Bar Alfalfa, Seville

I just loved this little neighborhood tapas bar near where we were staying.  It had a walk-up window where you could be served, but we opted to eat inside at the bar.

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Bar Alfalfa is located at Calle Candilejo, 1, 41004 Sevilla, Spain.

© Sarah Milstein 2018

 

Seville, Spain Part I

Seville is magic.  It’s like a fairy tale, or one of the seven kingdoms in Game of Thrones.  (Well technically it is one of the seven kingdoms–Dorne was filmed at the Real Alcázar.)   A few friends put together lists of places to visit and things to do: see flamenco, explore the Barrio Santa Cruz, and visit the Catedral, Real Alcázar, Plaza de España, and Parque de María Luisa.

I went all in on the flamenco.  I saw shows at La Carboneria and Museo del Baile Flamenco, and took a lesson.  At the Museo del Baile Flamenco, I sat in the front row and was so close to the stage that my knees were just inches from it.  When the bailaora (female flamenco dancer) spun around, I could feel the wind from her dress on my face, and when the bailaor stomped his feet, I closed my eyes tightly to prevent his sweat from flying into my eyes.  (No photos were allowed in either venue, so I don’t have any to share.)

Having just watched two different performances, I was excited to take a lesson and ended up being the only one in my class.  My beautiful and talented teacher Florencia looked at me laughingly, “Do you want to ask questions, or do you want to dance?”  Apparently, I wanted to do a little of both.  It was hard!  She offered to take a video, but I quickly declined.  Nobody outside of that room needed to see me erratically stomp my feet and crack up when I invariably got mixed up.

Florencia

Florencia (above) standing outside her studio in La Macarena.  Plaza de España (below).

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Parque de María Luisa (below).

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© Sarah Milstein 2018

 

 

San Sebastián, Spain Part III

While eating pintxos, someone told me that there’s a four-mile stretch of the Camino de Santiago that you can hike from San Sebastián to Pasaia (or Pasajes).  Many posts suggest that it’s easy to find the beginning.  Give yourself a break if you get lost–we did, and so did a couple we met at a nearby restaurant who had temporarily given up on the idea of finding the start.  Spain-holiday has pretty good instructions on finding the beginning–once you see the stairs below, you’ll know you’re nearing the path.  If you’re in need of some exercise, which after eating non stop, you may be craving, I definitely recommend this hike.

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© Sarah Milstein 2018

San Sebastián, Spain Part II

Google map of

As indicated in the annotated Google map above, there are four beaches in San Sebastián: (1) Ondarreta, (2) La Concha, (3) Zurriola, and (4) Isla Santa Clara.  (The pink hearts on the map denote my favorite pintxos bars and spots for coffee that I mentioned in Part I.)  You can walk the entire length of La Concha and Ondarreta in about 30 minutes, and Zurriola on the other side of the city, is even shorter.  The day we walked along Zurriola, it was drizzling and the ocean was brimming with surfers.

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I explored La Concha and Ondarreta on our last day in San Sebastián.  Unfortunately, right as I settled into the perfect spot in the sand, I had to leave for the airport.  All the more reason to return!

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La Concha (top four photos); Ondarreta (bottom photo).

© Sarah Milstein 2018

Costa Brava, Spain

I often go to places and ask friends who live there or who’ve been for recommendations, but often forget to take note of places I find most memorable or that I’d recommend.  My friend Sukanya and I just spent two weeks in Spain, visiting Barcelona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Seville, and Costa Brava.  Between The New York Times 36 Hours series and recommendations from several friends, we had plenty to keep us busy.  We went to Costa Brava last, having missed the memo that summer ended the week before, but I’m still happy we were able to spend a few days there, even if it was cool and raining half the time.

We stayed at Hotel Aigua Blava in Begur, on the coastline of Costa Brava.  This was the view from our hotel.  Not terrible.  Also their daily breakfast buffet was amazing.

View from Hotel Aigua Blava

The hotel was near numerous beaches, which when you search on Instagram, are usually covered with people.  I was able to walk to all of the beaches below from our hotel, passing people who appeared to be serious hikers (or at least who had walking sticks and better shoes than me), traversing rocks, and trekking up and down stairs, through tunnels, and often convinced I was heading in the wrong direction, but happily found my way to each.

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Just to the north, through a tunnel and down a serious set of stairs, you will hit Plaja Fonda.

A little to the south are Playa de En Malaret (below), Playa Cala Smiroli (middle), and through yet another tunnel, Playa Cala Aiguablava (bottom).

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The weather report invariably, and often inaccurately, predicted rain, so we decided to explore the town of Begur one day.  What remains of the castle at the top of the town provides 360 views, and the walk there was beautiful.  Also, if you can, get a drink or eat a meal at the adorable Hotel Aiguaclara while in town.

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© Sarah Milstein 2018