11 November 2011

Minimal sunset

Ibiza Minimal: 9

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19 October 2011

Pornographic parade

Part of the Ibiza People series.

Women parading on the Wast End in San Antonio to promote the "Pornographic" night at Eden.

See a high definition version of this image on Flickr

21 September 2011


Ibiza Minimal

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19 August 2011

Minimal construction

Ibiza Minimal: 8

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Ibiza sunset splash black white

16 August 2011

One to Avoid - El Ayoun, San Rafael, Ibiza.

This is the first in the new One to Avoid series on the Ibiza Photo website. Ibiza is full of wonderful places to visit however the island is let down by a number of venues that serve horrible food, employ rude and arrogant staff, rip off their customers or generally just give the island a bad name. It is disappointing that most of the commercial websites give unrelentingly positive reviews to these places so I'm going to try to balance things out a bit with this series aimed at warning people about Ibiza's worst venues........

Beware of this garish multi-coloured camel, if you
see it you should be prepared to pay over the odds
for average food and poor service.

The reason I am starting off the series with El Ayoun in San Rafael is my personal experience of the dishonest and arrogant nature of their staff.

I work as a freelance photographer and have taken publicity shots of numerous venues for different websites. Normally staff are perfectly happy for me to wander around for ten minutes or so taking photos of their venue, it's free publicity for them after all. When doing photographic reviews of restaurants I always use a powerful zoom lens so that I never have to disturb customers at their tables, I know I would be uncomfortable with people snapping photos of me during my dinner, so I try to be as discreet as possible to avoid inflicting the same discomfort on others.

During my first visit to El Ayoun in San Rafael, the bar manager couldn't get rid of me quickly enough, telling me to return on Friday or Saturday night when it was busier and the restaurant wouldn't come out looking half empty in the photos.  Having done a number of restaurant shoots I know all the tricks to make a half empty venue look full, after all, the commercial websites I work for don't want pictures of an empty venue contrasting with their glowing review of the place. I tried to point this out to him but he insisted that I leave and come back later. I gave up part of my weekend to drive halfway across the island to do the photoshoot on a Saturday night but upon my return, the restaurant manager treated me with contempt, accused me of lying about being told to come back and kicked me out of the venue.

For the few minutes that I was actually inside the venue I picked up a lot of information, the majority of the clientele were the kind of people that clearly get a kick out of flaunting their wealth, the staff are contemptuous and rude and the restaurant itself is garish and inauthentic, a crude mix of different styles.

I spoke to a few friends and family about the rudeness of the staff there and the ones that had visited El Ayoun agreed with my view that the clientele are stuck up, the venue inauthentic and the staff rude. They also added that the food and drinks are hugely overpriced. As I didn't eat there I have collected a few testimonies from other people that have stayed long enough to find out how overpriced the food is.
"Service non professionnel....Cher et nourriture moyenne" (unprofessional service, expensive and average food) - pierre56Larmor_Plage
"My carpaccio was drenched in truffle oil which dominated the flavour. One starter was a single prawn. The Coquilles St Jaques came in a sort of liver-flavoured gravy. The Couscous Royale, despite being told was all separate came piled into a big bowl together. And my friend's Tagine portion was about 4 inches in diameter - tiny" BenbowH
 "Our waiter [was] rude, cocky and took the piss when he told us our taxi was waiting, only to discover a large queue outside with no taxi in sight - he clearly just wanted the table back - and he also completely forgot our deserts! hence the 25 min wait." McNamKB
"My credit card got a hammering" Gina 1000000
To be fair to El Ayoun several people claimed that the food (especially the sushi) was delicious however the foodie reviews slated them. I'm not the kind of person that gets a kick out of spending over €100 per person on a meal, but if I were I reckon that the food should be of absolutely stunning quality with impeccable service. It is clear that at El Ayoun there is some discrepancy between the price and the quality of food and service.

Scientific studies have shown that price has a large influence over how much people enjoy things; one study showed that people enjoyed a glass of wine from a bottle marked $90 significantly more than one from a bottle marked $10 even though the contents were identical so it is understandable that people would claim that they enjoyed the food because the venue tries to be very "exclusive" and the eyewatering prices must stimulate the medial orbitofrontal cortex pleasure response cited in the wine study. I imagine that it is much easier to make a show of enjoying ones overpriced meal than admit to yourself that you have spent around €100 per person on average fare.

One thing that really struck me was that several reviewers admitted that El Ayoun is extremely expensive, however qualified the statement with "Still, that's Ibiza I suppose". I find this qualifier infuriating because as a resident of the island I know a number of quality venues that serve great food at reasonable prices. If you know where to head, a meal out in Ibiza is no more expensive than an evening out at a decent restaurant in Manchester, Leeds or Newcastle. The common misconception that Ibiza is fabulously expensive is created by the stunningly expensive superclubs (charging €50 just to get in and €10-20 a drink) and by restaurants like El Ayoun that charge exclusive prices for average food and poor service.

If you have more money than sense, don't really care about the quality of the food and service and want to spend a lot of cash and eat surrounded by ostentatiously rich types in order to feel "exclusive" El Ayoun may be exactly the kind of venue you would enjoy.

If however you prefer the quality of the food to be proportional to the price, put a high value on friendly and efficient service and wish to experience an authentic Ibiza vibe I seriously suggest that you try elsewhere.

09 August 2011

Backlit palm frond

Ibiza Minimal: 7

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07 August 2011

Top 10 Ibiza photography spots

This is not intended to serve as a definitive list of the best specific locations, simply ten of my favourite places for photography. If you are surprised at the omission of one of your favourite places and would like to share it with us please feel free to leave a comment below.

 10 - Cala D'en Serra

Main Article

Cala D'en Serra is located in the far north of the island near the resort town of Portinatx and in my opinion it is one of Ibiza's hidden gems.

Most people couldn't fail to appreciate the wonderful natural beauty of the cove but for me it is improved as a photographic location by the presence of Josep Lluis Sert's huge abandoned hotel complex. Some people complain that the hotel "ruins" Cala D'en Serra however I find it gives great opportunities to juxtapose the grimy urbex feel of the derelict hotel with stunning views over the bay and provides a spectacular demonstration of the power of nature, as the site is being comprehensively reclaimed by pine woodland after only a few decades.

 9 - Camino General

Camino General can be found within walking distance of the centre of San Antonio. Until the rise of tourism and the huge improvements in Ibiza's road network Camino General was one of the most affluent farming areas on the island. Back in the days when most farmers faced arduous journeys over rutted tracks by horse and cart to sell their wares at the local village market the farmers on Camino General were within commuting distance of San Antonio. Up until the 1950s an Ibizan landowner's wealth was easily ascertainable by the number and size of his windmills and the quality of his irrigation systems and Camino General is laden with derelict windmills and wells. To me a wander down Camino General is a must for anyone with an interest in rural exploration that finds themselves in San Antonio.

Unfortunately parking is not easy as it is not a recognised tourist destination and the majority of the rural heritage lies on private property, however most Ibizencos are accommodating and won't mind you taking photos of their old wells, derelict windmills, vineyards and citrus plantations as long as you don't start trampling their crops or raiding their orange trees for a snack.

 8 - Sa Talaia

Sa Talaia is the highest geographical point on the island which benefits from a reasonable access road to the top because of the presence of a number of telecommunication towers there. If you have a lot of stamina you could even try hiking your way to the top however my mind boggles at the thought of trying it in the heat of the summer. The telecommunication towers are visible from miles around and are definitely worth a snap from up close but the real highlights are the stunning panoramic views over the island. From the right locations on top of Sa Talaia you can find magnificent shots of places as far apart as San Antonio bay in the north-west to the Salinas salt flats in the south. This is not really the kind of location where a point and shoot pocket camera is going to be much use. You should ideally have a tripod and a proper SLR camera or at least a super-zoom bridge camera in order to get some really good shots.

 7 - Festival Club

Festival Club is an abandoned and derelict 1970s nightclub in the hills near Sant Josep. It was a spectacularly ambitious development which included a nightclub, another stage a vast open air restaurant and even a bullfighting arena. The project relied on bussing in tourists from the hotels on San Antonio bay however it was never economically viable and shut down in 1974 after only operating for three summer seasons.

