Bohemian Agent Blog

Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, manifesting your own happy, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
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June 2017

Spain, the healthiest country to live in Europe!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure was a quick fact check on the vitality and health benefits of Spanish living!

It's no secret; I love the Facebook!  The reason is that I can see so many people that I adore at the click of a mouse, but also it's likely that these same birds of a feather will share something to their newsfeeds worthy of a good read.  Today was such a day!  A friend from Denver shared an article on my page stating that Spain was officially the healthiest country in Europe to live!  Well, hooray for this news!  

I must admit, I tried hard to educate myself on the healthiest and most environmentally responsible ways to conduct myself back home in the U.S.A.  I also left the U.S.A. largely eating a plant-based diet, but mostly focused on consciously choosing what I was putting in my body.  I love meat as much as the next carnivore, but I wanted to know where my food was coming from and that it was a local, reliable and organic source.  I was thrilled to read this short and to the point article about Spain being the healthiest place in Europe to live.  According to the article, Spain is at number 1, and my home country, the U.S.A. is set way back to number 17.  The report has attributed a combination of factors to Spain leading in the results, including healthy eating (with the Mediterranean diet), the warmer climate and more walking.  

Well, for anyone reading this blog (for more than a couple weeks), you would know that I was indeed walking up a storm here in Spain and why wouldn't I be?  I had everything new to explore, the weather was incredible, and my two feet and two eyes just couldn't get enough of it!  I also enjoyed the praise of simple ingredients here in Spain, along with all the options to shop ecological both in the supermarkets and on the streets (once or sometimes twice a week even in the smallest of villages like mine).  It was also no surprise to me that this article stated that one of the reasons for pushing Spain to the top of this healthy list was the way that Spaniards cared for their elders by taking them daily meals to the hospital.  I am confident that this healthy food smuggling would be frowned upon back in the McDonald style hospital system we call care back home, but that is just my two-cents and it's not worth a dime!  I am simply happy to praise those countries that are getting it right and living longer because of it.  In 2011 Spain was the number one EU Member State for the number of hectares dedicated to organic farming. It increased by 11.76% that year and now includes 1,845,039 hectares. Almost all Spanish regions show increases in the area devoted to this type of agriculture.

Hooray Spain!  I love your Mediterranean diet, your warm weather, your fresh organic veggies and your loving culture.       

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

A special pat on the belly from the Universe

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would be a special pat on the belly from the Universe when l received an invite home by my Wednesday night English class to enjoy Sylvia's home-cooked Spanish tortilla along with a delightful variety of Catalan Spanish cured meats and wine.

It was the 2nd week of February, and the love fest with my students and eating continued.  On Wednesday nights, I taught one of my favorite group of students.  Hector, Mariona, Sylvia, Caty, and Gisela.  The group consisted of all young adults. This class was my phrasal verb group for the first part of the lesson and then we usually continued for the second hour on conversational topics in Business English or conversations about life in general. 

On this evening, my group of excellent students decided they should invite teacher Jeanne over for some home-cooked Catalan food.  We made the plan on a Wednesday in class for a small home party at Sylvia's house that following weekend.  So, the day had come, and I couldn't have been more thrilled to receive yet another home invite to celebrate life with a group of amazing Spaniards that I had grown to love each Wednesday night in class.   

During a previous lesson discussion touching on the topic of Spanish food, I revealed my fast and furious love affair with the Spanish Tortilla de Patatas in class.  To my delight tonight, a variation made with asparagus (rather than the potato) would be homemade and served by Sylvia in her lovely home, along with a variety of Catalan cured meats.  A local favorite served here tonight called Fuet, made its way into my belly on many occasions previous and I readily continued to feed on it from this night forward.  And finally, you would be hard-pressed to visit any table in Cataluna, Spain without being a short distance from some deliciously cured jamon (ham), tomato, olive oil and pan (bread).  

