April 3, 2008
Count down: 3 days left before I leave for Spain. Anticipation. Intoxication. Desperation. Will I ever be ready? It's hard enough to prepare to leave a family of 6 (2 kids, 1 husband, & 3 dogs) behind. But in the midst of teaching, putting on a writing conference, and settling everything else in my world, my thoughts scatter. I feel the strength of my community of remarkable friends. I long for a just another run with my three hounds. I breathe in Nova's laugh. I hold tight to Grayson's heartache for justice and clarity. I forever feel Dan's arms around me. The fullness of my life overwhelms me. It battles with my passion for travel and adventure. It is truly hard to leave. But onward, in search of human story--encuentro de cuentos-- around the world (thanks to Grayson's remarkable teacher, Alondra Guzman, for her creativity in helping me come up with the name for my blog.) I will go with the spirits of all those I love. I go forth on the lookout for "unexpectations"...is that a word?
The plans? To meet my friend Andrea (from Germany) in Madrid. I met Andrea on my first Earthwatch trip 10 years ago in Paraguay! We survived the insane, never-ending bus ride through the capitol city, Asuncion, that left us miles and miles away from our quaint hotel (luckily, we convinced a taxi to take us all the way home!) Andrea and I lived through the hardships of floating down the River Paraguay on a small cargo ship (One toilet below with a good 6 inches of water on the ground. Ugh. Pigs and chickens as passengers, too! ) And together, we braved our way through the difficulties (and wonders) of living with a small tribe of Chamacoco indios. She is a true, life-long learner and adventurer!
We will stay in Madrid for a bit--visiting museos that hold the work of amazing artists such as Goya, Velazquez, Miro, and Picasso. During this time of war, I am especially thrilled to see Picasso's Guernica (those college art history classes will pay off) in person. We will shop and visit the open markets, as well as experience Madrid's night life & flamenco, food, and vino tinto (red wine!)
Then we will head to the northern provincias: Asturias, Cantabria. There, I hope to experience the coastal town of Costa Verde, the Museo de Altamira (which holds the first paleolithic cave paintings ever found!) and the amazing Picos de Europa. We might head to the Guggenheim on the Northern coast and the intriguing Basque town of San Sebastian. Thanks to my friend Ev (who has also graciously lent me a well-traveled laptop,) I'm interested in discovering the heart of the historic San Sebastian old-town. Encuentro de Cuentos.
Andrea and her husband have been renovating a one hundred-year-old farmhouse in Llanes, right near the coast between Costa Verde and Altamira. We will stay with her neighbor since she says there is still lots of work to do there, but I look forward to seeing view of the mountains, the stone stable, the wandering goats and cows, taste the homemade cheese and "really good wine" in this party of the country.
I so look forward to the opportunity to meet amazing people, witness the beauty and diversity of the Spanish naturaleza. I can't wait to speak Spanish for 10 days!!! And all the while, I will be jotting down whatever I can--encuentro de cuentos-- so I will not lose any piece of my traveling puzzle. My second novel, SUPER NOVA is almost done, and I have plans on finishing it-- to and from-- this amazing country that I am almost in! May the magic of Spain weave its way into my words...
Te Amo, and gracias por su amor...
Con luz and paz--