In the intervening years natural forces and vandals have reduced the site to bleak graffiti covered ruins covered in pine trees and abandoned cars. There is no greater monument to Ibizan overconfidence than Festival Club.

6 - Sa Caleta

Sa Caleta has some of the best beaches in Ibiza and is one of the most diverse photography locations on the island. The beach and shallow turquoise waters are a great place to start especially if you have an underwater camera as there are many species of fish living in the seaweed banks.

There are a number of other interesting subjects in the vicinity including the imposing deep brown sedimentary cliffs, the ancient Phoenician cliff top settlement, some abandoned 20th century gun emplacements, the ruins of the associated military buildings and a network of underground tunnels to link the military sites.

Just a couple of words of warning be careful if you venture up onto the cliffs or into the dark underground tunnels and also mind out for nudists on the beaches to the north of the cove, some of them may not be too keen to be photographed.

 5 - Es Vedrá

Es Vedra from out at sea.
The uninhabited island of Es Vedrá is one of the most iconic images in Ibiza and regularly appears in tourist brochures about the island. Es Vedrá and the smaller island of Es Vedranell to the south are hills that are separated from mainland Ibiza by a couple of miles of sea. The effects of the Mediterranean have reduced the once rounded mesozoic limestone hills to almost vertical cliff faces. The islands have no human settlement and are recognised nature reserves and aside from being one of the most important breeding grounds for seabirds in the Balearic islands it is also home to several species of lizards and invertebrates. Es Vedrá and Es Vedranell are also home to a range of plant species including limonium ebusitanum, asperula paui, silene hifacensis, medicago sallow, diplotaxis ibicensis, lamottea dianae and euphorbia dendroides.

The only evidence of human activity on the islands are the lighthouse, a few paths and the remains of a few towers. Access to the islands are restricted in order to protect their unique ecosystems and a permit to land is required

The most common locations for photographing the islands are from the beach at Cala D'Hort and the defensive tower "torre des savinar" however wonderful shots can be taken from several miles around the Cala D'Hort area. Some of the most impressive shots can be taken on cloudy days when the cloud banks ride over the top of Es Vedrá. If you ever get the ferry from Eivissa to mainland Spain (or can afford to hire a small boat) you may be able to get some pictures from the other sea-facing side of the island.

 4 - Salinas

The area of Ses Salinas has a wonderfully diverse range of subjects to photograph. The area gets it's name from the ancient Phoenician salt flats that are still used to produce salt by the age old method of evaporating seawater in shallow pools and then scraping out the salt. On still days it is possible to create reflection shots in the pools and the salt mountain is always an impressive subject.

Near the beach of Salinas there is an abandoned port and derelict miniature gauge railway at one end and the historic defensive tower "Torre de Ses Portes" at the other. There is another cracking beach at Des Cavallet but be careful here as it is a nudist beach. You should also keep your eyes peeled for abandoned wells, windmills and irrigation systems in the area if you are interested in photographing Ibiza's rural heritage.

 3 - Atlantis

The ancient Phoenician quarry at Atlantis is one of Ibiza's best kept secrets. It is not sign posted and it is notoriously difficult to find without a guide or some very clear instructions. it is advisable to wear sturdy footwear such as hiking boots, take plenty of liquid and make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat if you are going to attempt the trip during the summer months.

The quarry is located beneath the cliffs at Sa Pedrera and is only accessible down a steep and precarious path but the effort is truly worthwhile once you get down there. The quarry was located near the sea in order to facilitate the transportation of the hand carved stones by boat to be used in the construction of the walls of Dalt Vila, homes and defensive towers across the island.

Once you have explored the quarries it is advisable to take a dip in the sea to cool off before the long climb back. If you are brave enough there are a number of points above the quarry from where you can "tombstone" into the sea below.

On your way back you can also find impressive views of Atlantis from the cliffs above near the historic defensive tower "Torre des Savinar" which also provides one of the most iconic views of Es Vedra from the other side.

 2 - Dalt Vila

The only way that a visitor to Ibiza could avoid a trip to see the amazing fortified hilltop town of Dalt Vila in the capital of Eivissa is through sheer determination to avoid anything cultural during a hedonistic bender involving only bars, clubs and beaches.

