Recipe » This summer’s best cocktail!

Last weekend we went to Valencia for the weekend. We were there for a few days only, but it felt like a full summer holiday! Every city inspires us in a different way and Valencia inspired us to a a-ma-zing summer cocktail.

The combination between sun, beach, delicious pinchos, local prosecco (seriously cheap and good) and architecture, is what made us so intense happy in Valencia. Everything what we needed after spending some cold days back in the Netherlands.

Valencia treated us well, when we arrived it was 27° and the rest of the days it was around 24°. On the second day we went to the beach. After a long warm beach day we ordered a cold fresh drink: Aqua di Valencia at the bar of La Mas Bonita. If you are looking for a nice alcoholic refreshment then this is the summer cocktail for you! (and so easy to prepare!)

Ingredients:
» 1/4 liter Prosecco
» 3/4 liter Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
» 100 ml Vodka
» 100 ml Gin
» 50 g Brown Sugar
»  4 Strawberries

How to make it:
Put a good amount of ice into a large glass. Add the brown sugar. Cut the strawberries into small pieces. Add the strawberries, gin, vodka, prosecco and fresh orange juice Cava.
Done!

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From now on this is our favorite summer cocktail for this summer!

Enjoy!

Love,

Wander-Lust

Hidden gems of Spain, France and the Netherlands

Whilst it can be all too easy for us to focus on the attractions of our capital cities, there’s plenty of lesser-known European travel destinations out there to satisfy your wanderlust. So here’s some of the best secret finds in Spain, France and the Netherlands along with some tips for suitable entertainment that range from glamorous casinos to fun beach activities.

Spain’s secrets

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Most Dutch travelers to Spain have a tendency to hit the south coast. But the northern coast of Spain also hosts many wonderful locations with the port city of Santander offering a tantalising blend of Gothic cathedrals and windswept beaches like the Playa de la Magdalena that even features a small zoo and locomotive train.

If you find yourself on the Costa del Sol, then book a hire car and head up into the mountains to discover the wonderfully atmospheric mountain towns of Jimena de la Frontera and Ubrique that offer a wonderful taste of Andalucian life. Plus the amazing gorge and bull rings at Ronda complete the picture for a charming glimpse of old-school Spain.

French gems

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The French Riviera is also something of a tourist magnet with many visitors showing themselves to be endlessly in thrall to the casinos of Monte Carlo. But a short drive into the hills reveals a succession of quaint towns like Vence that offer commanding views of the Bay of Angels, and some fantastic boutique shopping opportunities too.

Heading up into the mountains means that you can also take advantage of the many vineyards in the area with the likes of Vins De Bandol hosting regular wine festivals that provide the perfect excuse to fire up on your smartphone and pretend you’re in Monte Carlo with the site’s great access to a range of authentic casino games of roulette, poker and blackjack.

Dutch charms

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Less than half an hour away from the tourist trap of Amsterdam, lies the pretty town of Haarlem. This town offers many charming cobbled streets and gabled houses to serve the more discerning tourist. Of particular note is the Franz Hals Museum that’s delivers the perfect introduction to the Golden Age of Dutch painting.

And to the south-east, the city of Nijmegen has recently blossomed thanks to a laid-back fun-loving atmosphere that led to the institution of many great pop-up concert events. Also the acclaimed Volkhof art museum and the Velorama – unbelievably the only bicycle museum in the whole of the Netherlands!

So when you visit these countries, be sure to check out these hidden gems!

Love,

Wander-Lust

Hacienda Na Xamena » Paradise in Ibiza

Instagram heaven is right here – Hacienda Na Xamena in Ibiza.

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I am not exaggerating right?

Planning to go to Ibiza next year?
I visited this magical place in the North of Ibiza » It’s a hotel, restaurant & spa that is perched on a cliff edge 180 meters above the sea, surrounded by an idyllic Mediterranean pine forest where I’ve spent the first day of my holiday.

Na Xamena Hotel Hacienda has the best view of Ibiza.
Hidden on the North side of the island in a nature reserve and a 10 minutes drive from Sant Miquel, you will find this five star hotel from the seventies that is built by the Belgian architect Daniel Lipszyc.

