February 19, 2018
The Australia Series: Honeymooners in Sydney

The Australia Series: Honeymooners in Sydney

February 19, 2018
sydney circular quai australia
We are getting close to the end of The Australia Series. I just have two more places to show you: Sydney and Adelaide. Today I'm sharing with you our trip to Sydney, the city I was looking forward to seeing the most and it did not disappoint. We spent three days of our honeymoon here and even though we saw all the things we had planned we would have loved to stay longer.

DAY 1
We started exploring Sydney by going to the Queen Victoria Building, the most amazing mall which was close to our hotel. The beautiful building has great shops so retail therapy here is a must.queen victoria building qvb sydney australia
queen victoria building qvb sydney australia
After the QVB we continued our way north visiting the Town Hall, Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral, the State Library and the Royal Botanic Gardens before arriving to the crown Jewel: the Sydney Opera House. It's one of those places that you've seen a million times on photos or TV but still impresses you when you see it in real life. This magnificent structure has always fascinated me. I've heard different stories about its shape, some say it looks like conquistador helmets, other say they are nun habits or even orange wedges.
library sydney australia
harbour bridge opera house sydney
We had lunch at Glenmore at the Rocks which we found randomly. We saw a cute hotel with an outdoor area on top with promising city views so we ventured in. The place was packed and we had to wait for a while to get a table but it was totally worth it. The views didn't end up being as good as we had hoped (we thought we were going to see the Opera House from there) but the food was delicious.glenmore at the rocks sydney australia
glenmore at the rocks sydney australiaWe continued our route and stopped for coffee and cake at a cute little cafe called Motownmotown cafe coffee sydney australia
By evening time we were at Darling Harbour, a great place to wander around, grab a bite and see amazing street performers. There was this guy making music with his mouth that left us speechless. We also stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe because I collect their pins from cities around the world. This is something I started doing while living in California and finding Hard Rock Cafes abroad has become a tradition.
darling harbour sydney australia
DAY 2
I had been dreaming of this day for a really long time. A few years ago I had seen on a blog an amazing place called The Grounds of Alexandria and I promised my self that if I ever went to Australia I was going there. On our second day in Sydney we woke up early and set off to find The Grounds and have what turned out to be one of the most amazing breakfasts we've ever had. Read all about it here.
the grounds of alexandria sydney australia
the grounds of alexandria sydney australia
the grounds of alexandria sydney australia
the grounds of alexandria sydney australia
metro train sydney australia
The Grounds are on the outskirts of Sydney so after breakfast we headed back and visited the charming neighborhood of Paddington. There are beautiful Victorian houses and high fashion shops. Here you can also find the Reservoir Gardens, a water reservoir converted into a sunken garden.
paddington sydney australia
The Reservoir Gardens is a great place for photos. Several photo shoots were taking place while we were resting there.
paddington sydney australia reservoir
After that we made it back to the QVB and had late lunch at Jet a really cool and beautiful coffee restaurant. Fantastic Italian food and great service. Jet is also a great spot for people watching if you sit outside.

We finished the day by visiting one of the biggest malls in the city: the Westfield. It is located beneath the iconic Sydney Tower in the Sydney central business district.

DAY 3
Let's go to the beach! 
On our last day we visited Watson's Bay and the world famous Bondi beach. At Watson's Bay you get amazing views of Sydney on one side, and breathtaking views of the ocean on the other. Stopping at the Watson's Bay hotel for drinks with a view is a must.watsons bay hotel sydney australia
watsons bay hotel sydney australia
We arrived at Bondi by lunch time and we found Hotel Ravesis by chance. It looked really cute with its pink arches and we saw that they had a terrace on the first floor so we didn't think twice. We both love eating al fresco watching the sea and even though we do it in Spain quite often, we couldn't leave Australia without experiencing that.bondi beach sydney australia
hotel ravesis bondi beach sydney australia
Before packing our bags once again, we had to say goodbye to the magnificent Opera House. There's no better way of doing that than watching the sun set behind it. Mrs Macquarie's Chair is the best vantage point to do that. We could see the light show projected on its facade from there too.harbour bridge opera house night sydney australia Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Visiting Sydney was a dream come true and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. 
What is your dream city?
xo Cristina

THE AUSTRALIA SERIES

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
February 12, 2018
Where to Eat in San Sebastian

Where to Eat in San Sebastian

February 12, 2018
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
One of the things I look forward the most when I travel is trying the local cuisine, even if it's in my own country. Among the best places in the world to do a food tour is San Sebastian. Famous for its bars with counters full of endless trays of pintxos (which are similar to tapas) and world renowned chefs, this city is paradise for foodies.Atari Gastroteka pintxos san sebastian
The Old Town (Parte Vieja) houses the best pintxos bars. The procedure is easy: you get into a bar, ask for a drink and a plate, and grab as many pintxos as you want. Then you show it to the bartender who will charge you. Finally, enjoy. The toughest part is deciding what you want to eat. The endless plates of pintxos on the counter will make your mouth water and you won't know what to pick. The bartenders are really nice and will explain the ingredients if you have any questions. The idea is to visit a few places so if you fear you are going to get tipsy, I recommend you ask for a zurito which is a smaller glass of wine or beer.
These were our favorite places:
Atari Gastroteka (pictured above)
Address: C/Mayor, 18
Gandarias (below)
Address: C/31 Agosto, 23
Gandarias pintxos san sebastian
Nagusia Lau (cover photo & following pics)
Address: C/Mayor, 4
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
san sebastian monte igueldo playa de la concha
Café de la Concha restaurante san sebastian
Café de la Concha
On our second night in San Sebastian we had dinner at this cafe with magnificent views. We had booked a table by the window to see the sunset at the beach while enjoying a delicious meal. We started by sharing a plate of fried squid, a dish you must try if you visit Spain. You'll find it in any city. That was followed by a copious but equally delicious salad. I liked it so much I'm planning to do it home. It consists of a base of lettuce, a layer of tagliatelle and then salmon, shrimp, tuna and txangurro -a type of crab that you'll find in every restaurant. Once we learnt the name we asked for txangurro everytime we saw it on a menu.
Café de la Concha restaurante san sebastian
Café de la Concha restaurante san sebastian
There are two charming coastal towns near San Sebastian that should add to your travel plan: Hondarribia and Zarautz.

HONDARRIBIA
Hondarribia is a colorful fishing village that is both rich in architecture as well as in gastronomy. It’s a feast for the eyes and also for the stomach.

Gastroteka Danontzat
After reading great reviews on TripAdvisor we had booked a table at Gastroteka Danontzat. A truly gourmet experience where we felt at home. Danotzat is a basque word that means "for everyone" which is the work philosophy of this restaurant. Gorka, is the friendly man who runs this business. He took the time to explain to us the characteristics and facts behind every dish we had and he does that with every single costumer. We started with sardines and anchovies, two delicacies that melted in our mouths. We kept asking for bread to dip it on the delicious olive oil.
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
Next we had txangurro spread, another delight.
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
The next one was ox tongue. A dish that is finished on the table with a blowtorch. I know the name may not sound very appealing but the taste reminds you of ham. The best thing to do is not to think about what it is and just enjoy it because it's delicious.
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
The last dish before dessert was octopus with potatoes and algae. Both my husband and I agreed that this was our favorite. Octopus is not the easiest to cook. Some people cook it too hard, others too soft. This one was the best we've ever had (sorry mom). It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. How do they cook it? I have no idea. The yummy sauce is also a well kept secret.
All dishes were paired with txakoli, the typical wine of the region.
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
Dessert was something we had never tried before: sesame ice-cream. Too avant-garde for us. It was really good but I expect ice-cream to be sweet and this was not. The presentation is amazing though.
Gastroteka Danontzat hondarribia san sebastian
Parador El Emperador
After this unforgettable culinary experience we went to Parador El Emperador for coffee. Here we felt like we were back in Medieval times.
parador hondarribia san sebastian
hondarribia san sebastian
ZARAUTZ
Zarautz is another seaside town that is home to more culinary gems and breath-taking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Karlos Arguiñano is one of the most famous Spanish chefs and has a castle that is restaurant and hotel in Zarautz. It's run by 5 of his children and serves dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients. This stately manor is one of the main tourist attractions in this town and has amazing sea views. We tried booking a table but unfortunately it was full. However, since he is one of my favorite chefs (I have one of his cook books that I use regularly) I dare to recommend this place without having tried it.restaurante hotel karlos arguiñano zarautz san sebastian
Otzarreta 
This is a very special restaurant with a mixture of rustic and fairy tale decor. Serving amazing food since 1962, this place is a feast to the senses. Their outdoor area is like an oasis in the center of Zarautz and is a must during summer but be sure to book in advance because weddings are held there. The taste and presetantion of the food and the service were exquisite. It's slightly expensive but totally worth it.
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
restaurante otzarreta zarautz san sebastian
This post is an update of The Comple Travel Guide to San Sebastian and A Day in Hondarribia. I recommend you check those out if you are planning a trip to this lovely city.

What's your favorite cuisine? Would you travel somewhere just for their food? 
xo Cristina

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
where to eat pintxos in san sebastian