Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magic in Mallorca

If you're an OG reader of this blog, you'll remember Grant & Julie. They are my ride or die bitches from back home - we've gone on numerous trips around Europe & California, most of which have been documented on this blog!

This past month they've been visiting me in Dublin, and last week we made a cheeky trip over to Mallorca, Spain. We were all craving a beach-y vacation, and after weeks of deliberating about the location, we agreed Mallorca seemed to be the perfect place!

We head off late on Friday night, arrived in the dark, had some dinner & then woke up to THIS:


I know. I. freaking. KNOW.

Question: Is this real life?
Answer: Strangely, yes.

If you've never tried Airbnb before, I literally could not recommend it more. It's life changing. Renting this bad boy only put us back around $100/night per person. It's a villa property with one main house and two bungalows, all of which can be rented.


A white Spanish villa, covered in greenery and blooms, set amongst mountains and complete with a gorgeous private swimming pool and tennis court. No big deal.





Straight up freaked out when I saw the villa in the daylight. I immediately helped myself to a morning swim before we head off to grab some breakfast and explore the island.

Honestly, we didn't have too much planned. Beaches were our main concern for this trip, but we decided we wanted to visit a bunch in one big chunk the following day. So, for our first day on the island we ended up literally just getting into our car and aimlessly driving. It ended up being the best idea EVER.

Within twenty minutes we drove into the mountains and came across this incredible landscape:


Spain? Or ancient Inca?



We followed the road to the seaside, where we stopped when we saw this little fortress:


Which casually had a mind blowing view of the Mediterranean Sea



A photo shoot and some mermaid watching ensued, naturally



This water though, can you deal?


I wanted to jump in right then & there! But alas, our next stop was not the beach. Actually, it was Palma, the biggest city on the island


While the whole city of Palma isn't exactly a looker, the city center and touristy areas are filled with quaint, warm-toned Spanish beauty





Spot the pooch!

We wandered, shopped, searched for food and enjoyed the sunshine for a while, and sadly that was the only time I got to explore Palma. I spent my time at the beach rather than in the city during this trip, which I don't regret! But next time I'd love to see more of Palma, especially the old town.

The next day we woke up and head straight to the beach. I had done some research and found 3 beaches that especially intrigued me, the first being Calla Falco, a tiny hidden beach about 30 minutes from Palma


A photo posted by ❀ Alyse Allain (@alyseya) on


We spent a couple hours lying out like beached whales before heading over to our next stop, Beach Club Grand Follies in Port D'Andratx. Sadly we just got to admire this beauty from afar. Something to keep in mind when going to Mallorca - beaches cost money, and they book up fast. If you see a beach club online that want to visit, reserve a spot ahead of time!

A photo posted by ❀ Alyse Allain (@alyseya) on



Despite the fact that we didn't get to rest in one of those delicious looking loungers, just stopping by to visit was worth it. The area is absolutely STUNNING:


And last but certainly not least, the famous Camp de Mar - my favorite of the three. While Calla Falco wins in beauty, and Grand Follies wins in relaxation, Camp de Mar was lively, bright, beautiful, and filled with lots of yummy food in the surrounding area. Not to mention the swimming there was by far my favorite - very minimal rocks! Yes, it's crowded (and I hate crowds) but the atmosphere was not by any means buzzing with anxiety. It was just filled with a bunch of chilled people enjoying their time with their loved ones.



A photo posted by ❀ Alyse Allain (@alyseya) on


After a couple hours of swimming & lounging in the sun, we made our way over to the biggest hot spot in Camp de Mar, Restaurante Illeta. It's situated on the end of its own private pier, in the middle of the ocean. You can literally swim to it if you want, which is seriously cool. Plus: amazing views, and even more amazing paella.




Livin' the dream.

For our final day on the island, we only had one thing on the agenda: the Caves of Drach.

In the late 1800s a French explorer came to Mallorca and discovered a huge amount of underground limestone formations surrounding what is currently Europe's largest underground lake. I saw photos of the caves online and immediately new it had to go on our to do list.



BEST. TOURIST ATTRACTION. EVER. 





 I was afraid this was a massive tourist trap and would be seriously disappointing. I'm happy to report it exceeded my expectations ten fold. Genuinely an incredible place, I walked around with my jaw dropped to the floor the entire time. I got goosebumps and shivers while admiring them. Nature is so powerful and amazing. 




HOW IS THIS REAL? How does this exist in nature?? WHERE IS INDIANA JONES AND HIS WHIP? 

The farther down into the cave we got, the more the underground lake came to view. 

Everyone say hello to the entrance to frickin Atlantis: 



Um ok. WHAT.

 


I think just viewing the caves alone was worth the money, but they added a couple special touches to make it extra magical. When you get to the lake, you sit down in an amphitheater they've built into the rock. Once everyone arrives, they have an orchestra float in on boats and give a short performance that shows off the cave's acoustics. It's an absolutely gorgeous experience. Afterwards they give all of the visitors a chance to hop in a boat and experience what it's like to be on the water, which is VERY cool - but it's such a long wait for such a short trip, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.




Definitely don't expect to walk right into a tour during the summer unless you book with a bus tour!  We showed up at 12pm and ended up getting tickets for the 5pm tour. It ended up working out fine because we had another beach day while we waited. However, went to the famous Es Trenc beach and I REALLY disliked it. It's crowded, rocky, loud, and very very plain looking. I'm still trying to figure out in my head why it's so popular. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Sad day coming across something highly recommended that you dislike, but it happens! The woes of travel.