I was invited by La Posidonia, the SPA- named after the protected seaweed that grows around Ibiza – of Hacienda where they offer a wide range of body and facial treatments and spa rituals. I received a private tour where they showed me the package deal for their guests. I was very impressed by the sun terrace, restaurant, swimming pools and sunbeds. The perfect place to recharge your batteries, but it comes with a price – from 400 euro per night.
*This is without any treatments of the SPA.

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After my tour I took my first treatment –  Silky Skin (body scrub with sea salt and aromatic oils).
I recommend everyone to scrub your body before your holidays to prepare your skin for tanning. It’s as important as protecting it when exposing yourself to the sun!
Then I experienced the “Cascadas Suspendidas – a 45 min hydrotherapy treatment in 8 heated pools at different temperatures that give hydro-jet massages whilst enjoying the view.
The Cascadas Suspendas – 45 min access to the 8 pools, including some snacks – will costs you 55 euro.

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Pool 7 and 8 are the best since you will have this breathtaking view when enjoying this warm bath.

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The drink & snack you will receive after the Cascadas Suspendas with Pica Pica treatment

TIP » Watch the sunset from the roof deck when enjoying a good glass of champagne or a cocktail.

It’s definitely worth visiting, but I prefer to dive into the pool, have a cocktail on the beautiful terrace with the perfect view rather then enjoy the spa for 45 minutes. Unfortunately this is only possible when you are a Hotel guest. That saying, it was an amazing experience!
So keep an eye on the rates to find the best prices for next season!

Hacienda

Address
s/n, Carrer na Xamena
07815 San Miguel, Ibiza
http://www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com/en/

Enjoy!

Sarah

 For more inside tips about Ibiza, check my last post about Ibiza’s best beaches and my top 5 places to eat.

Top 5 » Best Food Hotspots in Ibiza

It’s no secret that I’m a big food lover. I might be a little picky when it comes to food, but that’s because I know what I like.
I’m always looking forward to find the best restaurants whilst I travel. I can easily wander for hours to find the perfect place where they serve top notch food with a great ambiance. I’m only interested in good quality food and preferred not to expensive, but I can also easily order champagne with oysters in a star restaurant.

But how do you find these quality food treasures? That’s easy, just ask the locals where they love to eat! That’s exactly what I did in Ibiza.
I asked the owner of my villa to share some of her best tips with me – and these are one million dollar tips I tell you!

Read more

Top 5 » most beautiful beaches of Ibiza

The first time I visited Ibiza was 2 years ago. I fell in love straight away. Ibiza is known for it’s clubs and famous DJ’s from all over the world, but it seriously has  a lot more to offer!
Ibiza has everything you need for the perfect summer holiday; Sunshine, palm trees, white sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets, great food, terrific views and very friendly people – and don’t forget the sexy language:). Exactly what I needed after some very busy working months. I booked my ticket and found some very nice spots that are worth sharing with you!

Purpose: Chill, relax, soak up vitamins, tanning and eat & drink as much as possible!

Read more

Top 5 reasons why you should live in Barcelona

Europe has a lot of amazing cities but Barcelona seems to attract a lot of foreigners that try to build a life over here. And we can’t argue with them. It’s one of the cities I could live. Why?
I give you 5 reasons why you should live in Barcelona.

1.  Helloooo, there’s a beach! 

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Beachlife. There’s a sweet word that everybody loves.
Barcelona has a long stretched version of 4km and it’s a good one. There are plenty of beachbars, people walking around to give you drinks or massages and it’s so near the city that you can easily tan for a few hours after work or during your lunch break. This way you kind of feel like you’re on a holiday even though you’re working. Love it!

2. Free bicycle rides


Viu Bicing bicycles lined up, waiting for a ride

When I stayed in Barcelona 2 weeks ago, I stayed in an Airbnb and the host gave me their bicycle card for the period of my stay. This card gave me access to all the Viu Bicing bicycles in town.
How does it work? In order to use this card, you are in need of a membership. For this you need a home address. (This is why you never see tourist on these bikes -except for me of course ;-))
Swipe the card at one of the many Bicing stations and it unlocks one of the bikes ready for use. You get up to 5 min to test the bike to see if it works alright for you. After that you can cycle up to 30 minutes for free with 0,70 cents per 30 minutes after that. With so many docking stations around the city, it’s not hard to find another station to lock it again. Swipe your card on the station and you’re done.
This way you help to eliminate climate pollution, traffic noise and traffic congestion. Awesome!

