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A Fairytale Winter’s Day in Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle

When I found out that my mom had a four-day layover in Munich at the end of January, I knew I had to find a way to get there.  Luckily, my coordinator at school was kind enough to let me take off a few days during the week and make up my hours.  Using Munich as our base, we took advantage of the Bayern or Bavarian ticket to take day trips around the region.  Our combined ticket was only 28 euro for the day and took us to and from Füssen to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, said to be the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.  The nineteenth century Romanesque style castle was commissioned by Ludwig II, king of Bavaria from 1864-1886. Read more

The Art of a Roman Holiday

A frigid wind is wickedly pelting us as Filippo naturally maneuvers our scooter through the chaos of Roman traffic.  He does so with the ease of having called this city home for eight years and for that I am grateful.  I feel safe, alive, and free, albeit today chilled to the bone.  We are late to meet a special friend who has proven that all roads really do lead to Rome, even our beloved Camino. Read more

Celebrating Las Navidades in Madrid

I’ll never forget the moment on the evening of my first Thanksgiving away from home, when I emerged from the metro onto Gran Vía. Brights lights beamed down upon a bustling street, where in unison we all shared that beginning-of-the-season enchantment. Read more

Life Begins in Madrid

It is 6:30 on a Thursday evening and I’m sauntering home amid steamy December temperatures (to Ohio standards) after an afternoon filled with food, wine, and plaza sitting.  One of my favorite things about Spanish life is the midday meal when one does not have to splurge on a good portion of delicious food; for around ten euro, the menú del día offers two courses, wine or another beverage, and a desert. The menú, along my dear tortilla, jamón, queso, and vino tinto, (I’ll stop there) are only the taste palette in a city that ignites all my senses and reminds me that I am fully alive.  Little by little I am making a beautiful life for myself here in Madrid.  The past few months have been all about the small victories, and sometimes stumbles, of learning to live in another country. Read more

Perfect Days in Pasajes de San Juan

I love that this year I not only get to know Madrid, but San Sebastián and special spots in País Vasco as well.  Pasajes de San Juan is one of those Basque towns I was instantly enamored by and even better, the Camino del Norte passes through this coastal hideaway en route to San Sebastián. Intimately set on the sea and dressed pretty in pink, San Juan easily charms the traveler who floats— or walks up to its door. Read more

Where the Oysters and Dunes Are

I shouldn’t be surprised by how quickly I developed a taste for oysters.  It wasn’t hard to achieve considering I was seated overlooking the water from which they came.  Paired with a sweet white wine, and served with a tin bucket of french bread and perfectly melting butter, this was a lunch to remember.  I was fixated upon the sophisticated French women surrounding our table.  Thin and naturally beautiful, and all puffing away incessantly on their cigarettes.   I quickly realized as i coughed from the second-hand smoke and finished a second bucket of bread, that I would never be like them.  At least though, I could relax in the same scene as them, downing oysters, toasting in the autumn sunlight, and counting sailboats. Read more

France Beckons Once More: Bordeaux

Champagne, Paris, Normandy, French Basque Country, and now Bordeaux; at the start of the year, I never imagined that France would reign supreme in my travels. And as I have done with all the French towns thus far, I made some more room in my heart for Bordeaux. Read more

Letting the Rain Fall in Lekeitio

I had read about the town of Lekeitio on the blogosphere and was anxious to visit another quaint coastal Basque town. It’s location between big travel hubs, Bilbao and San Sebastián, make Lekeito an easy day trip if you are traveling by car in Basque Country (which I highly recommend). I surely had set my sights too high after falling hopelessly for other show-stopping smaller Basque  destinations like Hondarribia and St Jean de Luz, and well, Lekeitio didn’t dazzle me. While I don’t feel a pulling desire to return to the town, there fortunately is a rainbow at the end of my story. Read more

Challenging Myself on the Camino del Norte

There was a swell of emotion in me as I prepared to move to Spain and it certainly followed me all the way back to the Camino de Santiago.  This Camino was an extreme mental and physical challenge for me, to a much greater degree than those 800 kilometers on the Camino Francés. Read more

Charming France and Spain in a Day

I am a sucker for the quaint and cute and so I think I was born to love Europe.  The charm of País Vasco has started to subdue my Sevillle obsession.  The Basque Country is just that amazing.  Whether it’s the French or Spanish side, my senses are completely captured.  Luckily for me I don’t have to chose sides and I can enjoy them both.  If I had to pick between St Jean de Luz in France and Hondarribia in Spain, I wouldn’t know what to do. Read more

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