Seville Time Spent: 2 nights Favorite Food: Duas Tapas Favorite Attractions: Plaza de Espana & Royal Alcazar
^The Bathes at the Royal Alcazar – a good 15-20 degrees cooler than outside!!
These photos are from our time in Seville. We spent our second day there exploring the Royal Alcazar & Plaza de Espana. I highly recommend purchasing tickets for the Alcazar in advance that way you aren’t wasting time waiting in line. It was so fun to walk around, there’s so much Moorish detail throughout all the buildings & then you head outside & you can explore the gardens. Something we really like was that it didn’t seem overly crowded like some of the other attractions we’d been to in Spain. After the Alcazar we found some lunch in a little square & then we decided to walk around & explore Seville. We ended up at the Plaza de Espana, it wasn’t necessarily on our list to go visit that day, but I’m SO happy we ended up there! The Plaza was built in 1928, held the Worlds Fair & now is used mostly for government buildings. It’s so cool that people actually go to work each day in this incredible place! The Plaza backs up to another beautiful park you can explore. We had a great time in Seville, it was definitely one of my favorite places we visited!
Favorite Food / Drink: Jardines de Zoraya & El Huerto de Juan Ranas
Granada was perhaps one of the best twenty hours of the trip; between taking in all the sights at the Ahlambra & the delicious meals we kept talking about how this was one our favorite stops on our trip! We traveled early in the morning from Seville, (I’ll be posting our whole two week itinerary in a separate post so stay tuned for that). We arrived in Granada mid morning & couldn’t check into our Airbnb so we found a cafe & enjoyed some breakfast. After we checked in, dropped our bags & changed clothes we headed out to catch the shuttle up the hill to the Ahlambra. We spent the whole afternoon exploring the grounds. There’s so much to see, we both agreed the gardens & the guest quarters were by far our favorite. As you can see from the photos the amount of Moorish details throughout is incredible.
After a full afternoon of sightseeing we headed out for some cocktails & dinner. We grabbed a drink & appetizer at El Huerto de Juan Ranas, they have a great outdoor patio with an incredible view looking right at the Ahlambra. It’s a little on the pricey side but definitely well worth it, especially if you’re able to time it at sunset! We walked to dinner at Jardines de Zoraya, which Chris had eaten at years ago when he first visited Granada. They also have an outdoor patio, with delicious food that is reasonably priced. After dinner we walked back to our Airbnb along the Passeo de los Tristes.
We only spent 20 hours in Granada, it was our busiest day with travel & walking, my fitbit counted us at nearly 30,000 steps that day but we had SO much fun!
Hope you enjoy these photos! I’m off to Scottsdale this weekend for a bachelorette, but I’ll be posting more photos from our Europe trip in the following weeks, along with our detailed itinerary.
^^ When you stumble up a pet store / vet right by your airbnb.
I’m finally getting around to posting photos from our trip! The first stop on our two week journey was Barcelona. Neither Chris or I had visited, so we were excited to set out and explore. We had two full days in Barcelona. The first day we set out for breakfast & then headed to La Sagrada Familia. I couldn’t recommend booking your tickets in advance more! It was so easy & low stress, we printed out our tickets in advance & were in line I’d say for less than 10 minutes. The day we visited the weather was drizzly & breezy so unfortunately the towers were closed that day.
We visited the Barcelona Cathedral the next day, in comparison to La Sagrada this cathedral is so laid back, with no entrance fee, a fraction of the crowds, we found this cathedral more enjoyable. The two are just completely different, but both can be appreciated!
Finally I have to say our favorite part of Barcelona was exploring the Barri Gotic. The windy crocked streets are perfect for getting lost. There are tons of shops, restaurants, and little bars to stumble into.
When it comes to traveling, especially abroad, I always pack a few musts to both prevent & treat the unexpected! As a ER nurse I know the worst way to spend your vacation is in an ER so this blog is meant to give you a list of some simple over the counter items you can pack on your next trip to keep you feeling your best.
