Lessons taught by the Camino

We have finished week two of the Camino Francés. It turns out that all of the days start to blur together in a mix of early morning sunrises and sunny afternoons. Recently we’ve been able to walk about 8 kilometers (2 hours) before making our first breakfast stop. Then another two hours and we get to make sandwiches. Finally the last two hours and we make it to the albergue! Only to start over again the next day!  

Sunrise while passing through Frómista, Palencia, Castilla y León, España
In the evenings, I have toured beautiful cathedrals, enjoyed the company of friends from around the world, soaked my feet and stretched out my sore muscles. 


Iglesia Santa María la Blanca, Villalcázar de Sirga, Palencia, España
Some quick things we’ve learned. 
We’ve learned that arriving to a city doesn’t mean you’ve arrived, you must make it to the albergue municipal and put your backpack in the backpack line. 


Albergue Municipal, Logroño, La Rioja, España
We’ve learned that arriving to your bunk in the albergue doesn’t mean it’s time to rest, you must shower and then wash clothes and hang them to dry. 


However, there’s always time for games and fun!
We’ve learned that a day of walking less than 25 kilometers is a treat, if you’ll allow yourself a day that short! 


I needed the morale boost! Burgos, Castilla y León, España
We’ve learned that with a group of friends you can make lunch, dinner, breakfast and morning snack for about €5 each.  

We’ve learned that everyone needs to charge everything and were grateful to have brought a power strip. 

We’ve learned that even when you think there are no more places to get blisters, there are. Trust me, there’s always a new spot, and blisters on blisters on blisters!

Finally, we’ve learned that everyone has a story and something meaningful to say and that walking long stretches across a country really gives you a lot of time to listen! 


We made it to the top! Castilla y León, España
About to start another early morning, Burgos, Castilla y León, España
 Buen Camino to all!



The Way 

For those of you who don’t know, I am walking the Camino de Santiago! I am officially on my second week! We are walking from St. Jean, France to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain.

There’s so many questions I get about my trip but one of the biggest ones is, “How do you know where to go?” 

The thing is, I couldn’t show you on a normal map where I’m going on a daily basis. I know the end game, but each day all I know is I’m going to walk about 20-30 km and then maybe on a map of the Camino I could point to the cities we will go to that day! Really there’s no need for a map or a GPS. In order to know where to go, you follow the arrows or shells.  

Concha – Stone – St. Jean Pied de Port, France

This first picture of me is one of the first shells that is marking “the way”. From here on out we have found arrows or shells in just about any place in the city you can imagine and made out of just about anything, it’s really fascinating! 

Arrow – Spray Paint – Luzaide/Valcarlos, Spain
Concha – Printed – Auritz, Spain
Concha – Printed – Auritz, Spain
Concha – Metal – Parque Vuelta del Castillo, Pamplona, Spain

The mark of the “buen camino” – stones – Armañanzas

This is actually one of my  favorites! It may look like just a bunch of rocks to you, but if you look closely you can see that the rocks are carefully piled in stack after stack and to a pilgrim, it shows us to keep going!   
I really enjoy seeing the creative ways that each city decides to mark their own Camino​. I personally prefer the “fancier” and more creative arrows but really I am ok with any of them! They help me get where I need to be! 


On the Camino Francés, I believe it’s very easy to find your way and stay on the trail! The trickiest part is within the cities! The Camino gets a bit crazy within the cities and paying attention is key! 

How I accidentally got a new placement in the same community (Madrid)

How I accidentally got a new placement in the same community (Madrid)

How I accidentally got a new placement in Madrid

The view from my new school, life isn’t awful.

I have been so busy lately with traveling (Oporto, Berlin and London…next week Amsterdam!!), private classes and physical therapy for my foot. I am the worst blog owner ever! Anyways, I know it’s time for everyone to get the ball rolling on renewal paperwork, so I wanted to share my experience renewing in a sort of step-by-step way! Instead of reading what happened, I will just tell you now. I renewed using following the steps that I thought were correct (posted below) and somehow got a new school in Madrid Capital, Zone A (my first school was also in Zone A but more up north). It worked out in my favor because I went from having to go from Metro Herrera Oria for school to Metro Canal. Not to mention, by crazy coincidence my Spanish roommate from last year who is an internina in Madrid was placed there too! Weird luck? I have really bad luck, so I am waiting for this all to blow up in my face.

Maybe you can take the time to analyze what I did wrong and find out how I ended up getting a new placement and maybe do the same if you want a new placement too? hah!

