The furore over the killing of 50 goats living peacefully on the Es Vedra islet off the west coast of Ibiza refuses to go away with over 15000 people signing a petition demanding the resignations of politicians Caterina Amengual of Mes per Mallorca and Miquel Vericad from Ibiza’s Guanyem Party.
As is now customary on these occasions social media has been on fire since Friday with the majority of Ibiza residents and island lovers coming out against the decision and wanting to know why other avenues weren’t throughly explored before the green light was given for the slaughter.
Sra Amengual from Mallorca seems to be getting the brunt of the flack as it appears that it was her and her departments decision to allow the extermination of the goats citing that it was the best way to deal with the problem of protecting the flora on one of Ibiza’s most famous landmarks. There’s always been a simmering rivalry between the two islands and the fact that a politician from Palma made the final decision has left many incredulous. Ibiza’s Environment minister Sr Vericad has also been receiving threats via social media for supporting and ‘congratulating’ the decision and has reported these to local prosecutors.
Environmentalists are adamant that it was the best way forward but the Animal Rights group PACMA are not accepting it lightly with calls for somebody to be made accountable especially for the law breaking in relation to leaving the carcasses where they fell to decompose naturally.
The story took a further twist after a group of fishermen unwittingly witnessed the slaughter and gave a graphic first hand account of 4 men with guns and “blood everywhere”. The Partido Popular are also sensing political blood and are demanding resignations in the Balearic Parliament.
After almost 25 years the fabled goats of Es Vedra have now been eradicated from the small islet that lies off the west coast of Ibiza. 5 females and 1 male were introduced to Es Vedra in 1992 however the Balearic and Island governments have now decided to get rid of them to “recover the native flora of the rock”.
After consultation it was decided that the best way was to kill them rather than remove them so yesterday (4 Feb 2016) environmental agents sailed over to the islet and at 8am began shooting all the helpless creatures. By 2pm their grisly task was complete although they will return today to ensure that none were missed in the cull.
The slain animals will be left on Es Vedra to decompose naturally as it was also deemed too dangerous to remove the carcasses even though this is technically against the law (according to Ley 8/2003 de Sanidad Animal).
Caterina Amengual, Director of Natural Areas and Biodiversity for the Balearic Department of Environment (belonging to the environmentalist coalition ‘MES per Mallorca’) said “it’s a question of priorities and the conservation of ecosystems is a priority. We have an obligation to protect natural areas”.
The Ibiza Insular Minister of Environment, Miquel Vericad of GUANYEM EIVISSA, congratulated the Balearic Government for the decision to remove the goats commenting “We have a duty to protect our heritage, which makes it unique to Es Vedra and Ibiza.”
Some local residents are very upset about the decision especially as the same government recently proudly announced that the Balearics were ‘anti-bull fighting’. Ibiza residents are well known for their love of all animals so they are decrying this as double standards.
The goats of Es Vedra could be clearly seen from sailing vessels and were part of the myth and aura of the rock. I myself have spent many hours moored around Es Vedra trying to convince friends aboard that the goats actually existed. Sometimes we left without seeing them but many times we were able to spot some of the herd carefully traversing the steep rock face. It’s an extremely sorry end to a story that I often told and always put a smile on my face (especially when I was proved right over the doubters).
The Balearic & Ibiza government have been unequivocal in saying that this was the best course of action in protecting one of Ibiza’s most famous landmarks but a small light has gone out on the mythical rock and you can’t help thinking they have taken the easiest and cheapest option. Delivering death to Es Vedra is not good Karma but the environmental experts know what they are doing after all, don’t they?
This past Sunday saw the “Arroz de Matanza World Championship” in San Antonio where 40 teams competed to impress the judges with their version of one of Ibiza’s most famous traditional rice dishes. Cati Ribas of Sant Gertrudis Driving School won for the 3rd consecutive year in what was a fantastic festival of food and drink that was enjoyed by over 2000 people eating and drinking to their hearts content.
In celebration of Ibiza’s fine food tradition here’s 10 local delicacies that originated on the island using local produce and which still continue to this day.