Hand sanitizer – the number one way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands. Sometimes that’s not always an option so having hand sanitizer easily available before you put your hands on a delicious sandwich or tapas is one of the easiest & most effective things you can do. I like taking a hand sanitizer with a mist spray that way the first thing I can do when I board a flight is to spray down my tray table, seatbelt, armrests etcetera. I know this may sound crazy OCD but those planes A: don’t get cleaned after each flight & B: sick people fly all the time. So if the person before you had a nasty head cold you’ll be picking up all those germs.
Emergen-C – These little individual powder packets are a great way to also keep your immune system up. Pour one into that little airline cup of water they bring you & you’ll thank yourself. Side note: they also make for great hangover prevention if you drink one or two the before you crawl into bed (tried & true)!
Visine / Eye Drops – Nothing dries your eyes out more than recycled airplane air. I usually opt for glasses over contacts, especially for long flights, but putting a few drops of Visine in your eyes intermittently or before you pop your contacts in can make you feel like a new person!
Ibuprofen – The cure-all. I never go anywhere without it. Headache / back ache / hangover you name it. 600mg & you’ll feel right as rain.
Tea – I was never a huge tea drinker until a few years ago & now this is something that I pack with me when I travel. I pack a handful of different teas, they’re small and compact so even if I don’t drink them all it’s no big deal. Not to mention airplanes are typically freezing so drinking something nice & warm that isn’t coffee can be really nice. Air travel can make your body hold onto excess water so I like to pack Weightless Tea which helps relieve excess water. Along those lines a nice Detox Tea is good to have on hand. Often when we travel we’re eating & drinking things that we may not normally which can then in turn impede on our normal routine so Smooth Move Tea can help if you find yourself struggling to adjust to new cuisine.
Medicine Kit – What kind of nurse would I be if I didn’t have a little mary poppins-esque medicine kit for all the ailments. In here I put individually enclosed doses of: DayQuil / NiQuil, Benadryl, Non-Drowsy Allergy medicine (loratidine), Zantac for heartburn, & Sudafed. I don’t pack tons of these meds but enough for 1 or 2 doses. And someone non medical might read this & think it’s excessive, but I will say that I usually use something out of this box per trip & it’s cheaper / easier to just bring it ahead of time. As an aside (in most states it’s illegal to have unidentified pills, so make sure they’re individually wrapped & marked with what medication it is, otherwise you may find yourself having to do some explaining to a TSA perosn). I found the little medicine box in the Dollar Spot at Target & just grabbed a couple.
Fem Wipes – These are great to have on hand just in case. You never know when you might find yourself in a restroom that’s out of toilet paper or when you may need a quick refresh. These are small & easy to stoy in a little pouch. Like most things on this list it’s easily packable & better to have than to be frantically trying to find an alternative.
A must that I take with me on all trips but I didn’t include on this list because a prescirption is needed is a small course of antibiotics. I’ve found myself across the country with a UTI trying to find a pharmacy while in terrible pain & discomfort. Definitely a less than ideal situation. Most doctors are willing to write a prescription for this just in case scenario. I just talk to my doctor before I leave on a trip. Again, it’s far easier to reach in your bag & have what you need then be scrambling & feeling terrible.
^^ The face of your husband when he’s hungry but you wanna take a picture of the food
This past weekend we got away & spent some time in Scottsdale Arizona. Chris travels there occasionally for work & this time I tagged along! It worked out that the SF Giants have their spring training stadium in Scottsdale, so we got to enjoy watching them beat the Chicago Cubs in a training game on Saturday. Neither of us had been to spring training before, but it was so fun getting to see our favorite players in a tiny stadium, laid back and practicing. Not to mention with all the non stop rain we’ve been getting in California it was nice to escape and pretend it was summertime. Nothing says summer like baseball right?? We stayed at the amazing Scottsdale McCormick Ranch, it was the perfect place to lounge while Chris was at work during the week. Not only is there a fabulous pool to spend the day by, but they have all of these little courtyards with string lights & at night it’s the cutest scene ever. Saturday night we came back to the hotel after the Giants game & there was a single person in the beautifully lit courtyard so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a few photos. It was a relaxing weekend & the perfect start to my birthday. Hope everyone had a great weekend!
