We had an early morning flight from Madrid to Sevilla via Ryanair.
We arrived to the lovely temperature of 27°C – full of sun for the most part but also a little bit of sunny showers. From the airport, we took the bus into town for 4€ to the very last stop – Plaza de Armas. Started off walking over to Triana Bridge and Triana Market where we grabbed pastries and 2€ fruit platters.
We went to Edificio de La Adriática, checked out the outside of Catedral de Sevilla (line was way to long too go in) and Calle Sierpes – cute little shopping Street. We continued to Plaza de España where they have live flamenco dancing on the main steps. The place is massive and a mix of beautiful tiles with a giant fountain in the middle.
We stopped for a late lunch at Berrinche where we ate fried swordfish strips, pork cheek with truffled potatoes and mixed fried veggies.
After lunch, we decided to check out Torre del Oro (not worth the 3€ to go up). We then went across to Plaza de Toros & Museo Taurino but they also had a line and we didn’t want to spend 8€ each. We wanted to rent bikes or scooters but ended up walking by the river and watching a video production being filmed with flamenco dancers. We continued our walk north alongside the river and right by the bus station of Plaza de Armas, we ended up watching a youth in-line skate competition.
We went back to the Airbnb and around 530PM we were famished and decided to go back out in search of a grocery store to get food for breakfast but to no avail. We ended up walking around for a bit in search of dinner but if course, we went out too early for dinner as dinner hours start around 630PM earliest and many of the tapas restaurants we had looked into opened at 830PM. 630PM is prime time for drinking and socializing.
On the long thin strip of Plaza Alameda de Hércules (the popular hang out spot), we did eventually find a place called Casa Paco to have dinner. We ordered the butterfish, cheese board, potato brass, cuttlefish with black garlic and mushroom risotto.
A late sleep-in type of morning with brunch at La Cacharreria de Sevilla. We got the Spanish and the Cacharreria combos that include a yogurt and daily smoothie – presentation and food itself was delicious. We smelled cookies right across and got some too. Continued down the street to see Las Setas De Sevilla. Setas means mushrooms in Spanish and they indeed looked like such. The outer level is raised but is a cool place to hang with a playground.
Since Royal Alcázar was closed yesterday, we tried again today but the line went so far around the building so we opted out. Walking around on a Sunday is a much different feel than any other day as many businesses are closed on Sundays and are more so reserved as family time. It was a beautiful 29°C outside nonetheless.
My dear friend Irene who I met through a travel experiment called Yuujou joined us with her boyfriend Benjamin. She is originally from Madrid and was road-tripping through Spain and attending a friend’s wedding. Luckily timing worked out that we were able to be in the same place at the same time. She now lives in Zurich with Benjamin. This was the first time I was able to meet Irene in person after months upon months of chatting and it was such a fun experience connecting in person.
Since they had been on the road, they dropped their things, changed and off we went to grab a quick clara (beer with lemonade/lemon fanta) and watched the basketball finals between Spain and Argentina (Spain won!). We went to Catedral de Sevilla and La Giralda (when they tore down the mosques to build cathedrals, they left the towers that are of Muslim origin and have no steps but ramps so the generals could send donkeys and horses up with all the necessities as it is 37 floors). It was a lot of winding up a somewhat narrow ramp all the way up with little windows that give you sneak peaks outside. Up top, they still have working bells and 360 views of the city. The main entrance to just the towers are closed for construction but you can enter the tower via the Catedral.
When we finished, we decided to go see a flamenco show at Cuna Del Flamenco. We tried to get in line at Las Setas De Sevilla to go up top for sunset but I hate lines and the sun was already setting. We opted out and kept going.
