Saturday, April 21, 2012

One Week til Spain!

I haven't mentioned this yet, but I have a little trip planned this month. My sister Cathy is studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain. She's been feeling homesick and we all miss her so much!

We left a space for her when we took a "sister picture" in DC last week.

First my mom and Maria went to visit her during Maria's college spring break. Then Lillian and I put our heads together. Was there any way we could go visit her too? It's only once in a lifetime that she studies in Spain, after all.

We figured out that if I spend very carefully for a few months, and with my tax return money, I can just afford it. Same for Lillian. So the two of us are going to Bilbao to visit Cathy!

I'm so excited! I haven't been to Europe since I got back from visiting Spain with my grandparents two years ago and I miss it so much. I love to travel and it's really been far too long.

I know how incredibly lucky I am. Many people never get the chance to travel to Europe at all and I'm enormously fortunate to get to travel there as often as I have. So I want to really savor every moment of this trip and soak up the experience.

At the same time, I don't think there's much point to planning out my itinerary beforehand. I really believe in going with the flow on vacations. Otherwise I find myself getting frustrated when the schedule is thrown off.

So here is my very official, very serious list of things to do in Spain:

3. Buy at least one cute fashion item - a dress, a scarf, shoes - to wear when I get home.

2. Eat pintxos, drink calimocho and enjoy lots of delicious Spanish/Basque food.

1. Spend every single minute possible enjoying my darling little sister!

I leave DC on Saturday and I'll be in Spain until the following Friday. It'll be "One Week in Spain," take two.

I have a layover each way in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. I'm secretly ridiculously excited about it, even though the layovers are super short. I've never been to France so just being in the airport sounds sooooo cool. I'm hoping to buy myself a croissant or some pan au chocolat so I can feel like I'm really in Paris.

If everything works out right, my sweet friend Vanessa, who is studying in Toledo, might be able to come join us in Bilbao for a few days. What a stroke of luck. I can't wait to see her too!

My big project now is packing for the trip. I want to only bring carry-on luggage, and I'll need clothing for both rain and sun. Does anyone have any tips for light packing? Or advice on where to go and what to do in Bilbao?

Just one more week!!

Update: Cathy has informed me that because Bilbao is in Basque Country, "tapas are called pintxos, and are much more exotic, varied, and delicious." She also informed me that "calimocho (or Kalimotxo in Basque) is much more popular than Tinto de Verano." Finally, she warned me to "plan for more rain than sun... Bilbao is known for being rainy all the time." Thus I have amended my to-do list. Hurray!


  1. I knew someone who packed their clothes in plastic freezer bags, then compressed all the air out of the bags. The result was clothes that could lie really flat, thus more could fit in one bag. If you did this, however, you'd probably want to make sure that Cathy has an iron!

    One thing I do is pack really simple pieces I can mix-n-match, but bring an array of accessories (jewelry, flats and scarves) so that my outfits still look different, even though I might be wearing the same clothes. :)

    Good luck and have fun!! <3

  2. http://www.refinery29.com/how-to-pack-for-a-trip

    I thought this was a decent post.

  3. Thanks guys! This is all extremely helpful. I read on Pinterest that when traveling, you should gather all your clothes and all your money and then take "half the clothes and twice the money." So that's what I'm going to try to do!