My essential travel list

Reflecting on my experiences so far this year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to travel with more than I actually need. At the moment, I feel like I have too much. So what are my essentials aside from the obvious ones like my phone, passport, cards, and money? This is my basic list, the one that I would resort to if I was to take only a small bag on a Ryanair flight (something I may do in the near future).

  1. Charger
  2. Tablet (for using apps like Audible and Spotify. The storage on my phone is terrible)
  3. Waterproof jacket
  4. Fleece
  5. Change of clothes
  6. A couple of changes of underwear
  7. Notebook and pen
  8. Lipbalm
  9. Cleanser
  10. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  11. Deodorant
  12. Lush Karma solid perfume (or similar)

Monasterio de las Huelgas

This monastery is situated in the city of Burgos, which used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. It was founded in 1187 by Alfonso VIII of Castile and his wife Eleanor, who was the sister of Richard I of England. The tombs of many of the Kings and Queens of Castile can be found there.

Las Huelgas is about a 40 minute walk from the historic city centre. The route goes mostly through a residential area and past a supermarket, but the area around the monastery itself is quite picturesque.

As the monastery is still home to around 30 nuns visits are by guided tour only. The tour is very good value at €6; it’s also free at certain times of the week and for certain groups like large families.

Las Huelgas is a very peaceful place to visit. It’s also very beautiful inside as there are many examples of mudéjar art, for example in the ceiling of the chapel where the King was knighted before going to battle. Photography isn’t allowed in most places, although I did take a few shots in the one area where it’s permitted.

After the tour there was an opportunity to look around the little museum before going back to the city centre.

Currently reading…

I’ve just started reading the Harry Potter books again. I’m about one third of the way through The Philosopher’s Stone and I’d forgotten how much I disliked the Dursleys when I first read it. (I still don’t like them).

I’m also reading lots of blog posts and articles about the places I’m planning to visit in the next couple of weeks.

Before I started on the Harry Potter series, I finished reading a book called The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer. It’s historical fiction, and also involves time travel. It’s the story of two brothers, William and John who are living in England in 1348. In order to escape the plague, they make a deal that they will live for a number of days, each day 99 years apart, and will try to do good in order to save their souls. It’s an interesting read.

Mixed feelings

I’m now in Bilbao and I’m staying in a hostel where some of the other guests are walking the Camino de Santiago. I’m feeling a little bit sad about this. Let me explain why.

I’d planned to walk the last 100 km of the Camino de Santiago in September last year. I’d booked to go on a group tour and had paid the deposit. I was excited about going and had started my training. I’d bought some hiking trousers and was researching the gear I’d need to take with me. Somehow, I never made it to the starting point. I won’t go into the reasons for this here, but right now I’m pretty annoyed that I didn’t do it. I’m hoping to make it along the Camino at some point, but part of me thinks that the time is past.

I’m having a lot of thoughts. I don’t think it’s wise for me to start the Camino now because I don’t have the right gear with me and haven’t done any training, but I’m considering travelling along to Santiago de Compostela anyway and attending a Pilgrim Mass. It won’t be the same as going there after walking the Camino, but I think the experience would be beneficial.

A day in San Sebastian

I’ve moved to a hostel in the city for my final night in San Sebastian. Today I’ve been exploring. It’s very pretty – the Old Town (Parte Vieja) has lots of lovely buildings to look at, and as San Sebastian is on the coast there are a few beaches.

I also found a little park on Gipuzkoa Plaza which I really liked.

The area around La Concha beach has views of the surrounding countryside and the Sagrado Corazón monument which stands on top of a hill overlooking the city.

Basque country Day 2

I haven’t done a lot today. The hostel I’m staying in is a bit further out of the city than I’d thought when I booked it, and also it’s been raining and the shoes I brought with me aren’t waterproof (I found this out the hard way when my feet got soaked yesterday. I did venture out for a little stroll in the area around the hostel, which is really pretty and has beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.