Monthly Archives: September 2013

Best Sunset in Tenerife - Las Terrazas del Sauzal (Canary Islands, Spain)

I had been looking forward to having dinner at Las Terrazas del Sauzal for months. It’s one of these hidden gems that still not many people know about – maybe because getting there is quite an adventure itself. We drove to El Sauzal – a village with about 9.000 habitants. This part of the island used to be made up of farmlands, but over the past few years, it has shifted to a more urban focus with beautiful villas along the hillsides. We cruised up and down the steep and narrow one-way roads for almost as much as it took us to drive to the Village in the first place (about 15 minutes on the highway).

At arrival, we were greeted by this…

Best Sunset in Tenerife - Las Terrazas del Sauzal (Canary Islands, Spain)

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Best Sunset in Tenerife - Las Terrazas del Sauzal (Canary Islands, Spain)

From the open terrace, we had a clean view of the island’s north side – its coastline, beaches, hills and villages. We saw mount Teide, the island’s dormant volcano, and the Atlantic Ocean. Everything tinted in a diffused orange and pink light.

The moment was perfect. As soon as the last ray of bright orange light hid behind the horizon, we sat at our table and were ready to enjoy dinner. Their menu is short and simple, but it still took me a while to decide what I wanted. It’s difficult to do so, when you’ve been looking forward to this moment for so long and know that it may be a while until your return.

Fine dining and a perfect sunset in Tenerife

Homemade foie terrine, crunchy brioche and creamy green apple.
Tuna tartare, guacamole and Doritos.
Salmon wrapped in sesame seeds, artisan tomato jam and ginger vinaigrette.
Beef tenderloin, caramelized foie and sweet wine reduction.
Duck breast with guava sauce, potato terrine and mini vegetables.

…You get the idea, right?

Fine dining and a perfect sunset in Tenerife

Fine dining and a perfect sunset in Tenerife

I had the tuna tartare and beef tenderloin, but made sure to try a bit of everyone else’s plate, too – a quite ambitious task, by the way – we were 9!

Las Terrazas del Sauzal is one of my favourite restaurants on the island and I am already looking forward to my next visit in a few months time.

Last week, my grandpa turned 80.Despite the physical distance, we are very close – and whenever I get to go back home, I like to spend as much time as possible with him. He is a wealth of jokes and stories, and one of the most adventurous people I know. He is a doer (less of a thinker) – and I’ve always admired him profoundly for that.

Grandfather's 80s Birthday

His stories captivate people from around the Globe. Wherever we go, he will always has a memory to share that will make you think, laugh or simply love him even more than before. Occasionally, his stories are followed by one of his life lessons.

Immerse in the culture

The greatest way to build a relationship with someone else is to understand their culture and traditions. My grandpa made numerous friends and colleagues while traveling to Japan by simply not hesitating to eat what’s on his plate. Back then, Sushi hadn’t become as popular in Europe as it is today (and even less were other exotic meals such as fish heads or raw sea urchins). Not only did he try it all – but he embraced it and soon became one of them.

There’s no such thing as a language barrier

Opa speaks a few languages – but only one of them well. Still, he almost always has manages to convey his message and understand what others try to say. I have caught him speaking broken spanish with a tip of portuguese and a top of italian. I learned that it’s not necessary to be fluent to communicate – flexibility and openness to understand will already help you go a long way. Sometimes, he sits next to someone who doesn’t speak a word of German (nor spanish nor english, as a matter of fact) and 5 minutes later, they’re already having a blast. He’s a real charmer.

Everybody likes music

Even when talking to someone in another language isn’t quite easy, he always finds something in common – and usually, this is music. He surrounds himself with artists and musicians and is always up for joining a jam session anywhere he goes. Madonna knows it best: Music makes the people come together!

Don’t work too much

Whenever our conversations turn towards a more professional topic, he always tell me not to work too much. I know what he means – balance and have fun. Don’t allow work to define you and rule your life. As an entrepreneur in the fifties, he worked very hard to create and expand his business. But he always made sure to have fun, too.

Sunset in Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

I grew up in a fishing town. I guess that explains a lot about my fixation on jumping into a bikini and having fresh fish as soon as I get home for holidays.

