Savvy Traveler Q&A: Spain with Seattle Met Magazine style editor, Amanda Zurita
July 29 2015
Spain has always been one of my favorite countries. The passion, spirit and beauty of its vibrant culture is addictive...not to mention all their wonderful wines, bountiful pans of paella and delectable tapas. It is easy to see why I continue to return to the sun kissed land to witness the vibrato of flamenco, enjoy the diverse landscape and siesta and fiesta all in the same day!
Amanda Zurita, our savvy traveler and one of Seattle's most influential style mavens, holds my same love for Spain. In our Q&A she shares some of her favorite spots and best ways to pass a day in some of Spain's most beloved cities. Undoubtable you will be dreaming of Rioja and this Iberian Peninsula land tonight.
Name: Amanda Zurita
Occupation: Style editor at Seattle Met, Editor at Seattle Met Bride and Groom, guidebook researcher at Rick Steves, freelance writer (WHEW!)
Hometown: Seattle, WA (but I grew up in Tulsa, OK)
When did you first fall in love with travel?
I’ve been flying since before I could walk, and I think my early experiences with travel really instilled a life-long love of adventure in me.
What’s your favorite way to get through a long flight?
I love when airlines (British is my favorite) have in-flight entertainment systems with a good selection of movies. I rarely have time for movies at home so it’s nice to be able to catch up. On my last long flight I watched Foxcatcher and The Imitation Game.
What is your favorite memory of Spain?
The first time I visited La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, I was just overcome. I honestly wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it because the structure itself and Gaudi’s style is so unique and not obviously beautiful. But the more I learned about the architecture and the history behind it all, I was so moved. I’m not religious, but that church is the place where I’ve felt closest to something greater than myself. I love going back every year to see it evolving.
"The ceiling of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It’s meant to feel like you’re in a forest with the light shining through at various angles."
Where is the one place you always visit when you’re in town?
Depending on where I am in Spain: in Madrid I visit the Mercado San Miguel. It’s a beautiful market and in one little corner there’s a stand that sells burrata toast. I also always go to the Museo Reina Sofia to see Picasso’s Guernica, one of my favorite works of art. In Sevilla I like to eat a picnic lunch near the Metropol Parasol, a modern wooden structure in the old quarter.
What would your perfect day in Spain include?
Depending on where I am: a long tapas dinner at Astelena in San Sebastian; lounging on the beach after a visit to La Boqueria market in Barcelona; a whirlwind museum tour in Madrid; and a summery stroll followed by a flamenco show in Sevilla. Can I just combine those all in to one day?
What is the food you always eat at least once on your trip to Sevilla?
I know it’s a ways from Italy, but the gelato at the Heladería Villar is some of the best I’ve ever had. The shop is known for using all-natural ingredients and the family that runs it couldn’t be more lovely.
"Sevilla has so many little courtyards like this and I always try to peek my head in to discover hidden gems."
Where is your favorite place to relax in Sevilla?
If I have a day off, I like the Aire de Sevilla spa, which houses a hammam and a circuit of hot and cold pools, plus luxe massage services. It’s terribly indulgent.
What’s your #1 travel tip when it comes to packing?
Roll your clothing! You’ll have so much more space and it helps keep things from wrinkling.
Where in Spain is the best place to dine with a view?
In Granada, the Carmen de Las Tomasas restaurant has phenomenal views of the Alhambra palace. Reservations are required. Arrive around 7:00 for golden-hour lighting and finish a memorable meal as the Alhambra’s lights blink on.
"The Alhambra in Granada is breathtaking. It’s a Moorish palace that dates, more or less, to the 11th century until it was taken over by the Christians in 1492."
What book are currently reading while on your travel adventures?
I try to always pick up something related to where I’ll be traveling. Right now I’m reading The Angel's Game by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A prequel to the book The Shadow of the Wind (which I highly recommend), it’s a mystery set in 1920s Barcelona about a struggling author living in an abandoned mansion. I love this line: “The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen...”
"Rhonda is my favorite little hill town. This bridge separates the old town from the new. If you’re feeling adventurous you can hike to the gorge at the bottom."
All Photos by Amanda
Captions from the images in the title collage:
Photo 1: "Panorama of Toledo."
Photo 2: "In the Consuegra area of La Mancha (think, Don Quixote), these restored Spanish windmills sit at the bas of an 11th century castle."
Photo 3: "The Carthusian horse is one of the oldest breeds in the world. The Yeguada de la Catruja breeding farm, outside of Jerez, specializes in preserving the lineage of these handsome guys."