We walked across Triana Bridge and had a lovely dinner at La Caseta Nonina. We got Irene and Benjamin to order for us. We ordered an array of croquetas, tortilla de patatas con cebolla (Spanish potato omelette with onions), bastones de berenjena con miel de cana (fried eggplant with honey – this was my favourite) and Tinto de Verano (red wine with lemonade/lemon fanta.) We walked around a bit and stumbled upon a procession before settling down at Alameda de Hercules where we played Spot it / Dobble past midnight while we were still surrounded by many people out and about like a group of university students having a jam session.
Sevilla, Spain – Porto, Portugal
In true Sevillian style, we eased ourselves into the morning. We ate pan con tomate (bread with tomato and olive oil) by the nearby church before parting ways with Irene and Ben.
Onwards to Porto, Portugal.
When we arrived in Porto, we picked up our car rental from the airport – we rented a Mini Cooper. Drove into town and then walked everywhere. We really wish we stayed longer in Porto because the Airbnb we stayed at had such lovely vibes and access to the rooftop. The temperature in Porto was cooler than in Sevilla the previous day.
Walked over to Mercado Bom Sucesso and grabbed our first pastel de nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts). Continued on to Jardin do Palacio de Cristal where they were having a huge book fair and further into the park you go, the prettier it gets especially closer views of the water and the town.
We walked by Igreja do Carmo – twin baroque churches (one for the nuns and one for the monks) with a tiled facade and also has the narrowest house in between. It has been said that the narrow house that is built between the 2 churches was built because there was a rule that churches cannot share the same wall or another story stipulates that the house was built so the nuns and monks couldn’t cozy up with one another.
We passed by Livraria Lello (an old bookshop with intricate wooden detailing) which was right around the corner however there was a line and admission (I hate lines) so we skipped it. I believe it is 5€ for entry. This bookshop is incredibly popular because it is where J.K. Rowling got inspired to write her critically acclaimed book series – Harry Potter. Really cool hang out spot right beside that is raised up as well.
Second stop for pastel de nata was Manteigueira. Then on to Sao Bento Train Station that has beautifully painted white and blue tiles. It is still an active hub that sits at a pivotal point in the city.
We continued across the Luis I bridge to have a better view of the city from above and looks over Cais da Ribeira and Ribeira Square. We finished off the night having dinner at Pedro dos Frangos where we had port wine (obviously you gotta have some port in Porto) with sardines and a full roasted chicken.
I heard about this tour company after I left called “The Worst Tours” that don’t have a route set but also, they cater to you and take you on the off-beaten path of the lovely city of Porto. It started with a group of architects.
Stopped by Intelligentsia (3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029) for a coffee fix. I grabbed a bag of espresso beans for my father. The environment and interiors of this establishment is beautiful with its blue and white tiled floors and wooden façade. It is a relaxing space to be in.
After the coffee fix, we drove over to Griffith Park and drove straight up to the Observatory. Did you know the owner of the land put it in his will that he wanted the park to remain free forever to all visitors. Arrive early to find parking. The observatory is beautiful and shows a great view over the city. The first Saturday of each month, there is a star party that is open to the public for star viewing.
We didn’t really have the time to hike (so sad). We drove up Mulholland Drive and parked by the park after a windy and narrow drive up. We walked to an area that was front facing of the Hollywood sign and took photos. A quick stop to pick up 2 of our friends and off we went to Anaheim to Angel Stadium to watch a baseball game with our friend JP. It was Star Wars night meaning the giveaway was a stormtrooper rally monkey. The night became a little dewey as fog started to fall near the end of the game. Sad to say, the Angels lost that night but our night didn’t end there as we went back to our home and hung out for a while.
The plans for our final Saturday (or last full day) was divided into 2 groups – group 1 – surfing and beach bum at Venice Beach and group 2 – myself and Vivien who were on a mission to meet up with our friends and family in LA. The beach group slowly made their way to the beach while the people wanting to surf went a little earlier for surf with our friend Van. Myself and Vivien hopped into our car and off we went to West Hollywood to have breakfast with my friend Brian McCarty at Canter’s Deli (419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036) – an institution in West Hollywood that is open 24/7 and serves food at a very reasonable price. They have a parking lot and its free when you validate your parking. Brian is a photographer who specializes in his work with toys but more recently has been deeply involved with his on going series – War Toys. Brian alongside art therapists travel to war zones and refugee camps and collaborate with children who are or have been affected by war express what they see and deal with on the regular through art therapy. They use locally found toys then place and posed them in locations known to the children as a way to expressively show their unaccounted perspective on what is happening around them regularly in these war zones.
