What happens to the party capital of the world when the party is forced to stop?
Back in January, me and my group of 20-something lads set our sights on a summer rave in Ibiza.
Flights were booked, villa deposits were paid, and the chat was flowing in the Ibiza 2020 WhatsApp group – then Covid hit.
But as restrictions eased, the signs started to look good as Spain allowed holiday makers back into the country.
While the super clubs remained shut, booze was still flowing in the bars and Wayne Lineker was taking socially-distanced selfies.
Love Island stars and other Z-list celebs were being paid by travel companies to fly out to Ibiza to prove it was still the go to party destination of the summer – but our experience wasn’t quite so glam.
We quickly discovered that it can be a terrifying place as we headed back to our Ibizan villa after being turfed out of a bar once the 1am curfew hit.
Something didn’t feel right as we entered the luxury villa – and there was devastation when we realised we had been raided.
Thieves had ransacked our home for the week and got their hands on our belongings, but the bizarre robbery left us all feeling equally worried and baffled.
The police would later inform us the thieves had smashed a shutter and broken in through a locked downstairs windows.
But it was the items they had and hadn’t stolen that started to make us question whether there was a wider conspiracy going on.
They had taken some of the obvious things, a laptop, cash, headphones, trainers, designer clothes and sunglasses.
But the strange robbers had also decided they wanted dirty boxers, toothbrushes and the sweaty knee brace I use for running.
The petty criminals had also kindly taken our passports out of the bags they stole so we could at least get home.
We were later informed that one of the properties being looked after by the same company had been broken into seven times this year as the lack of tourism makes people desperate.
While most of us kept our heads, one hysterical lad lost his completely and claimed he would be leaving the island before sunrise.
With all hope lost, Beefa had seemingly beaten us after less than 48 hours.
Despite our hopes for a break similar to those covering our social media pages from the celeb holiday makers, we faced a frustrating twist as Spain announced that they were going back into harsher lockdown measures just weeks before we were set to jet out.
That meant no pool parties, all bars would be shutting at 1am and no Wayne Lineker snap for Instagram.
But that wasn’t the end, as the UK government took Spain off the travel corridor list, meaning we would have to quarantine for two weeks once we got home. (You can read more in the official FCDO advice ).
There was pressure from the Mayor of Ibiza to make the Balearic Islands exempt, but it fell on deaf ears.
This meant that two members of the group had no other choice but to pull out.
Some airlines started cancelling flights, but trusty Ryanair were going full steam ahead to Ibiza.
Many of us had already had multiple holidays cancelled and had been working at home without a break for months.
We were willing to take anything we could get – Ibiza 2020 was still going to happen.
After picking up some wavy shirts, pink trunks and a raving jacket, my bag was packed and ready to go.
I had planned a quiet London eve, but inadvertently ended up having 12 pints due to a series of (un)fortunate events.
The plan was to stay overnight at my friend’s flat then walk to the bus station to get our shockingly early 5:30am coach to the airport.
But I accidentally fell asleep while going to pick up my suitcase from home and awoke still drunk to a flurry of missed calls and texts.
There was a mad dash in a taxi and a sprint to the bus station but I made it safely on board with two whole minutes to spare.
With few other passengers in Stansted, airport security was a breeze and we were delighted to see that Wetherspoons was still open.
But that led to the second frantic rush of the day as we lost track of time and were forced to run to the gate – again making the cut off time by just two minutes.
A two-and-half hour flight later, wearing our face masks for the duration, we touched down on the island of Ibiza.
We had already completed our Spanish health forms with details of the length of our trip and where we were staying so went straight through the security after presenting our QR codes.
With time to kill before check-in at our villa we headed for a few Estrellas at a bar, but the smokers encountered their first issue.
You are not allowed to smoke anywhere in public unless you wanted to spend thousands on a fine.
Everyone must also wear their marks at all times in in the street – with the locals not afraid to confront slacking Brits.
