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 – Read More »

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 – Read More »

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 – Read More »

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 – Read More »