What better way to celebrate the end of my master’s program and my time in Madrid than a trip to the last region of Spain I haven’t explored – the North. Our six-day trip included the cities of Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Santander and San Sebastián.
Now I cannot say I’ve thoroughly explored each region of Spain, but I have visited the North (Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Santander and San Sebastián), the South (Sevilla, Granada, Malaga and Marbella), the East (Barcelona and Valencia), the West (I’ll consider Madrid for this list’s purposes) and even a couple of the Spanish islands (Tenerife and Mallorca). I consider myself very lucky to have been able to see so much of Spain already in my short 24 years of life.
I went on this six-day trip with my good friends Eleonora and Nicole. We started our journey at 5:50 AM the morning after our last day of our master’s program. Our trip started in Santiago de Compostela, the city known for the Camino de Santiago. It is a quaint, old city with plenty of beautiful buildings to admire. Lucky for us, our Airbnb was in the heart of the city. Everything was within a 10-minute walk. Unlucky for us, our Airbnb was in the heart of the city. The noise at night in combination with the heat was definitely not something advertised on Airbnb. We spent about two days exploring the city and then moved on for a quick 24 hours in A Coruña.
A Coruña is a seaside town that is much bigger than Santiago with far less tourists. We enjoyed a lovely night walking around during which we found Reese’s sticks. Naturally, I bought a pack so Ele and Nicole could experience the heavenly deliciousness that is Reese’s sticks. Spoiler alert: they loved it. The next morning, we visited Torre de Hercules, a lighthouse on the sea with remarkable views and a charming beach next to it.
After a four-hour bus ride, our third city was Santander. In order to help you visualize Santander a bit, imagine the hills of San Francisco (or Porto, Portugal), but steeper. Our Airbnb happened to be on the top of the steepest, longest hill I have yet to climb in my life, which was ironically named “Calle Viste Alegre” (which can be translated as happy sight). Luckily there are moving sidewalks. Yup, moving sidewalks up the hill. See picture below.
After our hike up the hill and a much-needed shower, we had dinner at the first restaurant that was more than just tapas and to say we needed it was an understatement. Luckily, our food experience only went up once we arrived in Santander and the rest of the trip we did not have to survive off of tapas. We spent the next day lounging on a long stretch of beach and then later that afternoon made our way to our last destination, San Sebastián.
We definitely saved the best for last with San Sebastián. There are beaches, good food, lots of shopping and yummy ice cream, what’s not to love? We had two nights and two days here and we lucked out with one full day on the beach. The second day it rained so we found a lovely café for a late breakfast, early lunch and then did some shopping before our train back to Madrid.
Santiago De Compostela
I had so much fun with these girls and am so grateful to have made such great friends at IE. And now the trip from Nicole and Ele's perspective:
Everyone was surprised when we decided to travel through the North of Spain, questions such as why not the sunny, party-friendly and beloved by young people South were quite common. But we wanted to see something new a part of Spain none of us three women have been to, we wanted to share a new travel experience together, create new memories that will always be tied to our travels to the North of Spain. And it worked, the North was beautiful and will always remind me of memories of our trip and friendship.
We drove our car in the mountains we saw clouds so close to us it seemed like we were driving through the sky while listening to throwback music playlist and singing to songs which despite our different nationalities we knew the words to. We sat on the sand and sunny beaches, green grass and ancient grounds while always reminding ourselves of the beauty, which was so cinematic it seemed unreal.
There are too many things I could write about which have made the trip amazing, actually, there has not been a single part of the trip which I will look at with regret. The North of Spain was beautiful, but I am sure it would not be the same without my two friends Amanda and Ele.
Thank you, girls, for being my travel buddies and most of all such great friends.
Another team, this time smaller. Another project, this time much funnier. However, not easy: 4 cities in not even 6 days! But this trip definitely got its Honors. :-) After 10 intense months spent together, traveling through the North of Spain was the best choice to have more and different memories. It has been short, but we did so many things that we lost control of time and “what day is today?” was a question as common as tough to answer. :-) But how to forget the cheerful people ending their Camino in Santiago de Compostela, right in front of the beautiful Cathedral? Or the deep blue of the ocean that was surrounding us once we were on the top of the Tower of Hercules, an ancient Roman lighthouse in A Coruña, or the first day at the beach in a pretty Santander and the waves of San Sebastián?
But besides that, I will always bring with me the flavor of my first Reese’s bar that Amanda shared with us. The happiness that me and Nicole felt while we were eating the best peaches in the world bought in a little fruit shop in San Sebastian. The infinite number of stairs we walked together, laughing more than complaining. And all the amazing pictures we took not because we are so good in that, but just because the app HUJI is our new best friend - Amanda can confirm, just ask her.
So, thank you my friends. I don’t know where the next one will happen but it definitely will! See you soon, in some part of the world, wherever we’ll be.
Four cities in six days is no easy feat and I was exhausted the day after. Now we have the few final days before Mom and Dad come for my graduation and our trip to the Amalfi Coast. Once Mom and Dad leave, Derek and I will have only a couple days before we leave for our August travels.
The cities we will be traveling to include:
Various cities in Sicily, Italy
If these six days of travel were exhausting, I expect a week-long coma when I get back home.