Italian ‘aperitivi’ in Madrid, Spain

The “aperitivo” is like a religion in the north of Italy. So, when I (Ana) was living in Milan and Bologna I used to go almost everyday to do it. Is an afterwork where you pay for the drink (always a little bit expensive in Italy) and then you can eat all you want from the buffet. Sometimes there is not a buffet but they give you some food… like “tapas” in Spain, more or less. But the normal thing is that you have a buffet with some pasta, rice salad, pizza… and more.

In Rome you can find it only in Some places. When Fulvio and I lived there we liked the “Monmart”, and the “Oasi della birra”. Two perfect places to have a good aperitivo in Rome with a lot of food.

But we were not expecting to find Italian aperitivos in Madrid. And not only find them, but realized that they can be even better here cause the drinks are cheaper and the food as good as in Italy.  So if you are in Madrid looking for a good afterwork with food and nice ambient, here you have some of our favorite places:

Aiò:

The owners are form Sardegna, this amazing island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. And they’ve managed to create this place with mediterranean soul in the middle of Malasaña. At the “aperitivo” time you can try their small pizza, pasta, salads and risotto. And at lunch or dinner they have tasteful and cheap Italian menus.

  • Adress:C/ Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 25 (Metro Noviciado, Callao, Santo Domingo)
  • Prize: 4,50€ drinks with aperitivo
  • When: Aperitivo Thursday from 20:30 and from Monday to Thursday pizzetta + spritz 6,90€ until 20:30
  • Web: http://aiomadrid.com/ 
  • Facebook page

 

Pepa Tencha:

A buffet with yummy pasta, some salads, hummus, risotto, and even salmorejo (spanish vegetables cold soup). You can take the aperitivo here from Wednesday to Saturday in a really cool ambient with couches, painted walls and soft lights. If you’re lucky you’ll find there art expos and live shows too.

Aperitivo Pepa Tencha
Italian aperitivo at Madrid, Pepa Tencha
  • Adress: Calle Apodaca 3  (Metro Tribunal)
  • Prize: 4,50€ drinks with aperitivo
  • When: Wednesday-Friday from 21:30
  • Facebook page

Oviedo nights, Asturias

We always feel lucky of having friends around when we travel. This time, at Oviedo, we met our friend Alberto, who’d just moved to this marvelous city in Asturias. We spent one night there with him having a walk around the old city, drinking wine and eating tapas at the “ruta de los vinos” (wine’s route) and having so much fun remembering our time together living in Rome.

Thank you so much Alberto!!

 

 

The Sacred Monkey Forest, Bali

An afternoon at Ubud, Bali, can became as funny and salvage as this!

These are the photos of our experience with the little monkeys of The Sacred Monkey Forest. The place that inspired the house of “King Lui” in The Jungle Book, the Disney version.

If you are planning to travel to Bali you may also be interested in this posts:

The Descent of the River Sella, Asturias

Every year, on the first Saturday of August, Asturias hosts this colorful festival which has become one of the major events of world kayaking: The International Descent of the River Sella.

But what we didn’t know was that you can always go down the river Sella with a kayak and have a bunch of fun!

Think at it like a sport and adventure experience, but with music, sidra and Asturian food. Yes! That’s possible when you paddle downstream dressed with an ugly wetsuit and with all your money, iphones, cameras and even your shoes in a tight closed cub (to prevent water from wet everything).

The thing works like this: you just need to approach one of the thousands of shops in Ribadesella, Arriondas or Cangas de Onis that plan adventure experiences, most of them do only this “down the Sella” thing.  The cost is 20€ per person an it includes the pick up to the start point and from the end line, the material, and a picnic that you’ll find inside your cube. You cans choose from 2 or three different lengths. We chose the longest one: 17km, From Arriondas to almost Rivadesella.

To this point everything seems pretty normal, an usual adventure trip. But, the surprise comes when you are going down the river, in your red kayak, in the middle of a wonderfully natural place between the “Picos de Europa” and the ocean… and you start hearing music, disco music, really loud disco music! Then you find the first “chiringuito”, a place to have a nice stop over drinking some sidra (or beer, coke, whatever you want) and eat some good Asturian food. So funny! People drinking and dancing on the bank of the river, absolutely Spanish style!

So that was our experience, and we’d love to come back soon. Have you ever been there? What do you think about mixing nature adventure with music and drinks? Let us know in the comments!

 

How to plan a BIGTRAVEL – Accommodation in South Asia and Australia

Planning a big travel is not an easy issue as you may imagine.  We didn’t have a year or a couple to travel but just a month and a have, 56 days to be precise. And we weren’t rich (we still aren’t) so we haven’t enough time, nor money to do and see everything we’d like to do and see. But, the fact was that we could do and see a lot of things if we plan it well! And this is what this post is about: planing it well to enjoy it as much as possible!

