Barcelona Flamenco Show

I’m not a stranger to Flamenco, I live in Spain. I’ve seen the real spontaneous raw song and dance, also several not good ‘tourist shows’ so when I was invited to the new City Hall Flamenco Show  and as I was going to Barcelona for a Writers Retreat I took the plunge and two of my course mates along. We all loved it!

Flamenco Dancer, City Hall, Barcelona

This is what I wote on the retreat about the Show when given the prompt: A Time you Were Really Present…

Entering, a narrow front door, the street noise receded the further along the darkening corridor we went. Rounding a corner notes of piped music wafted upwards, which grew louder as we descended into a sensuous cavern, soft lighting, chairs and a stage set the scene, we wait. Expectant, hesitant, excited.

The music and lights fade, curtains open and the show begins. Four men, three women start clapping, not loud, not fast. The speed picks up, then builds with feet also tapping. One dancer rises, poised. The guitar joins in and the swirling, mesmerizing dancer in red-layered dress begins. Stamping. Clapping, whirling, swirling. Faster, slower, softer, louder. I’m being wooed, played with, absorbed, aroused, she has my attention, louder, faster, excited, she has me. The climax, the eruption of clapping from all around. I breathe, I applaud. Sweaty, exhausted, satisfied I lean back in my chair.

Then it begins again, a different song, another dance but the same intensity, then another and another. I’m overawed, overwhelmed, emotional, content.

That’s what the City Hall Flamenco show did for me!

Flamenco Dancer, City Hall, Barcelona

A fabulous experience and atmosphere which we recommended the Writers Retreat added to the itinerary. Why? The seven performers were obviously a troop, they talked and laughed together, and improvised. It wasn’t a perfectly rehearsed, stick-to-the-plot show. They teased each other, followed each other and enjoyed themselves. I felt as though it was a jamming session to them, raw, real and passionate.

Where’s the show?  City Hall, Rambla de Catalunya, 2

When’s the show? Thursday to Sunday  7:30 pm and 9:30 pm

What’s their website? City Hall Flamenco

Flamenco Dancer, City Hall, Barcelona

I was given complimentary tickets to the show, I would pay to go again.

Two Fabulous, Small, Owner-run, Adult-only, Foodie Hotels

This year I’ve gallivanted around Spain again, covering lots of kilometres, new and interesting places and staying in some really great Boutique Hotels for OnlySpain. Here I’m going to share two  very lovely, small, owner-run hotels that  also cook and serve great food and don’t allow young children.

One at a beach destination but not on the beach and the other a rural mountain village hotel – both are fabulous. Enjoy.

Hotel La Gastrocasa

Gandia is a beach town in the Valencia region on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, not a spot you’d think of for a quiet escape. Hotel La Gastrocasa offers just that, away from the hubble and bubble of the beach but only five minutes or so by free-to-use hotel bike. In a sleepy urbanisation this once family villa is now a gorgeous 5-bedroom adult-only hotel.

Hotel La  Gastrocasa

Hubby and I stayed two nights and couldn’t fault a thing. The service, by the family, the food and presentation, by the family, the individually decorated rooms (yes, I got to see them all) and the fabulous breakfast spread.

Hotel La Gastocasa Breakfast

For a real country-feel escape yet on the coast  with the beach nearby then this charming hotel is for you.

Read more about Hotel La Gastrocasa.

Hotel Los Castaños

Cartijima, a small, white village in the huge mountain range Serrania de Ronda is home to the lovely Hotel Los Castaños. A quiet, sleepy town providing the perfect setting for a step-back in time, relaxing stay.

Hotel Los Castanos

Hotel Los Castaños with only six rooms provides an escape, a base for walking, great hosts and home-cooked food, you’ll feel as if you’re staying with friends, perfectly relaxed and at home-comfortable.

Hotel Los Castanos

Huge rolling mountain views from some rooms and the pretty  roof terrace are to die for, it is impossible to see those views and not take a deep breath of calming satisfaction. Our one-night stay was just spot on, had we stayed longer I, who cannot draw or paint, would have had a go, with the provided artist materials, to capture those enormous views.

Read more about Hotel Los Castaños.

See my post featuring Hotel Los Castaños Hotel Breakfasts are Very Important


Home Swap in Marbella, Spain

I had done a couple of home swaps before but this was my first with LoveHomeSwap a site I’ve been with for a couple of years and had lots of requests from, but never actually swapped through them.


Their system is easy and I like the fact it is from the outset contact, via the website, with the owner of the potential swap. In this case a lovely Spanish lady with an apartment in Marbella. It was short notice and looked like we were going to be seven for part of the stay, so the number the potential swap could accomodate and number of bedrooms and bathrooms was a major consideration.


From the first positive reply we were on our way to Marbella or to be precise Nueva Andalucia just inland from Puerto Banus. Communication is easy and only when a swap has been agreed are contact details available to see. In this case we did a points swap, meaning we booked using accumulated points rather than a simultaneous swap which are in my opinion much easier to agree on.

We had a  couple from Taiwan stay in our holiday home which gave us a nice lot of points to spend on what and where we wanted to go. Our criteria comfortably large enough for us all, hubby, 3 sons and two girlfriends and nearish a beach preferably with pool or access to a pool.

Love Home Swap Marbella

Booked and paid was quick and easy then contact details and address and suddenly we were on our way excited to discover our new roof. It was absolutely great, better than the practically non-existant website blurb with one of the biggest and most fabulous pools  I’ve ever seen.


The apartment was perfect, terrace overlooking the gardens with pool view, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 15 minutes walk from Puerto Banus. A great time was had by all, nobody was ready to leave and now it’s time to peruse our next escape with the points we still have in hand. Where to next?