Monthly Archives: May 2014

Day 8: Monjardin to Torres del Rio

Distance walked: 11.5 miles
Album of the Day: no iPod today, but I did sing an awful lot of country music.

We had a delicious breakfast at the hostel in Monjardin, which was run all by volunteers. We all set off on our own paths this morning; if we met up, we’d meet up. Charlene always says, “I’ll see you when,” because it doesn’t make sense to make plans when the road will take you where it does.

I *was* walking rather fast today, only because about three miles outside of Monjardin, a man at a food truck (with awesome fresh-squeezed orange juice!) told us that a huge storm was coming in the afternoon. I did not particularly feel like walking through a thunderstorm, so I kept my breaks to a minimum, stopping only in Los Arcos for a sandwich that I ate along the way.

Clouds loomed in the distance, and the overcast skies made the views less than thrilling. I walked past a British woman who was walking the Camino in the opposite direction. “Can’t you just smell the flowers? How wonderful they smell!” she exclaimed, pointing out a patch of briar roses to me. It’s always interesting to me to hear other travelers’ stories of where they’ve come from and what they’ve learned.

I chugged into Torres del Rio right after 1pm and made my way to La Pata de Oca, a private hostel with a bar and restaurant. After the initial showering, laundering, and napping routine, I sat with my new roommates Sandra from Australia and Anthony and Kira from Ireland. We drank way too much sangria and talked a lot about philosophy and religion. (It tends to happen on a pilgrimage!) It was a good afternoon.

I just spent the last two hours drinking more wine over a pilgrim’s dinner with Sandra and Michael from South Africa and Ana from Finland. I am really liking this slower pace: the shorter distances mean extra time during the day to relax, meet people, and finish my writing. Even though the Camino will take me longer this way, I think that this is the road that I need to take.

The hostel is playing Pavarotti in the courtyard while I finish typing this. The Spanish pilgrims next to me are finishing their wine. Dark clouds are rolling in overhead; I think that the big storm that was promised during the day will arrive tonight. When I am soundly asleep in my bunk, it can rain as hard as it likes!













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Day 7: Estella to Monjardin

Distance walked: 6.2 miles
No album of the day, because I didn’t walk long enough to need my afternoon iPod morale boost 😛

I had gotten back to the parochial hostel not quite ten minutes before curfew, but everyone in my dorm room was already asleep. I tiptoed around my bunk, careful not to make any unnecessary noise, then settled into bed around 10:30pm.

The next morning, the gunners were up and at ’em at 5:30. I have started thinking of them as gunners, just like we referred to those ultra-competitive fellow students in dental school, because I seriously believe that they want to get ahead at any cost and don’t really give a damn about anyone else in the room. People were having full-volume conversations in Italian. Someone kindly turned the overhead light on – which was directly above my bunk- at 6:05am, even though we were allowed to stay in the hostel until 8:00 am. Apparently, you can stay until then, but you’re out of luck if you think you’re going to sleep past 6:15. I was quickly getting tired of rude pilgrims.

No matter: I had made the decision that I was going to take it easy today. And I did: a quick 10k to Monjardin. It was a beautiful morning to walk, and no clouds appeared in the sky until late in the day. Lukas, Jasmine, Kris, Colin, and I all ended up converging paths before Monasterio Irache, where the famous wine fountain is located. I had been looking forward to this spot; Colin had actually doubled back on his alternate route in order to make a visit to the fountain.

The fountain was virtually dry. We were so disappointed :(.

I arrived in Monjardin just after 11am. The hostel opened at 1, so Charlene from Australia, Ann and Jean from the US, and I ate a late breakfast at a bar to kill time: chorizo, eggs, and French fries. Delicious. We checked into a hostel at the top of the hill and were treated to a 5-bed room (no bunks!) with a terrace, where we later finished the night by drinking a glass of wine. It was a restful afternoon of writing, napping, and relaxing with friends. It was well-needed.















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Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella

Distance walked: 13.6 miles
Music of the day: random bachata music for a morale boost

I bought a coffee and tortilla español at the hotel before setting off. I had taped up my feet really well in the hopes that my feet would make it through the day. Even though I left by 7:45, I think I was the last one out of the hotel. There is this intense rush in the morning that starts to become really stressful: everyone gets up and leaves very early in the hopes of getting a bed in the next main town. It feels very contrary to the “walk your own walk” mantra of the Camino.

