The easy side of Ibiza – Spain’s party island has a lot more to offer than clubbing

As all the youngsters were on their way to their beds after a night of clubbing in Ibiza, I was walking around the Finca Fluxa Botanic Garden (fluxaibiza.com), sipping aromatic herbs to make my own bottle of Hierbaas Peus Liqueur.

My little bread basket contained sprigs of thyme, rosemary, anise, verbena, lavender, rue, eucalyptus, chamomile, juniper, mint, mint, sage, St. John’s wort and wormwood, which I then poured into a half-liter bottle. Stick.

After adding a leaf and a slice of lemon and orange peel, making 18 ingredients in all, I added enough fennel to cover the ingredients by half of the neck—and then a sneaky extra dribble for luck.

“And now,” said Finca’s owner Juan Tur, “we seal it, take it home, leave it for three months and drink it as a digestif. But if you take that long to try it Can’t wait, so here are some I made earlier.”

He must have seen Blue Peter as a child.

Juan’s 24pc alcoholic hirbas pesa, made in his grandmother’s 100-year-old recipe, is a tip-top tipple, but I’ll never get to sample mine—I only had hand luggage and had to leave the bottle behind.

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Over a dozen hand-picked herbs went into Tom’s Bottle Hirbas Pesaso

Nor would I be able to sample flo – a traditional Ibizan cheesecake – that I made at Finca Can Musan Organic Farm (ibizacanmuson.com,

Under the expert instruction of matriarch Maria, I mixed and kneaded the dough and pressed it into a baking tin, then put my hands in a bowl and whisked together a large wobbly lump of goat’s cheese, four eggs, and some finely chopped mint. squeezed.

When Maria handed me a baby beach bucket overflowing with grass and other bits of greenery, I had it to a nice, gooey consistency you usually see on compost piles.

I thought that the poor woman was embracing the herb of her own house, until she saw my surprised expression and paused.

“No, no – it’s for feeding the animals,” she said. “Now, pour the cheese mixture into the tin and I will put it in the oven. Fleo will be ready when you come back.”

Nothing is quite like feeding lovely goats, miniature pigs and Shetland ponies on a sunny day at an organic farm smelling of flowers and herbs.

My Flo looked and smelled fab, but with only that carry-on bag, I had to donate it to the farm’s kindergarten, where kids learn about growing fruits and vegetables.

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It looks and smells good, but Tom never got to taste the cheesecake he made

I stayed at the Aguas de Ibiza Grand Luxe Hotel (aguasdeibiza.com) in Santa Iulia, which was a super-posh feel, but it could do with a few changes to fully qualify its five-star status.

I’ve never seen such a lavish breakfast buffet, and omelets cooked to order are divine, but service doesn’t start until 8 a.m., which is a pain for early risers; And when I asked for coffee, it took an age to arrive, cup by cup—delivering it in a pint pot is a no-brainer, so guests won’t have to wait that long for their caffeine kick-start.

The open-air rooftop bar closed at midnight, but that’s probably a seasonal thing, and there were very few tables and chairs nearby to sit and enjoy a drink, even if there was plenty of room for more.

They are niggles of the first world. However, the strip lighting on some parts of the decking floor should be called trip lighting—it’s so dim and confusing in parts that I almost went on my back on the loo’s way twice.

Plus, the staff are absolute friends and couldn’t have been more hospitable, and my room, with its lone ceramic bath, was big enough that I could ride a bike around it, though the cleaner wouldn’t have been too happy.

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Sightseeing an electric bike takes all the hard work out of cycling

I went cycling pity on a battery operated bike (Kandani.es) which was delivered to the door of the hotel for a two-hour spontaneous spin along seaside tracks, past pristine beaches, through forests and with wheat fields swaying in the wind.

Ibizan-born guide Jaime, a self-employed graphic designer who leads bike tours in his spare time, was great company and the third largest source of information about the history and culture of the Balearic Islands after Mallorca and Menorca. There was a font.

During a pit stop at a roadside cafe, I asked her, as best as possible, whether she had heard anything about an outbreak of cheesecake poisoning at Can Musson Kindergarten the previous afternoon.

He was not, which came as a huge relief. Either the kids liked my creation and told their moms that it was the best flo ever, or Maria had second thoughts and fed it to the goats, who aren’t too fussy about what they eat. .

When we arrived in downtown Santa Yulia, Jaime’s colleagues waited with a van to pick up the bike, where a quick lunch provided fuel for the kayaking adventure.

The option on the hotel’s list of afternoon activities was a poolside yoga session, god love us, but since I didn’t bring any WD-40 with me, it took an entire evening — and a half pound of Kerrygold — to take my ankle. Get it down from the back of my neck.)

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Kayaking in the calm and crystal clear waters of Es Figueral beach

So Kayaking was off the beach to Es Figueral, in the northwest of the island, where the sea was calm and the water crystal clear and shallow – the perfect conditions for a relaxing paddle.

Paolo dell’Agnolo, whose parents moved from Argentina to Ibiza when he was a child, set up his business 15 years ago with two second-hand canoes and a battered old pick-up truck, which he sells to customers. Took it from beach to beach in search.

Now he has his own premises (kayak-ibiza.com) and a small fleet of brightly colored kayaks and vacationers approaches him. Good things happen to good people.

While my 90 minutes of paddling with Paolo were enjoyable, they were far from leisurely. Usually the only exercise my shoulders get is when I wake up in the morning and stretch before yawning and reaching for the snooze button. Kayaking is a different kettle of fish.

You know when you take two heavy bags from Lidl shopping home, and then you put them on the kitchen floor and your arms are raised above your head? It was actually yours when I finally got back to the beach – it looked like someone was pointing a gun at me.

Still, thanks to Paolo’s jokes on the water and the wear and tear on my shoulders, it was a lot of fun.

Less taxing was the three-hour sunset boat trip from San Antonio to gaze at a clear blue sky, sipping beer sparkling orange, pink and red, and tucking into tortilla di patatas and slices of coca, a traditional Balearic flatbread just With a couple of sweet or savory toppings.

When we anchored a few hundred meters from a clifftop restaurant, we were treated to an open-air wedding scene in which Bruno Mars sings “Hey Baby, I Think I Want to Marry You”. Was blasting from the speakers of the venue.

Unbeknownst to the happy couple and their guests, a model in a small cove under a rock who didn’t care who could see her from the water was changing in and out of a bikini for a photo shoot.

I am told that dolphins were also leaping around the boat, but for some reason I missed them.

I miss Ibiza too, even though I just returned, but isn’t that a sign of a place worth visiting?

Come back to the island.

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Cala d’Hort beach is a popular spot to watch the sunset

restaurant

can musonetIn San Rafael, open only on weekends, but do yourself a big favor and book a table for lunch or dinner – it’s the best restaurant I’ve visited in years (canmussonet.com,

Agroturismo Can CurreuIn San Carlos, there’s a lovely garden for outdoor dining (cancurreu.com,

ca na ribsIn Santa Yulia, there is much to appreciate, especially the simple but scrumptious Baked Rey with Potatoes in a Sensational Sauce.fb @canaribes,

s kaliuJust outside of Santa Iulia, will please those who prefer their grilled meats served under the stars (escaliuibiza.com,

go there

Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies from Dublin to Ibiza. For more information about vacations on the island, visit ibiza.travel And Spain.info,

Tom was a guest at the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin.