While it was certainly difficult to turn down spending Valentine’s Weekend in Paris, reaching towards a new French destination proved to be the right choice. Reims, capital of the Champagne region in northeastern France is best known for its Champagne Houses and its historic position in French history. Read more
I could barely hold in my excitement as my brother opened his 18th birthday card. I was surprising him with a trip to Spain for Spring Break with the student group I was leading.
It was a chance for Dan to experience a new culture, meet new people (as he didn’t attend the school where I teach), and make lasting memories with his sister. Read more
Bonjour, France. I’m baaaack!
It was mid February, the sun blazing and warming the air to a perfect 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a welcomed heat wave against the arctic blast of this Midwest winter.
And there I was, suddenly transplanted into the French countryside, riding shotgun along the Route touristique du champagne. Life just felt crazy, beautiful. Read more
The dipping sun is the perfect backdrop to my sugar high. I have been salivating over the waffle stalls, but then politely declining for far too long. Within moments I have devoured the satisfying treat and Filippo and I are headed arm-in-arm towards the museum district. From beyond the bare trees, the sun, being sure not to wear out its welcome, is at the optimal level to create a dramatic light scene. Thick beams cut through the bicycle axels and envelop the amateur skaters stumbling on the seasonal ice rink. Read more
We’re tracing the bicycle-lined canals making our way towards the city center and sure enough, there he is, with his staff and hat with the scallop shell. Really he’s more like a pal now, a familiar face, however far from home I may be. Only a few minutes into our Amsterdam adventure for the day and Santiago is there to greet us, maybe to remind us why we are even here together in the first place. Read more
Filippo and I had just arrived back to Brussels after a lovely day in Bruges when I got the best travel surprise. Thanks to Facebook, I found out my dear Swedish friend, Therese, from my first Camino just so happened to be a mere forty minutes away in Antwerp. We were on the phone in a matter of minutes making plans for the following day. Read more
The Sunday after Christmas Bruges was ablaze with tourists. After 45 minutes searching the city for a parking spot, Filippo finally settled on a nice piece of sidewalk under a bridge. Crossing ourselves, as if God would spare us from an illegal parking ticket, we set off to explore charming Bruges. Read more
After many unlucky attempts at getting out of Cleveland, I finally hit standby gold, a First Class seat to Brussels. Thanks to the few hours of horizontal sleep I manage, I land into the arms of my favorite Camino souvenir, Filippo, relatively refreshed. Brussels blesses me with a rain-free day, though chilly day. Thankfully, Filippo blocks the wind as we gracefully weave through traffic on his motorbike. I count in my head the years it took for the mental image of myself holding on to the waist of a European as we meander through the commotion of town to come to fruition. I’m living. Read more
I don’t think that my homesickness for the Camino will ever fade. It holds such a special place in my heart, as I know it does for all who have walked its stunning, spiritual path.
While I snapped tons of photos on my journey, my only regret is that I did not take more video to capture the many steps and changing landscapes. Had I had plans to make a little film, I would have hit the record button dozens of times more.
Nevertheless, the moments I did capture on my iPhone were enough to weave together a sweet little story of some of the Camino’s many faces and places. Makes me smile every time I watch.
Do you want to walk the Camino now?
After nearly a year of rest days, I anxiously journeyed back to where I had painfully (literally and figuratively) parted ways with my fellow peregrinos. This arrival via bus from Madrid however, lacked the “weak in the knees” feeling (again both literally and figuratively) of my first meet and greet with the charming Castilian city. Read more