The Green Shelters

A few days ago we discovered The Green Shelters, a new concept of mind and body detox experience to reconnect yourself and to improve physical and mental well-being.

The Green Shelters is the result of John Arance’s vision. Born in Spain and living part of his life in Paris, after developing his career in the fashion industry as head of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Lanvin’s accessories collection, in  2014 he decided to change his life and to create his dream retreat.

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The practice of disciplines such as yoga and meditation plays a fundamental role in The Green Shelters experience. Both are effective in managing stress, improving well-being and facilitating energy recovery. The retreat also includes courses such as pilates, personal training, tai chi…


During retreats there are also workshops on cooking, art and themed evenings with conferences.



Each attendee can personalize his or her day with a selection of activities according to personal preferences.




The overall objective is to take care of yourself, and to lead a full and healthy life that brings into balance body and spirit.

If you want to attend one of the next retreats being organized, check out the following website for more information:


Louis Vuitton Foundation

Hello from Paris!

Those who follow us on social networks have seen that we are spending a few days in Paris.

Recently the Louis Vuitton Foundation was inaugurated and we decided to go see for ourselves.



To buy a ticket (16 euros) you can buy online or at the foundation.


There is a mini bus that leaves every 15 minutes from near the Champs-Elysées and drops you off at the Foundation (1 euro each way).




The exhibition we saw was on pop art and music, with works by Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Marina Abramovic among other famous artists. Most impressive though is the building, built by the well known architect Frank Gehry, of Guggenheim fame. Enjoy the views of Paris from the roof deck.


Inside the Foundation, there is a restaurant, Le Frank and also a book-shop.

Adress: 8, Avenue de Mahatma Gandhi

Bois de Boulogne- 75116- Paris

Schedule: 10h a 20h 

Namibia trip

Hi guys! Last weekend we went to Namibia.


We took a flight from Cape Town to Windhoek and after driving six hours reached Etosha National Park. There we spent two days visiting the park.




In Etosha there are a lot of animals: Impala, Oryx, elephants, leopards, rhinos, zebras, lions etc.




The climate is very dry and it was extremelly hot so there were animals at the watering holes. In December when the rains come, animals are more difficult to see because they are more spread out through the park and able to more easily find water.


In Etosha we stayed in a cozy lodge. We recommend Marusha next to the Numatoni gate or Etosha Village near to the Anderson entrance. However, most lodges outside the park do not offer the possibility of sleeping near animals like lions or rhinos, but are a good option in terms of value, compared to relatively simple places to stay within the park. If you are up for camping, there are many good options both inside and outside the park.




The next day we visited the cute artists haven of Omaruru, a four hour drive south of Etosha, and spent the night on a game farm. The farm where we stayed was 15 km from the main road down a sand and gravel trail and we were glad to be driving a 4×4 pickup. The countryside was beautiful and it was a relief to finally find the lodge. The game lodge was recommended by friends from Namibia, and was probably best for families with small children who could see animals in a very tame environment. They were rhinos and a hippo, and the room was comfortable, facing a watering hole frequented mostly by giraffes and ostriches. We were lucky because we arrived just before the start of the high season, although there were few guests. At reception they told us that until February there was not going to be room available at the lodge.




We spent the last day of the Namibia trip in Swakopmund, on the coast. We had lunch in nearby Walvis Bay, taking in the impressive sand dunes along the way. The small windswept harbor has a number of dining options and we were recommended a cozy restaurant called the Anchor, which had exceptionally fresh seafood. Afterwards, we went to see the flamingos at Walvis Bay, which means whales in Afrikaans.

Five fantastic days in Namibia, lots of driving, stunning semi desert landscapes. Highly recommended!






Boulders Beach, Langebaan & Hermanus

Hello!! As I mentioned in the previous post, we’ve been visiting many places around Cape Town during the weekends. Here we tell you about a few of the special places we’ve visited: Boulders Beach, Langebaan and Hermanus.

Boulders Beach is an African penguin colony and is part of Table Mountain National Park.



Hours: 8 am to 18: 30h

Price: adults R60 and R30 under twelve.



Langebaan, a small town about 100 km west of Cape Town, is popular with wind sport enthusiasts. There is a beautiful lagoon with regular wind for sailing, kite surfing, windsurfing. The lagoon is also home to 360 species of birds.



In 1976 the lagoon became a protected area and was subsequently declared a National Park.

We recommend this hotel and restaurant:


There are several restaurants and bars around town with decks overlooking the lagoon.


Hermanus is a small town along the Garden Route, known as the Whale Coast, since in winter and spring it is common to see many whales.





