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Christmastime in Madrid

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Madrid is particularly stunning during the Christmas season, and I can't seem to get enough of how festive the city looks right now. Various Christmas markets have taken over plazas, colorful lights adorn the city streets, and sparkling Christmas trees are scattered throughout the city. 

In the past two weeks I've gone on countless adventures to seek out the most festive spots in the city. Some of my favorite places right now include the charming carousel next to the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, and the "Dulce Navidad" market in Plaza de Isabel II that exclusively sells candy and other sweet treats. 

While I'm soaking up Christmas in Madrid and loving every minute of it, I'm also getting incredibly excited to come back home to the States for Christmas. Christmas markets are great and all, but nothing quite beats spending the holidays with family and friends. See you in one week, Seattle!

Alcázar de Sevilla

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I arrived to Sevilla half a day before my friends did, so I spent my afternoon wandering around and redisovering some of my favorite spots in the city. My first stop was the Real Alcázar, Sevilla's stunning royal palace that was originally a Moorish fort. While this may have been my fourth time visiting the Real Alcázar, it felt just as magical as the first time. The palace itself boasts some of the most spectacular mudéjar architecture in southern Spain, while the lush gardens create a picturesque, exotic paradise.

While its history is fascinating, I preferred to spend this time around getting lost in the colors, architecture and intricate details of the palace. Going to the Alcázar simply to enjoy its beauty rather than to check a box off my sight-seeing checklist gave it a whole new meaning to me. Instead of rushing through a hurried bucket list of sights to see, I actually took the time to appreciate and experience its breathtaking complexity.

Everything about Sevilla is entirely captivating, and I'm already daydreaming about going back. So, who's coming with me?

A Taste of Seville at Casa Paco

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's a well known fact that Seville has some of the best tapas in Spain. I've held this truth near and dear to my heart (and my stomach) after my many trips to Seville in 2010, but sometimes it's nice to have a healthy reminder of just how delicious the food is here. I'm all about sightseeing through my tastebuds, you know?

Casa Paco undoubtedly makes my (ever-growing) list of favorite restaurants in Spain. Located outside of the touristic center next to the Alameda de Hercules, you'll only find locals and savvy food connoisseurs here. I indulged on the chicken with onions and mustard sauce, while my friends savored eggplant with goat cheese and honey alongside marinated fish and peppers. We also shared the bacon wrapped dates, which were arguably the best thing I ate all weekend. 

Alameda de Hercules, 23

(Sidenote: If you're looking for more amazing restaurants in Seville, be sure to try out one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world, Taberna Coloniales. Life-changing is an understatement.)

Rediscovering Sevilla

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sevilla is like Disneyland for adults with its quaint cafés, enchanting palaces and majestic cathedrals radiating charm and beauty. The musical horse drawn carriages gallop down the cobble stone streets, making the city come to life. The sweet scent of juicy oranges fills the air while the amber sunlight gently kisses my face, inviting me to stay here forever. Bright splashes of red, gold and pink explode across the city, as the sophisticated and delightful people embrace the captivating enigmas of flamenco dancing, bullfighting and the most delicious tapas in the world. Sevilla is truly the essence of romantic Spanish culture.

We spent the weekend soaking in the city's vibrant personality and flamboyantly Spanish charm. Coming here for my fourth time gave the city a brand new flavor. I was beyond thrilled to be back in my favorite city in all of Spain, and I reveled in pure delight as I remembered how to navigate the streets just as well as I had several years ago. Rediscovering Sevilla with new eyes and a fresh perspective brought me so much joy.

Sevilla is simply magical. While I still prefer living in Madrid, nothing quite compares to the enchanting beauty of Sevilla. This city will always have a piece of my heart.