My Conversation with Maria from

I was delighted to be contacted by Maria regarding a possible post on her excellent website

Her website is full of hints and tips for those looking to improve their Spanish. As she lives on the Camino, she sees pilgrims passing by every day. So her website is a great place to start if you are planning a few days on the Camino. Not on does she talk about Spanish words, but there are great tips on food and health in Spain.

Anyway, my conversation with Maria can be found here. It was fun looking back at my first Camino. I also talk about this website and my involvement with Camino Society Ireland.

A Busy Week…and some Spanish lessons

If you live in Ireland, or even in Europe, you will know of the weather we have had over the last week. As I type, Storm Brian is passing over this part of the world blowing winds and delivering rain to parts of southern Ireland.

However, Storm Brian’s predecessor, Ex-Hurricane Ophelia was far more destructive. Parts of Cork and Kerry are still without power and water and trees have fallen in almost every county in Ireland. You can read more about the damage here and here. But perhaps the worst news to come from Ophelia on Monday was news of three deaths as a result of the winds. This is something you don’t hear about in Ireland. Transport throughout the country was severely affected and most companies closed before the storm hit on Monday morning.

credit –

Now, where do I come into it?

I work for a property claims company and have been here since 2012. Since the start of the year, we have been very quiet and I have actually moved roles away from claims notifications as for that reason. I have enjoyed my new role and have been learning as I go. However, as the calls came in on Tuesday morning notifying us of damage, my services were needed and we, as a team, have been non-stop since then. The weekend came at the right time. I have put everything, including the over-seeing off the renovation of my apartment, on the back burner since Monday. It has also been frustrating as I am still in training mode in my new role. Ophelia and Brian has put paid to that until mid-week I gather.

Today was also an early start as I restarted Spanish language lessons. It’s been so long since I took classes. I stopped because the last class I took was through Spanish, which frightened me a little. Camino Society Ireland have organised classes for its members. Once I overcome this fear and learn to use the vocabulary that I know I have, I should be driving in the right direction. Espero que si!

I understand but, I can´t speak

From reading my blogs over the last few months, you might have noticed I have an interest in Spain and it’s language. It’s true. It’s an interest and whether it is unhealthy or not, I’ll leave it you to decide that. The language itself is one I want to be fluent in and hopefully I will be someday. I got the ball rolling in February of this year, I started a beginners course in Spanish and I learnt a lot from it. I felt confident in what I knew and added to that by listening to some podcasts, and by writing to Spanish speakers in their native language. I did my level best to speak some few lines during my time in Spain.  So I had planned. 

What I found out was how little I knew. Yes, I could order a drink and ask for directions, and yes, I could talk about the weather and how bad or good it was but my knowledge was limited. I didn’t know much else. It didn’t help either by meeting people from non-Spanish speaking countries. I could have gone out of my way to meet some Spanish people, but it’s in the past now!

Anyway..ten weeks of beginners Spanish doesn’t really help but it does give you a taster. Since then I have done more reading, listened to more podcasts and written more emails to some friends abroad. That’s all fine and well and anything that makes me understand the language is great. To reciprocate is another thing.

I started back last Monday to an improvers class at the same college. Another ten weeks would help me improve I thought..why not give it a go?! I met some people I knew from the first course and some had kept their learning up. Others had joined in with sufficient knowledge that they didn’t need a beginners course. This class would be all in Spanish I was told. Ok, I find it hard speaking in English to a group, but in Spanish? The nerves kicked in. Next we were told we needed to talk about ourselves for a while. Fair enough..that can’t be too bad?! I started off and after about a minute or so, the dreaded “umms and ehhs” kicked in. Next, one of the better members of the class stepped up. She had brilliant Spanish and I was left wondering why she needed to take this course?! Even though she sat a metre from me, you could see the gulf from a mile. 

I really did think about dropping from the course after that class. But if I do that, I won’t get any better.
I read this recently about learning any language:
“Most students would say “I understand but, I can´t speak”. I believe this is just fear of being criticised by other people. A high-dose of inhibition is needed!!”

An interesting way to take in Spanish

I’ve been looking for ways how to improve on my Spanish language. It’s nearly a year since I started taking the language seriously and going to classes. There are may tips and tricks on how to improve including this and this.

However, this guy has taken learning a language to a new level. He moved to Germany for a year without a word of German and came home fluent. Have a look at this short clip.

More information can be found at

I’d love to do the same to aid my Spanish.


If you have read my previous post, you will know that I am learning Spanish; not just to use it in May, but to have it and improve on it going forward. The evening course I have been going to has been great but that is shortly coming to an end. Ten weeks has flown by and it is up to me now.

So if any of you want to converse via email (in Spanish of course), let me know. Or if you know of anyone who would be willing to do the same, I would appreciate it. Gracias!