Hiking across northern Spain on the Camino del Norte and the Gran Recorrido

Hiking across northern Spain on the Camino del Norte and the Gran Recorrido

Hondarribia, Part 2

When I was at this campground in 2008, as I stood in the bar having a coffee and staring at an old photo of the grounds, an older gentleman told me the house had been built as a vacation home for General Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator, some time in the 1950s. The man claimed to have worked on the construction of the house himself. I don’t know if that story was true, or if Franco ever came here even if it was. But I do know that Franco met with Hitler in Hondarribia once or twice (consult the works of American…

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Hondarribia, Part 1

Just a few days before arriving in Hondarribia, I had told a friend that part of the reason I was on this journey, and the Camino del Norte in winter, was to experience the challenge of cold and hard weather. So it was only appropriate that on my first night in my tent, at the beautiful campsite Faro de Higer, I was hit by forty-mile-an-hour winds (my conservative estimate!) and driving rain, in the early hours of the morning, while I was sleeping. I’ll summarize the course of events by listing my mistakes: 1) I skipped both breakfast and lunch…

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8 years ago 3 Comments Short URL


In 2008, I ran with the bulls during the Fiesta de San Fermín. Since Pamplona is on the way from Madrid to Hondarribia, I decided to stop there to relive the excitement and to visit the friends I had stayed with during San Fermín. It was great to get to know the city as it is in real life, as opposed to the chaos of San Fermín, when much of the town’s population goes away and is replaced by thousands of people from all over the world, who do a very good job of making a beautiful city look like a…

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL


I imagine Madrid is like many other large cities, though I wouldn’t know, since the only other big city I have lived in is Boston, which to me just feels like home, and not much of a city at all. When I lived in Madrid from 2007 to 2008, working as a Language and Culture Assistant, I found it alternately fun, stressful, exhilarating, and unforgiving. It also felt especially difficult to be a foreigner there. Even though I tried to fit in, and I had studied and practiced Spanish enough to speak more or less fluently, people were still dismissive of…

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL