All the cats were fine, as always, after the Sanlúcar Getaway. Two nights max is the longest I will ever leave them on their own. But although well-fed and watered, and with an extra sand box and all that… this is what they missed the most. And me too.
Bajo de Guiá – where the Guadalquivir meets the sea
Two days before leaving for Sanlúcar the weather forecast abruptly changed from lovely and sunny to RAIN for all three days of the getaway. And with thunderstorms on the last day. But aside from a bit of rain the first morning, we were spared. Okay, it wasn’t blue skies and sunny, but I was so happy it wasn’t raining, since we did a LOT of walking over those three days. Here are a few of my favourite pics.
lemon tree in the bodega garden
looking out over Sanlúcar rooftops
fabulous catavinos bar table
donkeys being prepped for the San José pilgrimage
dusk view of the square from my hotel room
Seriously I don’t even know where to start… it was amazing, a dream come true, an experience I will never forget (and hope to repeat). For the moment I shall leave you with this bucolic pic of the Ibérico pigs snuffling around in the open mountain air, looking for acorns. More to come…
So… I loved this place. One of Madrid’s coolest new cocktail bars. Even though I’m not so big on cocktails, or alcoholic drinks other than wine. But during my last Madrid Getaway I ended up stopping in here two days in a row, early evening, for a cocktail. And it was lovely. Great ambiance, friendly staff, tasty drinks… looking forward to the opening party of their sister bar here in Sevilla in the Mercer Hotel.
From new discoveries (thanks to Pilar & Antonio) to revisiting old favourites, as you can see, it was a very FULL three days. But my favourite foodie moment was meeting Paco, who’s been running the Mini Bar in Cádiz for 45 years. It’s impossible to spend money here, the seafood is fast, fab and fresh, with friendly service and nice wines too.
New reviews and updates will (hopefully) be up on Azahar Tapas soon.
It was a fabulous birthday getaway and felt so much longer than just an overnight trip. We arrived in Ronda around 11.30 on Wednesday and took a scenic route to our hotel.
La Colegiata de Ronda (actually holiday apartments) was recommended by Mannie from Toma & Coe and it was perfect. The only “problem” was that we were barely there other than to sleep, so we didn’t get to take advantage of the rooftop terrace or the kitchen. But it was very spacious and comfortable and the owner, Gracia, was super helpful and friendly.
Of course there were tapas! We managed to fit in three delicious meals while we were there (plus one breakfast) but, according to my Fitbit, the amount we walked (much of it uphill) helped cancel out the extra calories. We enjoyed the trendy tapas at Tragatá, but traditional food won out. La Niña de Adela was as fabulous as I remembered it, though it has changed a bit since my previous visit in 2014. Our final lunch was next door at Mesón El Sacristán (run by Gracia’s brother Antonio) and it was wonderful.
Aside from visiting museums and walking up and down the gorge, our most unusual experience came about just by chance. Since I signed up for the Fitur Tourism Fair a couple of weeks ago I’ve been receiving emails from different tour operators, inviting me to visit them at their booth. So when another Fitur email popped up on my phone while we were on the bus I was about to ignore it … but the word Ronda caught my eye. It was from a place called Reserva Tauro just outside Ronda and, like the other emails, it suggested meeting up at Fitur. So I wrote back right away, saying I was actually on the bus to Ronda and plans were made for us to visit on Thursday morning.
Reserva Tauro is a breeding farm for fighting bulls and purebred Andalusian and Arabian horses located in the Sierra de las Nieves (a UNESCO site). It is run by Rafael Tejada, who is a bullfighter as well as a breeder. The visit was wonderful, quite exceeding my expectations. We were taken around the farm, sometimes on foot, sometimes on a little “tourist train”, and our guide kept us both entertained and informed. We got to see the young foals (so cute, all legs!), the mother cows and their young, and the bravo bulls. I even got to see Ibérico pigs close up. Later we were treated to a short riding performance, and Rafael showed us how to use the different fighting capes (which are much heavier than they look). Afterwards we were brought back to the testing ring and sat outside on the adjacent terrace, where we were given wine and snacks before being taken back to town. Honestly, if you are planning a trip to Ronda you MUST do this.
We also went to the bullring in town (Spain’s oldest), the Baños Árabes and the curious Museo Lara, which is about a dozen museums in one. And of course we made sure we were on the terrace of the Parador Hotel overlooking the gorge at sunset to enjoy a drink and the changing light. It was a perfect getaway. Next up… Córdoba!
I have been thinking about where to go for a big 60th BIRTHDAY TRIP, since I reckoned that making it to my 7th decade on January 7th was indeed something to celebrate. But my first choice (San Sebastián) fell though because my friend Gabriella is going to be away all month, and one of the main highlights of going to SS would be to hang out with G. And then I thought about Lisbon, but direct flights are difficult to find, so I may hold out on that one until I can go by car. Also, both places are iffy weather-wise in January, especially as I was planning to spend a week wherever I went, and a week in the rain anywhere would not be pleasant.
And so I have come up with a new plan, which is to celebrate my birthday all month long (!!!) with a different overnight getaway each week. Four destinations that immediately came to mind – Cádiz, Ronda, Córdoba, Granada – are all places I haven’t visited for a couple of years (or more) and so I thought this would be a nice way to “catch up”. Also, since I’ll be travelling by train or bus, I can pretty much book last minute, and avoid rainy days.
So… first stop Ronda! 🙂
Good times in Antequera with @welovemalaga @svqconcierge @tomatours @thaneprince @larosillacomida. This was the highlight of our very RAINY weekend, meeting up at @artedecozina on Sunday afternoon for Charo Carmona’s La Cozina en Tiempos de Cervantes, recreating dishes from the book of Francisco Martinez Montiño, chef to Felipe III (circa 1611), and paired with local Málaga wines.
We were also thrilled to find out that Charo had just received her first Guia Repsol sun (Spanish equivalent to a Michelin star). Well deserved.
- garbanzo cream
- fried cod skin
- aubergine with honey and spices
- cardoon pastel
- retinto beef “scotch egg” with quail egg
- podrida stew
- tuna and egg omelette
- pigeon in mandarine sauce
- almond quesadilla
- sugar melindre with apple
- chocolate “lecture”
- vintage muscat 2015 (white)
- igualado 2016 (red)