vacation

a day trip to Malaga

Malaga, Spain - Photo by: Nataliya Borener, Vim & Vintage

*This is my first entry in a series of posts on my recent trip to Spain and Morocco. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting the different cities I visited along with travel tips.  I’m excited to share it all with you!*

You always remember your first love.  I believe in the same way, you will always remember your first European city.

Malaga will always be that special place for me.

I had just arrived into Rota the night before.  Waking up that first morning in Spain still felt surreal.  I was so freaking excited to get my first taste of European culture!  At the last minute we decided on a day trip to Malaga. (You’ll soon see how this is a trend over the next several posts.)

In terms of Spanish geography, Rota is a small town on the southwestern coast of Spain. Malaga is about a 2.5-3 hour drive east.  One beach city to another.  This is my kind of life.

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The drive was beautiful. Most of it was just on a winding 2 lane road.  Just us and the Spanish countryside. Picture valleys that go on forever. Mountain views. Lots of turbines with wind energy being generated. I was surprised by how few of cars we saw on the way.

Spanish Countryside - Vim & Vintage Blog

What was interesting was how among all the hills and fields, you could spot a town from miles away. Just a cluster of buildings together surrounded by nothing else but open land.  Very different from the typical urban sprawl you see here in the US.  Most of the time if you see a building it’s not by itself, but part of a city.  This condensed way of living makes everything very community oriented and walk-able.

Turon, Spain - Vim & Vintage Blog

Once we got into Malaga, it was much different from the easy country roads.  Traffic was noticeably heavier.  Parking took us about an hour to find.  Once we ditched the rental car life got much easier. I’ve always heard about how having a car in a European city can be a hassle. Now I definitely know why.

We had a taxi drop us off on the outskirts of the city where the beach is. It was so dreamy. Reminded me somewhat of Southern California. But not as showy and with minimal plastic surgery.

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beach views at Malaga - Vim & Vintage

Here was their version of Muscle Beach. And yes, we all did play on the workout equipment.

workout equipment at Malaga Beach

We ate lunch on the beach terrace at El Cachalote.  Nate’s co-worker, Dave, had heard that Malaga was known for their grilled sardines, and so we ordered a plate for the table. Woof. That sounds about as appealing as eating Spam straight from the container.  But when in Spain, you gotta experience the culture. So I tried them.  I must say, they were actually really good. For my meal, I ordered the fried Red Snapper and it was the best I’ve ever had.

Grilled Sardines in Malaga - Photo by: Nataliya Borener

On our trek from the beach back into the city, we visited the Gibralfaro Castle.  Another interesting tidbit about Spain I observed: Each city, large or small, has its own iconic Cathedral and a Castle. The larger cities almost always have a bullring in addition.

Since castle was used for protection of the adjacent palace, it was at the highest elevation of the city.  Homegirl practically hiked a mountain to get up there, but it was so worth it. The best views of the city were waiting for us.

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Castle views - Malaga, Spain

The castle was built-in the 14th century, which is mind-boggling to me. It’s hard to imagine how something this massive was constructed without modern machinery!

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Inside the Gibralfaro Castle - Malaga,Spain

After that we went into the downtown area. I was just blown away by all the architecture.  The amount of attention paid to even the tiniest of details was just incredible. Each alleyway had a different marble, stone, or paver. Pretty much every surface was marble or natural stone. I have never seen anything like it.

Alley shot in Malaga, Spain

Door in Malaga, Spain - Photo By: Nataliya Borener, Vim & Vintage

Pebble Floor in Malaga, Spain - Vim & Vintage Blog

Doors in Malaga, Vim & Vintage blog

View of Cathedral from alley - Malaga, Spain

One of my favorite things about Malaga was the different patterns of marble in the alleyways downtown.  Yes, that is all marble!! It’s absolutely insane. The city had such an interesting mix of old architecture but also at the same time had a newer, more cosmopolitan feel.

Malaga downtown - Vim & Vintage blog

Here’s the Cathedral, in typical massive fashion.

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We walked around the city until about 9-9:30pm and then decided we should call it a day. These day trips always leave you grateful you got to see so much in such a short period of time, but also yearning for more and wishing you could stay longer.

I later found out that Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga. AND there’s a museum with tons of his work.  I MEAN, NO BIG DEAL. I about kicked myself for not doing any research beforehand because I would have loved to go. I don’t get FOMO very often, but when it’s Picasso, it’s a different story.

But as my first European love, I’m sure I’ll return to Malaga again someday.

My next travel post will be on Sevilla.  Such a charming Spanish gem of a city.

Where was your first city you visited in Europe or abroad?  Was your mind blown?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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catching up

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So I know you must have missed my posts!

