For the past month, the blog has been pretty quiet. For those of you who don’t also follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not have heard from me at all. For my weekly “Go & See. Come & Tell.” readers, you may be wondering what happened to my weekly lectionary series (don’t worry…it’s just on temporary hiatus!). So, where has Foreign Loren been over the last month?
As I mentioned on the blog several posts ago, my husband Craig and I had a family wedding in March that we had to return to the U.S. for. Following a couple of weeks in California for the wedding, we headed for Texas for a week, and then on to South Carolina for a couple more. We spent time catching up with family and friends who we’ve missed during the eight months that we were away and planning for what’s next.
We had originally planned to head to Southeast Asia next. This is a region that I love and will always hold a very special place in my heart. However, as we thought through what’s next for us, we were distracted by Europe. The strong dollar made a trip across the Atlantic very appealing. (At one point, the exchange rate was 1.05 Euros to $1 USD. That’s hard to beat!) I had also been thinking more about the Camino de Santiago — a nearly 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain that I had first learned about in college around 10 years ago in a class on Spain.
With videos of Santiago de Compostela that my Spanish professor Dr. Griswold had shown me as a college student in my mind, my husband and I began rethinking Southeast Asia. There was something about Spain that was drawing us in. And then, there it was…a ticket to Paris for just over $250 USD. We could fly to Paris, spend a few days exploring France, and then make our way to the start of the Camino. How could we say no to that???
In just a few days, we went from dreaming of Europe while hanging out with family to a bus trip up the East Coast from South Carolina to Washington, DC, (where we were able to get into town just in time for two friends’ wedding! Congrats Sammy and Elaine!) to New York City and a flight on XL Airways France to Paris.
On April 21, we arrived to Paris and had a whirlwind five days in the City of Lights where we climbed to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower, visited amazing churches, took a day trip to Versailles, spent an afternoon taking in masterpieces at the Louvre, and fell in love with Paris as we sat in stunning urban parks or along the Seine eating cheese and baguettes and drinking French wine.
From Paris, we took the train to Bordeaux, France. We spent an afternoon visiting markets and churches and getting to know this quaint city. We also spent a half-day on a wine tasting tour, seeing a different side of the country away from the hustle and bustle of its cities. We really enjoyed trying out Airbnb for the first time in Bordeaux too. We stayed two nights in a lovely apartment near Bordeaux’s train station and got to know a local while we were there. (Want to try Airbnb yourself? You can rent a room or a whole apartment. It’s a great experience that I recommend. Use this link and get a FREE $25 credit for your first rental!)
After days of feeling like we were on vacation, it was time to get down to business…the Camino de Santiago was waiting! We took a train from Bordeaux to Bayonne and then a bus to St. Jean Pied du Port from where we began the Camino de Santiago.
So, since April 28, I’ve been walking…and walking…and walking. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to regularly update the blog. (Walking between 12 and 18 miles per day is tiring stuff!) However, I’m trying to have one post per day with photos on my Foreign Loren Facebook page. For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, I encourage you just to visit my page to see what’s going on with Foreign Loren…just through early June. Once I complete my pilgrimage and arrive to Santiago and then on to whatever’s next, I’ll be back to regular blog posts. But, for now, I hope that you’ll check in on Facebook and keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I walk across Spain.