These caves tho. These are UNREAL. A bucket-list worthy item in my opinion!


If you're interested in viewing the insanely gorgeous stunning beautiful magical AF villa that I stayed in, you can click here to view the listing (going to be honest - the inside doesn't match the outside, but you can't beat what you get for the price!)

Wanna book it, or ANY Airbnb for that matter? Click here and you'll get $30 off your first booking! 








Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mid-Summer Nights Update


 Apologies for the lack of bloggage in the last month, but I promise I've got a good reason this time! 

A couple weeks ago my besties came to town, and ever since we've been busy exploring (gotta cross off that summer bucket list!), eating our weight in seafood & (sadly) doing work together on my sofa.  I've had zero time to blog!

Note: I do indeed have hands, but in this photo I made the mistake of throwing my jacket over my shoulders and now I look like an amputee. Still very proud of bae for taking this magical pic of the three of us though.


 

I'll be back in action next week! 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Day trippin': Skerries, Ireland



Last weekend I told Joey I wanted to take a drive to explore somewhere in Ireland I've never been before. Ireland is pretty tiny and I haven't seen a LOT of it, which is a massive shame considering how long I've lived here! He wasn't in the mood to go anywhere too far away, so we agreed to visit a lovely little seaside town called Skerries, about 40 minutes outside of Dublin.

I'm gonna keep it real here....there is only one reason Skerries was on my Irish to-visit list to begin with: it is home to a popular pub called 'Blue Bar' that SUPPOSEDLY has the best chicken wings in Ireland. That is a BOLD claim, so I felt obligated to investigate. I have no shame.

Our intention was simply to drive up to Skerries, fill our bellies with wings, and leave. Fat person day trip #1: complete.

HOWEVER, our visit ended up being a little more exciting than that. On the way to Skerries harbour, we passed by a sign that said "Ardgillan Castle." Within 15 seconds of seeing the sign Joey immediately changed his course. The boy knows that if there is a castle nearby, I need to go.

I had NEVER heard of this one before, and neither had Joey. Strange considering its proximity to Dublin + my hours of online castle hunting. We pulled up to a parking lot right next to the seaside, took a 5 minute walk through a forest and BOOM, castle magic:


Alright, if I'm being honest, this is not the most impressive Irish castle I've seen. I love the seaside location, but the actual castle itself did not floor me. However, the castle grounds are lovely. There were tons of people there BBQing, setting up camp, walking their dogs and enjoying the decent weather we were having. However, by far the most enticing part of the grounds (to me, at least) was its garden. I may look young in my photos but I assure you, I am actually an 87 year old garden-loving granny. Look at all these BLOOMS!

A photo posted by ❀ Alyse Allain (@alyseya) on






So majestic. In my mind I was a Celtic princess wandering through my family's garden in some like, flowing white gown with a flower crown on. Obviously.

We spent a couple hours wandering the grounds before hunger struck and we head off to Skerries harbour to finally get us some of DEM WINGS.







Ladies & gentleman, the MAIN EVENT:  

Verdict: they were absolutely delicious, but not the best in Dublin. If you like wings my favorite are from TriBeCa in Ranelagh, and the Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar. But there's no denying these are incredible tasty!

Once we were fully satisfied and ready to head home, we stepped outside Blue Bar and thought...wait a second...this place is actually gorgeous??





The harbour is covered with gorgeous shells and rocks, which is fairly typical for Ireland, but alas, it also holds something VERY rare and special...





A beach, with actual SAND and crystal clear turquoise water. WHAT IS THIS!?



We took a mandatory walk by the water, got an ice cream, and finally head back to Dublin. Overall, a very successful day. If you're Dublin based, make sure you spend a decent summer's day in Skerries, it's well worth the visit!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence in Ireland

Happy 4th to all of my American readers! ☆

I held a celebration at my apartment yesterday and it turned out pretty good considering I live 5,000 miles away in a city that has a ban on fireworks. Last week while I was in DC I had a sneaky Target run (or 4) and picked up a couple things to make sure my soiree was as American as I could possibly make it:



Balloons + the garland for a sweet 10 bucks! Also picked up graham crackers, ranch dressing, and American flag napkins. You know, essentials.



Joey and my roommate Hugh played grill masters on the rooftop, and I must say I'm very impressed with their skills. Everything turned out perfectly cooked!


A photo posted by ❀ Alyse Allain (@alyseya) on



Speaking of cooking, we had a LOT of food. Not only did I go overboard at the grocery store and buy like 30 people worth of food for my 11 guests, but I asked every guest to bring a dish AND their own alcohol, so needless to say....



These two combined pics weren't even half of it. The amount of leftovers in my fridge will easily last me the entire week!


My friend Lucy brought over the flag, and Joey bought us a beer pong set up. Such babes. They also created THESE incredible edibles:


The watermelon spigot actually WORKED! I did not have high hopes but it was fairly easy and a complete charm. Joey is the mastermind behind this bad boy!


What is an American celebration without an apple pie? Lucy even took the time to cut out friggin' STARS. Such a queen.


I documented my entire day on Snapchat, so be sure to follow me there if you want to see my daily adventures! I'm absolutely addicted and post significantly more often than I do on any other social media outlet. You can find me @alyseya, or you can scan my code located on my sidebar.



I don't have the day off today sadly, but I hope you're out enjoying the sunshine if you do - be safe! x