I kept along at my own pace, walking mostly alone but getting passed left and right by other pilgrims. I ran into Charlene, another pilgrim from Australia, and we commiserated about the fast pace that we feel pressured to maintain. Being the rebels that we are, we decided to take as long as we needed to take and let the road dictate our path. But every step still hurt.

Midway through the day, I sat under a tree right before the town of Lorca to eat my apple and cheese sandwich. I also took a nap, which was magnificent. I felt very rested and continued to walk.

Within 15 minutes, though, my feet took a turn for the worse. I started to feel a cramp beneath my right foot. It hurt all over. Taunting voices in my head cried out, “Plantar fasciitis! Plantar fasciitis!” a condition which terrifies me because it means that I’d be out of commission for a few days. I limped into Villatuerta feeling helpless and near tears. Barely able to walk, I stopped at a bar to sit down outside.

I ordered a San Miguel beer. Beer has never tasted so good. I took my shoe off to examine the damage. Not pretty. I’ll spare you too many details, but my right pinky toenail definitely was a little loose. I removed my protective sleeve from the toe to see if that would help, and I chatted a bit with two local women at the table next to me. A wedding was going on at the cathedral down the street, and some of the guests were stopping by the bar for additional drinks.

I tell you, alcohol and Saint Michael were my saviors that afternoon, because when I got up, I felt a lot better. My feet still hurt, but the cramping was gone. I was able to make it to Estella and got the last bed in the parish hostel. Happily, within the half hour, I ran into both Lukas (who was sleeping on a mattress in my same hostel) and Colin, who was staying elsewhere. After we all washed up, laundered our clothes, and rested, Colin and I went to the pilgrim Mass at the nearby church, which offered a pilgrim blessing at the end. The parish priest took us all aside by language spoken, gave us a prayer card, and gave a personal blessing.
“Where are you from?”
“From the United States.”
“And what is your name?”
“Rebecca! God bless you. Good luck. Goodbye,” he intoned in a friendly, but comically perfunctory way.

We all met for dinner in town afterwards. Lukas’ two German friends, Jasmine and Kris, joined us. I was feeling really stressed out. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. I was tired of being rushed in the morning, taking my time during the day but then getting into the next town late in the afternoon, leaving barely enough time to settle in, eat, and wash my clothes before the curfew forces us into bed, only for the whole process to start again early the next morning. And forget about writing anything. And then I thought again, “I don’t have to do this.” I wouldn’t go to the next “stop” tomorrow, Los Arcos, where everyone else would be rushing to get a bed. I would walk to Montjardin, a mere six miles away. And again, the lightbulb came on, and I felt a huge sense of relief. I slept like a log.






















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Day 5: Pamplona to Puente de Reina

Distance walked: 15 miles
Album of the day: War Elephant by Deer Tick

Mama’s got a brand new bag!

Actually, it’s not a new bag, but my backpack is infinitely lighter now that I have sent my sleeping bag back home and my journal/iPhone/miscellaneous junk forward to Santiago. I figure that I have shaved off at least 5-6 pounds. Hooray!

Danica left early this morning to catch her train, and the guys were still sound asleep when I left the apartment. I grabbed some cafe con churros and was on the road by about 8:15am. From the beginning of the route out of Pamplona, you can see the valley that you will traverse that day: the skyline is covered in wind turbines.

I took approximately 43 photos of wind turbines today.

The sky was cloudless, and within 30 minutes of walking, I had to remove both my jacket due to warmth and my socks due to defective contra-blister treatments. I have learned the hard way that most foot-padding treatments are total crap. Bandaids? Crap. Athletic tape? Crap. Dr. Scholl’s brand “blister covers”? Crap. Moleskin? Crap. (On the contrary, pilgrims’s choice Compeed and some Spanish brand silicone tube that completely slid over my toe worked pretty well). What was supposed to protect my feet slid off and ended up causing even larger blisters. It was not a comfortable walk today.

It was, however, a beautiful walk. The journey from Pamplona gradually inclines through fields of wheat and yellow flowers with a line of wind turbines whooshing overhead. Unlike more intimidating heights like, say, the Cliffs of Insanity or Mount Doom, the Alto del Perdon, or Hill of Forgiveness, is, well, forgiving. At the peak, a wrought iron pilgrim sculpture presides over the striking view of the morning’s walk, while on the other side, the afternoon’s trek is visible before you.