1. I filled out my online application on profex because I went through the ministry for my second year. My first year is was in CIEE so for my second year I was told that for people who were originally in CIEE, you must fill out your ministry application as a first year, so that is what I did.

  • ALSO, If you are in CIEE, you must tell the coordinator by e-mail you have interest in renewing. (I didn’t do this)I don’t know why I didn’t, I just didn’t.

2. I then asked my sister to print out a physical copy of my application and send it in by snail mail to my corresponding office in the USA. Hey, it gets there faster and cheaper within the US!

3. Now, I just waited for my new Carta de Nombramiento to come by e-mail (It came in mid/late-June)

  • Now, what happened to me was that I hadn’t gotten my Carta yet in mid-June, so I e-mailed saying “hey, where’s my carta” (more or less) and on June 18th, I received an e-mail saying “We have sent it to your e-mail already but here it is again” and it was a Carta de nombramiento for an elementary school in Arroyomolinos (Google it, its FAR!). I e-mailed back saying (more or less, “please don’t sent me far away!”)…because my school from my first year was in Zone A at Metro Herrera Oria.

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  • Their response was to say, “you’re a small fish in a big sea, little one”,

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  • I responded saying, “Okay” (while crying to myself and dreading my future commute).
  • So, the Carta de nombramiento that I turned in at Gregorio Marañón was the Carta from the school in Arroyomolinos.

4. Now, I took my first set of paperwork to the office at Metro Gregorio Marañón. Paperwork should include:

  • Filled out online TASA Codigo 052 Modelo 790 (I paid 16,64 on June 24, 2014, I checked box 1, 1.3 the third box on the left…don’t know if that’s right!). Make a photocopy of this too!
  • Photocopies of EVERYTHING
  • Photocopy of TIE
  • Photocopy of Passport
  • Copy of your old AND new Carta de nombramiento (both come by e-mail)
  • Copy of the letter from your Director@ saying that you completed the current year and (s)he thinks you did a splendid job, although (s)he will have probably no idea what you did or who you are.
  • Copy and original or your EX-00 (SIGNED)…make sure you make a copy for yourself too!
  • Here’s how to fill out the EX-00:IMG_2168
  • and whatever other paperwork I forgot to mention here or paperwork they have added this year, theres a photocopy place right across the street if you forget to make photocopies

-At Gregorio Marañón they will give you a document that says that you turned all of these items in and they will tell you that you will receive a porroga de estancia in the mail (snail mail this time!).

4. Wait for your parroga de estancia. I turned all my paperwork in to Gregorio Marañón on June 24th and I received my parroga de estancia around July 15th (while I was in the states).

  • Side note: I had to get an Authorization de Regreso because I went to the states for the summer. No, no one asked to see it when I returned to Spain in September.

-This part isn’t a step: just a little fact. I turned ALL this paperwork in on June 24th and on June 25th I got an e-mail that had a different carta attached with a very weird automated e-mail thanking me for volunteering with deportes and whatnot. I was confused but just replied saying “THANK YOU SO MUCH HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!” and decided to accept this as my new colegio, then on the 27th of June I got this e-mail to confirm that yes, this is my new colegio:

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Now, as you see, they said that they have given me the same placement as last course. However, this school was closer to the center and I wasn’t going to argue that. So, I just replied with another “Thanks a bunch” and went on my merry way.

What happened to my paperwork you ask?

My TIE says that I work in Arroyomolinos. So, I have a valid Carta from both schools. Also, I DID contact the school in Arroyomolinos in June when I initially got the carta and they never e-mailed me back and no one ever asked why I didn’t show up, so I am not sure what happened there!

How to get your TIE (tarjeta de identificación de extranjeros)

Now that you have your paperwork, make an appointment ONLINE at Aluche (Oficina de extranjeros) You’ll need:

1. Passport size pics (I tried to use mine from the first year and they made me go take pics while I was there, even though my friend was allowed to use the same pic as the year before)

2. Empadronamiento (A new one! My friend was allowed to use hers from the year before, I wasn’t. There is an office near Aluche, 1 km away, and I had to run there, get a new Empadronamiento and run back to Aluche).

3. Parroga de estancia

4. Original TIE from the year before

5.  Photocopies of Passport and TIE

6. TASA Codigo 12 Modelo 790. This CAN’T be printed off the internet (I paid 18,36 euro)

7. The important paper that they gave you in Gregorio Marañón.

Go to your appointment, turn in your paperwork and they will give you a paper saying that your TIE will be ready in 45 days! Then go pick it up and you are ready to go!

Good luck renewing!