Madrid to Granada (And everything in between) – Part 1

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-23-14-08(Puerto Cabopino, sunset, October 9)

Hello! More specifically, hello from Granada.
Wait one hot minute! Wasn’t I in Madrid just a short time ago? I was, and I very much enjoyed it there, but I’ve decided to head south for the winter. Did I just up and leave Madrid and nosedive right into Granada to start my new adventure here? Nah, that would be totally boring. Everyone knows it’s all about the journey, not the destination! The ‘everything in between’ refers to a road trip between the two cities, visiting old stomping ground, as well as some new spots along the way.

I’ll rewind slightly. I love Madrid, I love cities. They stimulate the senses constantly…and I never find myself bored. I had an amazing time there and had so many unforgettable experiences, walked the city hundreds of times over, met amazing people and ate everything in sight. But as a girl from Dublin, Madrid was huge for me…sometimes overwhelming. I personally think Dublin is the perfect size, and in comparison to Madrid, I felt at times as if the latter would swallow me whole. I love a city that’s more manageable in chunks, you know what I mean?

I did some research on cities that I visited in the past that caught my eye (it’s no secret that I love Spain and I’ve covered a lot of ground here) and Granada seemed like the perfect choice. Historic, beautiful, the perfect size and much more green (very important for me!) I took a risk, knowing no one, and leaving Madrid (and my boyfriend, more on him in a minute) to live down here on my own to explore Andalusia…and I’m really glad I did. It’s good to challenge yourself in different environments, see what you’re made of and put yourself through the paces. And so far, it’s worked out to be one of my best decisions.


Madrid, top left, clockwise: 1. Santiago Bernabéu stadium. 2. The best Argentinean pizza at El Trébol (another Madrid MUST visit!) 3. Sun drenched buildings 4. Embutidos at home for the Barcelona match. 5. The halls of the incredible Museo del Prado.

While deciding on my next moves I went home to Dublin for a visit, leaving all my stuff with the aforementioned boyfriend. Let’s call him by his name, as ‘boyfriend’ makes me cringe every time I type it. I have no idea why. Anyway, his name is Iñaki, or Ignacio or Ignatius depending how dramatic you want to be. I think ‘Ignatius’ is particularly dramatic. And definitely badass! Just in case he’s reading, which he totally is.

So I left all my stuff with him (poor guy!) and came back to Madrid for a while to sort my stuff, work and explore the city for the last time for a while. I’m not saying goodbye totally…we’ll be up and down to each other. In fact, I’m back in Madrid in just over a week! Anyway, we went to the Prado museum, a Real Madrid match at the Santiago Bernabéu, to see some blues bands, to the cinema, ate everything (essential) and generally spent time shooting the breeze together until my parents arrived and we could begin our family road trip extravaganza! It was perfect. Thank god for my parents, the patience they had filling the car with all my stuff. I have a lot of stuff. Saints. A pair of Saints, I tell you. And Iñaki is one too, for putting up with that very same stuff. All Saints. (Naming the ’90s pop group was totally unintentional there, but I’ll leave it be.) When my parents arrived in Madrid we went for a couple of dinners and I showed my dear Mother a bit of the city, as she had never been outside Madrid airport before. Crazy. Everything went swimmingly! Except you can’t really swim easily in Madrid, there ain’t no beach.


On our second night, we went to one of my favourites, La Capilla de la Bolsa, for opera and food. An excellent combination. The beginning of the end of my time in Madrid was even more bittersweet when my sister arrived just after our starters. She worked around some of her time at college to join us for a few days and I was so happy to have her along, we spent the best summer together in Madrid so it was only fitting she was with us for part of the ride. The only member missing was my brother. Hopefully he’ll make it next time. He loves Spanish food so I’d say he’ll be in Granada for a visit very soon!
The meal as usual at La Capilla was amazing, I had the burrata with honey and red wine flor de sal. The stuff of dreams! And let me tell you, it. was. divine. I wasn’t expecting two big hunks but I totally pigged out on its delicious creaminess. I love burrata. I was craving it that day too! La Capilla knows me and my needs. I also had the steak (like last time, if it ain’t broke…) and dessert of the year again. Turrón and chocolate ganache with crispy bits on top. Yas. This place is not to be missed if you’re going to Madrid!


We left Madrid and headed for Granada, where I had lined up some apartment viewings. A four hour journey filled with singing, laughing, iced coffees and lots and lots of mountain ranges.
I won’t lie, the apartment viewings were pretty stressful, bouncing from one to the other in a city with a one way system for driving (I would always recommend exploring Granada by foot, do not rent a car!) but we got there in the end, and I choose my dream place, where I’m writing from right now. We had dinner in the beautiful Plaza Nueva that night to celebrate, and I took a break from phones and photos to de-stress after the heavy day. There’s nothing like the feeling of apartment success!

Saturday morning we left Granada, ready for a week in Alanda Club Marbella, that I’ve mentioned here so many times I’ve lost count. It’s a second home to my family. It’s such a beautiful part of the world and everything around there just seems to work – excellent restaurants, bars, beaches…it’s all there, and it’s a constant source of great memories.

As usual, I have typed for Ireland (D’oh!) so I’ll leave you with pictures from our first couple of nights at Alanda Club and around Elviria, where the resort is located. An ideal location to visit in you’re in the Costa del Sol, everything is so easy to access.
Until part two, Happy Monday! x


Top left, clockwise: 1. The view of the resort and pool area from our balcony, 2. Cava on the balcony to welcome our arrival, 3. My bedroom I almost always have each year we go! 4. Bedroom views 5. Unusual butterfly 6. An afternoon spent on Nikki Beach
alanda-club-marbella4Top left, clockwise: 1. Pizza at the Alanda clubhouse after a morning on the sun loungers. 2. Incredible sunsets and pink candyfloss clouds on Cabopino beach. 3. New shoulder freckles after a few hours in the sun. 4. Four cheese pizza at the clubhouse.


Top left, clockwise: 1. Protos, an amazing Ribera del Duero available across most of Spain. Always a consistently good choice if it’s on the menu. Go for the Crianza! A little more expensive but so very worth it (or as the Spanish say, vale la pena) And in Spain terms, not that expensive at all. 2. Fish ready and waiting to be devoured at Da Bruno, Cabopino. I ordered Turbot, fresh from the ice. 3. The turbot, cooked. Normally Da Bruno is excellent but they seemed a little short staffed. As a result, the fish was incredibly salty, perhaps to mask the fact that it was overcooked.  4, 7. More shots of pink wispy clouds and blue and purple skies on Cabopino beach. 5. Staff at work at the bar at Da Bruno. 6. The beautiful setting of trees and lights at Da Bruno, Cabopino restaurant (there are more locations) 8. Mussels a la Marinera, Da Bruno. A full review of the restaurant can be found here


Top left, clockwise: 1. A pre-dinner Kir Royale in Harmon’s, Elviria. 2. Lord above, whipped garlic butter at Pinzimonio served with warm crusty bread rolls. 3. Mussels in Parisienne sauce 4. The Pinzimonio salad 5. Post meal digestifs; ice cold vodka caramel liqueur 6. Prawns wrapped in sole with champagne sauce. I can’t bring myself to order anything else! It’s that good. 7. Pinzimonio’s deep fried brie. An excellent Italian, well priced with one of the largest and varied menus I’ve come across. Sit outside to experience the best atmosphere. 

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