1 Ensalada Payesa
Made from potatoes, roasted peppers and boiled eggs and combined with sliced onions, fresh tomatoes and olives this tasty starter can be accompanied by dried fish in oil. Perfect for the warm summer months
The main pickings from the “matanza” (slaughter of the family pig- see arroz de matanza) sobrasada is made from the lean meat of the pig and some belly pork, all minced and mixed with paprika, salt and spices. It’s heavy and hearty and is quite delicious as a starter or snack on warm toasted bread.
3 Arroz de Matanza
Arroz de Matanza is one of the most distinctive, rich and tasty dishes from Ibiza’s gastronomic history. Mixing rice with pork and herbs in a rich sauce it was usually eaten only once a year using the leftovers from the ‘matanza’ (when Ibicencan families traditionally slaughtered their pig in December to give them enough sustenance for the cold winter months, one large pig would give out enough food for a family to survive). Now this typical dish is served daily in many restaurants on the island.
4 Sofrit Pages
Veggies look away now! A delicious dish using lamb, chicken, pork, sobrasada and potatoes prepared in a large skillet with spices and garlic. Recipes change from family to family but it’s a great comfort food and hangover cure but don’t count the calories as it’s not exactly your 5 a day. One plate is usually more than enough. Guilty pleasure!
5 Bullit de Peix
The definitive Ibiza dish for fish lovers carefully prepared using different types of fresh catch in a stock. Part soup, part casserole, part stew depending on your viewpoint but always amazingly tasty. This is a delicacy nowadays and prices can be high but if you are a foodie then this dish really needs to be tried to be believed.
The definitive traditional Ibiza dessert with its distinctive flavour and soft texture made with eggs, fresh cheese (or cottage cheese), aniseed and mint leaves. Eaten as a dessert or an indulging mid-morning accompaniment with your tea or coffee.
These biscuit type sweets are named after their shape that resembles an ear. Made with flour, lemon zest and aniseed, fried in oil and dipped in lots sugar (who needs a diet anyway!). Traditionally made for Easter but now easy to find throughout the year. Eaten as a dessert or snack and usually accompanied by a glass of sweet wine or herbias.
Ibiza’s version of good old bread and butter pudding which is made from leftover ensaimadas (a local sweet bread). Normally served as the desert on a local ‘menu del dia”. Heavy and hearty and the perfect precursor to an afternoon siesta. You are in Spain after all.
WINE AND LIQUEUR
9 Vin Payes
The islands’s take on your dads homebrew originally made for the long winter months as an accompaniment for the matanza on the cold winter nights. Homemade dark red wine made with grapes crushed by the feet of the local younger generation. Add gaseosa (lemonade) for a fruity cocktail that ‘gets the job done’.
10 Hierbas Ibicencas
A true marmite of liqueurs, very sweet tasting, you’re gonna either love it or hate it! Made and produced in Ibiza by local distilleries using herbs from the island. If/when you get the taste it will become part of your Ibiza culinary experience with most restaurants offering you a shot of hierbas on the house at the end of your meal.
So not only is the white isle blessed with amazing beaches and scenery, over 300 days of sunshine every year and a world famous nightlife scene it also has some of the best family restaurants in the Med.
Trouble is brewing for beach clubs and restaurants who continually charge large amounts of money for sunbeds on public beaches.
Since the new year there’s been a growing noise on the white isle led by the left wing Guanyem political party and also local journalists who say that these ‘high end’ beach establishments are privatizing public spaces and have no right to charge such sums of money when it clearly states that there is a maximum amount that can charged per sunbed.
Currently beach establishments pay for the beach concession but have guidelines to what they can and can’t do. Some get round the maximum charge by offering a ‘minimum’ spend’ per sunbed serving food and drink such as sushi, champagne and other luxury items whilst the clients are relaxing in the sun. Now some of the local population have had enough and say that if these clients want to eat and drink then they should go into the private part of the restaurant and not do it in the public area of the beach. They feel they are being excluded even though the beach is a public area where they just want to lay down their towel and have a swim.
With Ibiza relentlessly heading towards a more upmarket crowd and with the big shift of political power in the last local elections from right to left it seems inevitable that something will have to give sooner or later.