After lunch in Uterga, I was on a high. I plowed along through fields of wheat that rippled almost magically in the wind, dotted with red poppies. And then my feet started to break down. There was pain on my big toes, my pinky toes, the tips of my toes. By the time I reached Puente de Reina, I flung myself into the first albergue I saw, where I was lucky enough to snag a private room to be shared with a very pleasant British couple, John and Linda. I stumbled into town to try to find a pharmacy that sold blisters bandages, but everything was closed for the next 1.5 hours for siesta. I eventually was able to buy some more Compeed to cover my pathetic feet. John, Linda, and I enjoyed a fantastic buffet dinner at our albergue/hotel, which more than made up for the pain. The next day, I hoped that my feet would be better.















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Day 4: Pamplona

After our first evening out in Pamplona, I returned to my hostel not long before the curfew. Most of the pilgrims were already in bed, so I quietly checked my email in the common area, where I was soon accompanied by Marcello. He proceeded to have a loud Italian (most one-sided) conversation with me which echoed throughout the rows of bunk beds. I think we were discussing compression socks, but with him, I can never be certain. I think back on this fondly because I may not see him again now that I have stayed back a day.

My first night in Pamplona was not a comfortable one. Fed up with the added bulk and weight of my sleeping bag in my backpack, I had decided that I would send the bag back to the States during my “rest day” in Pamplona and so used last night as a trial run of sleeping only with my silk sleep sack. Bad idea. It was cold, and leggings, a tshirt, and a silk cover was not warm enough. (I later learned that blankets had been available for rent). The mattress was covered in plastic and dipped severely in the middle. Even worse, I woke up constantly to the throbbing of my own calf muscles. In my rush to get settled before the final “lights out,” I had forgotten to take my ibuprofen, and boy did I pay for it. I must have slept at some point because I remember dreaming, but whatever sleep it was remained fitful at best.

Suzi, Diana, and Miho had already moved on to the next town. The rest of us had decided to stay another day. Lukas and I had stayed at the same hostel; Danica and Colin (my “fiancé”) met up with us around 8am, which was past check-out time at all of our hostels. We needed to find somewhere to sit. That early, not too much was open. We were able to find a bar where we could fuel with the necessary coffee and egg sandwiches, charge my iPad and look for a place to sleep that night. I booked an apartment online that ended up being only 20 Euro apiece when split between the four of us. It was not far from the Camino route that we would take to leave the city, it had a private bathroom and – even better- no bunk beds! We were able to check in early and spent the first few hours in blissful sleep.

I wish I could tell you that I took advantage of this day to see all the sights of Pamplona, but I can’t. I was so damn tired. Most of the day was comprised of sleeping or errands: laundromat, post office (be gone, sleeping bag, bane of my existence!), pharmacy for blister bandages, supermarket. We did have a really nice picnic lunch in the park near our apartment because the weather was perfect. But I made good use of having a quiet and comfortable place to sleep!

Later on, we caught the (wrong) bus into the city center. Thursday nights in Pamplona are really the start to the weekend, with most bars and cafes offering special deals on tapas and drinks. The streets were packed with locals of all ages strolling, drinking beer and wine, and socializing. I love this about Spain. We enjoyed a really good platter of shaved Serrano ham and cheeses with bread. By 10:45, the night was still young for most of Pamplona, but some of us needed to get to bed. Danica, who had only planned to walk a portion of the Camino, had an early morning train, and I wanted to get up at a decent hour to start walking. We got a bit of flack from the guys, who stayed out much later (can’t say how much, since I was dead to the world as soon as my head hit the pillow and didn’t hear them return). But it felt good to be able to take some time out to recover and to give one of the cities on the Camino the attention it deserves.















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Day 3: Zubiri to Pamplona

Distance walked: 13 miles
Album of the Day: London Calling by The Clash (see “Spanish Bombs”)

The day started with a delicious homemade breakfast at the hostel. I was lucky enough to get the 7am breakfast time slot, which meant that I could set out a little bit earlier. I’m a fairly slow hiker, and my blisters weren’t helping the situation much, so a head start felt like it would help.

The trail leaving Zubiri took us through an industrial area and then into Larrasoaña, where many other pilgrims had stayed the night before. The weather was absolutely perfect: brisk in the morning but sunny skies. I realized that the color of the yellow flowers along the road set against the blue sky perfectly matched the yellow and blue Camino shells which marked our path. All along the road, you can hear the jingling of bells as you pass sheep and cows out to pasture. Every step is a careful one, not only to prevent falls on loose rocks but also to avoid the ubiquitous black slugs that grace the trail. My blister bandages were starting to slide off, but Kate, a nurse from Australia, helped me by giving me some fantastic adhesive tape to hold my toes together. She and her husband, who is a dentist, frequently crossed paths with me throughout the day.

