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Red, White, and Rosé in La Rioja, Spain

I’ll remember the sunflowers turning towards the summer light, yearning for warmth, magnificent. With the baking afternoon heat radiating off us, we pulled off the two-lane country road one Saturday in mid July.  I wanted to swim in those seemingly endless yellow fields rippling like waves to the horizon. La Rioja had spoken again. Read more

Asturias at Last

It’s a comfortable summer evening in the coastal Asturian town of  Tapia de Casariego and the locals are still reveling in the energy of their revered fiesta honoring the La Virgen Carmen, Patron Saint of Fishermen.  Read more

Los Reyes Magos Come to Columbus

In less than a month I will have back from my grand European adventure for already half a year.  The weeks fly by faster than they did in Spain where here, my never-ending to do list leaves me with the constant regretful voice of “I should have…” When I catch myself thinking back to the long weekday lunches and truly lazy Sundays of my madrileña life, I have to remind myself it was my reality. Read more

When Home Didn’t Seem So Far Away: A Year of Visitors

I am reminded how quickly times moves as I look down at my calendar.  I have been back in US now for almost two months, missing Europe, missing Spain, missing my Madrid— but living fully and enjoying my American life.  The transition between this life and that was rapid and really, quite flawless.  I am back to what I left, but everything just different enough, and dare I say better than how I left it before.  And I feel better too— more balanced, more present, more thankful. Read more

Hasta luego, Madrid

And in one final gulp, it was over. Madrid, in all its Spanish capital city glamour and grit, downed like a final splash of a tinto de verano.

Loving the experience of living in Spain and traveling came naturally, but falling for La Capi unfolded in layers.  I can only dream about what another year here would do.  I think it would be even harder to pull me away. Read more

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