^^Pumpkin Patches overlooking the Pacific Ocean?? Pinch me! ^ A little obsessed with this candle display! ^Entrance to the Ritz Carlton – Half Moon Bay! ^^ Had to end our day with a little Rosé
On Monday my girls & I drove down the coast to Half Moon Bay to go pumpkin picking & get in the fall spirit! Half Moon Bay is known for their annual Pumpkin Festival, this year was the 46th year!! So needless to say the whole little town is decked out in fall decor. Our first stop was Pastorino Farms Pumpkin Patch. Along with all the pumpkins they also have the cutest nursery you can walk around in. Right next door is a florist that sells bouquets for SO cheap, I got a bouquet of dahlias for literally $3!!! After we left Pastorino we walked around the downtown of HMB just going into little shops, that’s where we saw the adorable little baby chicks. Our next stop was Bob’s Pumpkin Patch. This one was by far my favorite! You pick the pumpkins exactly where they grow! The patch itself overlooks the Pacific Ocean, it’s unreal. The pumpkins are also wayyyy cheaper than some of the other patches. After wandering around & picking out our pumpkins we determined a happy hour drink was in order. We decided to stop by the Ritz Carlton – Half Moon Bay. You can sit outside on their lawn overlooking the golf course & the pacific. Even if you aren’t interested in the cocktail portion, I’d recommended going just for the view, it’s phenomenal. I must say I haven’t had a Monday this wonderful or this fancy in a while. Gotta love nursing / shift work where you’re off random days of the week & can enjoy little day trips like this one. This weekend Chris & I are headed back down the coast to Carmel By The Sea to celebrate his Birthday & I can’t wait!
What happens when you take five ER nurses out of the city & out on 500 acres? A lot of laughs. This weekend I got away with some of my dearest friends to a ranch outside of San Luis Obispo. We spent the weekend riding ATV’s around the property, shooting guns, lounging by the pool & just enjoying being outside of the city. I feel like I talk about this whenever we go away but there’s just something so refreshing about being pulled out of the SF tech bubble. I think it’s so healthy to go “off the grid” every once in a while. These days I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up with technology & our phones that I find it oddly calming to be somewhere where I’m not getting any notifications & can just be present. Weekends like this one remind us that life is so much bigger than our 7×7 city & all that really matters is who you surround yourself with & quite frankly I feel pretty damn lucky to be surrounded by these women.
^^ Early morning flights = sunrises from window seat!^^ Jumping for Joy we made it to Blum, Texas…
^^Rooftop bars with live music & all these fine friends ❤^^ Weddings with this man will always be my favorite. ^What do you do when you’re locked out of your hotel room at 1am waiting for maintenance to drill the door open? Take random photos in the hallway, duh.
