Leaving the village of Santa Agnes behind, the car heads out into untamed countryside along a small, winding and uneven road to San Mateu. After flirting with the Ibiza countryside on the drive into Santa Agnes, the land now becomes real and imposes its strong presence in the atmosphere. The red earth looks harsh and dry and is scattered with difficult stone. Farming this land was never easy, I thought to myself from the cool interior of my air conditioned car. This side of Ibiza is hidden away but a person can feel the hardship that people down through the centuries must have experienced in trying to eke an existence from the tough terrain. Terry Calliers haunting vocals on Love Theme From Spartacus adds to the atmosphere.
The car starts to climb up into a pine forest, again twisting and turning until it emerges onto a plateau with great views of landscape to the right. As we enter another cluster of pine trees, we drive down a steep decline and meet a T-Junction where we turn left. Soon afterwards there is a turn to the right which is signposted for San Mateo. The surrounding fields look much more inviting and tended as we approach the sleepy village of San Mateo. Public buildings and Tennis courts awaken you to civilised Ibiza again. A small restaurant on the left facing another traditional whitewashed church, seems to be all that there is about San Mateu as there seems to be no village centre. The road to the right looks well maintained and inviting but feels too new and fast. Instead we veer right and continue on the smaller, more leisurely country route.
|Terrace or Contour Farming on hill|
Soon the road opens up onto fertile looking and farmed countryside. Large stretches of land on both sides of the road slope down from a hill covered in pine. With Michael Woods beautiful remix of Cafe Del Mar still playing in my mind, I change the excellent CD1 to the less enjoyable CD2, which starts off in an upbeat mood with one of the Prodigys most relaxed tracks Kilos. Still, its a fresher sound and matches the surrounding vibrancy of the natural terrain. Veering to the right we start to climb again and into thick wooded pine both to the right and left of the road. Evidence of Phoenician, Carthaginian and Arab contour farming techniques remain in place after two millennium of existence. The ancient ambience that surrounds this area feels almost alive, as if it exists in a land that time forgot. There is something different about this place, hiding beneath the surface not wanting to be seen. Vines heavy with full black grapes can now be seen in the fields next to the road.
We meet a T-Junction and turn right, twisting and turning following the road through more arable and farmed land with vines, orange and lemon trees. We soon come along to a sharp bend in the road that opens out to reveal a small country bar and restaurant nestled amid a few trees which offer shade from the heat. A few old men with character dripping from their sun beaten faces, play a game of cards outside on the terrace as I make my way to the bar. A young black haired Ibicenco serves me a cool glass of Estrella which I gladly sink back quenching my thirst. Another follows and I take it outside to the terrace where raised eyebrows dismiss me as a passing Tourist. I sit back and take in the local charm of the place, peaceful and relaxing and a world away from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio.
Part 3 The road to San Miguel and Benirras follows…………..