A few more shots from Spain this week, because–hello!–this was an epic trip that I planned forever and I have to share more.
First, did I mention that my friend Becky and I found sea glass on the beach in Nerja, which reminded me of the cover of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler? We did! It was awesome.
We also sometimes acted very American. Here’s Becky posing with our rented BMW and Dave when we went to see Clash of the Titans in Madrid (I love movies on vacation!).
At the Alhambra in Granada, there were gorgeous tiles and wall etchings that made me think of how fashion designers get inspired by patterns and colors:
La Mezquita (“The Mosque”) in Cordoba is one of my favorite places of all time. Ah, to have a ball in the middle of this gorgeous structure! (I know that’s inappropriate, but I wanted to dance here!) Also: A door at an old silk market in Valencia reminded me of the classic Chanel purses. Just saying.
Maybe because my life was moving more slowly, I noticed so much natural beauty everywhere. Like this orange grove in Valencia and these brambles at the Alhambra (which reminded me of a photo Beth Kephart might use on her amazing blog).
I also noticed funny stuff, like these bathroom signs that cracked us up!
I may have also seen a couple of dresses (this yellow one in Valencia has such a great shape, and the tulle skirt at Mango in Madrid that reminded me of my wedding dress? FUN). I didn’t buy either, though I would have snagged the yellow one if it hadn’t been *cough* $700.
In Barcelona one day, everyone was wearing amazing hats! And Gaudi’s Casa Batllo rooftop? Just dreamy.
Inside the apartments in Casa Batllo: Gorgeous windows with lace curtains and a classic turntable.
We stopped by two special doors. Dave and I posed in front of the door to the apartment in Barcelona where my dad lived in 1959 (he was in the Navy and stationed there); and I posed in front of my old door in Madrid, where I lived junior year of college:
In Madrid, at the Reina Sofia museum, we saw some gorgeous art. “The Gathering,” by Angeles Santos Torroella, was one of my favorites, as was this untitled ship by artist Martin Ramirez, who painted in prison.
In Madrid, of course, the best evening was at Casa Patas, where flamenco rules the night! Check it out.
Another great thing about Madrid? Long lunches and indie bookstores EVERYWHERE!
Oh, when can I go back?! Thanks for looking, guys. I so appreciate it. And if you travel to Spain, let me know! I have lots of ideas for you. xoxo.
I am going to have to devote a few Photo Fridays to Spain. I just must! This first one? It’s about food and books, naturally.
First: This was my very favorite thing! Fried lemon leaves at a street fair in Murcia (where the next day they had a festival and everyone wore traditional Spanish clothing–so cool!):
There were amazing little beers in Spain, called canas (with a ~ that my blog won’t accept–lame). Here’s Becky with her first cana, and the beach where we stayed in Nerja:
And, on our balcony in Nerja, Andalucia, I ate Corn Flakes with excellent fresh strawberries. And I read The Exile of Gigi Lane by Adrienne Maria Vrettos (total fun!):
The Tostada Andaluz (a Southern Spain breakfast of toasted bread with crushed tomatoes, olive oil and salt) made me swoon, and I fell back in love with jars of Sangria, which Becky and I drank on “The Balcony of Europe” (a lovely plaza over the Mediterranean Sea in Nerja):
The Alhambra is a seriously amazing Muslim palace. Oh, and the fried eggplant in Granada? Me gusta:
We took a ferry to Tangiers, Morocco (my first step in Africa!) and had this really awesome mint tea. On the right is the door to a mosque in Tangiers, the MEN’S door (women enter through the back). The color green means peace, our guide told us. I told him “I think it’d be more peaceful if women could enter through the front door too.” Just saying.
In Valencia, Becky and I sat in a the Plaza de la Virgen in the morning and I had cafe con leche (you know it’s a favorite). Then I saw an article in the paper about ELLE France doing an issue totally full of “plus” (read: normal) sized women. It made me happy!
Plus, Valencia had this amazing market with food that would make Michael Pollan proud! Mushrooms and fruit! Veggies and ham!
Also in Valencia, the City of Arts and Science was incredible. We got smoothies there.