For accommodation we recommend:


There are many good restaurants in this pretty port town. We liked having breakfast overlooking the ocean at The Burgundy. For dinner we recommend Fisherman’s Cottage, very welcoming and cozy. In the afternoon or after dinner, try the Tapas Bar for a drink, with live music on weekends.


Around Cape Town

Hi everyone! How’s your week going?
Today I show you one of the places we visited this past weekend: an organic food market called the Oranjezicht Market.




This impressive farmers’ market operates every Saturday, near the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and has beautiful sea views up the coast to Blouberg.



We went to the Waterfront to try Tasha’s restaurant, a new Spanish Turkish restaurant that serves delicious food in a very pleasant bright space.






We had polenta risoto (amazing), traditional South African breakfast, and a smoothie with green vegetables.

If you go to the Waterfront, we recommend you stop at Tasha’s for a coffee or lunch. Nice decoration and good quality food at affordable prices.



The Twelve Apostles Cape Town Hotel

Hi everyone! How’s your week going?

For those thinking of visiting South Africa and Cape Town in particular, you must check out this boutique hotel, The 12 Apostles.


Located between Camps Bay and Hout Bay about 15 minutes from the city center. This cozy hotel has five stars and is decorated in English style, and has been voted one of the top 100 hotels in the world by Conde Nast.

The rooms are very pretty and spacious with ensuite bathrooms, and you can choose sea or mountain views. Some of the rooms have balconies. 

12 Apostols Room

Even if you don’t stay in the hotel, the restaurant, cafe and bar are open to the public and are really worth visiting. 

The Café Grill

With views to the mountains and surrounded by vegetation, the cafe is a perfect place to have informal food like salads and sandwiches. 


Azure Restaurant

Local and international cuisine including meat, shellfish and vegetarian food. The terrace is spectacular with sea views.

Azure Restaurant

The Leopard Bar

A very cozy room with fire and terrace to have traditional afternoon tea with scones, or have a drink.

The Leopard Bar

The Conservatory

With incredible views of  the Twelve Apostles, the spectacular mountain backdrop, this restaurant is the perfect place for a private event, party or meetings.

The Conservatory

The Spa offers various treatment options including massage, manicure, pedicure, with a hydrotherapy pool and you have the option of enjoying these treatments outside while enjoying the wonderful views.

The 12 Apostles SPA

Hope you like some of these amazing places in Cape Town. 

Visiting Tangier

A few weeks ago when we stayed in Tarifa for a weekend, and spent a day visiting Tangier across the straight of Gibralter.


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We took the ferry from Tarifa and within less than an hour we were there. We only had one day to explore the most charming places of Tangier so we decided to go with a guide. Normally I prefer to travel on my own, planning where the visit, restaurants and controlling the time to spend at each place but in this case it was certainly the best decision.

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When we arrived at the port we were greeted by our guide who took us to see the countryside around Tangier.

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The day was not too sunny and no one was in the water though the sea looked quite inviting for a swim.

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We visited the old center, called the Medina, including the Kasbah (fortifications), markets and squares.

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The colorful streets in blue, green and white and colored ceramic tiles add to the charm of Tangier.

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For lunch we went to La Mamounia restaurant where we tried the menu which consisted of several traditional dishes.

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When we finished the meal we had time to walk, go to a cafe and explore the town.

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At the end of the trip, before returning to the port to catch our ferry, we went to see the local shops which sell products such as argan oil, cashmere foulards and pashminas and ceramics for home decoration.

It was a very packed day of sightseeing, shopping and eating, going all around Tangier, and leaving with the impression of having seen the most interesting parts. If you are in the region of Cadiz, this is a visit that we highly recommend.



Côte d’Azur trip

Hi!! How was your week?
Today a summary of our trip through the South of France, the Côte d’Azur. We spent five days visiting beautiful towns, beaches and mountains. We started the trip by plane from Madrid to Marseille where we rented a car and continued to the region of St. Tropez.


Picture of Old Port of Marseille from the plane.
Marseille, the second largest city in France, is the most important commercial port of Provence, France and the Mediterranean, and is the third largest port in Europe.
The route starts in Ramatuelle with its many stunning vineyards such as Domaine La Rouillère.


We also came across this windmill near Ramatuelle from the eighteenth century.


Pampelonne  beach


View from the mountain down to the sea.


The next day we went to the small village of Port Grimaud, the Venice of the French Riviera.




St.Tropez, one of the most famous resorts of the French Riviera.


