8.24.2014

Madrid Travel Diary

Amazing risotto with saffron and chorizo--so good!
 While researching what to do in Madrid I came across La Gatoteca aka a cat cafe! I had heard about cat cafes in Tokyo but didn't think they existed anywhere else. Seeing as both Grant and I are obsessed with cats, visiting was a given. The Gatoteca is really more of a nice shelter with Ikea furniture and a small, self-service coffee and tea station than an honest to goodness cafe. You pay a small entree fee which goes to the care of the shelter cats in order to spend about an hour playing with the animals. DEFINITELY worth it. The cats were all very sweet and we still to this day bring up some of the cats we met that day (yeah, not exaggerating).
 In heaven!!


 We strolled through Retiro park often while on our trip. The park was a nice little getaway from the heat and hustle and bustle of Madrid.

 Terrible quality phone pic but GEEZ was the food in Madrid amazing! Definitely our favorite culinary destination out of all the places we visited. We're still dreaming of all the tapas we ate on the daily. We loved the casualness and slower pace of tapas, ordering food wasn't as stressful as in other countries since I still remembered some of the Spanish that I had learned in high school (whew!) and was able to read and menus more confidently as well as talk with the restaurant staff.  Pictured: pan con tamate, jamon iberico, manchego, and sangria of course!
 So much color and festiveness in the streets! We lucked out and visited during Fiesta de San Isidro. San Isidro is Madrid's Patron Saint so there were lots of parades, fireworks, singing, and dancing in the streets the whole time we were there.
 We celebrated our 6 year anniversary while we were in Spain and as a special treat we visited a hammam for some extra relaxation. The hammam was in an excavated wine cellar below the city streets and it was like a whole new world. There were different temperature pools to soak in, a sauna, and a tea tasting room. Bliss!
 Stunning ceilings at el catedral de la Almudena. This was a random visit on our last afternoon, so glad we made the time to stop by.
 Chocolateria San Gines! I think this is the oldest restaurant in Madrid and it has a storied, glamorous history of serving churros con chocolate to movie stars, dignitaries, and various persons of interest. This place was so good we had breakfast here twice!
 Major desk inspiration at the Reina Sofia.

 Stumbled upon a fair while we were there, too!


8.06.2014

We Meet Again, Palm Springs


Outfit details:
vintage 60s shift dress, vintage stetson, sandals c/o Pons Avarcas

Hello! Wanted to drop in and share a few snaps from mine and Grant's time in Palm Springs. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Palm Springs is our favorite Southern California getaway. Luckily, it wasn't too unbearably hot while we were there (just a mere 100 degrees--not bad) so we were able to do a reasonable amount of exploring in the daylight hours while popping into the requisite air conditioned thrift store to keep cool. Sweating behind the knees (anyone? anyone?) is not a good look. 


7.06.2014

Quinta Da Regalaira Travel Diary

 Here it is! Photos from our day trip to Sintra to check out the Quinta Da Regaleira. To be honest, we could have spent a few days just exploring the town of Sintra alone (the whole town is pretty much a UNESCO World Heritage Site)--there is SO much to see and do. Don't get me wrong, we loved Lisbon but Sintra is straight out of a fairy tale.

Getting to Sintra is pretty easy, you take a train (about a half hour ride) and then hop on a bus to see the specific sight you want to see. I guess you could walk to the different sights but the town is really hilly and a few of the places are legitimately on top of a mountain. No thank you.

Anyway, when I was planning our trip and googling "best day trips outside of Lisbon" seeing the Quinta Da Regaleira in Sintra was highly recommended and I can definitely see why.  The QDR (too lazy) is an estate that was built in the early 1900s by a guy who was super into things like Free Masonry, the mysteries of the natural world, Knights Templar stuff with a dash of iluminati mixed in for good measure. Wild stuff, right?
One of the little chapels on the grounds. The manueline architecture mixed in with the forest-y, kind of tropical foliage made this place seem even more mysterious and amazing. 
Moss growing everywhere
One of the many random towers that peppered the grounds replete with treacherous, impossibly steep spiral staircases leading to beautiful views of the surrounding hillside
Ugh what a view!! On top of that hill is the Castelo dos Mouros, an old Moorish castle
Okay so this was a really cool feature. You walk into the doorway and are greeted by a pond and a pitch black tunnel leading to who knows where. As you descend further and further into the darkness the air gets cooler, the ground and tunnel walls are slippery with water, water drips overhead onto you, and as you start to wonder how long this tunnel go on for--BAM! A beam of light shines onto the ground and you realize you're in the most incredible Game of Thrones-esque tower with a spiral staircase chiseled into the rock beckoning you to climb to the top.
Yeah, unreal. The Dragonstone vibes are strong here
These little flowers were growing on the sides of the walls

Just me casually posing by this waterfall, you know.
We saw people walking on these stones and had to give it ago

So many water fountains, ponds, and lush ferns everywhere
A pup friend
D'aww :*)
The tiles!!
Inside the estate

Sigh, what a dream! These photos don't even do this place justice, truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to and I do hope we come visit again!