Plus, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (FINALLY! SO GOOD!). Oh, and I made Becky dance in the central plaza in Valencia, because it looked like an outdoor ballroom to me!
When we got to Barcelona, we were hungry for tapas, and quickly polished off a plate of pimientos (delicious!):
The next day we had a tasting menu at Moo (thanks, Phil!). Barcelona has some of the best food in the world. For dessert, honey and flowers! Then a trip to Gaudi’s Parque Guell:
Later, a rooftop rest (Dave joined us in Barcelona. See La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s cathedral, behind us) and I read For Keeps by Natasha Friend, which was really sweet (read The Compulsive Reader’s review):
We headed to San Sebastian next, where the Playa de la Concha provided amazing seafood tapas, called pinxtos in Basque country (it all put me in a good mood):
And then: Madrid! This place holds such a piece of my heart because I spent a semester abroad here when I was a junior in college. If you have the chance to study abroad, do it! It was hard and fun and lonely and amazing and bittersweet and wonderful and confusing and the best time ever.
First, lunch near the Palacio Real and then dessert near my old apartment on Calle de Goya (the same gelato place was still there!):
Finally, a pose with el Oso (the symbol of Madrid) and a paella dinner:
If you guys got this far, gracias! I know this is probably like looking through a gajillion of your old relative’s vacation photos, but I was soooo excited to be on this trip! There’ll be more next week, so bear with me. And seriously, Spain? Te amo.
More soon, but here’s an iPhone shot of my daily morning bebida–cafe con leche. There is something way more amazing than just “coffee with milk” going on here. Spain is maravillosa!
PS-Wdebo at The Electrical Book Cafe has a new interview with me up, just in case you miss me.
This photo Friday is made up of pictures from a Glamour UK story I worked on. I interviewed models and their boyfriends for a fashion shoot, which resulted in tiny text (and an even tinier “Words by Melissa Walker” on the second-to-last page) but was lots of fun and had excellent catering. I think I ate an entire plate of brownies between interviews. (And yes, there were a couple of douchy boyfriends, but most were nice and I’ll never tell who’s who.) Enjoy!
I think I like the daisy shot best. You guys?
* The amazing International Rescue Committee is focusing on women in their Haiti relief efforts.
* I did an interview with Penelope Przekop about my writing habits and discipline.
* Salon talks about what the new Sex and the City YA book gets wrong about teenage Carrie Bradshaw.
* I’m late to this amazing John Hughes story in VF, but if you are too, read it now. (Molly dated Anthony Michael Hall?!)
* Emily and Travis and Erica wrote about me for Author Appreciation Week (started by Heidi R. Kling). Thanks, you guys!
I got to head to California last week, where I hit Morro Bay on the central coast with some high school friends:
And then I got to pretend to be cool with college friends in LA:
We also ate some amazing food at The Bazaar at SLS (molecular gastronomy, which I only know about because of Top Chef). I ate a man-made olive — and I liked it!
(Cotton Candy Foie Gras, Philly Cheese Steaks and Egg Salad, if you’re interested.)
Looking back on this post, I feel a little douche-y. But, you know, sometimes it’s fun to go to the beach with your 17-year-old best friends, wear sunglasses inside and eat at fancy LA restaurants. Normal life is pajama pants and DVR, and I’m back to that now!
Look at the lobster I got on Valentine’s Day (Dave and I always do this old-school lobster, champagne and roses V-Day. It’s how we roll):
Good bread, too:
And finally, for your viewing enjoyment, Swayze and Winnie watch the Olympics (they never watch any regular shows–this is their thing!)
I had a down and up week…
First, I had to watch my Tarheels lose to Dook. Really, they threw away the game all on their own, but it was a BUM-MER. This is how I roll on game nights. My living room looks very fratty for some reason (I am not promoting beer, but I am promoting pizza):
This is where Swayze goes when I start yelling at the TV during basketball games:
Luckily, after that loss, I had lots of snow to play in at the park up the block from my house. Here are my friends Meredith and Anne, ready to sled!
Also, someone built an awesome igloo in the park, and Anne and I went inside and looked out the window:
So the week was pretty fun after all. How was yours?