For anyone with the slightest interest in the history and culture of the island a walk around Dalt Vila is an absolute must. Between the cathedral at the top of Dalt Vila to the gay capital of Europe around the inappropriately named "Calle de la Virgen" near the port below there are a spectacular range of scenes to photograph. There are ruins, wonderfully decaying buildings and amazing panoramic views in all directions.

There is 2,000 years worth of history and architecture and a number of museums and art galleries and as well as all of this historical heritage, Dalt Vila boasts many spectacularly located hotels bars and restaurants and also plays host to a wide range of events from Eivissa Medieval Festival to the International Music Summit.

 1 - Cala Conta

Sunset wave picture taken at Cala Conta in February 2011
Cala Conta (Platges de Comte in Catalan) is the ideal place to take sunset pictures in Ibiza because it has such a wide panorama allowing views of the sun setting over the ocean the whole year around.

In winter the sun sets to the south of Illa de s'Espartar and as they year progresses towards summer solstice the point of sunset moves northwards towards Illa des Bosc.

There are three beaches, lots of cliffs and interesting rock formations that glow deep orange in the evening sunlight, views of a host of islands, the defensive tower of "Torre D'en Rovira" and one of the finest pieces of graffiti art on the island at the southern bay near the nudist beach.

I have strong views about Cala Conta and believe that if you find yourself unable to take beautiful pictures here then you may as well just throw your camera in the sea and give up on photography altogether.

07 July 2011

Josep Lluís Sert's abandoned hotel at Cala D'en Serra.

Most touristy websites provide a view like this, with the hotel complex
carefully cropped out and no mention of it in the text either.
If you try a Google search for Cala D'en Serra in Ibiza the majority of the results will wax lyrical about the wonderful little beach in a cove north of Portinatx (like this example) but they will fail to mention the most striking feature of all; the huge abandoned building site looming over the beach like the gigantic corpse of some concrete predator that had died waiting for the tourist cash that never came.

I knew nothing about the place or it's history when I first ventured there on an exploration day in January 2011. We followed the signposts from the northern resort of Portinatx to Cala D'en Serra on a whim. When we arrived at the top of the cove the first thing my mate said was "bloody hell what's that?" I didn't know but I knew we'd have to go down and take a look.

The hotel complex as seen from above.
The cove is only accessible down a crumbling windy track so we left my car at the crest of the hill, fearing for it's already knackered track rods and suspension bushes and walked down to the cove, however many people choose to drive all the way down and park in the shade of the abandoned hotel. The half mile walk down to sea level provided some exceptional panoramic views over the bay and the abandoned hotel. Also around halfway down and off to the left are some impressive cliffs and traces of old stone buildings of some sort underneath the vegetation.

Once we got down to hotel itself, it was in an even worse state than it appeared from above. "PROHIBIDO PELIGRO" (Danger keep out) was written in faded white paint on one wall near the site enterance. Clearly no deterrent given the amount of grafitti and vandalism on the site. We had the cove entirely to ourselves for the afternoon and spent our time taking photos, kicking a football about, relaxing on the beach and pitching rocks into the sea.

When I got home I conducted some research and gathered that the hotel project was started in 1969 by acclaimed Catalan Architect Josep Lluís Sert who was exiled in the United States at the time. His clerk of works Antonio Ferran signed off on his projects back in Catalonia to get around the fact that Spain's fascist government ensured that Sert himself could not be accredited as an architect in the Catalonia & Balearic islands region. After a lot of work had already been completed the project was put on hold in the mid 1970s and abandoned completely after Sert died of lung cancer in 1983.

Trees growing through part
of the abandoned hotel structure.
Since Sert's death there have been many proposals and debates over what to do with his half finished project. Many people consider the half constructed hotel a blight on an area of outstanding natural beauty while others see the project as an important piece of cultural heritage given that Sert was one of Catalonia's most acclaimed architects (a list of his projects can be seen here). In the early 2000s plans were drawn up to complete the complex in the style intended by Sert for use as an exclusive tourist attraction and Thalassotherapy centre. These ambitious plans were eventually abandoned in the wake of the banking crisis and the subsequent downturn in the island tourist economy.

