For years, a trip to Ibiza has been at the top of my bucket list. This tiny island located 50 miles off the coast of Spain is for fans of electronic music what Mecca is to Muslims. Ibiza is world renowned as the epicenter of electronic music and, for those even slightly interested in the genre, is a destination that must be visited at least once in your lifetime. For those of you who ever get the opportunity to step foot on this island, do not expect a wholesome, family-friendly experience unless you stay outside of the two main cities: Ibiza Town and St. Antoni de Portmany. In the central areas of these cities, you need to mentally prepare yourself for everything to be overpriced, flashy, and fake. Overall, there is a general hedonistic feeling that permeates the air and makes Vegas seem like Disney World.

The streets of Ibiza Town at night. The congestion reminds me of New York.

Considering the exorbitant cost for a hostel in the area - eight-bed dorms start at €27 (~$34) per night - and the fact that Ibiza is known for partying all night long, I figured I could get away with taking a three day trip and only reserving one night at the hostel. After a few hours of strategizing, I decided on the following:

  • Night 1: Overnight ferry to Ibiza and arrive early in the morning. 

  • Night 2: Get a good nights rest at the hostel.

  • Night 3: Dance around in the nightclub Space Ibiza until sunrise, see some sights, and return to Valencia.

Though expensive, the overnight ferry was exactly what I needed. The ride was surprisingly nice, but whoever designed the interior of the vessel must have previously worked at IHOP - the main cabin of the ship was covered in wood paneling and all the cushions were painted with the signature IHOP baby-blue. There was even a little dilapidated cafe on board that looked exactly like the restaurants I visited as a child. I could almost smell the scent of pancakes off in the distance even through they weren’t on the menu.

Trust me, I looked.

Good morning Ibiza!

As I scoured the ship for the optimal seat to call "home" for the next ten hours and flashbacks of the cruise I took back in May began rushing through my mind. While not nearly as beautiful or elaborate as the cruise ship, the gentle rocking of the boat engendered a queasy, yet strangely nostalgic feeling within me. Even with all of the oddities on board, memories of the girl I met weeks before leaving the US remained at the forefront of my mind for the duration of the trip. For better or worse, the idea is integrally tied with that first cruise and it will be a long time before I get on a boat without it triggering such thoughts.

I would like to take this moment to apologize to my brother and father... you can email me your comments directly.

Eventually I found a nice, strategically located seat in the corner of a long sectional couch and settled in for the night. It was remarkably difficult to find a comfortable position, but I quickly realized it wasn’t because of the seats - it was my own smell. Before leaving Valencia, I had two bright ideas. The first was to wash my clothes before departing and the second was to walk from the city center to board my ferry instead of taking the bus so I could enjoy the scenery. Innocent enough, right? Well there was a snafu with the laundry that left my clothes smelling like stale/moldy water and the five-mile walk down to the harbor under the afternoon sun left me perspiring head to toe. It was the prefect storm of odors. The stench was almost palpable and, while I attempted to quarantine myself from nearby passengers, there was no way to escape from myself.

Breakfast of champions. Sadly my backpack doesn't make for great conversation.

And I wouldn’t be able to take another shower until 4:00pm the following day.

The joys of travel.

I eventually managed to get some sleep, but woke up bright and early at five in the morning. Still groggy from my limited sleep, I glanced around the main cabin as I packed my things and it looked like someone massacred all of the passengers on board. Everyone was sprawled out on the couches, chairs, tables, and even the floor - basically any moderately comfortable patch of ground became a bed. When the captain unexpectedly announced we arrived early through the PA system, the field of corpses rose like zombies smelling the scent of blood and began lumbering to the exit as they rubbed their eyes. 

When I exited the ship it was still pitch black outside and the outermost rays of the sun still had not penetrated the thick blanket of stars hanging  in the sky. On the bus ride into town, I could still see the previous night’s club goers wandering around in a drunken stupor and gathering in groups to enjoy a round of post-bender cigarettes. Since I was in no rush to haul my backpack around Ibiza in the middle of the night, I found a cafe to loiter around and watched the beautiful sunrise over the distance mountains. It was a perfect way to start the morning. The sun slowly illuminated the sky in a bright orange aurora as the entire town gradually came to life and the last few stragglers from the prior night erratically stumbled back to their hotels. All I could do was sit back, savor my cappuccino, and take it all in.

I’m excited to see what the infamous island of Ibiza holds, but at this point I’m really just looking forward to a nap on the beach. There is a lot to see and do in the few days I have, but I don’t think they could have started in a better way. As I get up from my table, I ceremoniously bow and genuflect at the beautiful island before me, I couldn’t be happier - I finally made it to Ibiza!

When in Rome do as the Romans...