One minute I was on the beach in Benirras, thinking about what a glorious extended summer we were having here in Ibiza; within 12 hours, one thunderous downpour, an extreme temperature drop and the annual clock change, it seemed winter had officially arrived. Since then, I’ve had to pull out all my scarves, jumpers, coats and even Ugg boots; I’ve had to put the winter duvet on the bed; I’ve resorted to turning the heating on at night; I’ve packed away the roof terrace furnishings and the cats have started snuggling under the covers at night.
Despite the fact this dramatic overnight seasonal change has happened each and every year that I’ve lived in Ibiza, somehow it always manages to surprise me. It really is a tale of two seasons here – poor autumn and spring are always overshadowed by their more prominent siblings summer and winter. You never hear islanders declare their love for springtime like Parisians do; there’s no chance to embrace the colours of autumn the way New Yorkers do. We simply switch from summer mode to winter mode in the blink of an eye – and most of us will tell you we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The longer you live here, the more you love winter. The same goes for holidaymakers too – the more you visit in the summer, you’re eventually lured to visit in the winter and next thing you know you’re buying a house here, working remotely and living happily ever after (or so I hear anyway). Winter in Ibiza was once described by a very well-known, wise man on the island (let’s call him Mr W – no relation, in case you were wondering!) as the reward we get for surviving the summer months – and I couldn’t have said it better myself!
OK, so I can hear many people thinking what’s so good about wearing coats and Uggs while it rains? You can do that pretty much anywhere in the world right? Well, yes of course you can but the beauty of winter in Ibiza is that it just doesn’t get much worse than this! In fact, after the cold November rains we’re experiencing this week – signifying the shift from summer to winter – things generally return to sunny normality, albeit quite a few degrees colder than in the summer months but if you know where to go, you can find plenty of suntraps that make it possible to dine alfresco, eat on the beach, walk in nature and watch spectacular sunsets all year round.
What I do find weird about this instant move from high season to low season is that you don’t get any chance to ease into things. The joy of trans-seasonal layering is lost here – light cardigans and scarves are completely unnecessary. One day you’re wearing flip flops and admiring the colour of your pedicure – but the next day you’re in boots and there your feet shall remain for the next five months. You’re used to flicking your hair over your shoulders in the summer breeze like a shampoo commercial then it’s tangled up like a giant dreadlock for half a year thanks to furry collars, scarves and beanies so you resort to perma-braiding.
The environment in which you live also changes abruptly overnight. After sleeping in very little clothing for months on end, all of a sudden it’s full flannel pyjamas, socks and a cardigan by the end of the bed for those middle-of-the-night bathroom dashes. The fresh air that was once flowing through your home 24/7, when all the windows and balcony doors were open, is suddenly banished – all windows, doors and shutters are tightly sealed to avoid any of that icy humidity getting inside. You (and obviously when I say you, I really mean me) can’t even hang your clothes to dry on the roof terrace anymore unless you’re vigilant about bringing it in before the afternoon damp floats in over the airwaves.
On the flipside, it’s the same when summer comes around again. There comes a particular day when you step outside in full winter garb and sweat starts running down your spine in rivets – the next day you shimmy back into those summer dresses, let your hair flow free and make that appointment with your pedicurist, pronto! But that’s another story – for now, we’re battening down the virtual hatches, stocking up on cooking supplies, planning all the TV shows we can binge watch and feeling overjoyed that it’s dark by 6pm. Because just like that, it was winter in Ibiza – if you ask me, the most wonderful time of the year!