spain

personal: places lived 5

places lived, 1998-1999, Spain, España

What had we gotten ourselves into? Jorge accepted a year-long position as Assistant Director for the University of Washington study abroad program in Cádiz, & we suddenly were off to Spain. Just like that. Jorge had at least been to Europe before, but for me this was another moment like Seattle in 1994: moving somewhere without any prior visit. Oh well, live & learn. I needed to get out of an awful job + going to Europe had been a lifelong dream. I crammed in as many language lessons as I could before leaving, & our rental agency even agreed to let us sublet the Seattle apartment. Everything seemed to come together… except we didn’t have a place to live upon arrival. Details, details.

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guidebook research 2020

atención, coronavirus, Sevilla

Oh, what could have been. After the Rick Steves reunion in January, the book department & I began working on my research schedule for this year. I’d expressed a desire to do more book work in 2020… although not as well paid as guiding tours, I love the flexibility + the opportunity to add my own text (when approved!). Rick has the final say in all his guidebooks, but the collaborative publishing effort every year is great fun. COVID-19 put an end to those plans. However, I’m not one to break tradition, so I thought I’d share what might have been an incredible research year.

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recipe: gazpacho

recipe, gazpacho, Spain

After spending so much time cooking during quarantine, I’ve decided to post more recipes here. Usually I’m on the road so I share those experiences but this year has been, well, different. And every attempt to reproduce Spanish & Portuguese recipes gives me that much more insight into Iberian culture. Note: Every recipe I post works. I often try a few times to get flavors exactly how I like them. So consider these posts as a base to start exploring Iberian cooking… then you do you.

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personal: becoming a tour guide

Robert Wright, Rick Steves, tour, Portugal, 2018
• Telling the tragic love story of Pedro & Inês inside the monastery complex of Alcobaça, Portugal · 2018

Help me celebrate a very special anniversary: my first tour as lead guide with Rick Steves twenty years ago. I’d hoped to invite tour members to a surprise party right now, but coronavirus has us in quarantine around the world. At least we can raise a toast together online! To commemorate these past two decades, I thought I’d answer in detail one of the most-asked questions for every guide: how did you get started with Rick? Get comfy cuz this is the long version…

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sevilla: semana santa, favorite moments

Andalucía, Sevilla, Semana Santa, Holy Week

With Holy Week on hold due to coronavirus, there’s no better time to relive some of my favorite moments from previous years. Sure, the Vatican may allow a grand procession after quarantine is over & there’s even talk of celebrating Semana Santa in September. Whatever. Festivities should have begun today. It’s a moment many sevillanos look forward to all year long, including me. Although I’m not Catholic & was raised in an agnostic home, Semana Santa transcends religion. This week also celebrates a sense of community, an end of the winter blues & of course, rebirth. We can all relate to that. A couple years ago after the Christmas season ended on Epiphany, I told my husband, “We’ve got to start getting ready for Holy Week!” He laughed & joked, “That’s the most sevillano thing you’ve ever said.” Tag along with us during a normal year…

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