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More Basque Beach Towns: Zarautz and Getaria

About 15 minutes up the coast from San Sebastián is the coastal town of Zarautz (also the starting point of my Camino del Norte).  Known for great surfing, the town swells with tourists during the summer.  We were lucky to find parking in the free lot piled with cars parked haphazardly in the dirt. Read more

Peace in Biarritz, France

It’s easy to miss San Sebastián and the ease of spending the day in both Spain and the south of France.  We made the short journey to Biarritz a handful of times and each trip, I seemed to lose all sense of time.  When you allow it, travel has a beautiful way of allowing time to melt away so that the moment is what matters not the minutes. Read more

Some Things I Love About San Sebastián

I have been in Spain over a month now and I’m just starting to process everything I have done.  Setting up a new life in Madrid has just been a sliver of the adventure. There has also been rich and rewarding travel in northern Spain and the south of France.  Through the beauty of it all there have also been the breakdowns that come with change and uncertainty, but the travel always trumps the tears. Read more

USA Farewell Tour and Standby to Spain

What a summer it has been.  It has been full of family and friends that span my lifetime; elementary school, high school, college, post college, and even the Camino.  I went as far east as France and as far west as California.  From standby flights across the USA to road trips blasting country music while I still can, I took full advantage of my last bit of the USA. Read more

Reflections of Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery

The morning of D-Day we set off knowing we were bound to have trouble getting around. With Obama and the Queen in town, the area was under tight security.  Just the day prior we had learned that a pre-ordered car tag was required to drive on certain roads during the morning and early afternoon of D-Day.  The road blockages just added to the adventure as we rerouted down one-lane roads coasting through the countryside. Read more

Remembering Grandpa at Omaha Beach

Simply said, Normandy will forever be a part of my top 5 travel experiences. There, the impact of D-Day revealed itself not in textbook pages and movie dialogue, but through a live scene of reverence and remembrance of the sacrifices of more than 9,000 Allied soldiers. Folded into a landscape of 1940’s France, we witnessed the lasting legacy left by the young men who spilled upon Normandy’s beaches to liberate Europe against Nazi occupation 70 years ago.  Read more

French Gratitude in Port-en-Bessin, Normandy

Shortly after my grandfather, a World War II veteran’s passing over a year ago, I heard my mother first express her interest to visit Normandy. The French shores where my grandfather met war in 1944 called to her— to remember, reflect and honor her dad and a whole generation. Read more

Scenes Along the Seine

It’s already June, school is out for the summer and I have the chance to go to work with my mom—to Paris. She has a deadhead to the City of Light, meaning she isn’t scheduled to work the flight back and if she gets it cleared with the airline, can find her own way home. The plan is to head up north to Normandy for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day (after a day in Paris of course), but it is all up in the air. I’m lucky to snag the one and only standby seat out of Chicago, so thankfully I’m up in the air, nestled under my cozy navy blue travel blanket in the middle seat. Read more

My Biggest Move Yet

Although it has been official for a while now, the moment has come to make it blog official— I’m moving to Madrid, Spain! I’ve been dreaming this dream since I returned from studying abroad in Sevilla in 2005 and a lot has gone into making it happen, including securing a year leave-of-absence from my school district.  I’ve been back to Spain six times since then and every trip has nudged me more and more to plant some Spanish roots. Read more

The Final Kilometers of the Camino

It’s hard to believe that exactly a year has passed since I finished the Camino de Santiago and it has taken me that long to recap that anticipated moment of arrival.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to keep in touch with my Camino friends, and have even been reunited with a few— with Therese in December in Belgium, with Guy last week in San Francisco, with Daniel TODAY in Columbus, and of course with my dear Filippo. All five hundred miles hold lasting memories for me, beautiful scenes and, good-souled people.  The following are excerpts from my Camino journal. Read more

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