EDITION: October - December 2010

SA TALAIA · TOWARDS IBIZA’S SKY

Texto y fotos: Christine Lendt
White house cubes in front of a cobalt blue sky: Sant Josep shines and seduces you to take a café con leche on the church square, under ancient olive trees. We resist the temptation, at least for the moment, because our goal is a 475 metres difference in altitude further away.

The forested peak of Sa Talaia rests peacefully over the sleepy villages – it’s the highest point of the island that appears soft and unspectacular from a distance. We ask about the walking trail which is supposed to be hidden opposite the church, somewhere near the bar Can Bernat Vinya.

Behind the bar an Ibicencan woman is sweeping the courtyard. She has been living here for decades and must know the way. The old lady smiles and points to a dead-end sign and a path, that looks like a private entrance but isn’t. At the end the trail starts.

Two natural stone walls lead us in bends through wild gardens. By a little road the path ends and now we see the sign: Sa Talaia and take a left turn. We walk around the pretty houses in the picturesque area and find little walking path signs here and there. Where there are no signs we follow the call of the forest. Soon the road leads to a gravel square, left and right there are wide views of the island and we anticipate that it’s going be an impressive hike.

Only where does it continue? We look across the square. On the other side a signpost remains balanced - held up by rocks – it is a clear indication: Sa Talaia. Someone has even painted a few steps on it, to indicate the ascent. We climb natural steps and trails which are easy to scale and not particularly steep. Green and blue markings, now more reliable, accompany us through the thicket.

A sunny path swings along the slope, the light ascent keeps providing wide views: terraced fields with olive trees and grape vines, the clear contours of the South coast, Cap des Falco, Porroig, Es Cubells. For a short time we can see our goal ahead of us, the peak of Sa Talaia, before we get to the shady forest. We find a cosy place perfect for a short break. We take a seat and breath in the quiet and the spicy air of the mosses, tresses and pine needles that mix with the salty sea air.

The light path beckons us on. On the right the blue of the West coast shines through the branches of  Scots pine and Phoenician juniper, the path leads directly through the pine forest. During a left-hand bend it goes down briefly and we can see the peak again, this time much closer.

We stand in the sunlight at a fork and keep right along a fence then left down the mountain. The altitude increases and with it the view. Sweat pours from us, our hearts beat faster but in these beautiful surroundings it doesn’t matter. We drink a lot of water – we’ve nearly reached our goal.

Suddenly the path ends with scree before us. What now? Two mountain bikers come charging towards us, eliminating our doubts. If you can come down, you can also go up. And so it is. After a short climb, which even children would manage, the path levels out again.

A cool mountain breeze is blowing, the air has changed considerably. Just a few last steep meters and… Ibiza spreads out at our feet. Soft chains of mountains lie in the mist, the countryside is like a model railway, on the horizon the endless blue, to the right the south, Las Salinas and the island groups to Formentera. In front, very tiny, are the hotels of Playa d’en Bossa and to the left the bay of Sant Antoni.

Then the next surprise: A small mountain hut nestles against the rock – an enticing place for a peak picnic. Thankfully we thought about everything. Bocadillos, tapas, magdalenas and coffee taste of freedom and wide open space. We lean against the warm, sun drenched wall of the hut and enjoy the panorama. Hard to believe that it only took an hour to get here.

After the heavenly break we look around a bit. Near the hut there is a second, smaller peak. They are only a few metres but with big effect. The view from up here, the highest point of Sa Talaia, makes everything previously seen pale in comparison. A practically 360 degree panorama of the island – a view that lets you forget all your worries. By good conditions one can allegedly see as far as Alicante.

We soak up the beauty and take a piece with us before fleet-footed we start our return trip. Going down is even easier, but still you have to be careful: the rubble is sometimes quite slippy.

Sant Josep shines even more than before. We pull a wooden table into the light and order ample café con leche. In the shade of Sa Talaia we chat with locals and find out that the name ‘Sa Talaia’ goes back to the days of the Arab occupation of the island. And that we could have had it much easier: On the road to Sant Antoni, about 700 metres after Sant Josep, on the left the Cami de Sa Talaia leads up to the peak. By car. If we would have known that before…

...we would have missed many beautiful moments.