The site is now heavily overgrown with large trees growing through many of the structures. In other places it has been badly damaged by generations of vandals and by the passage of time. Several partition walls have been smashed through completely and parts of the superstructure have also been deliberately damaged. Exposure to the elements over time has caused much of the reinforced concrete to start splitting as the steel fibres within expand with rust causing the concrete to flake away.

One of the best preserved parts of the site is the terrace overlooking the bay which provides a phenomenal panoramic view of the cove and an interesting elevated view of the the small beach below. Even though the terrace is in relatively good condition, immediately behind it there is an abandoned swimming pool full of rubbish, rubble and a few inches of slimy green water at the deep end.

Some traditional style boat sheds are the only development
in the cove unrelated to the hotel complex.
The beach itself is relatively unaffected by the presence of the hotel and is a particularly picturesque location outside the summer tourist season, when, with luck visitors can have the beach entirely themselves. In the winter months the shallow waters of the bay remain fairly warm (warmer than the North Sea is at the height of summer). A wetsuit would be recommended for anyone not of the "hardy northern European type" intent on swimming there in the winter or early springtime.

For photographers there are some traditional Mediterranean boat sheds by the beach, a small beach garden, cliffs and beautiful turquoise waters. It is also possible to capture the striking contrast between the natural beauty of the beach and the decaying hulk of hotel above it.

The hotel complex is an excellent modern ruin for urbex photography, however be warned it is very unsafe for anyone without a basic knowledge of structural engineering to enter some parts of the site as several of the rooves and walkways have become structurally unsound.

This is one of my favourite images from the site. The abandoned car has
presumably been shoved down this hole to prevent tourists from falling down it.

25 June 2011

Ibiza Graffiti - Dr Hoffmann Amelie

Ibiza Graffiti

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11 June 2011

Ibiza Graffiti - Festival Club

Ibiza Graffiti

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01 June 2011


Ibiza Minimal: 6

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29 May 2011

An abandoned Idea

The abandoned Idea nightclub, once described as the most over-engineered bilboard in Ibiza.
The abandoned shell of the Idea nightclub dominated the skyline of San Antonio bay for more than 24 years. Most people wouldn't even recognise the name of the place but tell them that it was a half finished nightclub on Avinguida Dr Fleming near Es Paradis most of them would remember the abandoned skeletal steel framework that lay neglected in a prime position only a minutes walk from the beach for more than two decades.

After the demolition.
The club was one of the many failed ventures of controversial Catalan businessman Xavier Cabeu who died alone in his rural Puig den Valls villa in August 2007. Cabeu was born in 1954 and arrived in Ibiza as a child, as a young man he inherited his father's hotel business and used the proceeds to fund diverse business ventures across the island.

Cabeu had several run-ins with the authorities across the island, he served a 5 month stretch in jail for stabbing two Colombian tourists and a case that he violently and sexually abused his wife and two of his thirteen children was thrown out of court for lack of evidence despite the fact a policeman had offered to destroy the evidence against him in return for 3 million pesetas.

Construction of the Idea nightclub began in 1985 but the project was abandoned in 1987 as Cabeu decided to pursue other ventures across the island from Santa Eulària to Cala Tarida. At the time of his death Cabeu was working on plans to complete the Idea.

The local council finally gained approval to demolish the structure in April 2011 despite the objections of the Cabeu family and demolition commenced on 20 April. The local council paid the cost of the demolition (estimated at €39,000) and took control of the land in order to reuse it as a free carpark for 300 vehicles.

28 May 2011

4th International Music Summit, Ibiza

The unique open air closing party took place in the
UNESCO World Heritage site at Dalt Vila.
Between May 24-29 2011 Eivissa town hosted the 4th International Music Summit. The event in the spiritual home of dance music is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most important events in the contemporary electronic music scene. Highlights included a keynote interview with the film director David Lynch who made a surprise venture into the electronic music scene with the 'Good Day Today' / 'I Know' single which was released on the British label Sunday Best Recordings in November 2010. Other highlights included an opening party at Pacha, a presentation from David Guetta, a Ministry of Sound showcase, a Cadenza all-day beach party a Speed Pitching event with George Ergatoudis (BBC Radio 1's Head of Music) and a host of other speakers and events.

