camino de santiago

Is any travel item a necessity?

My feet are really numb right now because I thought I would just perch on my storage cube for a moment and send some e-mails and check my Facebook, but then I remembered that I wanted to book a hotel for Valladolid which made me think of my trip and how tranquilo I have been about it all. I was never not tranquilo if you know me or noticed any initial posts where I was all “I don’t have a place to live in Spain, but I think it will work out…”

Or most recently “None of the other school’s in the network need Spanish teachers so…no pressure” but worrying doesn’t do any good in those situations. I worry I guess, but not about packing or travelling or work. I worry about having snacks and meals EXACTLY when I want them. Not that I’m deeply into former lives, but in a former life I might have been in poverty?


So in preparing my bags, first and foremost for a week in Wisconsin, and then eventually (hem hem, one day before?) for Spain, I’m not really sure what items would mean death to my trip if I didn’t have them; besides the obvious ones like money and my passport. And snacks.

So It’s actually getting dark out and I don’t have any feeling in my feet, and while I have yet to pack, I think the less I over analyze the weather patterns of northern Wisconsin, the simpler it will be. Plus as you will hopefully see from an upcoming post-Wisconsin blog, it’s really not a place where judgement should occur. I might get some looks for the blue hue on my head, but I will be too busy breaking in the shoes I will be wearing on the Camino de Santiago that are the dorkiest things to happen to me since the first twenty or so years of my life.



In the end, I guess my answer to the question is that it is necessary to not be afraid of unknown things, or forgotten underwear, or irregular meal times. The upcoming camino freaks me out, but I don’t want that to make my blisters any bigger.


un beso




Where it started and ended part 1

Living in Spain for 2 school years I encountered a lot of great reasons to live there, and reinforced reasons I went in the first place. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to pay homage to Vigo in honor of a Spanish professor at the University of Iowa whose love for Don Quijote affected me permanently.

I remember telling a lot of people that I had to go to Vigo the first year I was in Spain and they were like….why? It’s not a huge city, not particularly beautiful, no must see cathedrals or anything; but for me it was something to connect me to Don Quijote in a way more than seeing the windmills could have (although I have to go back and see those too).

It was going to be my own Camino de Santiago that involved no walking, hardship, or purposeful spiritual revelations (but maybe i’ll go back and do that too).

I was going to take a train, but luckily my most amazing Diego was able to join and drive and help me navigate the interesting world of renting a car. The actual rental place was not going to accept my American credit card- HOWEVER, when I rented the car online I could- and still picked it up from the same place. Moral of the story is never take no for an answer. (The moral of SO many stories by the way).

Our first challenge was figuring out the best route and stopping points. We settled on Ponferrada to lay our weary traveling bodies before we set off for Vigo and Las Islas Cies the next day.

Ponferrada is not a place I had ever heard of before, and it’s not exactly a destination you would stay for a week, but you could have a great weekend here despite it’s small size. First of all, free and delicious tapas when you order a drink- and pretty good size. Second, a castle! Third, great views- situated in a lush valley. There is also a fair amount of good shopping and excellent restaurants that we didn’t even have time for. I know by the end of our short stay we said it was a place we would go back to. If you are in Spain, check it out!

The journey begins in Logrono

The journey begins in Logrono with my amazing driver. 

IMG_4933 (2)Below, a church built into the mountainside along the way. This is also when I was yelling “Buen camino” to people biking and walking in the rain. I felt guilty being so comfy in the car so yelling made me feel better. IMG_4941 The Castle in PonferradaIMG_4947 IMG_4951 IMG_4954 IMG_4958 (2) IMG_4954 IMG_4959 (2) IMG_4961 (2) IMG_4965 (2) Don Quijote!!IMG_4966 (2) Castle ruinsIMG_4969 IMG_4971

IMG_4981 Inside a cute tapas bar that had quotes from famous authors and thinkers all over the place. Great wine, great food. IMG_4985 IMG_4988


This is just part one of our trip that included Vigo, Islas Cies, and Santiago de Compostela. Shout out to my girl Leslie also for lunching with us in Leon, another highlight of the trip and a great city in Spain.




Logrono is one of the cities that many pilgrims pass through on the Way of St. James, better known in Spanish as El Camino de Santiago. I walk past arrows and the symbolic shells every day, so I basically do it every day 🙂 A small small part of it, because it takes several months to go the entire way from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela (routes may/ can vary depending on where you believe the beginning is…?)

Over the weekend I actually did a small part of it with some friends and we had a picnic. We were inspired by the spring like weather that has come to Logrono already. Toma!

a tad windy

a tad falling down.

If the weather continues on this sunny and springy path I’m going to keep not signing up for the gym that is directly behind my apartment (not an exaggeration) and start going on more nature walks. Especially the weekends I stay in Logrono; which will be 1 more before Las Fallas in Valencia (I’m going March 16-18th), and then many after that until Semana Santa (Holy week/ Easter / “spring break” April 5-15th).

I also experienced my first Spanish rugby match and Logrones futbol match.

If you’re like me you think of football as FOOTBALL, DA BEARS, DITKA! But, alas I am talking about soccer.

Here are some sporty pics….

Spirited fans singing (strings of swear words put to a tune)

the group before the game

Our color coordinated group

Turned completely away from the game...

rockin the logrones scarves

girls not paying attention to the game, but looking cute!

Rugby! Like American Football with no rules (fact).

extremely close to the field/ semi-danger zone.

Watched some friends practice futbol, and sat on the sidelines and did this ja ja ja while taunting them of course.

After watching so many sports, you may think I am sporty. ehhhh….I played soccer in 6th grade, I play tennis on occasion (not in Spain), I recently got into golf, and I can still remember parts of cheers/ dance routines from high school. My exercise of choice is walking, and it’s the best kind I can think of living around La Rioja because there’s a lot of gorgeous areas to walk and hike.

In preparation for not participating in any sports, I went on a walk and snapped this. I live here.