Sant Josep Mayor Josep Mari Ribas has already bowed under pressure and promised to decrease the number of sunbeds and parasols in his municipality by 900 and remember Sant Josep covers major beaches such as Cala Bassa, Cala Tarida, Cala Jondal, Las Salinas, Es Cavallet and Playa d’en Bossa. Sr Mari Ribas has also categorically stated that large ‘Balinese’ style sunbeds are not allowed on public beaches. Even Vicent Torres, president of the island council, has weighed in saying that the situation “completely distorts the coastal landscape of Ibiza”.
So as we approach summer don’t be surprised if there’s a sacrificial lamb or two along the way as the town halls pay lip service to those who got them elected. Vive Le Revolution
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Now that the festivities are finally over it’s time to focus on the summer. New year/new goals as they say so here’s a few suggestion of what you can do this coming year on the White Isle.
1. CLIMB TO ES VEDRA VIEWPOINT JUST BEFORE SUNSET
Time to get spiritual and be drawn to the ‘magnetism’ of this stunning mesozoic limestone rock rising over a quarter of a mile from the ocean. If you are of an emotional disposition then take some hankies and be careful not to propose to the person next to you.
Cost: Zero investment for priceless memories
2. COMPLETE A 3 DAY BENDER WITHOUT SLEEP
Relaxing pursuits are all good and well but Ibiza without excess is like Jack Daniels without Coca Cola so throw caution to the wind and don’t stop until your voice has gone, your mouth is full of ulcers and your credit card can take no more, health permitting of course. Note:mobile phone likely to go missing
Cost: How long is a piece of string and who are you partying with? Try Clockwork Orange Ibiza 2016 – the original hellraisers
3. DRESS LIKE A HIPPY AND EXPERIENCE FLOWER POWER
Ibiza is hippy at heart so pull on your flares, put flower chains in your hair and experience one of the many flower power festivals throughout the year; San Antonio in Jan and Oct, San Jose in March and Pacha and Destino during the summer. Peace out Man!
Cost: A trip to a charity shop and the loss of your inhibitions for a night
4. WALKING TOUR AROUND THE EDGE OF THE ISLAND
All those tracks, coves, beaches and hidden gems that you never even knew existed. There’s so much more to Ibiza than sun, sea & party, you just have to care enough to bother. This is the REAL Ibiza!
Cost: 15-99 euros will give you enough dining stories for a lifetime – see Walking Ibiza for more details
5. SOUND WALK AROUND D’ALT VILA (IBIZA OLD TOWN)
This world heritage site is the heart of the island and you might think that you know the old town but not until you hear first hand of its history can you truly appreciate how far the island has come over the last thousand years. Let international actress Paz Vega guide you through the streets
Cost: Rent an Audio Tour from the Ibiza tourism office
6. A RELAXING DAY AT A SPA
Ibiza is known for excess buts it’s also famous for holistic spirituality and relaxation. Your body needs recuperation and there’s nothing better than a relaxing day at one of the many spas now on the island.
Cost: Massage from 40 euros with Kerry or a full spa day at Atzaro for 120 euros including a delicious lunch
7. WATCH AN IBIZA SUNRISE
Catching the sunset is easy but the sunrise is more of a challenge. Set your alarm or stay sober enough to experience a modern day wonder as night turns to day on the worlds most famous party island. Watch out for the walk of shamers on your way home.
Cost: A long siesta if you take the 2nd option
8. DANCE SEMI NAKED AT A BEACH CLUB
A few over priced beers and a bottle of French plonk should start the process nicely. Stop sneering and start enjoying, it’s Ibiza and nobody cares who you are back in the real world
Cost: about 100 euros…..for starters. Try Ocean Beach for a fun day out
9. GET A SELFIE WITH A FAMOUS DJ (WHILST TRYING TO LOOK COOL)
Ibiza is all about the big names in the big clubs so what better souvenir than you getting up close and personal with a world famous DJ so get your camera phone at the ready, wait for the right moment and give it your best sullen pout. Remember that grinning like a Cheshire cat is not cool. As they say: If it’s not on Social Media it never happened
Cost: The loss of a little self respect is a small price to pay for all those likes on Bragbook. Likes = popularity, right?