After passing Zuriain, the terrain changed to wide fields of wheat. (I couldn’t help but get the first two lines of “America the Beautiful” repeating in my head). The trail began to slope upwards as we neared the outskirts of Pamplona. I took a photo on the bridge at Trinidad de Arre where Martin Sheen falls into the river in The Way. A friendly older gentleman waved and shouted, “Buen camino!” as we passed.

I really struggled to make it into Pamplona. I was really hungry and starting to get a headache, but I just wanted to keep going. Sometimes it’s a dilemma: you know you should probably stop, but another part of you knows that if you stop, getting back up and continuing to walk will be that much more difficult. I came to the realization earlier today that I don’t have to rush. I am very lucky in this respect. I can take the time that I need and not have to worry about making it to a certain point by a certain day. As I hobbled into Pamplona, that thought gave me a lot of comfort. A few other friends had the same idea to stick around for a while, so we decided that some of us would look for a private room to stay in Pamplona a second night. (Normally, the albergues, or pilgrim hostels, only allow a one-night stay unless you are very sick or seriously injured).

I checked into a hostel by 3:30, showered, and met Suzi, Colin, Miho, Lukas from Germany, Danica from Canada, and several others to go out for a tapas dinner. We met some local Spanish guys (actually, one was from Guatemala!) and spent the evening enjoying the town. Pamplona is beautiful, and I am looking forward to staying here another day. It will give us some time to rest our aching bodies, which I noticed move in a very stiff, zombie-like fashion after a long day’s hike with a heavy load. Ergo, this video (only slightly exaggerated) for your enjoyment 🙂























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Day 2: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

Distance walked: 13.8 miles
Album of the day: Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions by Franz Ferdinand, although my Scottish friends sang a bit of the Proclaimers for me when I had it stuck in my head 🙂

Today was my first day with my big backpack. I left Roncesvalles early, at 7:15, with a Gu in stomach and the plan to stop in about 45 mintures for some more substantial breakfast. The dawn looked clear, but as I peered out the window of the dorm, I noticed many of the departing pilgrims with their large coverall ponchos on. “Is it raining?” I asked a hostel volunteer. “Not now, but it will,” she answered.

Boy, was she right. Not long after breakfast, clouds rolled in and a light drizzle soon deepened into a steady rain. My new rain jacket works like a charm, and my duffle-turned-rain cover kept my pack dry… but I realized that all of this did nothing to protect my hands. They were so cold! I have some cotton stretch gloves, but I didn’t bother since I knew that as soon as they were wet, they’d just turn into little soaked sponges in my hands.

And then the rain was gone, revealing a clear blue sky.

And then it was back.

And then it was sunny again. See a pattern here? I didn’t even bother taking my rain gear off. The road today was mostly downhill, which is not as pleasant as it sounds because it places an entirely different pressure on your feet and legs. I am LOVING my trekking poles: they have really saved my knees. Tomorrow will have much flatter terrain; I am looking forward to it.

For breakfast this morning, I stopped at a little supermarket in Burguete, just 3k outside of Roncesvalles. I was checking out yogurt prices when I heard the guy next to me speaking English. His name was Colin and he was from Houston, Texas. We split a 4-pack of yogurt, apples, and a loaf of French bread for breakfast, using the remainder of the Guatemalan honey that Nadine had pawned off on me in San Pedro. As we stood there eating, an energetic gray-haired Italian man bounded up to us and started excitedly asking, “Fidanzata??? I burst out laughing and had to explain to Colin that this gentleman had just asked if we were engaged. Colin is now officially my “fiancé” to anyone who asks ;).

This new Italian friend of ours, Marcello, is now perched next to me on a couch by the fire in the common room of our hostel in Zubiri. He is speaking in rapid-fire Italian, asking questions about his Camino guidebook. I understand maybe one of every eight words. A semester of Italian fifteen years ago has not exactly stuck with me! He also just asked the American man and Australian woman next to me if they were my parents. i guess everyone wants to make connections.

I did not make it to Larrasoaña as planned today. While my pack didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and I was keeping my feet taped up and covered in Aquaphor all day, I discovered a nasty set of blisters on my right pinky toe and decided to call it a day. My sleeping bag will be jettisoned the second I get to Pamplona.