These personal invites always filled my heart with joy, and on this night, in particular, I realized that I should never take this type of hospitality for granted.  Sylvia's daughter, to my surprise, was also an English teacher in a small school.  When she arrived home to join us later in the evening, she was shocked to learn that my students had thrown a party only to share some of their favorite traditional eats with their English teacher on this fantastic evening.  She told us that she had never received this type of private dinner party invitation from any of her students.  

I must say it would have been more strange in my experience not to get a showering of lovely invites home, and I struggled for a moment to understand why this was.  It's anybody's guess, but I believe most of us want to surround ourselves with joy and laughter in our lives.  We want to tell and create stories both old and new that light up our spirits, reboot our souls and bring us all together as one big Universal family sharing in this grand journey called life together.  I am trying to contribute to this ambitious life energy of happy the best I can (all days that I can muster it up at my grandest capacity possible).

I suppose moments like these are the Universe's way of giving me all the love that I wish upon the world back in spades.  So, I thank you kindly for your abundance today both friends and Universe.  I am confident we shall repeat this another day very soon!  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Love and cava filled my heart today!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny Valentine adventure continued as love, and cava filled my heart in Spanish wine country on this sunny Sunday in Spain.

I certainly wasn't expecting it, but the homemade Valentine's gift from my thoughtful friend Marianna during breakfast would jumpstart what continued to be a day of celebrating love and friendship in the Spanish wine village that I now called home.

After meeting my first friend in Spain (Marianna) for a lovely breakfast, I decided to walk off that delicious bocadillo de jamon (ham sandwich).  This turned into a one-woman touring marathon around the wine village for hours upon hours.  I must have lapped the community five times circling through every nook and cranny I could to explore my new home while taking in the sun on this day.  

During my endless circling, I passed by Jaume Giro y Giro Cava several times.  Each time I passed by this bodega the bustling of people in the yard became louder and louder.  It wasn't the first time that I heard sounds of happy laughter coming from this mystery courtyard behind this bodega over the weekend.  In the past, I had assumed it was a private party of Spaniards enjoying their day.  Today, however, my curiosity got the best of me, and while suited up in my walking gear I made my way to the front door of the building and peeked inside.  Everything about this building made me happy upon entering the vast open rolling door to the inside.  A charming vintage motorcycle parked at the end of the gate, old barrels of wine and cava throughout the decor, along with a full range of options for purchasing cava lining the entryway.  There were people sipping cava, others exploring the options for purchase (cases or bottles to go) and still others waiting for the attention of a wonderful man named Juane to order any of the fabulous wine or cava options by the glass. 

I had just about died and gone to Valentine heaven.  How did the Universe know that this would be the best gift to top off an already beautiful day thus far?  I didn't hesitate long before I found myself on the short line to order a glass of Spain's finest.  In my bastardization of the Spanish language, I tried to order my first drink with the kind man working the front desk.  Being the problem solver, I would later know him to be; he hesitated only for a moment before calling in English speaking backup to assist me in my order request.  

And so the glorious winter day would unfold from here!  The English speaking backup wound up being the Director of a nearby English school who had been born and raised in Argentina and was now about to assist me in the enjoyment of the warm sun and cava in a beautiful garden in wine country.  

This new friend and I enjoyed several varieties of Jaume Giro y Giro cava, leading to the termination of an entire bottle of a pink variety that still holds its place in my heart as my number one bubbly flavor in Cataluna.  I now understood all the giggles and happiness I had heard through the outer gate of this secret bodega garden in Sant Sadurni D'Anoia.  Upon walking through the front gate and winding through the entryway, the garden that I found behind the building was completely unexpected and brimming with life in more ways than one.  Plant life filled the garden along with laughter, music and the aroma of fresh food cooking over an open fire.  

As I got to know my new Argentinan friend over cava; we listened to random young Spaniards playing the guitar, watched entire families picnicking in the garden (while grilling meats, veggies, and seasonal calcots on the various grills located all around the bodega yard) and we basked in the sun while enjoying all the fun surrounding us.  Today was indeed a day of love for me!  Not in a romantic kind of way, but it was yet another small reminder that I was truly having the wildest love affair with my life than ever before. 

