Eivissa Medieval Festival: 8-10/05/09

For three whole days across the second weekend of May, the fortress that is Dalt Vila – Ibiza’s steeped-in-history UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site – harks back to the olden days. Quite literally…

Eivissa Medieval 2009 brings history to our doorsteps, fully costumed up and coming complete with the obligatory jumbo-sized ales, vats of vino, buckets of herbs, barrels of potions and gi-normous legs of pork rotating over fiery hot coals… and that was all just in front of the Mirador!

As I continued strolling through the streets of Dalt Vila, right up to the cathedral and spread out across the Baluart de Santa Llúcia (the big flat expanse of space viewing straight out across the sea, surrounded by cannons and also where the International Music Summit Grand Finale will be held in case you were wondering) and even lining the streets below the fortress walls, it was a market of Medieval proportions to say the least, from handmade chocolate (I highly recommend choc-mint) and hand-woven basketry (the perfect boho-beach accessory) to handmade jewellery (spectacular silver rings and bracelets to layer on, gypsy style this summer) and handmaidens weaving princess-like daisy wreaths (errr, ok perhaps these were best left for the little ones or fancy dress).

But it’s not just markets. This is a full-on-fun-for-the-whole-family-affair, with street performers weaving their way about town for entertainment, some of them quite scarily beating drums, waving wooden sticks and wearing masks freaky enough to give me nightmares and others much more kid-friendly, including those dressed as horses dancing in circles that resembled a highland fling! There are live animals on display – think goats, roosters, sheep, rabbits, horses and even owls – and theatre shows for the kids, music performances and more Medieval madness than in Medieval times I suspect!

One of the highlights for Miss W had to be the abseiling display, a dreamy ballet like performance scaling down the cathedral walls, accompanied by ethereal (or was it medieval?) music, bathed in spotlights and visible from almost any vantage point in town. Definitely NOT one to try at home folks…

Miss W loves the fact you can just dip in and out of the festivities any time you like (well, particularly for me since I live in Dalt Vila and it is practically on my doorstep). Quick snack before heading to the beach? Grab a sausage sandwich. Feeling a little peckish after dinner? A chocolate crepe or a sweet Morroccan tea will do the trick. Got some time to kill before the party? Try a little taster of wine while surveying the scenery. If you’ve got some euros burning a hole in your wallet (don’t I always!) a nice little trinket should satisfy the urge to spend.

A nice little trinket for Miss W that is – one can never have too many Medieval masterpieces you know!

THE LOWDOWN

THE GOOD: The sweet smells of food in the air and the luscious looking meats sizzling away over hot charcoal… My inner cavewoman was totally salivating at the mere thought of heading up to the food fair each day! A bird-like appetite is no good here, as with seemingly hundreds of different types of foods to sample, you need to reserve precious stomach space over the course of the long weekend. Diet starts on Monday then!

THE BAD: While Miss W fell in love with the strikingly beautiful owls, eagles and falcons on display, she was definitely less-than-impressed to find them contained in a row of dark boxes behind the enclosure with no supervision when they weren’t on show. There may have been no RSPCA in Medieval times, however that’s no excuse today…

THE GOSSIP: Was it just me or was the Medieval Festival EXACTLY the same as last year? I mean, BBQs in the same place, goats where we left them, fair maidens in the same fair frocks and bungee jumpers dangling perilously from the cathedral? If indeed this is to become a major tourism event in Ibiza then Miss W thinks we need to add some new elements each year to encourage return visitors.