When I first heard that there was a ski resort in Spain not far from where I live, you could have knocked me down with a feather. How is it possible, its always so sunny and warm. Even in the winter, it never feels like winter!
When we ex pats get bored of the beach and crave some cold weather we head to the Spanish mountains of Sierra Nevada.
Id never even heard of Sierra Nevada before I moved to Spain, but apparently its a thing and our friends spend most of the early part of the year there. So naturally we had to get in on the action and its fast become a favorite
A favorite, massively due to the fact we have El Lodge...
El lodge is so cool. The hotel interiors, the service, the apres ski, the food. The list is endless
The rooms are so stylish and cosy you don't want to leave them. Until you catch a glimpse of the heated pool right outside your door... that's really all the persuasion you need!
In Fact I love El Lodge so much, I turn our terrace at home into "Belle Lodge" ... an alpine inspired winter space totally inspired by El Lodge. Cute eh!?
The sundeck is the place to hang out when your not skiing. Chairs draped in the chicest blankets to keep you warm (there are heaters too) and watch the skiers fly against a backdrop of snow covered mountains while you enjoy the most delicious lunch (cheese features heavily on the menu) so I was in heaven
And in the evening head to the Grill
Watch the sunset over the mountain as fireplace roars over a glass of wine. This place has a very special place in my heart. It was here that we decided on and toasted to our home which we affectionately call Provence in Espania
Aren't we so lucky to have a ski resort so close to home?
If you're visiting Sierra Nevada, I highly recommend El Lodge, its simply the best place to stay
We have lived between Spain and Gibraltar for coming up to three years now, and I'll be honest (and a little embarrassed) to tell you and tell you that Iv only just managed to make the trip to Zahara de los atunes
My friends are absolutely shocked by this fact, as its a real favourite place for more or less everyone who lives in this area. About a 30 Minute drive from Tarifa (a super cute beach town, I wrote about it here)
In fact, my lovely friend Anna was so dismayed that I was missing out on the whole Zahara vibe that she scheduled in a Friday lunch date. Aren't friends just the best!?
Zahara is more of a fishing village, much smaller than Tarifa. Smaller but perfectly formed, in that rustic, understated bohemian Spanish way that I have come to adore.
There is so much creativity and ingenuity...
She showed me a little favourite place of hers... 21 restaurant . Tucked away through one of the little streets, its the kind of place you need to know someone who knows about it. Hooray for Anna ( who has kindly taken up the position of Spanish life guide to me)
Its probably one of Zahara's fancier restaurants...But still bohemian and charming.
We took a table outside, nibbled on the freshest just out of the oven warm bread (is there anything better?) and caught up on some good old gossip while we waited for our lunch
I started with the baked brie which was incredible, Followed by the freshest monk fish ever. Zahara is actually known for its fish, as you would expect from a fishing village. And i'm told the tuna here is out of this world!
Next time I visit ill be sure to show you the beach which is spectacular!
I definitely recommend grabbing a dinner or lunch at 21 if your visiting Zahara, you wont be disappointed
When we are not travelling, the hubb's and I have a lovely Saturday routine. We take a a drive down to Marbella, park the car in Puerto banus and take the coastal walk all the way up to Marbella old town
And back again...
There's no denying its a long way... but its so pretty. And a great way to catch up with each other about our respective weeks and make plans for the future. And add into it the exercise, that really you don't notice your doing as your too busy chatting and taking in the sights.
And if you find yourself tiring, just stop off at one of the gorgeous chiringuito along the way. A particular favorite of ours is El Chiringuito. Best mojitos EVER
It always feels extra special as its only open for the summer months.
The coastal road leads all along the costa del sol, but we turn off once we hit Marbella old town. Its one of my favourite places in Spain, and it always makes me feel like im on vacay.
We get lost through the little white town, taking the windy cobbles streets and checking out the pretty boutiques and art shops
Another favourite stop off is La cuisine, on Avenida de Ricardo Soroano
We order cafe con leche, zumo de naranja (freshly squeezed and tastes amazing) and something to nibble on. La Cuisine also has a fabulous roof bar with views over the old town, perfect for cocktails with friends.
Straw bag here
Its such a pretty little town to potter about in. Filled with old churches, Bougainvillea draped buildings and flower-filled plazas.
And once we've had our fill of gorgeous old town, we turn around and walk all the way back.