Jaume Giro I Giro is located at: Carrer d'en Montaner i Oller, 5, 08770 Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Barcelona
Phone: 938 91 01 65

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

A day to celebrate love!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would be celebrating a holiday from back home by complete surprise here in Spain when I was gifted a beautiful handmade hat and scarf by my first friend in Spain named Marianna at the start of the day we celebrate love back home in the U.S.A., February 14th.  

It had already been one month and a half since arriving in Spain.  Today marked the day of love by American standards being none other than the 14th of February.  However, I would be one of the very few celebrating it here in Spain since Spaniards have their special day of love called St. Jordi falling later in the year: where roses, books, and lovers rule the day overseas.  

Valentine's day is a holiday that most Americans can either do with or without.  I, however, take advantage of just about any reason to celebrate, so today seemed like a perfect opportunity to do just that!  

I began this day by meeting my wonderful friend Marianna for a morning cafe con leche and a delicious bocadillo de jamon (coffee with milk and a ham sandwich) at our Sunday spot in the wine village.  Meeting here was already a common tradition for Marianna and me on Sunday's, but today I wasn't expecting to kick off our typical breakfast meeting with a thoughtful homemade Valentine present!  

There she was, waiting for me at the cafe with a bag and a big box in tow.  She happily handed me a beautifully wrapped gift bag containing just about the best present I could have ever imagined receiving on a cold winter day.  Not to mention, the future forecast in the wine village called for a week of the worst winter ahead (by Spanish standards, anyway!  Ha-ha! It's pretty impressive here weather-wise, even at it's worst).  

I'm not one to daintily open presents (my inner toddler grasps and pulls at the paper and bow ties faster than the speed of light to reveal most gifts I receive).  This one was no different from the rest; I quickly unearthed what would wind up being the most thoughtful, beautiful and useful Valentine's gift from my dear first friend here in Spain.  Marianna hand knit me a fantastic warm hat and scarf and brought it to me as a special way to celebrate our new friendship on the day of love in the U.S.A.  I immediately tried on my new surprise, and it was, just in time to enjoy the brisk weather in Spain while still enjoying the sun at this excellent outdoor cafe on the day Americans celebrate love and friendship.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  
Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Walking trails found below Spain's biggest Cava producer.

 

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would be another strolling journey.  This time through walking trails I stumbled upon in wine village.

 

Today's happy accident was stumbling across an incredibly short, but super cool walking trail below the biggest Cava producer in Spain, called Freixenet.

I discovered a cool little walking path as I found my way below, but looking up, at Spain's biggest Cava producer called Freixenet.   The trail began by winding me underneath a fascinating bridge, then through a woodland with an impressive back perspective of this massive Cava company along with several smaller ones in the village as I continued down the trail.

I love unexpected barns, lofts, and graffiti too!  I'd find my way to all of the above in just a short flash of time.  This walk was about 40 minutes from one side of it to the other and back.  I don't think the trail has a name.  I found no visible signs helping me find my way, but what a cool thing to discover while frolicking through some fields below the village for an enjoyable wanderlust hour of my day. 

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  
Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

A stroll through Sant Sadurni D'Anoia

 

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would be a stroll through the wine village.

 

One of my absolute favorite things to do is walking in a new place without a plan.  What's better than stumbling across impressive architecture, finding hidden walking trails, meeting unexpected strangers or finding a gem of a beverage or meal?  

Not too much can top this simple exploratory pleasure in my book!  I've always been a curious neighborhood wanderer.   It's a great way to have yourself a tiny little staycation without spending a dime if you so choose to hit the pavement for a strolling adventure around a new hood.  

My walking experience today would be to explore my tiny wine village while taking some snap happy pictures to share with friends and family back home that were wondering what I had been up too here in beautiful Espana!  

Sant Sadurni is known as the capital of Cava for housing over eighty Cava producing companies in one tiny little wine village.  Guess what that meant for ole Jeanster?  An inevitable daily dose of Spain's finest instantly bubbled up my spirits for less than two tiny euros.  Note happily taken and tiny walking mission accomplished for today!

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  
Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent