one year ago today…


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… I was enjoying Beer O’clock (and pulpo!) with these two lovelies, Anna & Jorge (aka @thekilomEATers) in Santiago de Compostela. I haven’t done nearly as much travelling this summer as I did last (Málaga, London, Madrid, Santiago), mostly because of THE MOVE, but tomorrow I am taking off for another Málaga Getaway. Looking forward to getting back to my “second home”.

la monumental


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It’s been a good week, being on “staycation” in Sevilla, though an inordinate amount of time has been spent looking for ceiling and wall lamps for the new Casa Azahar. Which led to not one, but two, visits to El Corte Inglés in Nervión. The first time finished with a fab lunch at Casa Paco “El Buen Comer”, making the trip worthwhile (even though I came home empty handed). But a couple of days later I decided to go back for the two wall lamps I’d seen there, which ended with an early evening walk home down Eduardo Dato (totally beat the 10,000 steps record that day!). And along the way we passed what is left of Sevilla’s second, and short-lived, bullring, La Monumental.

I’d first learned about its existence back in 2009, after visiting La Monumental tapas bar, located on the old site and filled with bullfighting memorabilia, including framed contemporary news clippings about Sevilla’s almost forgotten bullring.

This ill-fated second Plaza de Toros was first opened to the public in 1918, closed in 1921, and finally demolished in 1930. The driving force behind its construction was the famous bullfighter José Gómez Ortega, known as Joselito el Gallo, whose death in the ring on May 16, 1920 was a contributory factor in its closing. In 1915, when construction started, this was a ‘greenfield’ site a short way outside the city. Its demolition made way for the new suburbs that now spread out to Nervión and beyond.

The architects were José Espiau y Muñoz and Francisco Urcola Lazcanotegui, whose other works include the splendid Hotel Alfonso XIII, and the Edificio Adriática at the end of Avenida de la Constitución.

Since the first time I visited this remaining gate to the bullring a plaque has been put up. Can you believe that for all these years it just stood there without anybody knowing what it was? Anyhow, the plaque reads…

“Here was the monumental one of Seville (1918 – 1921) driven by Joselito El Gallo, King of Los Toreros”. September 2012, centenary of the alternative of Joselito, his supporters.



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Peter & Robert at La Azotea

Met another Twitter pal yesterday! This is Robert Wright @GaoCho, who has actually been living in Sevilla for a year, but I only became aware of him when he sent me a private message last December about something he’d read about me. Then the other day he also commiserated with my “copycat tour company” issues and it was only then that I realized that he lives here (duh). So I said we should meet up for a beer some time and, as I already had a meeting planned at The Office (aka La Azotea Santa Cruz) we decided to meet up there. Spent a lovely couple of hours over a couple of beers and LOTS of chat. Turns out we know quite a few of the same people as both Robert and his husband are tour guides (Robert also writes guide books as well as his Endless Mile project). It was great to meet such a fun and interesting person – hope we can catch up again before long.

sunday times travel mag


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VERY happy with this nice mention in the September edition of the Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s special Foodie Spain & Portugal issue. It’s out now (print only) in case you’d like to pick up a copy too. Lots of great tips on where to eat well on the Iberian peninsula. Thanks ST!

holiday walks



Been trying to get back into the morning walks, which kind of went by the wayside during the whole moving thang. It’s mostly a question of timing and – at least in summer – getting out early enough, before it gets too hot. Also, nice to time things so that we can stop for a cold beer at the end.  😉

Before moving I had two nice 1.5 hour walking routes that worked well, but from the new Casa Azahar these have had to be altered. And so, as I am “on holiday” this week, it seemed a good time to work this out, and I now have two routes again – a river one and a park one – that I really like. Next week’s holiday walks will take place in Málaga. Have already got that route planned too.

lessons in lounging


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This week (other than one tapas tour on Tuesday) I am on a “staycation” in Sevilla, and here’s Luna giving me a lesson in lounging. This is her favourite lounging spot in the new Casa Azahar. No doubt I’ll be spending too much time lamp hunting, but I also hope to relax before going off to Málaga next week.

It’s been a busy summer and so some “down time” is probably a good idea. I’m not actually very good at relaxing, but it’s nice having a change of routine this week, and also looking forward to seeing the sea again.

blasts from the past


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The other day I was wrapped up in all the IKEA nonsense, feeling abused by corporate bullshit, and then I happened to see that – once again! – one of the new corporate tapas tour companies in town had copied another of my tours. So I mentioned on Twitter how disheartening this is, to not only have people copy things I have created, but they even use the same bars FFS, as if nobody will notice that the bars no longer have actual clients in them, just food tour groups. As if bars don’t have their own eco-systems. Grrrrr…

Then the next day I got a mention on Twitter linking to this photo taken almost exactly 6 years ago (Sept 2011), with a great comment from Tim being very supportive. And I remember this tour! I almost didn’t do it because I was still getting over that emergency op but at that point I also really wanted to get out of the house. So I arranged it that I would meet them with Peter at the first stop, just to say hola, and that Peter would take it from there, since I didn’t think I could manage a whole evening out. But I actually made it to the second stop (this photo was taken at Bodeguita Romero) and I remember not only having a great time before leaving Tim and his friends in Peter’s capable hands, but also enjoying my first glass of wine in over a month.

Anyhow, what a great memory to be reminded of, and curiously this was my second “blast from the past” from 2011 this month, since Ross & Annie are also back in town. All of which is reminding me to enjoy what I have and embrace all the GOOD. Because sometimes I forget.