My husband and I travelled to Spain, and while I had great intentions of working from there, I just took a breath instead and made the most of having some time out with family and friends. I’ve always found it tricky to mix work and pleasure. Many people I know have achieved that modern work-life blend perfectly, but I’m one of those individuals who tends to do better when they fully commit to one thing or another.
The only way I can really relax is by escaping Dublin and the routine that goes with it. I got married in Seville – I became engaged at the Royal Alcazár of Seville, the oldest royal palace in use in Europe (used as a location for fantasy drama Game Of Thrones) – so it holds special memories for me, and it’s somewhere I’ll always enjoy returning to.
Nepal, meanwhile, is one of my regular destinations because it’s home to the factory in which Castanea cashmere is lovingly made. Two very different escapes, but both equally amazing. Here’s a brief directory of both cities if you’re planning your own getaway.
Stay at the Eme Catedral Mercer hotel in the heart of Seville, a stunning 16th-century Andalucian building with a contemporary interior, which offers atmospheric views of the Seville Cathedral (the burial site of Christopher Columbus), or Casa Palacio San José, a traditional Casa, but again with a terrific central location.
Just minutes from the cathedral sits the Aire Ancient Baths. A tour through this 16th-century restored hammam spa is pricey, but a beautiful experience.
If, on the other hand, you have an interest in modern design or architecture, you’ll be fascinated by the Metropol Parasol in the old quarter. It’s the world’s largest wooden structure, and the upper level offers superb views across the entire city.
If you’re a foodie, make a point of visiting Mercado Lonja del Barranco, a gourmet food market filled with stalls that’ll provide you with seminal tastes of Sevillian and Spanish cuisine. Follow it with a drink at the river-side bar Sojo or at Pura Vida Terraza, another lovely spot for a tipple, or try a cocktail at the stunning Art Deco Bar Americano in the Hotel Alfonso XIII.
For great modern tapas, I love El Pintón, La Brunilda and Cotidiano. Fish restaurant Canabota is superb, while Casa Ricardo is a cosy and atmospheric traditional tapas restaurant full of character – the walls are smothered with religious iconography. El Rinconcillo and Bodeguitas Antonio Romero are also two of my favourite more traditional places to eat.
Food is certainly one of Seville’s main attractions. While Nepal’s restaurant scene isn’t memorable in the same way, as a destination, it’s unforgettable. To get the most out of a trip there, consider hiring a driver for the duration of your stay.
Be sure to agree to a price beforehand, though, as getting across the city can be extremely slow due to poor infrastructure. It’s also a good idea to hire a guide at the main tourist attractions. They’re full of information and extremely friendly.
In Kathmandu, stay at the Hyatt Regency or Dwarika’s Hotel. The latter features an incredible collection of artefacts from the 13th century and the interior is modelled on the palaces of Nepal’s ancient Newar Kings.
Take in the Boudhanath Stupa – one of the largest monuments of its kind in the world. Visit at night if you can as there are thousands of lighted candles that create an incredible display and atmosphere.
The Garden of Dreams is a stunning neoclassical garden with exquisite walks, while Durbar Square is a wonderful source of Nepali art, singing bowls (types of bells that can offer healing through their vibrations) and ceramics – a great spot for gift buying.
It’s well worth visiting the city of Pokhara too – gateway to the Annapurna mountain range – for its beautiful trails and lakes; hike to Shanti Stupa, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, or boat across the freshwater Phewa Lake. I stayed at the Pavilions Hotel on the outskirts of the city, a stunning luxury eco-resort where all 14 villas are powered by renewable energy and the resort’s restaurant is supplied by its own organic farm. It was bliss.
I hope these short itineraries prove useful if you make it to either city this summer. Wherever you’re heading, though, have a wonderful time.
Love Paula. X
Check out our insta reels to discover a snapshot of a week away in Seville & Nepal