This past weekend we went to a wedding in Blum Texas, which is outside of Cleburne Tx. Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I! Chris is from Austin originally & so over the past four years we traveled quite a bit to Texas, visiting family & friends. I’ve also spent small amounts of time in both Houston & Dallas. But this was my first time really going deep into Texas. Albeit a stark comparison to our day to day life in San Francisco, there’s something so nice about being out on country roads, windows down, country music playing. I grew up in a small town in northern California so I can appreciate large parcels of land in towns that maybe have one stop light. And I can certainly appreciate big sky country, especially for the beautiful photos it helps produce. Chris has a large group of friends from college & it was so nice to see everyone all in one place again & just spend the weekend together! Not to mention that going to weddings now having already been married for over a year makes us nostalgic about our day. Weddings are just the best & this one was no exception! The first night there we went to the beautiful rehearsal dinner held at Lost Oak Winery. After the rehearsal we headed to downtown Burleson to continue the night & meet up with all our friends. We went Old Texas Brewing Co which had an awesome rooftop bar with live music. The next morning I was lucky enough to randomly wake up around 7am & catch this absolutely breathtaking sunrise from our hotel room. None of the sunrise photos have been edited whatsoever. It was so beautiful!! The wedding itself took place on this gorgeous estate surrounded with trees. Chris always talks about how special Texas is & how there’s no where quite like it. I don’t know if this born & raised Cali girl will ever truly understand what he means but I can attest that there’s definitely something spectacular about it & it’s home to some of the best people we know & miss! We got back late Sunday night & woke up to San Francisco rain, so I guess it’s time to wash the jean shorts, pull out the rainboots & get ready for fall in the Bay Area!
PS. One of the best perks of having a husband is convincing him to take cheesy jump on the bed photos so we can test out the new remote for the camera! yay!
The Road to Hana was certainly on our must see list for our trip to Maui. I’ll say that we definitely took a relaxed approach & didn’t hit all of the highlights available. There’s so much to see on the drive so you really have to pick & choose what’s going to make your list. For us seeing the black sand beaches was definitely at the top of the list, as well as touring the botanical gardens. The black sand beach was so beautiful, I had never seen anything like it. But the beach is definitely on the smaller side & there is a very strong current & lots of rocks so only strong swimmers should get in. I went in up to my waist but quickly got out as soon as I felt the current pulling, the ocean is NO joke! One of my favorite Hana highlights was the Hawaiian pork tacos along the side of the road. I have two recommendations for this. The first was a man who drives up & parks at a little turnout around mile marker 10 & cooks literally AMAZING food. There are only a few choices on the menu: Pork/chicken/fish & it’s served with rice & grilled pineapple. It’s served in a cross-section of giant bamboo & the chop sticks the guy makes out of the bamboo also. We also stopped at Twin Falls Farmstand which is a trailhead to waterfalls but there’s a great little stand that sells fresh fruit, desserts & other Hawaiian refreshments. I would say that the road to Hana is for those who are willing to spend a day in the car with their travel companions. Granted there’s plenty to see but a large portion of the day is spent winding through the highways switchbacks so if you’re at all prone to car sickness this activity probably is not at the top of your list. All in all it was great day spent with my family & a memory to last a lifetime.
Americana – So nice we went twice. Located in Capitol Hill, known for their ever-changing short stack, this restaurant is sure to give you something to write home about. This was actually our first eating stop in Seattle. Tired, hungry and unable to check in to our Airbnb we hauled ourselves to Americana only to be blown away by the delicious creative comfort food menus in front of us. Their menu is filled with unique breakfast items like Glazed Pork Belly with scrambled eggs, pancakes that change daily & decadent Benedict’s. We went back for Easter Brunch on Sunday & I must say the food was just as delicious as the first day. This is my top recommendation for brunch, you can check out their awesome menu here.
Needle & Thread- this isn’t exactly an eating recommendation, it’s more of a sipping recommendation. Nonetheless Needle & thread is home to Seattle’s best cocktails, I’m convinced. There is no drink menu, in fact there’s no sign on the sidewalk, a hard to come by reservation will lead you to a rotary phone that’ll lead you up to this second story bar, that has seating for maybe 20 people. Once inside you’ll experience custom cocktails crafted to your specific tastes. This experience was so worth the splurge! I’ve been to places that make individual specialty drinks before, but none of them have had the quaint, relaxed atmosphere like Needle & Thread. In NYC I went to a bar / speakeasy that would make custom drinks, but I remember being so intimated pushing through the crowd to tell the bartender what ingredients I liked, that I didn’t find the experience as enjoyable. At Needle & Thread our bartender came up to our table & spent the first few minutes just chatting with us about what kind of drinks we like, what aspects turn us off of certain drinks etc. After we chatted & he got a good feel for what our tastes were, then behind the bar he went to concoct delicious our beverages. It was such a cool experience & I would recommend it for anyone who is in the area & can appreciate a well crafted cocktail.