The old port of St. Tropez, great for a walk at night and to have an aperitif in one of the cafés located in front of the yachts, a classic being Senequier.


Luxury in abundance but also traditional places where you dine well at a reasonable price. We peeked into the kitchen of this Italian restaurant that makes all their pastas by hand.


The streets are charming around the square near to the port and there is a famous market on Sunday morning on La Place des Lices where they sell food and clothing items.




After visiting the market stop by Le Cafe for lunch.


Sanary “Ville fleurie”




Cassis owes its name to a mulberry-like plant that produces a distinctive liquor, used in the classic Kir.



And if you do not have vertigo you must drive from Cassis along the legendary corniches that span in both directions along the coast. The views are spectacular.



A highly recommended trip, five days is enough time to visit the highlights of this beautiful region.
Have you been there? Contact us for more tips or recommendations.

Mexico trip

If you follow us on our social networks @FriendlyMadrid you’ve probably seen that we spent a few days recently in Mexico.

After a 10 hour flight from Madrid, we landed in Mexico City and two hours later in Cancun.

When we arrived in Cancun we collected our rental car (highly recommended if you want to organize your own excursions).

Playa del Carmen was our first destination where we stayed the first four nights. The most famous beaches are Mamitas and Playacar but in my opinion they are little  touristic.


To stay in Playa del Carmen we recommend Cacao, a modern boutique hotel, with a spectacular penthouse pool and bar.

Restaurants in Playa del Carmen: if you want to try Mayan food, Yaxche is a good option. If you are looking for a place with international dishes try Plank.


Plank Restaurant


Nearby Playa del Carmen, Xpu-Ha is one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast with kite surfing possible on windy days.


The second day we went to Holbox Island. The road there is a little long (one hour, thirty minutes by car and thirty minutes by ferry) but the trip is worth it.


We recommend you to stay at Casa Sandra Boutique Hotel.

If you go to Mexico you should certainly visit their cenotes. Natural water pools, outdoors, surrounded by greenery and a privileged environment. Thre are many cenotes but Cenote Ik Kil , Cenote Azul and Cenote Escondido are very beautiful.


Cenote Escondido


Cenote  Ik Kil 


Another worthwhile excursion is Chichén Itza,World Heritage.


The Temple of Kukulcan is one of the seven wonders of the modern world.


Chichen Itza is a Sacred Mayan Center.


Close to Chichén Itza is Valladolid, a colonial city considered ‘The capital of Eastern Mayan region’. Valladolid was found in 1543 by a group of Spanish.

A one hour’s drive from Playa del Carmen is Tulum (meaning wall in Mayan).


In Tulum tour around the ruins, which are very close to downtown and only take a few hours to visit.


The Flyers Dance

Before entering the archaeological park we saw a Mayan dance performance with acrobatics.


Tulum beach is amazing with many bars and hotels on the seafront. Our favorites are Ana y Jose, Ziggy Beach, Villa de las Estrellas and Sanará.


Photo Eco-Hotel Sanará, Tulum

We also recommend the Italian restaurant Posada Margarita to have lunch or dinner in front of the sea.


Nearby is Hartwood Restaurant, with a lovely scented dining terrace, but book in advance because it is always very popular.


Very pleasant to bathe in Laguna Luun Kaan, Tulum.


Forty minute drive from Tulum to Cobá, an impressive archaeological site of pre-Columbian culture.


Nohoch Mul pyramid, which can be climbed to see a panoramic view.


We suggest that you rent bicycles inside the park since it is a pleasant way to visit all the ruins across the park.

We hope you enjoyed our trip report and recommendations.

Visiting Los Angeles

The largest and most heavily populated city in California was our pick for the Easter weekend.


In this post we show you some sights and places to visit for your next trip in LA.

We started with a visit of Beverly Hills and the amazing houses where many famous actors live.

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Hollywood Boulevard with its tribute to actors and the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held.

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The Getty Center where you can see great exhibitions in addition to stunning architecture by Richard Meier. The grounds and the panoramic view of Los Angeles from the top floor alone are worth the visit.

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Rodeo Drive, where you can see the shops of the most exclusive fashion brands.

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Farmer’s Market and The Grove in Fairfax to have something to eat in one of the many stalls in the covered market and do some shopping in the adjoining plaza.


The Grove

Venice is known for the charming canals and its beach boardwalk. Here you can also find some of the trendiest restaurants in the city such as Gjelina.


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Next to Venice is Santa Monica, a popular tourist destination but worth a visit to the beach. Have brunch at the beautiful Shutters hotel next to the beach.