My Long-Distance Love Affair With Urueña

It’s amazing the things one can stumble across on the internet. Yesterday I accidentally clicked on a link, and a webpage to a Spanish town opened. Now i’m not one to throw around the word ‘destiny’ very often, but after no more than a second’s glance my heart was fluttering with excitement. This beautiful place looked perfect. Perfect for my self, my soul, and my personality. We all have our dream houses and kingdoms (at least, I know for definite that I must have a house with a turret one day), yet this place immediately drew me in, and refused to let go until I had grown so overwhelmed that I decided I must visit!

The town is called ‘Urueña’, located in the province of Valladolid in Spain. It’s known as a ‘villo de libro’ or ‘town of books’, and has no fewer than 12 BOOKSHOPS. This was the first excitement trigger, and the second followed soon after as I learned that the whole town perimeter is covered with a MEDIEVAL CASTLE WALL. Being a book lover, fantasy lover, CASTLE lover, and language lover, the bells were already ringing out for me to visit this tiny town. I also happen to love calligraphy, music, and the colour yellow, so when I saw that there were workshops for calligraphy, as well as museums of music, books & writing, and stories, and a place of accommodation that looked to be painted from the rays of the sun itself, I fell for it within a heartbeat.

When I finally began to breathe again I decided to search for other ‘book towns’, and discovered that the very first established book town was in Wales. To this day it remains famous for its bookshops, and this too made me incredibly hyper. Living in the UK, the potential for me to visit the town in Wales was entirely possible! No planes or language barriers! Cheap(ish) and close(ish) to home! Nothing to hold me back except… ANXIETY. Yup. Reality arrived back in waves of anguish and disappointment, and the happy heart flutters turn to a tight ball of nerves in my chest. The problems began to arise, one after the other in rapid and overwhelming succession. The nearest train station was miles from the town; the journey itself would take half a day; the price was highly undesirable… a myriad of anxiety-inducing problems. The best option would be to drive. It would solve all of the above issues – I would be comfortable, quicker, and independent in a car. So that’s that. Except… here’s the clincher – I can drive, BUT, I have no car and also I am TERRIFIED of driving.

Learning to drive five years ago seemed like a great idea. But heading straight off to university afterwards and not driving ever again was probably not the best follow up. As someone with anxiety, the idea of operating a vehicle on a road with hundreds of others fills me with terror. Avoiding it for several years with the excuse of being close enough to walk everywhere was brilliant. I have pushed aside driving for so long, taking public transport when necessary (even though it took me a hell of a long time to overcome that obstacle), but now the opportunity to have a car again has arisen, and with every new place I fantasise about visiting… the necessity for a car keeps resurfacing.

I know this began about a paradisiacal town in Spain, but I realise to get there I must improve my confidence in becoming more independent. I have been lucky in that, for the other places I’ve been, I have had the luxury of friends and family with vehicles. Now it’s getting more difficult. As my friends follow their ambitions, my own dreams are being impeded by my reluctance to leave my comfort zone. So now I must make my choice. Push myself, grow, and become more independent and stronger in myself? Or give up now, and relinquish my travel aspirations?

Not really a choice in my eyes.

So I have set myself some targets. I will learn to drive again. I will drive to the book town in Wales, and celebrate my own independence as well as my love of literacy. Then I will travel to Urueña in Spain, and absolutely live for the sheer joy of my abilities and triumphs.

This blogpost was supposed to be me gushing over all of these beautiful book towns, but has ended up a sort of ‘pep talk’ to myself. That’s no bad thing though, as this blog is as much about encouraging myself as about sharing my stories with you all. I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey though, it would be wonderful to meet some like-minded people. Also, if anyone has visited Urueña or Hay-on-Wye (Wales), i’d love to hear from you!

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