The brisk air dyed in a vivid red colour, the marés rock walls surrounding the estates. The scent of rosemary and wild fennel while lazily roaming around by bike. The sound of a guitar made here in Formentera, where everything has a story to tell to the ones who are able to listen.
I love to tour this Spanish island by bike, to listen what it has to tell me. I go at least twice a year to Formentera since fifteen years and I still find new stories every time I come. Once it told me about the Sixties, when the peluds (‘long-haired’, the hippies) arrived from the US and met in front of the Fonda Pepe, wearing sandals and smoking marijuana, looking for some kind of freedom which here appeared to be less an utopia than in most places in the world.
Bob, an American business man, arrived in Formentera in those years, leaving everything behind but his books, the same books collected in the town’s library. And then came the Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, and the Flower Power which is still celebrated every summer, with the legendary DJ Pharma at the console and thousands of people dancing until dawn, wearing colourful wigs and flowers, forgetful of any problem and concern.
Another time it told me the reason for its name. The most reliable theory comes from Frumentaria, as the Romans called it since wheat (frumentum) has always been the island’s main product. Nowadays you can still visit several mills, like the oldest one at Mola, Molì Vell. Other theories regarding the name point to the promontory which looked as a mountain to the sea-dwellers. And furthermore there is the mistery of Ophiussa: the serpents’ island for the Greeks… but exception made for a few lizards, no reptile ever made it to Formentera!
But the stories never end: there is Formentera in springtime, Formentera in October, the food, the beach, the sea, the parties… Not everyone who arrives here does really understand where he landed. Some people leave without tasting the payesa salad, or without discovering the many secrets laying behind the dunes.
Just a few know that in Formentera you can take classes to build your own guitar starting from the wood, or to do yoga on the beach. And even less know about the Posidonia, the plant which makes the local waters appear so shiny and clean. And that’s also why protecting and respecting the environment are of vital importance in this small island.