^^ Overlooking the harbor – so gorgeous.
The Harbor Public House – this recommendation isn’t in Seattle proper, but if you find yourself on a ferry to Bainbridge (which I highly recommend here ) then I hope you find yourself sitting down for a meal at The Harbour Public House Overlooking the docks, you can enjoy oyster shooters & some of the freshest seafood you can find on the Puget Sound. Note: this place is 21 & over.
Taylor’s Shellfish – We found ourselves in a caffeinated haze leaving the Starbucks Roastery & we wandered a few blocks away only to find the perfect mid day glass of wine & plate of oysters. Taylor’s Shellfish has been farming shellfish in the Pacific Northwest since 1890, needless to say they know their stuff. They have Oyster bars throughout Seattle each location reflecting the casual laid back vibe of each neighborhood. We visited the Capitol Hill location. Taylor’s Shellfish lets you design your ideal oyster plate & the staff are super knowledgable & can help you pair your choices with the perfect glass of wine. Oysters were certainly a theme this trip. I love them but Chris thinks they’re disgusting so I like to optimize ordering them whenever I’m out with my best friend because she can put down just like me when it comes to shellfish. If you like oysters than I 100% recommend checking out Taylor’s, I’ll certainly be going back next time I find myself in Seattle.
Quinns – this pub doesn’t just serve your standard bar fare, instead they whip delicious combinations of seafood as well as comfort food. Their Poached Washington Halibut is to die for, I ordered it twice! Also located in Capitol Hill, this gastro pub is a must if you’re looking for a delicious casual dinner. You can look at their menu here.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery – for all my coffee lovers, welcome! You can’t go to Seattle & not stop by the Starbucks Roastery & tasting room. Here you can experience caffeinated bliss, with two coffee bars, two roasters, & unimaginable drinks that you can’t find at your Starbucks around the corner. You’re able to try speciality coffees, they offer flights of coffee which we chose to try on our first day. The second time we went back, yes we went back. We tried drinks that are only made at the roastery, to be honest I can’t remember exactly what I ordered in that photo but I know it was creamy & delicious. The Starbucks Roastery is a fun place to visit, enjoy a flight of coffee and maybe stay a while if you catch yourself in some Seattle rain. However I will mention that the roastery itself isn’t very organized, you’re left to wander around and explore yourself, so it’s a good idea to have in mind what you’re looking for that day.
The Public Market Center is a great place for a casual lunch. The middle photo overlooking the Ferris Wheel was our view the day we went for lunch. I honestly have no clue where we ate. We were just walking around the market & in between all the fresh seafood & floral arrangements are little delis & restaurants. We stumbled into one, took one look at the view & were sold. The public market is absolutely a must when visiting Seattle.
Unicorn – we found our way into this unique carnival themed bar our first night out in Seattle. It may sound cheesy but it was definitely worth checking out. And I have to say that their adult root beer float was seriously amazing, that paired with pinball & good people watching made for a fun first night out. It was wasn’t very crowded, we went on Thursday night and there were plenty seats & no lines for drinks. So if you’re looking for a bar that is a little quirky & you enjoy arcade games or carnival food / drinks in the slightest than this spot might find its way on to your itinerary.
The Comet Tavern – ALERT: SEATTLE SERVES SHINER BOCK! This casual bar plays great music, has tons of seating & serves SHINER! As a Texas convert I get super excited whenever I can find Shiner outside of the lone star state. I don’t have any photos from Comet Tavern, but I definitely recommend checking it out. We went here before watching a show at Neumo’s & it was a great place to grab a quick drink.
Do you have Seattle Musts that should make it on my list for next time? If so I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.