This time only stopping periodically to admire the views of Gibraltar and Africa which on a clear day are truly incredible
We are always looking for Marbella recommendations so if you have any, please do let me know below in the comments
Ronda is another one of my absolute favourite places to visit in Andalusia (I know I have so many) and somewhere I had never heard of before we moved to Spain.
Setenil was a big Spanish bucket list location for me, and i'm sure I don't need to tell you why once you see what a truly unique and magical place it is. We took the drive up on an unforgiving hot day... you'd think we would have learned by now! Thankfully, we went early in the morning so the full Spanish heat had not yet kicked in
Summers in Spain, and especially Sotogrande are nothing short of magic. The temperature rises, chiringuito's open all along the beaches and the tourists descend. And things have just gotten even more exciting with the opening of The beach La Reserva
I have mentioned in my previous posts, when we aren't travelling outside of Spain, we try to see as much of Andalusia as we can. We recently discovered Arcos de la frontier, one of the many pueblo blancos (white towns) in the area
This year I decided that I really try to experience as much of the Spanish culture as I could.
Its a culture so rich, unique, and exciting id really be crazy not too.
I was incredibly lucky to be invited to celebrate La magica de la noche de San Juan by the utterly fabulous and oh so gorgeous The Marbella Club hotel
The marbella club hotel is of my favorite hotels in Spain, with interiors and style to dye for... and a glamorous history which only adds to its decedent vibe
La magica de la noche de San Juan or "the magic of the night of San Juan" is a festival that seems to embody life in Spain.
Its all about having a good time in the company of friends and loved ones. Typically held on the beach with roaring bonfires, drink, food, and friends and some very unique traditions,
It is a memorable, almost surreal occasion that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.
As legend states, everything begins again on the night of San Juan. It is an opportunity to burn unwanted memories and purify the soul through a ritual dip in the sea at midnight.
But before we went running into the sea we started the night with a new drink to me... refreshing Sau Sau, kind of like a Mojito but vodka based. Amazing!
So more about those rituals. After midnight, it is tradition to go into the sea and jump back over the waves 9 times to be blessed with fertility and well being. We had such fun with this after a few sau saus...
After this its customary to wash your face with sea water to ensure beauty and health for the year ahead. The sight of hundreds of people wandering into the water after midnight with the haze of bonfires everywhere is something I will never forget
And lastly, we were given a bunch of verbena to hang over our door to receive a blessing
We took a seat at our table for the evening, right on the beach, with the waves crashing around us
Blue accents everywhere, coordinating perfectly with the sea, while glimmering candles flickered all around
San Juan is all about changes. It is about night and day; fire and water. Fire purifies and water recuperates, refreshes, and rejuvenates.
And just in case we weren't entertained enough, we were treated to the most spectacular fireworks display from the pier
As is tradition. we wrote down anything we wished to forget on a piece of paper and threw them into the fire...ready for a new beginning and the start of summer
All along the coast of marbella, fires after fire dotted the coastline. It really was quite the spectacle. The smell of smoke in the air, music playing and a feeling of camaraderie that crossed age, culture, and background. It really is a magical night
After a lovely evening in cordoba, we woke the next day bright eyed and not quite so bushy tailed ready to explore and discover the patios.
Starting in 1918, The Patio contests is sponsored by the Córdoba City Hall. To really understand why a contest of this type was created in Córdoba, here is a little insight into the local architecture.
Black broderie anglais dress Zara, Black bag Zara
As Córdoba is hot and dry in climate the homes here were built with a central patio even back in the days of the Romans. This tradition was continued by the Moors and persists in many homes even today.
Im told that Filling the central patio with plants and water features was a way to keep local homes cool.
But, thanks to the creativity of the owners, patio decoration has now taken on a life all its own and at some point, someone realised that these hidden treasures were just too special to be kept tucked away behind heavy doors and iron grates.
It really is something very special to be able to get a view of these historic and private homes
And so, once a year the doors open to the public and everyone is invited in to see the wonders of Córdoba’s patios and the owners get to do some showing off
Layered with every shade of flower, some of the displays are are truly magical
What I loved about the patios was how different they all were. But I have to admit that this one in particular was my favourite of the patios we saw that day. What a colour riot!
Even without the fabulous patio festival, Corboba is just the beautiful place
Streets filled with style and history and gorgeous Andalusian sun. All the while the exotic scent of jasmine and orange blossom fill the air.
We found the cutest little market selling local produce and gifts just before stopping for a cafe con leche and freshly squeezed Zumo de Naranja.
A Travel, beauty and lifestyle blog with the occasional afternoon tea by Angelina Belle
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