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Images of Ávila

When my mom and brother came to visit me at the beginning of June, I knew it was my last and final chance to make it to Ávila this year.  I had been itching to see the town famous for its impeccably preserved medieval walls, and they didn’t let me down. Our leisurely lunch with the most savory chuletón of my existence also did not let me down either. Read more

Color, Charm, and a Few Fine Ports Along the Douro

Porto undoubtedly reminded me of the romance of travel— even when traveling solo.  Sure, I was only on my own for less than 24 hours, but brief as it was, the adventure of exploring a new city heightened my senses to the point where it was all I needed.  I crave the feeling of being so present in my surroundings— so aware of the the life around me, that as “alone” as I am, I barely realize it. Read more

When Life Calls For a Mini-Camino

If only I always lived a mere four hour drive from the Camino de Santiago!  For my May “puente,” as the Spanish “holiday weekend” is known, I decided to take full advantage of my proximity to the Camino.  Using Bla Bla Car, a ride sharing service for the first time, I headed back to Santander where I had left off in September on the Camino del Norte. Read more

A Pilgrimage of Faith and Family Ancestry in Krakow, Poland

My mom hesitated when the bus pulled up abruptly, passengers visibly filling the aisle.  “Let’s wait for the next,” she called out nervously as I had already taken my first step to board. This was already the “next bus” and it was evident that everyone was trying to get back to Krakow at the end of the holiday weekend in Europe. Read more

A Dad and Daughter’s Semana Santa Adventure

I’m not going to lie, it has been hard for me to think back to Semana Santa because it ended in heartbreak, and almost two months later, I am still trying to heal.

Nevertheless, this Holy Week was going to be a special one because my dad was making his very first European debut.  I planned a grand Spanish tour to show him the beauty of this country that will forever be my second home. Read more

Toasting to 30 in a Spanish Pueblo

It seems only fitting that after turning 20 living in Spain when I studied in Sevilla,  I would ring in my thirties living the Spanish life once again. Read more

Let’s Add Lisbon to the List

It’s our last night in Lisbon and we have just succumbed to our cravings, opting for an all-you-can-eat sushi bar (a decision we will quickly regret in the upcoming days). With soy sauce now flowing through our veins, we find ourselves moving with the rhythm of this European seaside capital.  Up and down gentle hills, our feet occasionally lose grip of the colorful tiles soaked with winter rain.  Instantly, we feel the presence of Carnival, samba beats and joy spilling from a crowded bar onto a quiet street. From the doorway, our bodies naturally align to the festive sounds, but all too quickly the finale fades, and we are standing back on the quiet, slick street wanting more. Read more

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

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