The crowd go wild during the 2manydjs set.
For me the indisputable highlight of the 2011 International Music Summit was the spectacular open air Grand Finale closing party on the Baluarte De Santa Lucia in the UNESCO heritage site of Dalt Vila in Eivissa town. It took place on 27 May between 6.00 PM and Midnight and could be seen and heard from locations all over Dalt Vila. The 2011 event was the largest closing party in the four year history of the IMS and is still the only contemporary music event allowed in Dalt Vila.

2,000 tickets to gain access to the event arena on Baluarte De Santa Lucia were available at a cost of €25 but the 500 IMS delegates and press photographers gained access for free. The line-up included sets from Dubfire (of Deep Dish fame), Pete Tong (celebrating 20 years on Radio 1), influential American radio DJ Jason Bentley and the Belgian duo 2manydjs. There were also live performances from Hercules and Love Affair & Japanese Popstars.

The balcony near the cathedral at the top of Dalt Vila
provided a spectacular view of the event.
Most of the press photographers spent the whole evening in the arena and I have no doubt that the ones with stage access got some quality pictures however I found that some of the most striking shots of the event could be taken from up at the top of Dalt Vila near the Cathedral, a location that provided spectacular aerial views and was too much of a trek away from the event for most of the professional photographers to contemplate.

Overall the closing party was an enjoyable event, I had a nice evening stroll around Dalt Vila, got free entry to the event, snapped some quality pictures and as someone who has far from mainstream tastes in electronica I found the music surprisingly enjoyable too.

23 May 2011

Festival Club

Festival Club is being taken over by pine trees.
Up in the hills above the small town of Sant Josep lies an incredible monument to Ibizan overconfidence, it's name is "Festival Club" and it is a massive concrete ruin.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Mediterranean island of Ibiza began to embrace package tourism and in 1969 work started on this huge hillside development. The isolated location in the midst of a pine forest meant that the owners needed to construct an access road and connect the site up to the electricity grid. Upon completion in 1972 the spectacular hillside venue was named "Festival Club" ad opened to the public. In those days tourists were happy to be bussed about wherever the tour guides would take them and for a few summers in the early 1970s a holiday to Ibiza almost certainly meant a trip up into the hills near Sant Josep for an evening at Festival Club.

The Festival club amphitheatre, now in ruins.
This immense development featured an amphitheatre which hosted performance art and even mock bull fights, a large music venue at the top and in between there were several bars and a restaurant with rows of concrete tables lining the slope of the hill like contours. It was a popular venue with tourists and locals of all ages too but looking at it now, it is quite difficult to imagine it full of happy revellers and as a place that provided employment to dozens of people.

The good times at Festival Club did not last long and losses began to pile up in the wake of the 1973 fuel crisis which caused dramatic rise in airfares, discouraging tourists from taking foreign holidays and making it increasingly uneconomical to bus the few remaining tourists up into the hills and back again each night. The venue closed in 1974 after only two seasons in operation and never re-opened despite being on the market for many years.

The site is the graveyard to many a joyridden vehicle.
After 37 years of disuse the site is rapidly going to ruin. Vandals have wrecked some of the infrastructure but the majority of the major structural damage is being done by nature. Pine trees are growing up through the concrete all over the site and their roots are slowly tearing the place apart. The place is covered in Grafitti of varying degrees of interest from fine works of street-art to scruffy tags and pathetic scribble and the whole site is strewn with the remains of wrecked cars. It is beginning to resemble the set of some low budget post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.

Festival Club has quite an has an intimidating atmosphere if you venture there alone but this opressive atmosphere is offset by the wonder of witnessing how nature is reclaiming the site and the spectacular scenic views.

According to court documents in the 1990s the site had deteriorated to such an extent that a naturalist group attempted to use the courts to force the owners of the site to clear it up however their application was denied and the owners exempted from maintaining the site after the court ruled that since it had been constructed with planning permission they were powerless to use planning laws to compel the owners to do anything. Given that there is no economic reason to clear the site and the courts have no interest in forcing the owners to maintain it, it seems that the place will continue to be attacked by vandals and subsumed back into the pine woodland that it obliterated over 40 years ago.