That’s why I knew I would like Cadaqués.

Cadaqués is a small fishing village with around 2.500 permanent residents placed in the Alt Empordà of Catalonia, Spain. It is a lovely bay in the middle of the Cap de Creus Península, the easternmost point of Spain. It may at first seem like a typical mediterranean fisher village – but you soon realize there’s something special about it.

Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

It is charming.

I am not the first one to fall for its purely white buildings with blue windows and doors – Cadaqués has been host of amazing artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Joan Miró – not to mention one of my favourites: Salvador Dalí, who kept his home just around the corner of Cadaqués, in Port Lligat.

Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

It’s landmark – Little fishing boats resting in the bay with a white and blue Village in the background – has been subject of poetry, paintings and books. For instance, there’s this one: a painting of Port Alguer by Salvador Dalí.

Sunset in Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

Sunset in Cadaqués, Costa Brava (Spain)

Now, Cadaqués attracts a large number of tourists each year – 10 folding its regular resident number. While its obvious that it is less secluded than my favourite beach in Catalonia, I am glad that it has managed to maintain its charm.

Have you ever been to Cadaqués? Which is your favourite fisher village?

Sometimes, I find myself in a conflict. Part of me wants to share with you every place that I find special, but another part of me wants to keep these few unspoilt places to myself. Like a secret.

This is one of those places.

Secret Beach in Catalonia, Spain

This place doesn’t have a beach bar, a dedicated parking lot or a lifeguard. You won’t be able to hire a parasol or a deck chair, nor will you be offered cold beers or mojitos. There are no tourists. In fact, it didn’t even have a signpost until not so long ago – and now that it does, people still seem to walk right passed it.

Secret Beach in Catalonia, Spain

It’s a place so hidden and small that you can’t see it from the road. To access it, you have to climb down narrow stone stairs and be willing to wet your feet during high tides. There’s no room for fancy sandals or trendy sun glasses.

Secret Beach in Catalonia, Spain

The cove is natural and rustic. The beach, which is less than 75m long, is made of golden sand. But it’s not the type of sand you might find on its larger neighbours – its rougher, thicker, made of tiny shells and stones.

Secret Beach in Catalonia, Spain

What I most love about this cove is its dramatic beauty – its cliffs covered in lush vegetation, its crystalline turquoise water and its pointy rock formations.

And the fact that not many know about it. It will be my little secret.

Sheep Avalanche, Girona (Spain) As anticipated a few weeks back, my time in glorious Barcelona has now come to an end. Or rather a break. I prefer to use the word break when it comes to the sad action of leaving a place you have grown to love so much – it seems much less dramatic.

After leaving the city of Gaudí behind, I had planned a one-week road trip to explore Girona – one of Catalonia’s other autonomous communities, placed between Barcelona and France.

Having grown up in Spain, I am ashamed to admit how little I had seen of Catalonia until a few months ago. I am guilty of underestimating what I’ve got close by and idealizing faraway places with exotic names (and even more exotic visa and vaccination requirements). I was biased believing that the grass was always greener on the other side of the fence.

This road trip shook my focusing bias off my head – Spain has the beauty and charm that many other countries wish they had!

Peratallada, Girona (Spain)

One of the things I adore about Catalonia is its medieval towns. There are many of them (ranging a variety of sizes) all across Spain, however, the ones in Catalonia are even more captivating because of their great conservation.

Peratallada is a tiny town with about 400 habitants in Forallac, Girona which still maintains a proper Middle Age atmosphere – Cobblestone streets, arcs, balconies made of wood and stone and a dim light illuminating only parts of its otherwise dark passageways.

The town breathes peace and quietness, only occasionally interrupted by toasting wine glasses and gentle conversations in the village’s bars and restaurants. Even though Peratallada is among the most well-known medieval towns, you won’t feel overwhelmed by gift shops and tourist herds – It remains authentic.

Peratallada, Girona (Spain)

Have you visited Peratallada or other medieval towns in Europe?

PS: In case you were wondering – we survived the sheep avalanche. Sort of. The car had a few bumps (oops!).