SHARE
COPY LINK

OFFBEAT

Could bottled Ibiza air be this summer’s best souvenir?

If you fancy taking home a more out of the ordinary souvenir this summer, how about some fresh air from Spain’s holiday isle?

Could bottled Ibiza air be this summer's best souvenir?
Gianluca Pomo and his tins of Aire de Ibiza. Photo: Airedeibiza.es

Two families on the Spanish island of Ibiza have started selling one of the island’s most unlimited commodities: its air.  

Italian ice cream seller Gianluca Pomo and his friend José Antonio Fernández were walking through the Ibizan countryside on a day out with their families when they struck upon the idea.

“We realized how lucky we were and we decided to try and immortalize that moment,” Fernández told The Local.

“We decided to seal the air in a container so that whenever you looked at it, you remembered that moment,” he added.

Pomo, who runs an ice cream shop on the island, began selling Aire de Ibiza (Air of Ibiza) a month ago and the pair already report a lot of interest – unsurprisingly, mainly from tourists keen to take home a more unusual souvenir.

“Aire de Ibiza is designed exclusively for tourists and visitors to the island so that they can take with them a souvenir, an emotion, a piece of the island… in the form of air,” Fernández told The Local of the product, which sells for €5.90 a tin.

But what makes Ibiza’s air so different from the air in other parts of Spain and further afield?

“It’s the purity of the air,” says Fernández. “The air in Ibiza is pure and virgin, and the air – as well as the moments you enjoy breathing it in – is unique.”

The air inside the green tin featuring a map of the island is described as “100 percent pure air, no additives, made in Spain and gluten free” while its label reads:

“Close your eyes and breathe deeply, imagine blue like the colour of our sea. Remember the sensational light of our island, don’t forget our sunsets, give yourself space for your emotions, don’t abandon your dreams and live with optimism.”

For Fernández and Pomo, the idea of “bottling” the air is not about opening the tin, far from it: it is hermetically sealed to prevent it being opened. It’s about using it to bring back memories of your time on the island.

Unsurprisingly, there have been some people who simply do not get the concept.

“There have been people who just think we’re pulling their leg,” admits Fernández, “but generally it has been really well received.”  

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL

IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

SHOW COMMENTS