For weeks I sat there in front of the monitor reading the headlines hoping and praying. I analytically looked over historical data trying to come up with an intelligent conclusion, but alas, it was a house not meant to stand. Although my fastidious research on the dollar to euro and our incumbently painful peg led me to the brink of madness; as time came to board the plane, I brushed off any currency related worries and looked forward to the rioja and tapas.
Ibiza and the Balearics
Take away all the industrialized nightclubs and insane posters, the hippies, the clubbers, the djs, the bullshit and the hype, and you’re left with something incredible, a place with real magic, beautiful beaches, great food, lovely country side, and a laid back vibe that you just can’t beat. With the season wrapping itself up, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed Ibiza if I had been during the shmack dab middle of hectic season, everyone was just so happy that things had calmed down and we enjoyed a nicer holiday because of it.
Pairing the refreshing waters with a gorgeous companion in a bikini, life just couldn’t get better. I’m not too sure what it is, but we both are much happier by the sea, and what better place to be happier than the beach on an island with fantastic views? However; in true European fashion, the nude sunbathing did catch us off guard. Walking along the beach searching for a spot, we were continuously surprised by the image of naked privates. Let’s setup there. Shit no, 7 naked Germans sunbathing and having a bbq on the beach, let’s just find another spot. I’m just curious, aren’t they worried about flying sparks? Crazy naked Germans and the burning bush. Although we couldn’t muster the nerve to skip the swimwear, I did start to get comfortable with the idea of a little skin on the beach, quite liberating to not give a toss about changing on the beach with no towel. It was good to feel the wind between my…
The sun and sand was lovely, but the chiringuitos came in all shapes and sizes: from the best seafood at es torrent, to the delectable choripans from a shack on aquas blancas. Wine was consumed with great laughter as we ate lunch on the beach appropriately taking our time. Short siestas that brought back the nonchalance and aioli that could make perfume stink. The no nonsense take on eating and culinary exploits brought back the basics of gourmandizing that we so appropriately crave. Having investigated and enquired, we found our relaxed and lavish meals with the right touch of sabor. The Paella was good, but I think I learned something quite important about myself this trip: I don’t like fighting too much with food.. Not a big fan of needing to stab, pierce, crackle and pop hard shells to get to a little bit of meat that you need to suck out. I don’t mind breaking a sweat trying to catch or cook my meal, just not while I’m trying to eat it.
Needing to introduce ourselves to an adorable almost two year old cherub, we packed up the car and took a short ferry ride over to the tiny island of Formentera, which for me was a haven for the soul looking to get lost. Much quieter than Ibiza, the laid back doctrine was lackadaisically stretched to the extreme. As the local economy, run by hippy juntas, everyone could do nothing but follow ensuite, a lovely experience for me since I was in that zone to begin with. The lovely unofficial motto that I have freely given them, “Formentera, do what you want, no one gives a toss.”
All roads lead to Madrid
Having done my research, I came to Madrid prepared with my list of cool hunting to investigate and neighborhoods to soak in. Needing the allure of a city to compliment our sun and sand, Madrid had everything we needed, enough art, enough politics and just the right amount of the sometin sometin we were looking for. Special occasions and reconnecting with old friends made the city just that more interesting and celebratory. As the standard operating procedure on our trips, neither wanted to waste time in a-typical sightseeing tourist traps.. Although we did efficiently hit up the “big three” (you can’t go to Madrid and not check out the triangular bastion of art). Luckily for me, my khormaloo is one of those people who can make you see things you would’ve never thought to see in a work of art and I learned to appreciate the masters. My one real flirtation was spent staring at an Egon Schiele that rightly demanded attention… if you’re wondering, Nouvel’s extension at the Reina Sofia is definitely worth your time, so’s the restaurant..
Spending time with the lads in Madrid was excellent; catching up over an Asado we all laughed and rejoiced in our reunion. Drinking in La Latina I cheered Kimi on as the Spanish Pride was just happy that Khamilton “la puta madre” didn’t win the Formula 1. Opting to ditch Serrano and the desperately hola’d out crowd, we armed ourselves with the Moleskine Madrid City guide for our hunting notes and city traipsing. Precisely cool in cheuca and fuencarral we found what we came for - random pieces here and there that Lagerfeld would be jealous of, yeah you heard me Karl…
One of the highlights of our contrasting city tour which included art, fine dining, sneaker hunts, cigalles, and Sunday tapas completed with a football match. With Athletico Madrid playing Zaragoza, we opted for the authentic fan crazed experience and headed over to the Vicente Calderon. Picking up a couple of beers we walked in for Khormaloo’s first game and were not disappointed. 4 goals (yes I saw Diego Forlan score), rabid fans, insults to the ref and later on discovering we were drinking non-alcoholic beer. Picking up an Athleti Scarf (cheers gin), I blended in with the crowd and even got a couple of Forzas from the fans (always feels good knowing that you can fit in with the rabid fans when you need to). Muchisimo gracias for the tickets alej..
All in all
Up and down the narrow streets of the enclosed dalt vila, we romanced in the moonlight. Breakfast in Porrig with a view to take your breath away. Early morning strolls on the beach and the newfound love for ibizenco hounds. Drunkenly negotiating a taxi driver to get off strike. Siestas in comforting arms with the sound of the med to lull you to sleep. Convertible driving and beach discovery. Thunderstorms and one star hotel displacements. Passable Spanish with a fairly good accent.. Spain was beautiful..