Suzie, Miho from Croatia, and Colin are also staying in Zubiri tonight, so I got to eat my pilgrim dinner (and wine) with friends. (A different Italian last night had asked Suzie and I if we were sisters. Is it me, or is it Italians? 🙂 )

Off to Pamplona tomorrow!












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Day 1: St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles

Distance walked: 15.6 miles
Album of the day: El Camino by The Black Keys

Sending that pack ahead was the smartest thing I could ever do. I made the hike/over the Pyrenees and across the border from France into Spain without any issues. I greased up my feet with Aquaphor and wore my liner socks, and so far, no blisters. Hooray! I am so relieved to be in Spain because my French is absolutely atrocious. I feel like I can actually communicate now (although I heard one of the workers in the hostel complaining that “all the Americans expect you to speak English.” Hrmph!) i have already met a ton of fun people, including Suzi from Hungary, Tom from Sante Fe, and Greg and Lane from Scotland. They are medical students and have great senses of humor: great walking companions. They also wear kilts, which raises a lot of questions from fellow pilgrims. As we were stopped at the Croix de Thibault, a little more than halfway, to get some snacks from – honest to God- a French food truck in the middle of the countryside, two South Korean pilgrims approached the guys with a mixture of intrigue and shock. “You wear skirts!” she exclaimed. Then she asked for a photo with them :). We also had a lengthy discussion about Game of Thrones and recreated a garish scene from the similarly mountainous trek of Danerys Targaryen for a photo (see below). It is nice to meet other nerds.

We arrived in Roncesvalles just after 4pm; the trip took me eight hours with breaks. The hostel in Roncesvalles is brand new – converted from a monastery- and is like the Waldorf-Astoria of hostels: super hot water in the showers (heavenly!), laundry service, and a multilingual support staff. I am totally spoiled, because I know that the rest of the road will likely not be like this. So I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Zain had also made the journey without any problems. It is also nice to run into familiar faces after a long day.

We made a reservation for the nearby restaurant which offers a pilgrim menu. This is a set meal which consists of a three course meal with wine, water, and bread for usually under 10€. The wine was greatly appreciated. It is a lot of fun to eat a meal with people from so many different countries. I was shocked that some of my Italian was coming back to me, and I managed to remember a few Croatian phrases to share with a pilgrim from Dubrovnik.

Most of these posts are going to be rather simple, with a short update and several photos. My goal is to spend as little time on this website as possible since I want to enjoy my time with the other pilgrims. (I just turned down an offer from some Germans to get a drink, but as my feet are sore, I had 2+ glasses of wine with dinner, and I’m already in my pj’s with my nightguard on, that’s pretty much a given). And I’m really damn tired!

Thank you God for getting me through this day. And thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement. They helped more than you will ever know.




















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Preparing for the Way

My flight from London to Biarritz, France went off without a hitch. It was easy enough to catch a bus to the Bayonne train station, where I would catch a second train to St. Jean Pied-de-Port, the beginning town of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (or the Chemin de Saint-Jacques in French). On the way, I met Zain, a pharmacist from San Francisco, and we spend much of the way comparing notes on our plans for the pilgrimage.



On a sad note, we learned that the train to St. Jean, which I had been excitedly anticipating for months, is currently under repair and has been replaced by a bus. All my romantic notions of chugging into St. Jean on a train with my backpack on the seat next to me immediately dissipated. Womp womp.


The bus ride, though, was just as scenic and enjoyable while I listened to my impromptu French-language playlist on my iPod, but as the road started heading uphill and the clouds began to thicken and darken, a sense of panic started to build inside me. Oh my God, I thought, what have I gotten myself into? I am purposely deciding to hike through these mountains with a ridiculously heavy backpack on my shoulders? In the attempt to distract myself, I blasted Plastic Bertrand at full volume on repeat, because it is physically impossible to be nervous when listening to this:



St. Jean Pied-de-Port lies in the Basque region, so most signs are in both French and Basque. What a quaint little town it is. I think that I would have been more thoroughly delighted if another part of me didn’t feel as if I was going to throw up.






