Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day long weekend!

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy weekend! For my fellow Americanos, it's a holiday, and Graham is lucky enough to have 4 days off (a "96" in Navy-speak). Since we have a vacation to Croatia and Slovenia coming up soon, we won't be traveling over the weekend, but we do plan to make the most of his time out of the office (including a day trip to see beachside Roman ruins). Some people might call this a "staycation" but really it's just an effort to not let 4 days pass by in a complete blur of general laziness.

I'm sure we'll still find plenty of time to relax. And there will definitely be at least one trip to the chiringuito.

Feel free to follow along on my instagram account @meghannbg!

What are your plans? Are you traveling, planning a busy weekend close to home, or just doing a whole lot of nothing? Whatever you have going on, ten un buen fin de semana!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chiringuitos (beach bars)

I think it goes without saying that I love the playa. And I love the month of August - in Spain it's the height of summer, when many people are enjoying weeks of vacation time, and El Puerto de Santa María is bustling. It's great to see the city full of people going out, enjoying themselves, and (most importantly for local businesses) spending money. But to be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the beach in August. 

When the temperatures are reaching into the 100s (or 40s) inland, it seems like every Sevillano heads south to El Puerto and straight to the beaches. Maybe it's my Americana need for personal space, but I just can't handle the masses of people, packed umbrella-to-umbrella. If it's high tide on a weekend in August, buena suerte finding a piece of beach to call your own. The only way to get some sand to yourself is to show up early (10 o'clock might as well be the break of dawn for vacationing españoles), claim as much playa as possible, and leave before you end up sharing a towel with your new beach neighbors, sometime early in the afternoon. 

I prefer when the playa looks like this:

The August crowds, not to mention the lack of parking in the surrounding neighborhoods,  have me longing for September, when the beaches will be relatively peaceful again. But there is one thing about the summer season that I will miss - the chiringuitos.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bonjour, Bordeaux!

Hola, amigos! How has your summer been? Mine has been steadily, happily improving. It's amazing what a positive effect Spanish sunshine can have. And I've been beyond thrilled to simply be at home, relaxing back into daily life in my little corner of España. That doesn't mean I've forgotten about our last vacation though, just the opposite actually - Bordeaux has been difficult to get off my mind!

We had just 3 days and spent most of that time eating, sipping, strolling, and falling in love with the city. This was not our typical, fast-paced touring trip - hardly any time was spent at historic sites, we walked through just one church, and didn't set foot in a single museum. I do enjoy all of those activities, but this getaway truly felt like a vacation devoted to my favorites things, of which Bordeaux has plenty to offer. And for me, that was the perfect way to spend our time.

So, with that in mind, here is a list of what I consider musts for Bordeaux, if you want a similarly lazy, but delightful trip:

1. Walk along Les Quais, the wide pedestrian path that follows the Garonne River, past the Place de la Bourse. Continue your walk away from the waterfront, through the smaller streets and neighborhoods, dotted with cafes. Pick out your (imaginary for us, unfortunately) new apartment.

Ours is the one with the umbrella...I wish.

Then do the same at night.