and since we’d made our own flight arrangements because we didn’t know if we would be walking further north there was no pick-up service.
So the car had been out a couple of times but had justified its existence by virtue of the above so we decide to extend its functionality by exploring the island and perhaps fit in a short walk in the North as we have our ‘run out’.
We’re going to Port de Sant Miquel to walk to the tower and take in three deserted beaches. If you’re wondering about the spelling of towns in Ibiza, the official written language of Spain is Castillian; however, the people of Ibiza use Catalan and their spoken language is a dialect of this called Ibicenco. Other regions such as Alicante and Valencia also have Catalan dialects called Valenciano and Alicantino.
The road to Sant Miquel is over the hills and mountains of Northern Ibiza, it is both subtropical green and peppered with spring coloured flowers that glow at the side of the road and raise the spirit.
Parking is easy and we leave the car to walk to the beach where it’s easy to identify the track that we need and without hesitation, we scramble our way up through the scrub.
The track rises slowly into the trees that create a welcome shade from the hot sun and we stop from time to time to enjoy the views over the cove and further out to the islands just off-shore in the Mediterranean.
We ascend about 200 feet then drop down to our second beach where there is a cafe selling snacks and drinks that you can take away or enjoy whilst sitting in the tiny cove. We skip the opportunity and follow the arrows that indicate the continuation of the track behind a boathouse and up towards the tower.
The ascent raises the heart rate but isn’t difficult and hugs low cliffs to the sea. They’re not much more than 200 feet and heavily protected by trees. The trees continue to shade us until we reach a wider road made from clay and stones carrying an occasional 4×4 that raises a cloud of dust as it passes by.
We turn left and start a quite steep but easy stretch in the full sun and overtake a couple of youngsters who’re struggling with the slope. After a half-mile or so we turn left again and this time we can see the tower in the distance on a promontory high above the sea and it is obvious why that particular location was chosen.
Another 15 minutes and we’re at the base of the tower. This structure is part of a wider network of watchtowers that are scattered around the Ibiza coastline and was constructed in 1763 following a design by Juan Ballester y Zafra. It has two upper floors and initially was accessed via the first floor (second floor in America) using a rope ladder that could be pulled up to frustrate potential aggressors. This one is variously named Torre des Molar, Torre de Balansat or Torre de Sant Miquel and it is situated about 300 feet above the coastline with fabulous views of S’Illa Murada and S’Illa des Bosc, as well as Port de Sant Miquel and the Benirras coastline.
Today the rope access to the first floor has been replaced with a spiral stairway clinging to the wall. It’s very narrow and there’s little headroom as the Spanish pay scant regard to health and safety features such as a handrail so negotiating our way up is done with care.
The first floor is clear and clean with no sign of toilet usage that can be an issue with these remote buildings and there is the door that used to be the access via the rope. It is open and again has no barrier with unimpeded views inland. To the right is another spiral staircase, it’s both narrower and steeper with a ceiling that forces me into a crouch and I think of the amazing difference there is in the average height of a man over the last couple of hundred years. The steps lead to the top floor or observation deck and we exit the narrow bolt-hole blinking in the sun. This open floor gives unimpeded views of the cliffs, coastline, islands and the vast Mediterranean stretching into the distance. There is also a restricted view into the Island itself and we gaze over the tree-tops and watch the birds appear and then magically disappear as they break cover, grab a few bugs that are hovering over the canopy and vanish again in a blink. The bigger predator birds don’t seem interested as they soar on the thermals generated by the heat and varied landscape below. It’s fascinating and we take it in with only the odd, “Wow, look at that” and “Hey, look at this” to disturb the peace. It’s well worth the energy to get here but I do wish I’d bought water at Lidl or one of the cafe/shops on the way up and make a mental note to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
The journey to the third beach is a return trip down the track that we’ve just walked with an occasional dusting from a vehicle as it slowly negotiates its way to a destination that remains a mystery.
At the beach, we order a couple of cold drinks and sit under a canopy that gives partial shade and go into a trans as we hear and feel the wonderfully appropriate sound of reggae music emanating from unseen speakers behind the bar. It’s instant aural-sunshine to complement the visual and sensual sunshine that’s already feeding our eyes and skin.
The beach is tiny and deserted and the view of Port de Sant Miquel is framed with sub-tropical vegetation to left and right.
You can’t buy moments like this and we sit with only an occasional word basking in the atmosphere.
There are facilities at this beach but you have to ask for a key behind the bar so I’m assuming you have to be a patron of the bar to use them.
We spend a relaxing hour then pay the bill and start the ascent back to the track in the woods and along the low cliffs. There are a couple of slippery parts where great care must be taken as the stones have been polished to a high-gloss finish by numerous hands and feet and the Pilgrim makes an observation that I’ll not repeat here!
With half-an-hour, we’re back at the beach and ready for our picnic of bread, tuna and olive oil sitting in a parking area with a herd of blue and white full-size plastic cows watching us.
It’s surreal and divine in equal measure.
Thanks to the Pilgrim for her company, it’s a perfect end to a lovely walk.
Enjoy the snaps…G..x
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