Weekend with Love in Madrid 2015

After the longest 17 days of my life, I finally got to spend a lovely weekend in Madrid with my love.

El Retiro- Jardine del Buen Retiro

Madrid has one of the best public transportations in Europe. It is affordable (£2 flat rate for all journeys on metro); it is efficient (trains are frequent and are almost always on time); it is simple (all the metro lines are numbered, e.g. line C6, instead of having to remember a complicated station name in a foreign language)

Paseo de la Castellana

Mercado de San Miguel

Helado de Turrón is one of the “must tries” while visiting Madrid. I got mine from RODILLA in Puerta Delhi Sol. At only €1.95, the portion is extremely generous.

Puerta del Sol

Turrón is a nougat-like confectionery mostly made with almonds, mixed with sugar, honey and egg whites. A typical Christmas fare all over Spain that was originated from southeast Mediterranean coast, in the region of Valencia.

street art cortes district

Cortes is certainly my favorite neighbourhood to wander and explore. There are countless restaurants and boutique shops. Every shop in Cortes is so thoughtfully decorated that each place offers you a unique set of ambience and personality.

I particularly enjoyed my stroll from Plaza del Angel to Plaza de Lavapiés via Calle Olivar.

plaza de la Montera

On the other hand, if you are having a constant love affair with literature, you certainly should not miss the book stalls along Calle Claudio Moyano. They sell everything from old books that only cost €1 to vintage collections at heavily discounted price.

Salamanca neighbourhood

If you have any form of  OCD, then Mercado de San Antón would be your example of how a market should look like in heaven. From chorizos to the smallest cherries, everything is perfectly aligned to the perfect angle.

Embajadores neighbourhood

The arrival of night time is when the magic happens& here comes the spectacular

Templo de Debod at 10:13pm

Nerja & Frigiliana, June 2015

hiking Frigiliana 🔜 Nerja

Happiness comes from the novelty of new experience and I am lucky enough to have met Rachael, who also turns out to be a kayaking instructor. So here we go, my first amazingly wonderful experience with kayaking.

kayaking with Rachael 01-06-2015

The weather turned out to be perfect, the sea was completely calm. We got our kayaking rentals from a stall on playa carabeillo, one of the most beautiful beaches in Nerja. The all inclusive rental comes at a mere €5.5 per hour. On a second thought, after spending a few months in London, everything from the south coast Spain appears to be ridiculously cheap!
Playa Carabeillo is an easy walk from the famous Balcón de Europa. As we paddle away, there are gorgeous waterfalls and secluded coves on almost every corner. The water is incredibly clear& I got to experience this 2 hours of pure bliss.

hiking Nerja 🔜 Frigiliana with Rachael 31-05-2015

Frigiliana is one of the many Pueblos Blancos (white villages) you could visit in in Andalucia. Her rich Moorish culture and history could be seen in the Mudéjar district.

street of Frigiliana

This is the old district inhabited by the Moors before and after the Reconquista. Its name Mudéjar is used to describe the architectural style used by Arab craftsmen working in Christian territory. 

For four days at the end of August each year, Frigiliana hosts the Festival of the Three Cultures (Festival de las Tres Culturas), celebrating the region’s historic confluence and co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions. (from Wikipedia)

streets of Frigiliana

sunset from rooftop in Nerja

Undiscovered Andalucía-Spain 2015

The irony: during my four years living abroad in Houston, Texas; one of my favourite restaurants is called “Andalucia”. Back then, I was quite proud of my knowledge of tapas and flamenco as something distinctively Spanish and remotely Mexican. 

Embalse de La Bolera en Pozo Alcón

Fast forward four years later, when unexpected life events brought me to this part of the world, I realize how little I know about Andalucia. As the cliché goes, the more you travel, the more you realise how little you know about the world. There is always a new place/ culture/ people that’s awaiting to be discovered. Of course, I am determined to educate myself. 


Andalucía and the Moorish influence

The Spanish occupation by the Moors began in 711 AD when an African army from Northern Africa invaded  Al-Andalús, or Andalucía as it is today.  This 800 years of Moorish ruling has left some of the most magnificent art and architecture that could be seen in Spain today.