I was unfortunately about to meet up with one family that I basically spent all my time with when I lived in LA 6 years ago but was fortunate enough to meet up with Wendy Polish, my friend who I spent almost majority of my time working with. Wendy lives in Silverlake and for a glimpse, I was also able to once again see her daughter Logan whom I haven’t seen since she was 10 years old. I regret not getting a photo with her after all this time. Wendy, Vivien and myself walked from her home to Sunset Junction Coffee Shop (3916 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029) for a little snack. Although its been 6 years, we picked up where we left off like time hadn’t past. Afterwards, we returned to her place for a bit and she showed us her beautiful home and we took portraits of her dog Hank. Wendy is an designer and artist who co-founded a beautiful candle company called Le Feu de L’eau.
I said my goodbyes and off we went to our next destination – Yolk (1626 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026) – a beautiful little gift shop that also sells the cutest children clothes as well as housewares (including but not limited to Le Feu de L’eau candles). We went next door to LA Mill Coffee before making our way across the street to MILK (1639 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026) in which my Instagram feed kept showing these beautiful ice cream macaron sandwiches which were a must try! Just like any other ice cream store, you can sample a few of the flavours. I got myself a Thai Tea ice cream macaron sandwich ($6USD) and it was absolutely delicious. The Thai tea was a perfect balance and unlike drinking Thai Ice tea, the after taste didn’t linger in your mouth. I would definitely come back and eat more if I had the time.
After our refreshing treats, we drove east past of Pasadena to Glendora where we visited Vivien’s cousin who’s wife was only a few days away from giving birth to their second child. They had the most adorable little daughter Victoria who doesn’t quite known personal space boundaries but that made her even cuter. We played, chatted and read a few books before making our way through LA traffic back to Venice beach area to retrieve our friends from Abbot Kinney.
This was our last night and once we all returned home, we all showered, packed and decided that since our flight was at 6AM and we needed to be at the airport for 4AM. We packed up the car, checked out and headed to dinner where we would then stay out all night before going to the airport. We said our goodbyes to our home for the week and drove to Little Tokyo where we had dinner at Toshi Sushi (359 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Toshi Sushi is a cozy little restaurant but the food had big flavours. The boys for the Chirashi bowls which looked amazing and the look on their faces you could tell it was delicious. I got the Toshi Black Cod special and it was melt in your mouth delicious. Our plan was to meet up with our friend Van for $1 oysters however she ended up falling asleep as the early morning surfing drained her. We ended up walking around Little Tokyo and grabbed Boba at Twinkle Brown Sugar Tea where I got a Thai Tea boba and yes the aftertaste remained but it was a delight to have some BOBA (Bubbletea). Since we had time to kill and we didn’t necessarily fill up at sushi in hopes we were going for $1 oysters, we went back to Daikokuya and had a second dinner. My meal from Toshi was very filling so I opted for Takoyaki instead of a ramen.
We walked through Little Tokyo Plaza once more trying to kill time and I was able to step into Mikawaya once more and grabbed a peaches and crème ice cream mochi just a minute before they closed up for the night. We drove over to Marina Del Ray trying to see if we were able to walk around but we were denied and from there, we made the decision to goto the LAX. Before leaving a car that you have rented and used for a whole week, make sure to check all the pockets, seats and whatnot before departing so no items get left behind. The flight was direct heading home and once again I ended my trip the way I started – a whole row to myself to lay down and sleep. Los Angeles, I will be back for you one day soon.