Me and Guevara, el guapo!

After a dual-cultured, naturey, and food-filled time in the Alps of South Tyrol, I headed to Belen’s chalet, where I had a dual-cultured, naturey, and food-filled time in the mountains of Navarra.  I’m more of a sea level (or below sea level) island girl but have grown to appreciate the tranquility of the mountains…if only there were more oxygen and warmer temperatures!


I thought Sol’s hometown of Merano was sleepy at ~35,000 people, but that was a metropolitan compared to where Belen lives in Arrarats, a town of ~35 people with no shops and one traveling barber.  Even though Navarra is not technically “Basque Country,” it is home to many Basques.  The Euskara language is as ubiquitous as Spanish, so like in South Tyrol, everything is in two languages though locations tend to have only one name, a Basque one.

I met Belen on the Camino last summer when I arrived exhausted at an abandoned monastery turned albergue.  We walked for several days together and then hung out post-Camino.  Belen is one of the handful of women in the world I would consider to be spiritually linked to.  Sometimes I struggle with precisely expressing myself in Spanish, but we seem to connect beyond language.  I think our friendship lies in mutual love, support, and inspiration (like I introduced Belen to the exciting world of Tinder!).


She used to live near Pamplona, which is on the Camino, and recently moved into the surrounding mountains to find more peace and stillness.  It was awesome to catch up with her, spend lazy days on Spanish schedule (sleep at 3am, wake up at noon), eat amazing Spanish food (more cheat days!), do/teach yoga, take nature walks with Guevara (her handsome though not so clever dog) while chatting about life/aspirations/bad dates, and laughing so hard.  I enjoyed the tranquility of nature, the warmth of the wood fireplace, and the soothing pain relief of marijuana balm.  It was a much-needed life charge from all the traveling and new experiences of the past year.



We ran into Chucho collecting walnuts on the banks, and he invited us to his integrated yoga class that evening. Was awesome to do yoga there! He’s sporting a typical Basque mullet. I never thought mullets were sexy until now!


Beautiful view on a walk near Belen’s chalet


Belen, you have something on your head!


I love the fog rolling in…


As we came back downhill on one of our walks, we found a whole family of horses trying to get to the other side of the gate but decided not to help them in their escape… The animals here have a very wide breadth to roam. These horses were incredibly beautiful, and their breed is special to this region



Young foal chilling and rolling in the grass


Foraging for castañas! Apparently, they grow in this region as well. It’s such a cool concept to be able to eat off the land…


What chestnuts look like on the ground…


Very old tree…like 100s of years old



Tortilla de patatas and chocolate croissants in the local bar/restaurant making me nostalgic for Spain and the Camino. This local bar in Jauntsarats is where all the locals hang out…


Belen made lentils (lentejas)…my favorite!


Beautiful view from this hotel restaurant


A light lunch…


My look of hunger, anticipation, and fear rightly captures my feelings. Also, I had just discovered that one of the appetizers had pieces of shrimp and lobster in it so trying not to freak out. Everything turned out fine in the end, except for that cow.


This region is famous for its cider

Chilling in tranquility at Belen’s chalet…


Couches where Belen and I spent lots of time…





View from the studio


View from the bathroom throne


This homemade marijuana balm was the bomb…eased a lot of the pain in my wrists and elbows from yoga (and falling down at Burning Man)



2 Responses

    • Woot woot! Yo también estoy muy agradecida por conocerte! Las coincidencias en la vida no son coincidencias. Hasta el próximo viaje! Te quiero!

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