My Spanish is rudimentary at best, learned in kitchens, with lots of yelling and swearing. Good enough to get me knifed in Tijuana, but I wasn't sure that it would work for me in Spain. Ultimately it was OK. I didn't starve or get stabbed, so plusses all around.
It helped that I slowly got back into running regularly. And finding a sizeable string of used book shops. Find what makes you happy, and do that.
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So there I was in a bar/restaurant that Kathy had recommended eating the traditional Pinxtos (small Basque snacks) that Chef Andy had plugged...
...eavesdropping on the conversation going on next to me, and me being me, I intruded. That is how I spent the next few days hanging out with expat ESL teachers from Alabama, Boise Idaho, Dublin, Wellington New Zealand and Brighton England. Of course one of them had grown up in Boulder Colorado.
When they asked "Want to come along with us?" I said yes! And there I was watching the traditional Basque Semana Santa penance processions of the several Catholic brotherhoods. And you thought Easter was all about bunnies and chocolate, oh how wrong you are!
Spain does not mess around when it comes to a food culture. They eat, they sleep, and then they eat again!
Kathy had also proposed that I spend time in Hondarribia, which is right along the sea and the border of France. Sections of the famous trail, Camino de Dantiago wind through. So no problem. Don't mind of I do.
I entered Spain a bit wary and unsure and left with heart and stomach full and with more contacts added to the ever expanding list.
In France for now.