July 30, 2018
Brunch in Madrid: Hotel Orfila

Brunch in Madrid: Hotel Orfila

July 30, 2018
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
On July 22nd my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Obviously, we had to find a very special place to celebrate such a special day. Going through my Madrid bucket list on Pinterest I came across a picture of Hotel Orfila's garden restaurant and immediately thought it was the perfect place for our celebration. They offer an amazing luxurious brunch on Sundays and two foodies like us surely had to try it.
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Madrid, just five minutes from Museo del Prado. The building is a small palace built in 1886; it only has 32 rooms, 12 of which are suites. The brunch menu was designed by 2 Michelin star chef Mario Sandoval. and it consists of a buffet, a main course and a variety of drinks including freshly squeezed fruit juices, Bellini and Tattinger champagne.

In the buffet you will find assorted pastries, bagels, eggs cooked as you wish, homemade bread, wild trout or Spanish favorites like potato omelette and Iberian ham among other things. There are also scrumptious cakes that I strongly advice you to try. For the main dish you have to choose one of these: salmon tartar, steak tartar, oxtail taco, mushrooms mellow rice and Parmesan with roasted pine nuts and ecological sprouts, club sandwich or Orfila´s hamburger.
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
The food was absolutely delicious. All the ingredients they use are premium quality and there's such a wide variety you don't know what to choose. The staff was also very kind and helpful. The garden was so peaceful and quiet we didn't want to leave. 3 out of 3 things that make the perfect gourmet experience.
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
After the delicious brunch we were too full to go for a walk so we hung out at the tea room for a while. This space decorated with paintings and period furniture is great for relaxing and it's actually used to serve tea with sandwiches and pastries during the afternoon and evening. And that's something I'd absolutely love to try next time. See you soon Orfila.
Hotel Orfila brunch Madrid Spain five star buffet
Hotel Orfila
Calle Orfila, 6. Madrid
Tel.: (+34) 91 702 77 70
Brunch is only available on Sundays from 12:30 to 16:00
Price: 54€ adults, 29€ children

MIDI DRESSES FOR BRUNCH

July 23, 2018
Lavender Fields in Brihuega, Spain

Lavender Fields in Brihuega, Spain

July 23, 2018
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
I used to think that to see lavender fields you had to go all the way to the region of Provence in France. This spring I found out that I had beautiful fields close to home so I marked down on my calendar "visit lavender fields in July". Why July? Because it's when this flower is in full bloom.

Just one hour from Madrid you can find a little town called Brihuega in the region of Guadalajara. During this month the Lavender Festival takes place. This means that there are 31 days of activities that go from concerts to a unique race around the fields.

Brihuega is a beautiful town. Even if it wasn't for the lavender fields, it's worth visiting. It has a lovely old town and many balconies and streets have lavender ornaments. Worth seeing are:

  • The Royal Cloth Factory of King Charles III. You can't visit the factory but you can see its beautiful French style romantic gardens. The name comes from the unusual round building -it looks like a bullfighting ring- in which cloth was made for military uniforms. Entrance to the gardens is 2€
  • the many well preserved churches
  • Peña castle built not for a king, but for archbishops who happened to be in the area 
  • The fountain of the 12 spouts
  • the tourist information office which used to be a Royal prison
  • Piedra Bermeja castle built by the moors and later expanded by the Christians
We just wandered around the streets and found the cutest spots.
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
After visiting the village we took the car to find the fields. You can imagine the excitement when we saw a sea of purple hills from the road. It looked so beautiful!

The best time to photograph the fields it's either very early in the morning or just before sunset. Unless you want to get there around 7 or 8 am, I suggest  you choose the latter. Yes, there will be more people but there are so many fields and so big that you can get your perfect shot without anyone on it. The pictures below show you how different photos are depending on the hour.

This is what the lavender fields look like around 7 pm. These photos are a result of a lot of trial and error. I suggest you work with light, take pics from all possible angles until you find what works best. At this time hard shadows still appear on the face.festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
These are the fields before sunset (from 9:20 to 9:40pm). Nothing beats the golden light of sunset, right? Backlit photos will look amazing at this time. Another option is finding a spot lit by that last ray of light and placing your subject there.
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain
Tips:
  • Watch for the bees! These busy insects will be at work while you visit the fields. The later you go, the least you will find.
  • You can take a 1 hour tour for 3€ or get amazing views from hot air balloons.
  • Entrance to the fields is free (at least to the ones we visited), owners just ask you to respect the plants in exchange. Previous to our trip I had read online that owners charge 2€, I guess it depends on the field.
  • You can find GPS coordinates to the fields here.
  • Where to eat: we had booked a table in advance at Princesa Elima Restaurant. Both service and food were really good.
  • Parking in the village is hard because there's a lot of people to see the lavender festival, be patient. There are parking areas close to the lavender fields.
You can still see these beautiful fields in full bloom but hurry up, harvest starts in August.

BEST COLORS TO WEAR WHEN VISITING THE LAVENDER FIELDS
The tourism board of Brihuega advises you to wear white as the color that goes best with lavender. However, there are in my opinion other colors that go just as well. I considered wearing this white dress but in the end I opted for this marigold one instead because it creates a very interesting contrast with lavender, especially at golden hour. Lilac would work really well too since you'd be matching the surroundings.

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festival campos lavanda brihuega guadalajara lavender fields spain

July 16, 2018
The Gingham Dress You Need For Your Summer Vacation

The Gingham Dress You Need For Your Summer Vacation

July 16, 2018
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
It's gingham, it's midi, it has a big bow on the back and it's currently 50% off. What's not to like? I have had my eye on this Claudie Pierlot dress since it came out this spring but I decided to wait until the sales because I wasn't going to be able to wear it until summer anyway. Lucky me, I found my size for half the price. I'm definitely taking this beauty with me everywhere this summer.