 

big travel golosina map
Big travel map, planning where to go

Choosing places:

The first thing was to start canceling places from our wishlist to remain with the ones we could afford. We wanted to see something at  South-East Asia and of course something in Australia (since we’d been living in the country for 8 months without moving outside Sydney cause we were just working and saving for this big travel). But we were dreaming about visiting also New Zeland, Tazmania, Philipins… and a loooooong list.

At the end we decided the places trying to match the calendar and the cheapest flights. The best airlines we found there to match theses two things were Air Asia and Tiger. And so we took this destines at the end: Bali, North of Thailand, Cambodia and some spots in Australia as Melbourne, Adelaide, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Cairns. We know we could have seen much more with more time or money, but we don’t regret at all our decision.

 

Accommodation:

Once we had the places and the flights we had to look for where to sleep. And this isn’t easy at all. The destinations were so big (as Thailand) and we have never been there. So we used different online tools as tripadvisor (the best to know other guests opinion), laterooms.com (this one has been always useful to find the cheapest places everywhere), booking (few times)… to find places and know the point of view from other people. We even spoke with some friends in Australia that have been traveling or living in these countries.

But even if you try to organize it as well as possible, during a big travel things will change and not all the choices will come as the best ones. So, these were our accomodations, why we chose them at first, how we felt when we where there and what we think about them now:

Bali: Rumah Capungh in Ubud
  • Why?  We’ve heard that Ubud was the most artistic and authentic place to be in the isle and we saw that it was in the center so we though it could be easier to move from there to evere place in Bali. One friend reccomend us this houses in the middle of the rice fields cause he lived there for a couple of months.
  • How was been there? The place was a dream and we felt like queen and king. But even if we rent a motorbike it wasn’t easy to move around and we hadn’t as much beach time as we had thought.
  • Now? We still think it was the perfect place for what we did but if we go back we’ll have a couple of days there and then move to other place near the beach or maybe better to another island (Bali is so crowded and confusing)
  • Web: http://www.vacationhomesbali.com/
Thailand: Lannathai Guest House in Chang Mai
  • Now? We know now that we could have found a better (and more or less same price) place, Chang Mai was fall of hostels and more and maybe we could have found a place just there at our arrival.
  • How was been there? Just ok, not the best but neither bad.
  • Why? We found it on laterooms.com and thought it was really cheap and near the city center.
  • Web: http://www.lannathaiguesthouse.net/
Cambodia: Angkoriana Hotel in Siem Reap
  • Why? We though it was cheap and really good seeing it online.
  • How was been there? It really was cheap and amazing! Huge room with huge beds, nice swimming pool, good restaurant, massage at the pool… and it was easy to move around with all the tuk tuk waiting for us at the hotel front door.
  • Now? We’d go back to the same place!
  • Web:  http://angkorianahotel.com/
Melbourn: Nomads Hostel
  • Why? Cheaper (bit not cheap… in Australia everything is expensive!) and near the center.
  • How was been there? The hostel is cool, clean and with a really good ambient. Near the city center by walk.
  • Now? It’s ok, we didn’t find a better place for a night at Melbourne.
  • Web: Nomads Hostel
Adelaide: friend’s house
  • Why? It’s so goood to have friends over the World!!!
  • How was been there? Like beeing at home for a couple of days. Our friends were Italian-Australian and they made us feel like in Fulvio’s country town.
Ayers Rock: YHA Backpackers
  • Why?  There is only one place where you can stay in Ayers Rock, it’s an accommodation complex with 3 choices: hotel (the most expensive), hostel (a little bit cheaper in shared rooms) and camping (cheaper but you need a campervan or a tent).
  • How was been there? The hostel was an authentic “dessert” place, with all this red sands all over around. We shared a room with two girls we didn’t see. We cooked our own food in the funny community kitchen and it was ok for visiting the Uluru which was our goal in this destination.
  • Now? No more choices so ok!
  • Web: YHA Ayers Rock
Cairns: Nomads Esplanade Hostel
  • Why? We just found it online and it was “cheap” (for Australian prices).
  • How was been there? Horrible! It seems cool and hippie. So dirty!!
  • Now? We feel lucky for being there just for a couple of nights 😦
  • Web: http://nomadsesplanade.com.au/

Playa de Vega, a wild dream beach in Asturias

We heard the first time about Vega because of the Summer 2014 catalogue of Pedro Garcia Shoes (brand were Ana is working as a Social Media Strategist). After five or six months seeing these amazing photos we couldn’t  think about other place to spend our holidays.

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Vega Beach is five minutes by car from Ribadesella, so we went to spend all the sunny Sunday there with a couple of friends.

We arrived early so we could enjoy the extensive, wide open to the sea and deserted beach. Unspoiled, almost wild. The water was cold for us (used to the Mediterranean sea) but the sun was hitting hard so we had a refreshing bath in the ocean! A holiday morning that was a dream!

