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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Casa de Pilatos, Sevilla

 I wore this outfit for three days, I was so happy when our  delayed bags finally arrived!
One of the places I liked most in Sevilla was the 16th century ducal residence of the Medinaceli family, the Casa de Pilatos. Yes that's "Pilatos" not "Pilates", as in the Biblical baddy not the exercise guru! A wonderful historic home that's open to the public, it is said to be modeled on Pontius Pilate's house in Jerusalem and it is well worth visiting. There's a lot to see in Seville but I found this private residence far more interesting  than larger and seemingly more important sites like the cathedral.
Up close the scent from the orange blossom was overwhelming.

Rather like our hotel (and so many of the building we saw in southern Spain) the house was built around a series of internal courtyards each with beautiful gardens filled with plants, fountains and pools. It was so restful and gorgeous in the bright spring sunshine, this was our first stop and we spent a lot of time relaxing and reading in the gardens.
Houses like this were the depositories of enormous wealth,  displayed through their furnishings, architecture and  gardens. Access to water was a signifier of power and gardens, patios and fountains were  the preserve of the wealthy. These were homes where the families had the space for comfortable  summer and winter living. They moved to the  cooler, tiled, ground floor rooms that opened onto the gardens in the hotter months and retreating to the upper floors with their fireplaces, panelling and tapestries for the colder, wetter winter season.
 The decorative Mudejar tile work was magnificent...

Tip: It is worth taking the guided tour of the upstairs rooms which are fully furnished and very interesting. Because there were tourists form all over Europe, as well as Brits and Australians, the tour was given in English. We we astonished on this trip how often Europeans were the ones requesting English as the common language

We also enjoyed visiting a second private house museum in Seville, the beautiful Museo Palacio de Lebrua which we would  recommend.
I think we were a little loopy from the jetlag!