Tag Archives: Spain

Recently on Instagram

I know I don’t post nearly enough about Paris. The simple fact is I don’t visit any tourist sights unless guests are in town, and I don’t necessarily feel comfortable looking like a tourist or snap-happy blogger by whipping out a huge DSLR camera (or even a regular point-and-shoot camera for that matter) when I’m out trying a new bar or restaurant. I’ll occasionally sneak in an iPhone photo, but even then, those aren’t the best quality since I’m trying to be pseudo-discreet. I’m also just not the kind of person that simply wanders around the city for hours with a camera taking photos of beautiful everyday activities and sights. I really wish I was, but I’m not. In fact, I’m afraid that if I ever leave this beloved city of mine, that I’ll regret I didn’t do that. All this is to say that this is the reason most of my photos tend to be of my recent travels (apparently, I don’t have any qualms about looking like a tourist then), with an occasional Paris shot in between. Oh, and a shot of Tyler too, of course.

However, since I did have guests in town recently and even got to visit Barcelona and Madrid again after nearly 10 years, here are a few things I managed to capture on Instagram, Paris sights included.
Après New York on Instagram
Clockwise from Top Left:

  • This is actually an Instagram video. I know it’s cheesy to say this, but there’s something about a French flag waving in the wind that really resonates with me. Yes, I know I’m American, but I can’t help but feel some sort of heavy connection when I see a French flag. Rio thinks I’m nuts. My friend Alan says I’m a romantic.
  • We’ve been lucky with the weather in Paris lately (I know I just jinxed this now), so for the second night of my friends’ visit, I took them to En Attendant Rosa on Les Berges by the Seine for evening al fresco drinks and apéros. This is the view we took in – my favorite bridge Pont Alexandre III. If you’re ever visiting Paris and the weather is nice, then I recommend settling in at one of the few riverside bars or restaurants on Les Berges and doing the same.
  • On the last day of my friends’ visit, I took them to one of my favorite sights: Sacré-Coeur. Did you know the reason Sacré-Coeur always stays so white is because it’s made of a type of limestone called travertine that constantly self-cleans because it exudes calcite when it rains – kind of giving it a fresh coat of white paint? I always love sharing this fun fact with guests when playing a “Paris Fact: True or False” game with them. And oui, I actually do this because I am a nerd.
  • My parents also visited this past week. Before arriving, my dad said to me, “I’ve already been to Paris, I want to see another city and country”. Um, ok. What am I, chopped liver? So with that in mind, I took them to Spain for the week. For our last day in Madrid, we visited El Retiro Park, which is where this pond is located.
  • We also managed to take a day trip from Madrid to Segovia. This is a shot of the impressive Cathedral of Segovia, located right by the main square Plaza Mayor.
  • After literally two weeks straight of traveling and entertaining guests, I was one exhausted lady. Coupled with the fact that I ended up catching the cold my visiting friend Brian had, I decided to stay in and rest all weekend. Tyler did the same.
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Une Petite Pause

Between traveling to Spain last week with my parents, hosting two sets of guests back-to-back, working and being mildly obsessed with watching all the seasons of Breaking Bad, I’ve been a bit on a blog hiatus. However, with one week to myself before my next set of visitors arrive, I hope I’ll be able to share and post some of my recent adventures soon.

In the meantime, here are two pictures of recent travels. The first one is the Pont du Gard, which is 25 minutes west of Avignon in Provence. I still have to do a full write-up about this two-week road trip Rio and I took in August! The second one is of the Aqueduct in Segovia, which I saw during a day trip from Madrid with my parents. Don’t they look a bit similar?
Pont du Gard

Aqueduct of Segovia

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San Sebastián: Day 4

Last day! We woke up early so we could hike the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. You basically have to walk to the east side of town, hike up Calle de Zemoriya in Gros and follow the yellow trail markings in reverse. We didn’t walk through much of it, but what we did see, you weave through some forest and get to see some pretty cliffs that go into the sea. Apparently one of Jesus’ apostles was buried in Spain, so lots of people did this pilgrimage trail across Europe to honor it/see the site. I thought Rio’s mom would be proud that we did a little portion of this.

Before we headed there, we did carbo load with a pastry from Galparoso, which apparently is a bakery that supplies the area’s top restaurants. (Calle Mayor 6, +34-943-420-113). We saw a guy carrying a bunch of baguettes from this shop, and all of a sudden the little paper bag broke and all his baguettes came tumbling out on the street. Poor guy.

After that, we took a little boat ride to Isla Santa Clara – that little island you see in a lot of the San Sebastián pics… also known as the “Phantom Fourth Beach”. We took the Motora de la Isla, which comes about every 30 minutes and only cost about 5 euros. It was nice to check out a different part of town and get a different perspective of the city. After that, we just laid out by the beach, and then headed back home!

Next stop… Corsica!