3. Catalans have awesome celebrations

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Incredible. The decorated streets of Gracia

They have carnival in February, 
Festival de Sant Medir de Gràcia in March and San Jordi in March but the month June is the cherry on the cake when it comes to festivals.

Apart from Sonar Music Festival (I’ve been there twice!) they celebrate Corpus Christi. will be held in June with parades of giant and carnival figures with big heads.
Then they also have the Festival Grec. The series begins in June, reaches its peak in July and goes on into August. The Grec offers a wide range of cultural events, from theatre of dance music and cinema events under the open sky. The one I would love to see is Holy Sant Joan, which is celebrated with campfires and fireworks and fire-crackers in all streets.
In August they also have Festa Major de Gràcia. I was lucky enough to be in Barcelona during this period and I enjoyed the beautiful decorated street in the area Gracia.
hundreds of people go on the street to enjoy concerts, food and open bars until 4 in the morning. This festival last 6 days.

4. The food


I can get used to this system!

If you know Barcelona, you know that there’s good food. Tapas heaven.

And the fact that you can eat different spanish bites for only €1,50 per item makes it even better!
They are called Pinchos. The main difference to tapas is that the bread and other ingredients are held together by small skewers, which is actually what pincho means in English. You grab a plate, pick what you want and save the sticks. After you’ve finished, the waiter counts your skewers and calculates your price. I never had such a wonderful dinner for only 10 euro’s (including a drink!) at Blai Tonight.
The best area to eat Pinchos is Poble Sec.

5. Culture & History

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Awesome Street Art in Barcelona

Barcelona has a unique historic culture and you can find it all over the city. Beautiful churches, landmarks and museums full of it.
Take a day to explore. The city offers a feast of sculptures, paintings, mosaics, impressive architecture and fashion. Museums dedicated to Picasso, Miro, Tapies and Dali.  And let’s also not forget about Gaudí.

Are you convinced yet? 

Love,

Elke

Festival report » DGTL Barcelona

I flew to Barcelona last weekend to enjoy tapas and some sunshine but I also flew over to report about DGTL Festival.
We’ve mentioned DGTL in our festival guide before and we are a big fan. With so many incredible international DJ’s on speed dail it came as no surprise that the Dutch organisation decided to bring this festival abroad and try it out in Barcelona.
A lot of Dutch festival guru’s flew over to Barcelona just for DGTL, so that must mean something right?


I was extremely curious if they would live up to my expectations. 

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Impressive art instalations

Day 1.
The organisation picked the perfect location. Parc de forum is situated near the beach and has the industrial feel to it that suits the festival seemlessly.
I knew that it would be smaller then the Dutch edition but with 3 stages (Digital, Stereo & Phono) it didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. With views over the beach and the sun shining in people’s faces, the crowd felt optimistic and ignored the rainy weather forecast.

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A small market with local brands brought a true festival vibe along with a massage table for the ones who needed it most. The food area, where you could choose between burgers and thai food, looked cute with the food trucks lined up next to the Redbull bar.

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Food trucks are also hot in Barca!
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The Stereo stage was a 2 day jumping fest 

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Agoria was one of my favourites 

You got to give it to the DJ booker/programmer because he did a hell of a job getting these big names together. At the Digital stage you could dance to Agoria, Ame (both amazing!) with an explosive closing set from Maceo Plex.

At DGTL they work with a new system where you get a wristband that includes a chip where you can add cash on. This way you won’t loose your coins and the service is quicker.
It’s also sustainable and that’s also one of the reasons I love this festival.

Sustainability plays a big role at DGTL. They are setting a great example for other festivals out there by trying to find alternatives and solutions by for example recycling and re-using plastic.
For more info about their projects, check their Revolution page.

Day 2.
The clouds that were hiding in the mountains, unfortunatley made their way into Barcelona and it rained non stop from 5pm to 11pm. Surprisingly, this didn’t stop the crowd from dancing. A colorful sea of poncho’s was a result and they enjoyed the sounds of David August (who played an amazing live set) john Talabot and closings from Adam Beyer and Dixon.
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The nice thing about getting backstage is that I could watch the crowd go crazy everytime the beat dropped. Priceless. 

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What a sight..
 

The production did a great job and I saw that this was a real team effort.
This Dutch family makes me feel proud to say that they have really set DGTL on the map here in Barcelona. The question is now…what country is next..? 

Love, 

Elke