A friendly American couple in my dorm room welcomed me after I checked into my hostel, but I was scared by the expression on the man’s face when he lifted my backpack. “Oof!” he grunted. “You are going to have a tough time with that one.” OhmyGodohmyGodwhatamIdoingthispackiswaytooheavyandI’mclimbingoverthePyrreneeswithitinjustover24hours.
A delicious crepe dinner and a good night’s sleep did absolutely nothing to assuage my fears, and by this morning I was in a full-out panic attack. And I realized that I hate French. (OK, maybe this is a tad dramatic, but I just don’t get it. All the consonant combinations end up sounding like “unh.” And when you can’t understand things when you’re having a panic attack, it feels like the world is ending).

I think the owner of the hostel sensed that I had gone to crazy town, because he popped into the hallway, where I stood with the contents of two different backpacks (one to carry, and one of stuff to forward directly to Santiago) strewn haphazardly on the floor around me. One by one, we went through what I was putting into my main backpack. By the time we finished (and by the way, this was humorously completed with his poor English and my even poorer French), my pack was still not light, but it was manageable. And then he said something that made all the difference: “You can send this bag to Roncesvalles, where you will sleep tomorrow night, and just bring a tiny bag with you on the hike. That will be easier for you.”

And then I was better. I picked up a pilgrim shell and my credencial or “pilgrim passport” that will be stamped at every place I stay to verify that I walked the whole journey to Santiago. Tomorrow I am sending my main pack ahead of me over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, where I’ll meet up with it at my hostel there. I won’t worry about straining my knees and back and feet on this first and most difficult day of the trek. When the terrain flattens on day 2, I will take up my bag again.

So this is actually happening. Say a little prayer for me.


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The Best of Baldock

Notwithstanding the debit-card-and-rain-jacket saga, the rest of my time in the UK was quite pleasant. I took the Underground from the airport to King’s Cross, where I saw Platform 9 3/4 (a shout-out to all you Harry Potter fans. I did not, however, shell out for the souvenir photo wearing a Gryffindor scarf) and boarded a train to Baldock.



Baldock is a sleepy, quintessentially British town. My friend Allison and her husband Aengus and daughter Katherine recently finished renovating what was once a derelict building right in the center (or centre 😉 ) of town into a beautiful new home. It was a very cozy place to stay.


View from the house

Allison was in the very late stages of pregnancy with twin boys, and I could tell that she was in an extreme amount of discomfort. I am very proud of how well she managed. I could just imagine what I would be like in that same situation, but it would involve a heck of a lot more complaining. And I would probably cry a lot too. But Allison was a trooper.

There were some fun festivities during my stay there. Baldock was having its annual beer festival, so I went there with Aengus, his mother, and Katherine, since they had activities like face painting and a steam engine for children. We also celebrated Katherine’s 3rd birthday. It’s always fun to watch a child open presents, but Katherine was even better because she was so polite. I have never heard a child openly say after reading their card (get that? She is actually interested in the cards!), “Oh! We’ll have to thank Grandma for that!” She is three. I also love the fact that my American best friend’s daughter has a little British accent. It’s so adorable.


On a dental note, Katherine was so excited when she got a dishwashing set because she thought that the scrub brush was a large toothbrush and she loves to brush her teeth. (Good work, Allison!)



On Monday, I took a long walk to Letchworth, the neighboring town, which most people might not find especially noteworthy. However, to a British humor fan like me, it was a treat because the movie The World’s End, the final movie in Simon Pegg’s zombie-laden Cornetto Trilogy, was filmed here. And in true film geek form, I took photos of all the places that had been converted into pubs for the film’s famed pub crawl.

The walk to Letchworth


There are more… but I think two photos give sufficient representation, no?

Paying tribute to the best zombie trilogy evah (and then throwing out the cone post-ice cream because it’s lined with chocolate! Noooo!)

The road home

On my last day in the UK, after a frantic shopping trip to Piccadilly Circus to find a rain jacket (success! I am now the proud owner of a new – high quality and on mega-sale- Berghaus rain jacket!), I decided to treat myself and calm down a bit. I bought a ticket to see The Drowned Man, the latest “interactive theater” show by Punchdrunk, the London company behind Sleep No More. I saw SNM four times in the States – it’s that good- and have developed a near obsession with it, so I was grinning like an idiot when I stepped inside Temple Studios near Paddington Station to see the show. And it didn’t disappoint.

Inside Paddington Station

Outside of St. Pancras International

I am so grateful to Allison, Aengus, Katherine, and Aileen for their incredible hospitality during my week in England. I don’t know what I would have done without them during my bank card crisis. And I’m happy to say that Allison safely delivered two healthy baby boys, Aidan Michael and James Xavier, on Wednesday. Congratulations to all of the Barrys: I love you!


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