On Your Mark, Get Set, Spain is a Go!

08 /17/ 2018 – 08 /18 /2018


The journey to Spain began on August 18th, 2018, spent the night in Dallas to catch an 11 am flight. I traveled from Dallas to Chicago to Madrid, ending in San Sebastián, Spain, at 1 pm on August 19th. It was a day that sometimes never seemed to end yet; other times ended too soon. It was the beginning of an epic adventure, following in the footsteps of pilgrims going back to the early 8th century. First on the agenda was meeting fellow members of our Camino group, next overcoming jet lag, ensuring we would be strong for the journey ahead. Finally, we had two days to acclimate to our new time zone. During these days, our group basked in the beauty and rich history of the Basque Country, dined on incredible food, and was inspired by the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

Upon arrival, our hotel was not quite ready for us, so we broke into small groups for a bite to eat and peruse the streets of San Sebastián. Although the City was active, celebrating Semana Grande (Big Week) was the big draw. The week-long celebration held during the week of August 15th, Day of the Virgin, we arrived just in time to enjoy the festival’s final day. The beautiful La Concha Bay and the streets were full of visitors, fun games for children and adults, marching bands, and delish food. After a quick bite, several of us walked along the crowded but lovely beach of La Concha Bay. We then headed back to our rooms to freshen up for a tour of the City, Mass and our welcome dinner at Takatak. Side note: our beds look sooo good; we had been awake over 30 hours by now, but somehow, we managed to avoid them!


Mass was in a small chapel inside a majestic cathedral. It was a Mass I will never forget, not because of a moving sermon but because of the loud and blasting noises from the marching band and festival, which seemed to get louder at the most inappropriate times. Perhaps God provided these distractions to ensure no one fell asleep lol. Kudos to Father, who was able to maintain composer and provide us with our first of many group Masses.


San Sebastián is a foodie’s paradise. Thoroughly disappointed we were only there for the night, San Sebastián immediately went on my bucket list of places to revisit. The disappointment was short-lived, thanks to the incredible morsels served at Takatak Restaurant. Our meal began with several courses of pintxo (tapas) and amazing wine. However, the most memorable part of the meal was this massive plate of tomatoes. We thought it was a plate share when it was first placed before us. I was thrilled to find out the plate was for one. It was the most amazing plate of tomatoes I have ever eaten. The tomatoes were rich, complex, and delicious; the cilantro vinaigrette over the tomatoes delighted my tongue and left a memory to remember forever. I later learned the vinaigrette was cilantro, an herb I hate, but now it appears I also love…


We were told there would be a grand firework display at 10:45 pm. What else could we do but order more wine and visit until it was time for the big show! So, after we emptied the last bottle of wine, we strolled down to the beach to watch the final of a five-day firework competition. Hands down, this was the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen!  Even though it was a very long day, it was one of the best, simply fabulous!  As I headed back to the hotel, I realized my head had not touched a pillow in over 40 hours, thank goodness it was finally beddy-bye time—tomorrow, Loyola.

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