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Flower Power and Formentera Guitars

A little puzzle to start with:
What has a total surfaces area of 82km, is in the middle of the Mediterranean and is the land of the flower power people? Well, can you guess? Formentera, of course, Ibiza 's sister island. Just an hour's trip with the boat from Ibiza and you will reach the point Jules Verne once assumed to be the end of the world!

Long hair is their trademark and the cult musical ‘Hair' made them famous - the flower power people. The few that have remained live where nature is still natural: on the island of Formentera . Far from the madding tourist crowds, the island has retained its wild, romantic character.

Many visitors explore the smallest Balearic Island on the back of a bicycle, peddling past salt-works, bays with crystal-clear water and soaring cliffs. Fascinated, we watch the water changing colour. Some tim es it glistens a jade green, then sky blue or even turquoise..... Formentera itself also shimmers like an uncut emerald in the Spanish sun. Only 17 km wide and 20 km long, the island is tiny, but well worth a visit. Luxury and elegance are foreign words here, but the ambience has its own rich quality. There are 5000 inhabitants on the island, an eclectic mixture of fisherman, farmers and hippies. The hippy population tend to keep to themselves in the ideal flower power world they have created, so it is not easy to take a look behind the scenes. However, we manage to get to know a couple of them and to get an insight into their approach to life.

Thomas Stratman (photo), with his two friends, owns ‘Formentera Guitars' - a school for people who want to learn how to make electric guitars. 6 hours a day, the wood craftsman explain to the students how they can make their dream guitar. Theory and practice, a lot of live music and sun and sea: for alternative individualists, the ideal holiday!

Thomas Stratman (Formentera Guitars)
We hold these courses from May to October in the summer - about 10 courses in total with a maximum of 7 participants..... it is intended to be a healthy mixture of holiday and technical instruction - that is always popular with guitarists..... Anybody can register; the course runs for 2 1/2 weeks. The lesson begins with the raw materials, with wood still with its bark on, so that the students get a feeling for the subject. Naturally, we also do a lot of theory, for example how wood is processed, why particular woods make the sound they do and which wood combination is to be recommended.

Since1988, people have been building their own fine electronic and bass guitars in the bright, spacious workshop facilities. Each participant builds an instrument under expert tutelage. The intruments are renowned for their excellent playability, attention to detail and above all that "Balearic" sound. Maximum seven novices and advanced participants can build their dream instrument from scratch while learning practically all there is to know about guitarbuilding, repair and adjustment. This school has graduated nearly 500 enthusiastic youngsters until today. Everybody between 15 and 60 is welcome! Anybody wanting to do such a course would be best advised to visit Thomas Stratman directly at Formentera Guitars, his guitar workshop on the island. Musicians such as Chris Rea, Nina Hagen and Frank Zappa have been spotted on Formentera and there are lots of other artists letting their creative talent run wild here.

Formentera is an island where you can relax, stare at the stars and think about the meaning of life. Work which one enjoys also represents part of this joie de vivre. A hippy couple live in the island's only mill, which earned a name for itself when Bob Dylan used to stay there some times. The couple earn their living by making leather shoes and bags which are later sold next to the ceramic wares and jewellery at the hippy market. And there is something special in the craft world in the Avalon Gallery in La Mola. The Swiss team Louis, Andrea and Marcel work on their esoteric paintings here, works that have already been enthusiastically received at exhibitions in Zurich .

Lifestyle is highly subjective, individual matter. The hippies enjoy their free and informal way of life - keeping alive the feeling of the early 70's, inspired both by their surroundings and the warm sunshine of Formentera.

Stratmann Gitarren - Formentera Guitars or

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* This special feature "Formentera" has been one of more than 300 Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, layout etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.

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