5 Things I Miss About Santiago

It’s well into 2014 and in honor of the new-ish year, Jeannette is feeling homesick…and apparently speaking about herself in the third person.
However, because I’m a special pretentious snowflake, I’m not homesick for the place I grew up–ewww, rural southern Oregon…shudders…But I do deeply miss my beloved Santiago de Compostela.
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The Specialness Continues…

Spain is Different: Massive-Ass Unemployment

The other night I was out with a group of six of my Spanish friends. We were  drinking, eating, and generally making a public nuisance of ourselves. At one point, my buddy Alen pointed out that he and I were the only people at the table who weren’t en paro, unemployed. He was right. A table full of highly educated, well-trained young Spaniards and 5/6 of them were unemployed. And not just out of work for the moment, but chronically, never managed to get more than seasonal/temp work, unemployed. Continue reading

Spain is Different: How to dress like a teacher

As one of my Spanish friends is fond of saying, “Spain is different.” It isn’t meant as a compliment. In fact, she usually says it right after sneering about corrupt government officials or asinine regulations.
However, I have decided to co-opt her phrase as the title of my newest series: a bunch of short pieces on the all the randoms differences between Spain and America that I’ve noticed over the last two years. So, without further ado…

Spanish Dress Codes
In Spain, I dress like a teacher. In fact, I often dress more formally than many teachers. Got a mental image of me in suits all day? Ha. Nope; Spain is different. Continue reading

My First Article for 48 HORAS

I’ve started writing for a brand new travel blog called 48 Horas and my first piece has just been published!
I wrote a guide to making the most of Santiago de Compostela in only 48 hours (it’s mainly food-based because yeah, eating is awesome). I drew on my experience hosting numerous couchsurfers and travelers, as well as my personal favorite things about Santiago. I’ve included an excerpt for your reading pleasure…

48 Hours in Santiago de Compostela

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There is an old joke in Santiago de Compostela that makes gentle fun of the visitors that have flocked here for more than a thousand years. It features a tourist asking how to find the cathedral, and the punch line translates loosely to: “Just look up, doofus!” Visit Santiago, and you’ll understand– the ancient stone building towers over the rest of the skyline, its tall towers and intricate arches visible from just about everywhere in town.

Santiago is a medium-sized city (population 95,000) in the northwestern province of Galicia, and as one of the most holy places in Christian Europe it has attracted visitors for centuries. It is packed with classic tourist activities, as well as hidden-away dives bars and local treats. If you’ve got 48 hours to spend, you can have a great experience that mixes rich Galician cuisine, traditional tourism, and local fun. Just remember to bring an umbrella and waterproof shoes, because Santiago rain is legendary…
Read the entire article here.

Entroido! Carnival Celebrations in Laza, Ourense

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Carnival is my favorite Spanish holiday! It’s the wonderful combination of Halloween’s costumes and Spanish fiesta hours (as in, sunset to sunrise). This year, my friends and I went adventuring off to the southeastern corner of rural Galicia to enjoy the oldest Carnival in the penninsula: Laza’s Entroido.
Continue reading

Public Buses in Tiny Spanish Villages

Today my airheadedness cost me 4€ bus fare, woo! On the plus side, it also got me another glimpse of Galician country life. It all began when I forgot that my usual ride home from my work is out sick. Yeah…I didn’t remember until I was standing in the parking lot like an idiot. And of course, on Monday absolutely no one else was going back to Santiago. So Jeannette, time to find out if there’s bus!
Because this is Spain, there was no schedule online. Goody, I thought. However I was pretty sure that there was a bus around 2:30. So off I waltzed through the shockingly sunny fields of Cruces to test my luck. Now, Cruces has a population of about 2,000 people and no bus station, nor marked bus stop. Lucky for me, I vaguely remembered on what street the bus stopped (1/4 odds aren’t bad either). And then a bus rolled up!
I headed over and was promptly stopped by a friendly Galician man informing me that the Santiago bus would be by in 5 minutes, that I could buy my ticket from the driver, and that I was on the wrong side of the street. All this before I’d said a word! He then asked who I was–because any unfamiliar face in Cruces is newsworthy, least of all one attached to an American accent. Which led to a 10 minute conversation about my job and life in Galicia.
The bus itself takes about 75 minutes to get to Santiago–mostly because the driver will stop for anyone, anywhere. Yeah, I watch one man step right out of a bar and wave at the bus–which resulted in the driver slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road.
Most people seem to wait at an obvious stop/slow down point. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who the driver didn’t know by name. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one whose parents, grandparents, and total history was not known by the driver.