Spanish Weekender: Madrid and Granada
I had just touched down in London and I was buzzing off the back of the weekend I had just had. It was momentous, love filled and historic. We spent the weekend in Spain to celebrate the union of our good friends, Anthony and Francisco.
We flew to Madrid on Friday and stayed at a friends apartment in the centre of the city. It was the top floor flat with a balcony in a very Spanish style town house building with great views to the city and beyond. Madrid is stunning with majestic buildings at every turn. We spent the day strolling through the city and taking in the sights, meandering through the palatial Spanish gardens as the sun went down.
For dinner, we headed to Navaja restaurant in Calle De Valverde. It’s said to be one of the cities best kept secrets. An unassuming venue you barely notice is there unless you are in the know. On entrance, we were met with a light and minimal restaurant with tables dotted sparsely. The decor was minimal but it was the food that was to bring the colour and flair. It is predominantly a seafood restaurant and to be honest, I didn’t think I was a seafood person until I came here. The most extravagant fish I have ever ordered was cod and chips at home. Oh the shame! I must have had a bad experience as a child since as an adult, I have pretty much avoided seafood and anything deemed fishy has always been a massive turn off. Luckily our friend Alex the owner pointed us in the direction of the best dishes to suit my palette and I was pleasantly surprised by myself. Not only did I try them all, I enjoyed them all! The presentation of the dishes was incredible and the fusion of flavours was light and refreshing. We ate these fabulous buns enmeshed with kale, lobster and crab as well as bluefin tuna tartare and crispy fried shrimps with a melange of adornments such as avocado cream and green shisho.
The cocktails are not to be missed and my pisco sour was a dream. I decided to order not one but two of the recommended desserts. The first was a lemongrass panna cotta with passion fruit and Madagascar vanilla and the second was wantons in a very novel way in a dish called Tom Pay which fuses the wantons with a galician lemon curd, pisco coconut, pineapple foam and strawberry peach coulis. For foodie and culinary delights, make this a must stop on your visit to Madrid.
Saturday morning, I headed to the shopping mecca of Madrid around the Calle Hermosilla, as I had some last minute outfit shopping to do! I got a head to toe Zara ensemble; a pretty flower dress with sleeve ruffles which I felt encapsulated a little flamenco flair and found some dazzling gold Romanesque sandals with a thick but not too high heel that I knew would hold ground on the cobbled streets of Granada. A Spanish wedding starts late and ends late. Arrival was 7pm for a 5am finish; its a good thing I trained for all those all nighters back in the day!
The journey to Granada from Madrid took about 4 and half hours; plenty of time to get a siesta in before the nights celebrations. We stayed at Hotel Carmen which was in the centre of town. It was well located and it seemed only ten minutes from anywhere we needed to get to. It is situated opposite from department store El Corte Ingles.
After a fairly quick turn around, we glammed up and headed to the wedding venue which was the Palacio De Los Cordova, which dates back to the fifteenth century. As you enter a beautiful renaissance doorway, you are lead into a courtyard where we were served fresh lemonade before the ceremony. We were then lead through to a stunning outdoor set up, the Palacio building, which was later to be the setting for the dancing.
From the venue, you could see the jewel of Granada, Alhambra which is an incredible building which majestically flanks the top of the hill. I was told by pretty much everyone at the wedding that this is a must see but I am sorry to say we didn’t get tickets in time and so we shall have to come back for that one. The wedding was so serene and beautiful and I am so grateful to our friends who invited us to be part of their special day and in one of the most romantic locations I have ever seen. Their love for each other was so powerful and it was amazing to see see the Spanish culture and how they like to party.
We were presented with beautiful Spanish boxes as gifts and treated to amazing food and wine all night. The list of canapes was out of this world. We cried, we danced, we celebrated. Love is love and this occasion was such a wonderful expression of the connection of two souls who have come together as one and whose love radiates to all that they meet. The day brought back memories of my own wedding day which was 6 months ago now and it was amazing to relive some of those sentiments once again but this time as an onlooker to someone else’s love story. Seeing the love of others brings forth our own love and when we bless the love of others and appreciate their bond and connection, we also bring forth more to ourselves. Surrounding yourself in love is one of the best ways to attract that energy greatly into our own lives. Whatever we seek, we must appreciate and bless first. Certainly my husband and I had an incredibly romantic weekend and Granada plays the perfect host to a great love story.
The next day we headed up to a lunch at the beautiful restaurante Las Tomasas with incredible views of Alhambra and the city below. It’s a steep walk up a hill in the Albaicin; its up in the old town and you can get lost or hours exploring the winding cobbled streets. We feasted on Canapes such as creamy risotto pots, gazpacho and mushroom croquettes. I even managed to keep down a few shandys but nothing stronger. My head was still fuzzy from the night before so we spent the afternoon rambling back down through the town stopping off for gelato and coffee before spending a lazy evening at the hotel before we headed home the next morning. Granada really is a special place and one I am definitely revisiting.