We have a lot to catch up on.  But where to begin?

Michigan peonies

The last time I blogged was before the official start of Summer…. and now it’s August.  Insanity.

I’m not going to give you some lame-o reason why I have been so silent.  Like, “oh I was busy”.  We all are busy.  We all have commitments, families, responsibilities, unexpected life events – and we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.   It’s all how you prioritize and manage your time.  And it’s safe to say that I’ve sucked at that lately.  A lot of times I find it extremely hard for me to just write, draw, or do anything random that I enjoy in my free time.  But as with anything you love, you pick back up where you left off.  So here it goes.

June flew by. We made our yearly vacation back up to the Mitten.  We spent a week trekking across the state – hitting Chicago, Detroit and everywhere in between.

Chicago Riverfront

I swear, there is never a dull moment on these Michigan trips.  Every year I bring a book along with me and am lucky to crack it once. Sure, it’s a little ironic because you go on vacation to relax, and we do get some down time, but it’s more like relaxed chaos.  Everyday of our trip seems to get booked up with commitments as we try to cram a year’s worth of hangout time into 1 week.   It always seems to feel hectic when we go home.  You’d think being there for a whole week would be long enough to see everyone we know and love, but it’s amazing how each time I go up there are people we miss.  I guess it’s one of the hard things about having family and friends spread out.  And you know, deciding to live about 1,500 miles away from your hometown.  But really, there’s no other feeling like being back at the place you will always call home….that place that takes you back to your roots.

Pure Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens

And by the way, I had the best freakin’ time in Detroit.  Being downtown was absolutely phenomenal.  There’s revival in the air and I’m proud to see it coming back.  I just had to shout that out to the world.

Oh and if you find yourself there, do yourself a favor and hit up Detroit Institute of Bagels.  I bought one… and then followed that up with a whole dozen for the road.

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Our summer in Texas has consisted of lots of river tubing and picking back up with what seems like the endless list of renovating and maintaining an old house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our 1954 ranch and would not trade it for anything.  Okay, mayyyybbbeee an oceanfront home on 30A, but that’s about it.  I can’t wait to share some of the details and some other new things happening around here in some future posts.

It’s good to be back to blogging after my sabbatical.   Hope you are enjoying your summer too!

Texas Sunset

our miami trip in pictures

Is Memorial Day weekend really here?!  Too crazy.

We spent our 5 year anniversary in South Beach, and I realized I haven’t shared pics from our trip yet!  Most of them are Insta-repeats but none-the-less, as you can see, we had an amazing time.

PS> Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Take a moment to remember why we celebrate this holiday weekend.  Cheers to those brave individuals who sacrifice so much while fighting for our freedom!  xo

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these days.

Woweeeee it’s November! (Just in case you didn’t realize.)  I’m not sure where the time has went, but I wanted to let you know whats been going on here….

Last month, we planned a last-minute weekend road trip to Florida.  I have been wanting to make the trip back to Destin for about 2 years now but finalllllyyy it seemed to work out.

all packed and ready to go

The week of the trip, I noticed Erin Gates (the extremely fab blogger of Elements of Style) was going to be in Houston for her book signing the same day we were leaving.   Umm perfect, we would be passing right through there.  Well almost.  I still had to work that day, get on the road in time, and brave traffic to make it to the 6-8pm signing.   I swear I probably averaged about 85mph, but lucky for me the stars aligned and I got there with about 15 minutes to spare.  I walked into Tootsies feeling frantic and a little underdressed in my 11 hour car drive attire.  (Kinda ironic as I’m buying a book called Elements of Style.)  Erin was super nice and totally understanding of rough appearance.  It was great to chat for a couple of minutes, and then we were on our way.

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The trip to the Emerald Coast was much-needed.  Truthfully, I’ve been looking for a way to get back there for a visit since we moved in 2011.  It’s one of those places that will always be a home to me.

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Temps were right around 80 degrees and sunny each day.  We spent a lot of time at the beach, eating too much food, and hanging out with old friends.  I’m still so happy we could make it work.   We ended up leaving wondering why we ever moved away to begin with, and pondering what kind of lucrative airstream business we could open up to get our happy butts back to the beach.

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Other than that, not too much has been new.  Just working away like the busy bee that I have become.  Austin is booming and there is no sight of slowdown, which is great for the economy and business.  My 30th birthday and the holidays are right around the corner!  We’ve been picking back up with some house projects after taking a year off.  Hope to have some updates up here soon.  xo.

 

Chicago

We had the pleasure of going to one of my favorite places last week, and although we were only there for about 24 hours it was a total blast!

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Such a beautiful city! Love the architecture

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Buckingham Fountain.

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Brotherly love.

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First time to Wicker Park.  Loved it.

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