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Spanish Trilogy: Living la Vida Loca

November 7, 2010

In college, I was a double major in Spanish and international relations. But the specification of my school required every student learn a foreign language, but he or she couldn’t really choose one and was rather assigned one. The school was attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and it was supposed to prepare diplomatic personnel with knowledge of various foreign languages for that institution. I really lucked out when I found out I was going to learn Spanish. It’s not that I disrespect other languages, but I feel like it is stupid and unproductive to force someone to study something he or she is not interested in at all. I, on the other hand, have been dreaming to speak this suave melodic language since I watched my first episode of Los Ricos También Lloran.

Sorry for this long intro—I got sucked in nostalgia. So in the summer of my transition from sophomore to junior, my girlfriends and I packed our bags with new summery outfits and took off for Mallorca to practice our Spanish both in classes and at parties.

We were enrolled in the language school called International House located in the heart of the old town of Palma de Mallorca. It was a wonderful area to not only immerse oneself in Spanish but also dive in the Balearic culture of Spain. The old neighborhood was a typical Spanish barrio featuring nice little restaurants that offered discounted tapas for students, bakeries with amazing aromas of freshly made pastry and bread, antique fountains that featured popular mythology plots, and of course, a noisy mixed crowd of local Mallorquinas and students from all over the world.

The apartment we sublet during that summer occupied the whole floor in an old Victorian-style building situated on Calle Aragon, which led directly to the seaside. One absolute benefit of our housing was that Corte Inglés was located within just three blocks from us, which meant shopping was taken care of and checked off from our to-do list right away.

Palma de Mallorca is a charming, genuinely Spanish city with many places worth sightseeing. You can walk, run or ride a bike along the beautiful Paseo Maritimo that offers a variety of little restaurants with delicious food, and watch big cruise liners come and go at the harbor. You can explore the famous Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, construction of which began in 1230 and ended in 1851; the Bellver Castle built in the 14th century by King Jaime Segundo of Aragon and used as a prison until the late 1800s, or just take a car trip around the island and enjoy its picturesque wild nature.

What Mallorca is really famous for is its phenomenal nightlife. Because many tourists from Germany and the UK come here during the summer, the island has been traditionally divided into German and English “resorts”—El Arenal and Magaluf, which are situated within an equal distance from Palma. That’s where all the craziest parties take place. Palma also has great nightclubs such as Tito’s and Abraxas, but believe me, to get a real sense of Mallorcan entertainment you should dive into the bars and clubs of Arenal or Magaluf. When I was there, I was 19 years old and I could party until five in the morning and then go to classes, and then crash on the beach. And the most amazing thing—I could do it for 30 days straight. I don’t even want to expand on how much time I need now to recover after a sleepless night fueled with cocktails and shots. That’s the beauty of youth!

One day we decided to go to Ibiza. This little island is famous among the Europeans for its even more hardcore parties and never ending fiesta. Apart from the crazy nightlife, Ibiza is also famous for its sunsets and fascinating wilderness. So if rocking the beat is not your cup of tea, you can still enjoy the place at the getaway family and couples resorts, isolated from the noisy part of the island.

Ibiza is often called the Mecca of European nightlife. Every DJ can proudly call him- or herself successful when he or she is granted the honor of performing at one of Ibiza’s clubs, such as Amnesia, Privilege, El Divino, Pacha and my personal favorite Space, among others. The superstars of house music—Tiesto and David Guetta—are frequent guests at these venues. The only disappointing moment is that the cover charge at the entrance is ridiculously expensive ($75), but the good news is hotels and tourist agencies offer pretty good ticket deals and nightclub packages. Also if you’re not on drugs or LSD, it’s pretty hard to keep up with the partying crowd, as the parties there are literally non-stop. Pre-parties normally start at eight or nine in the evening, while after-parties end at 10 or 11 in the morning. As most people are on drugs, the most serving drink in Ibiza is water, maximum beer. So when I asked a bartender to mix me Long Island Iced Tea (as I’m not a drug lover), he was genuinely surprised.

The summer of 2006 was the summer of the World Cup, and there was no better place to watch the games. That particular weekend when we went to Ibiza, France and Italy were competing for the final prize. My girlfriends and I decided to enjoy good old European soccer at the famous Café del Mar in San Antonio. The lounge bar is situated at the western tip of the island and features amazing food, delicious sangrias, relaxing music and breathtaking sunsets. Until that time I didn’t even know about the existence of Café del Mar music style, which is a mixture of Balearic chill out lounge. But the moment I heard these melodic sounds, I fell in love with it forever. If you’re a fan of lounge music and haven’t heard of Café del Mar yet, I strongly recommend you check it out—it will blow your mind (that’s how strongly I feel about it).

Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions or want some tips on Balearic nightlife. I’ll be happy to assist you 🙂

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