All our worries were over when we rocked up at our sensational new home for the next week.
Our extravagant 10-bed villa had its own roof terrace, fancy artwork and a balcony giving stunning views of the south of the island.
There was also a massive pool, which was great until I dived into the shallow end by mistake and was left with a cricket ball-sized lump on my head.
As darkness fell it was time to hit the town, but our spirits were crushed when we realised how quiet Ibiza Town was.
After wandering around trying to find anywhere that would serve us, we ended up in a bar with a bowling alley and TV screens showing Spain’s version of You’ve Been Framed.
Day two was spent lazing around the pool before heading off to the centre of Ibiza nightlife – San Antonio.
Thousands of guests usually plough into Lineker’s bar, so it was devastating to see the lights off and no one home.
We eventually found a bar but music was kept to a low volume, there was no dancing allowed and we got turfed out bang on 1am.
Desperate staff used many tactics to get us to buy shots and bottles of vodka – including flirting, abuse and begging.
It was at this point we returned home to witness the aftermath of that fateful robbery.
The third day started with a walk down to the police station to fill out forms and list our stolen items.
The mood in camp was low, so a night at Café del Mar was just what the doctor ordered.
Famed for it’s incredible sunsets, we watched the sun come down from a beach-side table while downing wine and cocktails.
The tables were very spaced out to stop socialising with other groups.
The empty DJ booth was a sorry sight to behold and the music was kept to a slow tempo to try to send us to sleep.
There was a change of pace on the fourth day as half the group headed to Ibiza citadel which is built around the castle.
As The Manor once said, “Ooooh the weather is sweet,” in Ibiza but it bucketed it down with rain during a bleak morning.
Once the glorious sunshine was back we searched for a place to go snorkeling, eventually climbing down a rope and clambered down rocks to reach a secluded cove.
We were greeted by a group of naked men and quickly realised this was a naturist beach, but decided we’d be keeping our trunks on.
Without the super clubs keeping us up until dawn it was an opportunity to get some wholesome activities in.
Two of us climbed the Sa Talaia in Sant Josep and reached the highest point in Ibiza.
But that didn’t come problem free as our taxi driver claimed my card payment had not gone through, despite it appearing on my mobile banking app.
During an awkward stand-off he drove us around in a bid to unsettle us but I refused to pay and feared the Ibiza mafia might kidnap us.
That was until, embarrassingly, the payment was cancelled on my phone and we got cash out.
The highlight of the fifth day was a visit to Café Mambo in San An for another boozy session.
There was some confusion when the members of the group drinking wine became smashed but those on cocktails were mysteriously sober.
On our final day in Beefa was spent exploring every corner of the island in a pair of Mustangs.
The sun was out and the roof was off on the convertible as we sped around winding coastal roads to check out some of the best beauty spots.
The best meal of the trip was a massive paella with all manner of seafood at a restaurant on the beach.
We then watched the sunset at a secluded beach just ten minutes from San Antonio that was so mesmerising that the locals started applauding.
The following day we picked up the mountain of Estrella cans from all corners of the villa and handed back the keys.
My housemate had his only bag stolen and didn’t want to splash out on a new one so walked through airport security with a supermarket bag for life – and unsurprisingly the shifty lad was pulled to one side for additional checks.
As we waved goodbye to Ibiza we contemplated what could of been if the clubs were open but were thankful we had made it back with at least some of our belongings.
There were tonnes of signs reminding us to complete an online form by providing our journey and contact details once we re-entered the UK.
But unlike Spain, no one scanned our QR codes and anyone who had not completed the form was allowed to waltz straight in.
The government advises that you don’t travel home from the airport by taxi or public transport but with little other options it was the latter for us – with our masks still firmly attached to our faces
After arriving back home, it suddenly dawned on me that two weeks of quarantine in an underground flat will be torture.
Was it all worth it? Probably not.
But we’re now part of an elite minority who can say they faced Ibiza amid a global pandemic.