Friday, July 20, 2012

And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more

Sorry I haven't posted in so long!

I finished the 500 mile hike across northern Spain in a little less than one month. It was a fabulous spiritual, religious, and cultural journey where I made lasting friendships (I hope!) and learned about myself as well. I stayed in many monestaries and convents and shared meals in churches. My favorite places were Samos, one of Europe's oldest monasteries, and Saint Nicolas, a no electricity hostel run by Italians (food was great!). There was also a free wine fountain in the La Rioja region, known for it's hot climate and fruits and vineyards.

After I arrived in Santiago and prayed to St James' remains, I set out an extra 88km to Finisterra. Finisterrra in latin means, "end of land" because it was believed this is where the earth ended. It was also the closest I'll be to Maine for a while!

I activated my Eurorail pass and took a train to Pamplona where I met up with friends for San Fermin's Festival aka Running of the Bulls!!The festival was huge- with everyone from babies to grandparents enjoying the party. I didn't run....maybe next time!

Next I took an overnight train to Paris and explored Musee d'Orsay with works of Van Gogh and Monet and more. I went to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coer and Arc de Triomph. I enjoyed the fabulous French capital and especially their crepes! I was only in Paris 12 hours but will be returning in August! That night I took an overnight train to Munich, Germany. This Bavarian city lived up to it's reputation of beer, schnitzel, ladderhosen, and did I mention beer?

After recovering from the German beer, I took a train to Vienna, Austria. Though it rained a lot while I was there, I really enjoyed the city. I visited the Hapsburg's summer palace, the Spanish Riding School which trains Lipizzner horses, ate apple strudle and weiner schnitzel. Vienna is home to Mozart and the waltz too!

I took another overnight train to Krakow, Poland last Friday night. I'm really started to enjoy the trains, especially the overnight ones; they are cheaper than a hostel and no time wasted! My grandfather's family is from Poland, so I met my distant relatives and went to a Polish wedding! It was fabulous and wild! There was lots of Polish vodka involved, TONS of food, dancing, drinking games, a flaming cake, and they even tossed the bride and groom in the air a few times!

After recovering from the vodka (seeing a trend??), we explored the beautiful historic city of Krakow. I stayed with my relatives in the town of Wronin, Poland, where there have been Marcineks for years. It's a precious town surrounded by beet fields. As expected, they are feeding me well and I am loving the Polish food! We explored a castle, and I tourned Auchswitz as well.

Next up: Budapest and back south to Italy!

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