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San Sebastián: Day 3

So this day was a total bust as it was heavily pouring all day. We ended up going to San Telmo Museum, which has a “history” of San Sebastián but it was honestly the most boring thing ever. Granted – I’m not a big fan of museums, but this one was pretty darn bad.

So after being tortured in the museum for a couple of hours, I deserved some pintxos! We went to A Fuego Negro and La Cuchara de San Telmo – both of which had some delicious pintxos. Apparently other people had the same idea, because both places were packed. What I found interesting was that you could order your food, they’d call your name once the food was ready, you’d bring it to your bar/high-boy, and you could easily walk out with no one being the wiser. So trusting!

Afterwards, the rain had cleared a little bit, so we attempted playing beach tennis at Playa de la Concha… but sadly, we suck and it wasn’t much of a game. C’est la vie.

We capped the night with dinner at Rekondo – a restaurant that’s supposed to have an amazing, old wine list and wine cellar with 100,000+ wines. It was featured in WSJ and Wine Spectator, plus, most importantly, it was actually open on a Sunday night! It was good, not amazing, but the daughter of the owner was very friendly and I enjoyed it.

57 Paseo de Igueldo

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San Sebastián Vacation: Day 2

We started off the morning by walking from the hotel, past Playa de Ondaretta to Comb of the Winds (Peine del Viento or Peine de los Vientos). Since it was pretty hot and it was already 11:58am, we naturally thought a nice ice cold beer was needed during our stroll.
Peine del Viento is a modern iron sculpture by Eduardo Chillida that’s embedded in the rocks at the water’s edge. It’s just west of town and has nice views of the city and the surrounding coastline. I definitely think it’s worth checking out if you’re in town.

After that, we walked to Monte Igueldo, which we had passed on the way to Peine del Viento, and took the funicular up. The funicular is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm and is only a few euros. Monte Igueldo has a nice view of the city, plus Monte Urgull, which we had walked up the day before. The two are must-visits.

On top of Monte Igueldo is also a cute old-school amusement park.

After all that walking and picture-taking, we were pooped and had lunch by Playa de la Concha. It was nice to just sit and relax. Then we headed back to the hotel to change and went to the beach – Playa de la Concha is literally two blocks away from our hotel Tryp Orly, which was nice. Boy was I surprised to see all the topless women and nude men on the beach! It did inspire me to try out the topless thing for a hot minute, but that’s about as much courage I had.

We ended the night with the most amazing meal at 3-star Michelin restaurant Akelaré. It was seriously the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. 8 courses for around 140 euros (a steal compared to other Michelin restaurants in Paris and NYC!) – and they even accommodated my vegetarian request. I would fly back to San Sebastián just to eat here. The handlebar-mustachioed chef also came out and chatted with each table, which was nice. Not to mention, the waiter was pretty hot. I asked Rio if it would be appropriate to ask him if he was on the tasting menu too – hahaha.

Pasao Padre Orcoloaga, 56
20008 San Sebastián

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San Sebastián Vacation: Day 1

7:40am flight, which meant a 5:45am cab ride to the airport. God, I hate early mornings. We landed around 9:45am and took an hour-long bus ride from Bilbao to San Sebastián – it’s about 15 euros and make sure you have exact change.

I started getting concerned it was a bit rainy when the weather app on my iPhone had said it was going to be high 80s and sunny. Turns out – I had entered the wrong San Sebastián city! Dios mio. We’re in Basque country, people, which meant unpredictable weather… but really good food. At least that’s what the hotel receptionist told me once we arrived.

Since we couldn’t check into the hotel until 3pm, we had a pintxo lunch at Morgan, which was recommended by the hotel receptionist for having a few vegetarian options. Good food – but not mind-blowing.

After that, we walked around the Old Town and Marina.

Once we checked in, we walked up to Monte Urgull to see a view of the city. When you walk up to the top, there are low castle walls and a big statue of Christ. Take the path from Plaza de Zuloaga or from behind the aquarium. There’s also a small museum on the city’s history – Mirando a San Sebastián – but it closed at 8pm sharp and we missed it by a minute.

We finished the night with a dinner at Bodegón Alejandro, which was written about in NYT. It was good – but again, not mind-blowing. One of the waitresses must’ve been a newbie because she couldn’t figure out how to open the wine bottle and ended up slicing her finger.

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San Sebastián Vacation

Rio and I recently took a long weekend vacation in San Sebastián, which is in the Basque area of Spain. We had originally wanted to go to nearby Biarritz, but by the time we booked, it was too expensive. So… San Sebastián! Two important events happened to me during this trip:

  1. I had the best meal of my life at 3-star Michelin restaurant Akelaré.
  2. I might’ve channeled my inner European and tried out the topless thing… for about 1 minute.

Here’s a link to the Google Doc of my itinerary in case you ever decide to go and need some trip advice. I’ll also be posting more details and tips about the trip breakdown… and I promise there won’t be any photos of bullet number two (yikes).

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