Happy to introduce Rachel, who answered my 10 questions within 24 hours, but who I kept on my back burner for some time. Mainly because I had hoped she would send me some photos, but also because of my busy work and being busy on revamping this blog. Luckily I noticed that she had joined Karen Bryan’s Europe a la Carte Blog team recently and found a nice portrait of her there.
1) Who Are you?
I’m a born again writer, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve taken up writing. It’s something that means I can stay home with my three boys, 17,15 and 9, it keeps me more than busy and more importantly is fulfilling.
I’m from the UK and moved to Spain with hubby and boys twelve years ago, when a little more time and independence came so did the boredom and frustration so I took a correspondence writing course and haven’t looked back.
I write and blog for various sites and have now started my own website about Andalucia – Andalucia for Holidays which I hope will create an income stream to support the rest of my doodlings. My two blogs, Luxury UK Travel and Luxury Spain Travel that I started are twins – I couldn’t make up my mind whether to concentrate on the UK or Spain so I’ve opted for both together – they may mean they both grow slowly! Unfortunately there are never enough hours in a day.
2) What do you like about what you do?
I love being nosy, my blogs are my memory, notebook and excuse for reading and surfing to my hearts content – and my future intend to visit locations.
3) What don’t you like about what you do?
The fact that it doesn’t equate to more than the pocket money my boys get – yet.
4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.
Being so young my blogs are my babies – I’ve no intention of letting anyone else to write in them yet. But I do hope that they may become a scrapbook that others may want to join in the future, when I’m not quite so possessive!
Parador and Capilla de El Salvador
5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
Gas Street Basin in Birmingham!
I remember it as a child, it was awful, dingy run-down full of scary people! Now it’s fantastic – waterfront pubs, breakfast on a barge and just 2 minutes from the Bull Ring shopping centre!
The Alhambra is magnificent, I can’t wait to go again, especially now I’ve read The Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. Mary Lee Settle also had a profound remark in Spanish Recognitions “If you cannot relearn wonder again at the Alhambra, you may as well stay at home and die.” The trouble is when you live close-by to somewhere you can always go tomorrow! Have to book it in my diary!
I was driving from the UK to Spain with my sister-in-law who really wanted to ‘do’ a French flea market. We drove around & around Nantes late at night, not being able to find any hotel at all! Finally we spotted a not-so-nice brand but would have settled for anything.
In the morning -outside the hotel door – just across the road was the most enormous flea market I’ve ever seen. What heaven we were in – and how it postponed our journey! Fortunately I had a laden car so limited she bought a wonderful baroque style lamp and me? A rustic wrought iron coat holder with hat rack and mirror – it’s perfect in our rustic holiday rental house here in Jaen.
6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
Tricky – certainly the most recently enjoyed was Combe House in Gittisham, Devon, UK. Gittisham is an unspoilt timeless little hamlet which HRH Prince Charles described as ‘the ideal English village’.
The Combe House Hotel is a glorious Grade 1 Elizabethan manor in 3,500 acres with Arabian horses roaming the grounds.
We arrived to find a glorious old Rolls Royce with snake head horn – I haven’t yet found out what model it is, and a wedding party taking place.
Such a glorious location I almost expected bustles and ringlets, butlers and gaslights inside. The whole thing was just right, great food, lovely room, good service and a welcoming feel.
I also liked the Carlyon Bay Hotel for its spectacular views over St. Austell – when the sun shines after the rain England is glorious.
For a larger family gathering Hotel Playa de la Luz in Rota near Cadiz was fantastic, family apartments and 4* rooms made for a budget choice.
I really loved the 2 steps to the beach with the tide that went out forever and freshly grilled ‘catch of the day’ fish.
The Fat Duck in Bray, UK
7) Your top 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?
Memorable, experiential Michelin starred The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
We had the tasting menu which went in the teens of courses. Incredible, we sat without realising for 4.5 hours sampling strange creation after strange creation – a never to be forgotten experience including Roast Foie Gras adn Nitrogen scrambled egg and bacon ice cream.
A massive platter of mixed grilled fish on the beachfront in Malaga = absolutely fresh – superb.
My husband and boys catching loads of mackerel on a sea-fishing trip in Boscastle, Cornwall. We bought chips in a newspaper and grilled the mackerel, I’ve never tasted better – but hope to equal it!
8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?
I don’t really have any worst experiences, could have been better ones maybe.
It’s all about making the most of where you are – but I do hate cold/rain and wind combined- they make anywhere hard work for me!
Madrid airport wasn’t too pleasant with a 5 hour wait for an early morning connection – but hey ho – I wasn’t thrown out for sleeping on the seats – some were!
9) Can you offer the readers 3 travel/ food / accomodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?
Jaen is the underestimated understated little sister to Granada and Cordoba. It’s well worth a visit. Stay in the hilltop Parador with majestic views, visit the castle/interpretation centre on the same site and walk to the huge monumental cross to survey the small city below. It’s breathtaking
If your budget is up to it then dine in the Parador to, if not do a bar crawl around the town. Tapas are still free here, usually the best tapas comes first to encourage you to stay on – don’t, move on to another bar and another “best tapa”.
You can eat enough without needing a meal this way – and may have to ask for no more food!
Tourist Train and Old University, Baeza Jaen, Spain
If there’s time take a bus to Baeza and/or Ubeda wonderful UNESCO Renaissance cities and Cazorla, Spain’s largest national park – it’s glorious especially in the autumn.
10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?
No, I think I’ve waffled enough anyway.
Thank you very much Beth! You seem a busy bee to me. Hm a very good friend of us has promised me a diner at the Fat Duck whenever I manage to reach London with my motor boat. Your recommendation makes me think to make time in the near future…
Update October 16, 2008
Added more photos and amazingly found out that our busy bee is not only a contributer to the above mentioned blogs, but also to:
Suite 101 | Profile Rachel Webb
Vagablond | Rachel Webb
and last, but not least: She’s a fellow Trend Hunter at:
TrendhHunter | Spaniola