One of our friends from Asturias, Miguel Carrizo,  brought us to the “Superman”  to have lunch. The restaurant and hostel is at the end of the seaside and we couldn’t have gone to a better place! Super yummy food at a really good price with this amazing sea views!

 

Lunch with friends
Lunch at the Superman, Vega Beach (Asturias)

Bali riding an scooter

Our accommodation in Bali was a paradise an as all good paradises it was far away from everything. Ok, not so far away but far enough to need our own transport.

The motorbike (50cc scooter) is the best way, and sometimes the only option, to move trough the small and crazy streets of Bali. With a car could be impossible and always dangerous, all the paths are narrow and local people use to turn around the corners occupying the whole space. So, we took an scooter.

With less than 5€ per day we rented an old Honda SFX, the same scooter that Ana used to have when she was a teenager! Small and easy to drive discovering all the little Balines towns.

Our first big excursion was going from Ubud to Amed, a tiny fishing village in the North-East of the isle.  It was a long journey, 4 hours with to stop overs to see the Goa Lawah temple, famous because on its cave full of bats (they say is sacred, we found it a little bit scary) and the second stop at  Tenganan, the only village remained from the ancient Balines culture.

Ubud to Amed
Discovering Bali on an old scooter, form Ubud to Amed

 

Here you have the map of our route, and of course… photos!!

Ribadesella, perfect spot to discover Asturias

Planing the travel we where looking for a place to camp in the north of Spain where we could have fun, surf, discover new natural places, eat and drink well and cheap… and everything in just 8 days. Ribadesella was the answer, even if we didn’t know how good it was until we where there.

Ribadesella, the perfect choice!

Ribadesella, a lovely town by the Cantabric sea, came to be the perfect spot for discovering Asturias in all its facets.  Camping in Ribadesella for a week gave us the opportunity of surfing, visiting the savage beach of “Vega” where the latest Pedro Garcia’s catalogue was shooted, going down the Sella river with a kayak, visiting the Picos the Europa National Park, having diner and drinks in Ovideo and much more.

Ribadesella has a quality urban space with a wide promenade where the river, the estuary, and the sea go with the route along other milestones of this town: as the Mirador de Guía viewpoint or the Beach with its spectacular constructions owned by the so-called Indianos (Spaniards who made good in America) and erected in the beginning of the 20th century.

The rural area offers interesting visits: the popular architecture and manor houses, which belong to former gentry’s families, live together with a rural landscape with wonderful little coves, spectacular geological formations in caves, and dramatic cliffs with its surprising “bufones” (blowholes).

Where to sleep in Ribadesella:

We were trying to stay in the budget so we chose the camping Los Sauces Playa, cheap (22€ per night for 2 people with a tent and a car) and just 10 minutes by walk from Santa Marina Beach, where we had our surf lessons with Santa Marina Surf Camp (we’ll tell you more about the surf school soon).

Eat a lot and pay a little

One of the greatest surprises we had in Asturias was how cheap you can eat a lot of really good meals, from the country or the sea.

After our surf lessons we had some tapas by the sea at the “chiringuitos” placed on the seaside. We recommend the last one, the one near the parking (Calle Ramón y Cajal) cause is cheaper and the tapas and bocadillos (sandwiches) are huge!

To have dinner we went to “La Guía” (by the recommendation of a good local friend) in front of the fish market (la lonja) where we tried one of the best Cachopo (meat with ham and chees) and amazing seafood as percebes, gama roja or navajas.  If you try, you wont regret!

 We also enjoyed other great places near Ribadesella, we’ll tell you soon about Tereñes, the blowholes of Pria, the National Park and more! Keep in touch!

Have you ever been in Asturias? Please share your adventures with us!!

Are you planning to travel to the north of Spain? Tell us on the comments if you need any help!

Tapas at “The Humedo”, Leon

If you are following us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you may know that we have just came back from a couple of weeks of new adventures in Spain.  Well, as we were promising during this time, we are now going to tell you a little bit more about each of these amazing places we have been visiting.

So, lets start from the beginning. We traveled from Madrid to Asturias by car (5hours, 500 km) and we decided to stop at Leon for lunch.

Leon is the capital city of the province with the same name. It’s placed in the northern part of Castilla Leon, near to the region of Asturias.

Fulvio in Leon
Fulvio as a lion (Leon in Spanish)

We just wanted to have lunch and have a little rest from the road for a couple of hours so we parked in the city center, behind the cathedral where you can find the “San Pedro”  free public parking. (write on the GPS  “Calle Babia”).

After taking a some photos at the stunning Cathedral and the Calle Ancha with its colorful balconies full of flowers we went into the “Humedo” suburb, which is the oldest part of the city full of bars to take tapas, cheap and really good!

Ana jumping in Leon
Ana jumping in front of the Cathedral of Leon, Spain

Familia viajera, papá es italiano, mamá es española y la pequeña V es una ciudadana del mundo