10. SWIM IN THE INCREDIBLE WATERS OF FORMENTERA
It’s amazing how many have never ‘made it’ over to the true Jewel of the Med. Only 30 mins by boat lies somewhere that will truly blow your socks off, if you were wearing any that is (note: flip flops and socks are unacceptable at any time)
Cost: Private speedboat with Boat Charter Company from 80 euros per person or 29 euros return with Aquabus for the ferry and 10 euros for a ham baguette from the local bakery. Cheaper than flying to Barbados.
These are just a few ideas, have I missed any or can you think of anything that others should know about? Contact me on Twitter, Facebook or email. Roll on Ibiza 2016!
The buzzword is ‘fragmented’ and looking at the Spanish General Election results from 20 December it’s not hard to see why. In the congress the PP won the popular vote with 123 seats but sustained major losses and fell well short of the magic figure of 176 to be able to claim an absolute majority. The PSOE had their worst night in recent history gaining 90 seats but the big winners on the night were “Podemos” who proved all the doubters wrong coming in with 69 seats if you include all their regional offshoots, not bad for a party less than 5 years old. Talking of new parties let’s not forget the Ciudadanos who came in with 40 seats, another stunning result that ends Spain’s 2 party political domination.
In Ibiza the PP managed to win the popular vote in all municipalities except for Sant Josep where Podemos claimed victory. Again PSOE lost out to Podemos cutting into their vote and reducing them to 3rd place overall in the islands. As far as Balearic politics goes the PP will have 3 congress representatives in Madrid while PSOE and Podemos will have 2 each and Ciudadanos will have 1. Of the 8 Balearic representatives the politicians specifically from Ibiza will be Jose Vicente Mari Boso (PP), Santiago Mari (PP) and Sofia Hernanz (PSOE). These are the people who will ‘fight’ for Ibiza at central government.
Spain now has an even split between the right and the left. In the blue/orange corner we have the PP/Ciudadanos and in the red/purple corner we have the PSOE/Podemos.
So while PP and especially PSOE lick their wounds Podemos can now claim to be a major force in Spanish politics with their charismatic leader Pablo Iglesias leaving the door open for coalition negotiations. Alberto Riviera from the Ciudadanos has already claimed that he won’t enter into government but that could change quickly.
As we saw in May’s local elections things are changing very quickly in Spanish politics where proportional representation enables new parties to get a foot in the door. The up side is that more people have a voice, the down side is that unstable governments create doubt. Interesting times indeed.
Pressure is mounting on the Ibiza government after it was revealed that the island will only receive 13% of funds from the new tourist ecotax that will be implemented in the spring of 2016. This is down from the 20% that was previously ‘agreed’.
This is the 1st big challenge for the coalition government of PSOE/Podemos with Viviana de Sans of Podemos publically denouncing the decision claiming that she didn’t know until the actual press conference announcing it. Strange indeed seeing that she’s Vice President?
You always know there is a crisis when the president of the council comes out and claims that “there is no crisis” and this is exactly what Vicent Torres did yesterday trying to play down events however this political hot potato refuses to go away.
Opposition spokesman Vicente Roig from the PP has jumped all over the issue too citing this as weak leadership from Torres and an example of the clear divisions within the coalition.
Juanjo Riera, President of the Ibiza and Formentera Hotel Association, has once again come out strongly against the tax and claiming it’s another example of Mallorca riding roughshod over the other islands saying its another ‘submission’ to the largest Balearic island and seat of the Balearic parliament.
Sr Riera was unequivocal in his tirade saying “regardless of political party , (Ibiza) people are tired of always giving in to Mallorca, it’s shameful and not just in this (political) term”.
Lucas Prats, head of promotion for Ibiza tourism has also said it’s a ‘mistake’ further heaping pressure on the island council.
The 2002 ecotax was seen a massive vote loser for the then socialist government after it was implemented badly and it appears that the 2016 version is going the same way. Watch this space as this is the story that keeps giving which is ironic really as the ecotax appears that it will be taking lots from Ibiza and putting very little back.