Home » North of Spain | Accepted in Hostelling International Connect Program

North of Spain | Accepted in Hostelling International Connect Program

North of Spain is famous for Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims from all over the world are walking the path of almost 1000 km every year. But that was not the reason why I was in Galicia for two weeks.

The whole month of September, I will share 30 stories with you. One story each day. You will find out how I travelled, what countries I called home and how many times I repeated a travel in the same place. But most importantly, you will get to know my comfort zone stories. Would you share yours?

As I mentioned in the San Diego article, I used to work for Hostelling International Iceland. In my few years of working there, I was selected for the HI Connect Program. After organising or taking part in the other programs and events, (see HI Sustainability Fund and we won! and Say HI for Peace – a global initiative called Sleep for Peace back in 2015-2017), I was so happy to end my journey in Iceland with one more opportunity: to travel to the North of Spain and expand my hospitality knowledge for a two-week life and work experience.

Lugo was my destination, at HI REAJ LUG II in September 2017. And that was such an interesting experience. It’s important to mention my acceptance came in spring and they scheduled my exchange in the fall. My hosts were really nice and welcoming, however, I arrived a little too late in the season. So let me be real! Since the hostel is mostly for pilgrims, we would get just a few guests per day. There wasn’t much work, to begin with. Add to that, the fact that I would always finish my tasks rather fast, and the first few days felt rather awkward, But then we had a talk and we came together to a conclusion: I can shadow them most days but I can also do some travelling around. And you know me, I don’t need to be invited twice to explore the area.

I also wanted to see a little more of the surroundings so one day I decided to visit A Coruña. And was that quite a day! A series of unfortunate events made me almost miss the last bus to Lugo. And waste a bit of money. Shortly: yo soy una idiota or how to be an idiot in 30 steps. ^_^

Lugo in autumn looked really lovely. It’s well known for the Roman Wall which is part of UNESCO World Heritage. Being in Galicia reminded me of a lot of home – the smell of fall brought me straight to my childhood. At the time I was living in Iceland, but my homeland is Romania. The first time going to eat out, my Spanish was so bad that instead of asking for the menu, I ordered the menu of the day. Haha, that is still very funny to me when I think about it.

I wasn’t planning to visit Santiago de Compostela, but in the end, I changed my mind. Since I was taking the plane from there, I decided to enjoy one afternoon in the very famous capital of Galicia. So I took a tourist train to visit the citadel a little. I had mixed feelings when I was in front of the cathedral. And it wasn’t about the fact that the building was under renovation. This is what I wrote at the time:

I’m here, in front of the Cathedral. And, even though doing the camino was never one of my dreams, I feel like I don’t deserve being now in the sqaure. All around me, there are pilgrims enjoying the warm sun and the feeling of accomplishment. My eyes are stuck on two men who are resting and they seem to be ready to say goodbye. Not to each other, but to their hiking boots. One of them just left them behind and before moving forward he’s looking one more time back. He waves at his abandoned shoes, smiles and, wobbling, leaves the square in flip-flops.

2017, September 17th

There was no direct flight from Santiago to Iceland. And so I had a layover for about seven hours in Madrid. And, at the time I still made videos from my travels so here is how I spent 5 hours in Madrid. I really went full-on tourist mode and did them all: La Barceloneta, Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia, Plaça de Catalunya, Museum of Bullring of Barcelona, Mercado de la Boqueria and Passeig de Gràcia. It was a lot of walking but it all ended with a perfect sunset from the plane.

Speaking of sunsets, Spain is part of Alina’s Wonders Sunsets of the World Collection. Check out the postcard limited edition. And if you join the monthly newsletter you can get 25% off your first purchase. Offer limited to October 16th.

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