I have always wanted to visit Spain. I don’t speak a lick of Spanish (except for the usual “Hola” and “gracias”) and I have never truly eaten Spanish food before, but something about their culture and architecture fascinated me. So when my husband found out his new TV show was to film in Spain, I was eager to experience this incredible country.
Strangely, just after T and I got engaged last year (over a year ago now!) and we began our initial wedding brainstorming, we actually mentioned Spain as a honeymoon bucket list destination. When we found out we would be going to Ireland for two weeks one month before the wedding, we decided maybe we should go somewhere else other than Europe for our honeymoon and we selected Hawaii.
However, interestingly enough, while in Ireland just before our wedding we found out T’s new television series was slated to shoot in Spain right at the time of our initial honeymoon plans. That sealed the deal. We changed our honeymoon plans then and there and chose to spend a few days in Spain before continuing on to Italy.
Madrid is an incredible city. I used to think New York was the liveliest city I have ever been to/lived in, but I think Madrid may have it beat! Not only are the people charming, but they also seem to love life everyday. They also operate at crazy hours that took some getting used to for this jet-lagged Cali girl!
As a teenager, I was obsessed with the Travel Channel. One of their main show hosts, Samantha Brown, had my dream job. She got to travel the world educating everyone on what sights to see, best places to eat and stay, and shared some fun facts about each city she visited. One of my favorite Europe episodes she did was of Madrid. Ever since then, and the Spanish royal wedding in 2004, I have always wanted to visit Madrid. Since my body had no idea which time zone it was in anymore, it took me a full 24 hours to feel awake enough to begin my exploration. Madrid has been unseasonably cold this time of year, so thanks to T’s warning I purchased an LK Bennett trench coat I had been eyeing in New York City. The city was getting ready for its big Feast of San Isidro, which meant Plaza Mayor was being transformed into a concert arena and the city was hustling with tons of people. Just off the beaten path from the main streets of Madrid, near Sol Plaza, T and I stopped for a super late lunch one day at Serafina. Besides drinking delicious Spanish wine, we also gorged on some roasted vegetables and burrata. On our last day, we sat in the piazza at Lateral to enjoy some tapas and wine. One thing that took some getting used to are the hours the Spaniards operate. Their lunches start late and go until 4 or 5 pm, and then everything closes down for their “siesta” before dinner, which doesn’t start until around 9 pm. They eat, drink, and be merry until the wee hours of the morning and so their breakfasts are later in the day, too. Madrid was still a bit cooler than normal my first few days there, so I was really happy that I packed this Alice & Olivia poncho. Not only did it keep me warm, but I think it fit right in in Madrid! My sister’s bestie told T and I that we needed to hit up Chocolateria Valor before we left Madrid. One aspect of Spain that turned me on to it from that Samantha Brown episode was the idea of hot chocolate and churros. These are not your average everyday churros, at least not in the USA. T and I ordered a cinnamon hot chocolate and a coffee hot chocolate as well as two large plates of churros and we went to town. If you don’t know what a churro is, it is basically like a long fried donut and positively sinful. For our second to last night in Madrid, T and I decided to have a nice dinner together somewhere since we had been spending a lot of time with his costars and this was, after all, the start of our honeymoon. I had heard great things about La Barraca‘s paella and all I wanted to try was some authentic Spanish seafood paella. At this restaurant, which looks like a cozy family dining room, my mind was blown. We ordered their mixed paella (sans pork) and sighed our way through the meal in heaven. Since T’s show was officially picked up by the network, that means we will be spending more time in Madrid until Christmas. Of course we will find an apartment for those months, but for our week in Madrid together we stayed at the ME Madrid Reina Victoria which was a perfectly located and very comfortable hotel (even Nick Jonas was there at the same time as us) – pictured above rising above the streets.
I have one more Madrid post coming soon, and I am super excited to share it. It has to do with royalty!
Shop my looks:
1. LK Bennett London trench (similar here and here) // Rebecca Minkoff bag // Illesteva Mirrored Sunglasses // Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots // White Cashmere Scarf
2. Alice & Olivia poncho c/o // Rebecca Minkoff bag // Stuart Weitzman Boots // Black Orchid jeans
3. ZIMMERMANN Top (also available here)