It’s 7am in the morning, and the trail in front of me is barely lit by the LED headlamp I’m wearing on my head. I’m up earlier than I have been over the last few days, mainly due to the orchestra of snoring in my albergue room throughout the night. Yesterday I limped my way into town, hobbling in pain due to sore knees and a pair of star-crossed blisters on my feet. I had been chewing ibuprofin for the last 12 hours, hoping it would take away some of the pain in my knees and allow me to continue on today. But after only about 10 minutes of walking this morning, both of them are once again screaming in […]

Two Weeks Until The Camino De Santiago

In less than two weeks from today, I’ll be leaving St. Jean Pied de Port, France and starting my 800 kilometre journey to Santiago de Compostela. People keep asking me if I’m excited, and a small part of me at this point definitely is. But I typically don’t start feeling real excitement or butterflies until I’m on the airplane heading to my destination. I have most of the logistics for my trip figured out, including a late night shuttle from Biarritz, France to St. Jean, and a nice bed and breakfast in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, for my first night. I’ll probably spend my second night in St. Jean in an actual albergue – it seems like a […]

Packing for the Camino de Santiago

While I still have roughly two months before I head to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to start the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, I have been focusing a lot of time recently with packing. I’d like to start being able to do some practice walks with a full pack shortly, which means I need to get my pack to roughly the same weight as it will be when I arrive. Of course, I could just fill it with rocks for now, but since I already have many of the items with me at home, I thought I’d just finish buying what I need and have it done ahead of time. As a rule of thumb, most people try to […]

The Works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona

Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Prior to visiting Barcelona for my first time this year, I had no idea who Antoni Gaudi was. But after spending a few days in Barcelona visiting architectural sites, it’s pretty clear what a revolutionary architect he was. Park Güell Antonia Guadi was a Catalan architect whose various works in Spain have become extremely important, and draw huge crowds of tourists each day. While not entirely appreciated when he was alive, several of his works have now been classified as Unesco World Heritage Sites and he is one of Spain’s most revered architects. The first of his creations we went to visit was Park Güell. Our apartment was close enough Park Güell to walk to, but the nearest Metro station […]

The Mona Lisa And Her Twin Sister

The Mona Lisa's Twin Sister, shown here in the Museo del Prado in Madrid

Last year while in Paris I decided to head down to the Louvre, one of the finest museums of art in the world. While there are several masterpieces there, one of the most valuable paintings in the world in also displayed inside the Louvre: The Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda, is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and is thought to be a painting of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Part of the painting’s appeal is the beautiful Tuscan background and the enigmatic pose of Lisa in the painting. Prior to viewing it last year, I decided to do a quick Google search to read about the Mona Lisa’s history. One interesting tidbit of […]