View from the top
Ever since someone told me, last winter, that you can walk across the headland from the southern end of Playa d’en Bossa to Es Cavallet I’ve wanted to try it. No real opportunity arose until couple of weeks ago when my little brother was here, visiting from the States. We’d taken the bus to Salinas and walked across to meet friends at Es Cavallet. After a few hours flopped in the sun we were both too lazy to hurry back to catch the last bus from Salinas.
“You can walk around the other way, to Playa d’en Bossa,” I told him, “Fancy it?”
“Sure, why not?” he shrugged.
It was nearly 8PM and off we went, hopping over a low stone retaining wall to gain access to the first swell of rock and pine shrub. I was wearing a mini-skirt, bikini top and a pair of Havianas, beach bag slung over one shoulder. The first twenty minutes or so was pretty easy. I jumped from rock to rock, feet slipping slightly as sweat greased the soles of my feet.
Up we went over one hill to find ourselves on the edge of a 30 or 40 metre cliff, meaning we had to swing inland to circle the notch in the coastline. It was getting steeper, the brush denser. We clambered up to the top of the first big cove and stopped to look back – and down. The waning sun cast everything in a richer-than-normal hue, Technicoloring the inky sea and the dots of white sails on the horizon. For the first time ever, in all my years visiting and living in Ibiza, I felt connected to the wildness of the island. I wanted to stand there and listen to the curling of the waves against the rocks, to tasty the piney air.
On the other hand, as much as I wanted to hang around having Treasure Island fantasies, I didn’t want to be scrambling towards unknown drop-offs in the dark. “What’s the hurry?” my brother wondered aloud as I scampered down the next hill. (Nothing phases him: he has a rugged physical self-confidence inversely proportionate to my extreme cautiousness.)
“I don’t want to be here after dark,” I said.
“Oh, okay.” We trotted on.
A thin gold thread flashed in my peripheral vision. Stopped me dead. “Holy shit! That’s a big spider!” I gasped. I am cripplingly arachniphobic (I once refused to sleep in my room for a week after seeing a freakishly large spider there. My friend removed it but I was convinced there were more, lurking) and the mere thought I might have face-planted this giant critter’s home made me feel a bit queasy.
“Damn, I’m glad you’re in front. I would have walked right into that,” my brother said cheerfully. After picking up a stick and carefully testing the pathway I ducked beneath the giant web and proceeded with care. Apparently the wilds are big-spider central in Ibiza. We narrowly avoided a half-dozen more huge, artful spans flung between shrubs on the putative trail.
Whether or not there is a trail remains open to debate, I think we were following one because, from time to time rough, royal-blue triangles were daubed onto the rocks – a clue or guide of some sort. What they didn’t hint at was how near we were to Playa d’en Bossa. The sun sank low enough to render my shades unnecessary, and they got chucked in the bag in exchange for a vest top, which was quickly wringing with sweat. Sticker bushes and random branches snatched as we passed, sinking cuts into my bare ankles and weals across my upper arms.
One thing I hadn’t expected (apart from the spiders) was the wide variety of rock formations. After crossing expanses of big, smooth, reddish stone we would suddenly be slithering across grey, clay-like rock closely ridged. Ordinarily I am the least-curious of naturalists, but I wished then I knew more about rocks, enough to at least adequately describe then.
More remarkable still was the appearance, at the bottom of a deep cleft that took us right down to sea-level, and across a narrow gulch, of a dirt-bike rider. He nodded as he gunned his engine, mysteriously ascending the path we’d just skidded down.
“Where the hell did he come from?” we wondered. The next leg of the journey left us none the wiser. While there was a definite trail across some points we had to tramp through trackless brush before we finally ascended the hill that overlooks the pirate tower guarding the far end of Playa d’en Bossa beach.
It was almost twilight but we relaxed our pace, ambling down the flattening path toward the cove of boat houses at the end of the beach. Rather than follow the coastline to the bitter end we swung inland, doubling back through a stretch of woods and dirt road until we came out on the sand.
Families were packing their kids into four-wheel drives, wind-surfers putting up their boards, sunbathers sloping towards their hotels with towels flung carelessly over shoulders. It was a relief to put swollen, scraped, sweaty feet into the sea and I was reluctant to let the adventure end. So we traipsed on, through the gentle drift of evening light, all the way up Ibiza’s longest beach till we reached Figueretes.
We stopped off at the fabulous Il Vecchio Molina restaurant in Figureretes for homemade pasta and a bottle of white wine. Rarely has a meal felt more deserved or been more richly enjoyed.
It was a moment to make me fall in love with Ibiza all over again, too. A reminder that even at the height of August craziness this wonderful, multi-faceted island is full of delights just waiting to be discovered. It really is treasure island.
About to scale the mighty moutain