Today I want to give you some ideas on what to pack if you are traveling to Spain or somewhere hot this summer.
If you are coming to my beautiful country, my advice is for you to pack lots of dresses: midi, mini, maxi, all kinds! If you are not a dress kind-of-gal, cutoffs and shorts will be your best friends. Jeans are out of the questions, living in Spain my legs are bare from June to September otherwise I can't stand the heat. To sum up, you need lightweight pieces.

As for shoes, old Europe is filled with cobblestone streets so comfy sandals or espadrilles should be in your suitcase. Don't freak out if you forget the latter, Spain is famous for their espadrilles (trendy Castañer is Spanish) so you can always get a pair here.
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
Protect yourself from the sun! When I was a teenager I used to avoid sunscreen because I thought that was the only way to get that summer glow...Oh, how I wish I hadn't been so stupid! Fortunately, I'm older and wiser now and pack my straw hat, sunglasses and sunscreen first.
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
North vs. South
You may have heard many stereotypes about Spain but good weather doesn't apply everywhere. If you are traveling north, pack a cardigan because the nights can get cooler. It's more likely to rain too, so don't forget your umbrella.

Colors and patterns
Ok, this one is more for Instagrammers and those looking for the perfect photo. Colorful outfits will help you get that Spanish vibe. Red, yellow, orange, fuchsia... Polka dots say flamenco like no other pattern. The perfect finishing touch? combine any of those with ruffles.
midi gingham dress bow ricky claudie pierlot summer vacation
I've been talking a lot about clothes but of course, don't forget to pack a good book! I'm reading Inferno by Dan Brown at the moment. What are you reading?

THE PRETTIEST GINGHAM DRESSES

July 9, 2018
How to Spend a Weekend in Segovia

How to Spend a Weekend in Segovia

July 9, 2018
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador travel outfit summer
Segovia is a small city with big heritage. The soaring aqueduct is undoubtedly its most famous landmark and it is probably the most important Roman monument surviving in the heart of a modern city. However, this is not the only jewel of the city. Segovia's Alcazar looks like a fairy tale castle, in fact, it is said that Walt Disney was inspired by it to create Sleeping Beauty's Disneyland castle.

Would you like to join me in a walk around this magical and stunning city?Unesco World Heritage old town roman aqueduct Segovia travel guide weekend Spain
El Acueducto is an 894m-long engineering wonder. Built in the 1st century AD, not a single drop of mortar was used to hold more than 20,000 granite blocks together. Seems impossible, right? That's why we are still amazed by it today.
Unesco World Heritage Alcazar Segovia travel guide weekend Spain
Looking at this place, I feel that Rapunzel could have been trapped in one of these towers. This fairy tale looking fortress was originally built in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century. The place was destroyed in the 19th century so what we see today is a reconstruction of the original. The name Alcazar comes from he Arabic al-qasr which means fortress.
Unesco World Heritage Alcazar Segovia travel guide weekend Spain
segovia spain travel guide weekend san millan cathedral old town Unesco World Heritage
Other places worth visiting in Segovia's Unesco World Heritage old town are the Gothic cathedral and San Millán, the most important Romanesque church.
segovia spain travel guide weekend romanesque
The region of Segovia has so much more to offer. Once you are done with the city, there are a few other places where you must stop. First and foremost is the Royal Palace of la Granja de San Ildefonso which we visited on last week's post.
segovia spain travel guide weekend la granja san ildefonso royal palacesegovia spain travel guide weekend parador travel outfit summer
In this little town you can also find a great place to stay: El Parador de la Granja. This beautiful hotel is in the Top 10 Paradores list for good reason. It is housed in the Casa de los Infantes, built by king Charles III in the 18th century as a home for the infantes Gabriel and Antonio. Even though Segovia has it's own Parador, this one is far more charming and it's only 10 km away from the city. segovia spain travel guide weekend parador hotel la granja
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador la granja
In the Parador restaurant you can try dishes from the local cuisine like the famous judiones de La Granja (broad beans from La Granja) or suckling pig and lamb slowly roasted in a wood-burning oven.
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador menu typical food judiones la granja
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador menu typical food
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador menu typical food
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador menu typical food
segovia spain travel guide weekend parador menu typical food
Royal Glass Factory and Museum of La Granja is another must in this town. Here you can discover the evolution and methods of working this material over the centuries. The factory was established in 1727 by king Philip V to make lamps, windows and mirrors for the Royal Palace.
segovia spain travel guide weekend glass factory and museum
segovia spain travel guide weekend glass factory and museum
segovia spain travel guide weekend glass factory and museum
Last but not least we have the Royal Palace of Riofrio. This palace was used by the Bourbon dynasty as a hunting pavilion and a place to rest and relax. Here you can visit the Hunting Museum and see great examples of tapestry and sumptuous 19th century furniture. It is 10 km from Segovia and 20 km from La Granja de San Ildefonso.segovia spain travel guide weekend riofrio palace palacio
segovia spain travel guide weekend riofrio palace palacio
Segovia is a great day trip from Madrid or weekend getaway if you want to visit nearby areas too. Full of Spanish history, there's no shortage of things to learn here.

PRACTICAL INFO

  • The most famous restaurants in Segovia are Conde Duque and Meson de Candido. They are said to serve the best cochinillo (roasted suckling pig) in town. Make reservations ahead.
  • You can get to Segovia from Madrid by bus, train -the high speed train takes only 30 minutes- or drive for one hour.
  • On Sunday mornings you can enter the Cathedral for free, otherwise it's 3€.
  • Entrance to the Alcazar is 8€.


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segovia spain travel guide weekend alcazar judiones