See Also

19 May 2011

Minimal steps

Ibiza minimal: 5

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18 May 2011

Sant Agustí

The church at San Agustín
Sant Agustí des Vedra is a picturesque rural village situated on a hilltop overlooking San Antonio bay only ten minutes drive from San Antonio city centre. The village is wonderfully unspoiled by modern influences which makes a refreshing change from the crowds and ubiquitous overdevelopment of the San Antonio bay area. The dominant feature of the village is the iglesia (church) in the centre of the village which was constructed between 1791 and 1809 under the direction of Pedro Grolliez de Servien.

The centre of the village also features an bar, a restaurant and a small convenience store but other than these unobtrusive developments the authentic rural atmosphere remains evident all around. A short walk further up the hill provides some spectacular views in both directions, back into the village and out across San Antonio bay.

The village provided refuge for the notorious Hungarian art forger Elmyr de Hory who fled mainland Europe in the 1960s and lived there until December 1976 when he committed suicide in his Sant Augustí villa upon hearing the news that the Spanish authorities had agreed to extradite him to France to face trial.

Cactus plan colonising a derelict outbuilding.
One of the most interesting locations in San Agustín for photography is a once impressive but now ruined villa and associated outbuildings around two minutes walk from the centre of the village. It is highly unusual to find rural decay in such a prime location as most of the islands ruins suffered abandonment as their location far from utilities such as electricity, running water supplies and telecommunications lines made development economically unviable. 

The San Agustín villa lies within easy access of all of the modern utilities but the owners have let it fall into ruin when a sale to developers at the peak of the Ibiza property market could have yielded many hundreds of thousands of Euros. I'm glad that for whatever reason the owners decided to avoid cashing in on their asset as the overgrown and decaying structures make fine photography subjects.

There are still a number of working farmsteads in the village and a small orange grove behind the church. Next to the village shop is a small track leading back down the hill towards the busy  PM-803 road. A walk along it reverals some impressive cactuses, collapsing terrace walls, an old well and some abandoned and rusting vehicles.

The village is definitely worth a visit whether for a relaxing afternoon in a quiet rural location followed by a meal at the Can Berri Vell restaurant or for a hardcore rural exploration photography treck around the local area.

An old horse drawn cart lies in a derelict and collapsing shed next to the main road into the village.

14 May 2011

Metal pillars

Ibiza minimal: 4

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13 May 2011

Eivissa medieval festival 2011

Decorative bunting in Dalt Vila
Between thr 6th and 8th of May, Dalt Vila in Eivissa town hosted the Ibiza Medieval festival. The festival is an annual event to commemorate and celebrate Ibiza's selection as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. Highlights included acrobatic displays, children's activities, a large open air street market, free access to many of the capital's museums and art galleries, street performances, battle reenactments, music concerts, medieval workshops and falconry displays. It attracts around 100,000 visitors over the course of the three days.

The street market extended from Carrer D'Antoni Palau outside the old city walls all the way up the hill to Placa de La Catedral near the top of Dalt Vila. It included many stalls selling a variety of products such as meat, cheeses, spices, soaps, teas, handicrafts, jewellery, costumes and metal work. There were also a number of workshops for children offering activities like painting and candle making. The streets were decorated with medieval themed items such as wooden farm equipment and bales, medieval weaponry and torture equipment. many of the modern roadsigns and street markings were covered over and all of the stallholders wore medieval attire in order to create the impression of an authentic medieval event.

A woman selling local produce
at the medieval market
The Baluard de Santa Lluciahosted a wide variety of food stalls with barbeques, traditional mediterranean cuisine, seafood, oriental food and even vegetarian options.

One of the big highlights for me were the blacksmiths from from the Fragua Segovia workshop from the town of Segovia near Madrid. They had a great display of handmade metal objects and put on regular live demonstrations of metalwork.

I spoke to many of the stallholders and other participants and found that the medieval market is not unique to Ibiza and that they tour across southern Spain throughout the summer. It is however one of the biggest events on their tour. Many of the people working on the market are not actually Spanish, I spoke to several south americans and also a lot of people from Eastern European countries such as Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

I spent a couple of afternoons at the market taking photos, meeting people and enjoying good food and wines and I am looking forward to next year's event already.
The Blacksmiths from Fragua Segovia doing a live metalwork demonstration.