Leap Year Travel: Single ladies, get thee to Ireland!

As far as I could determine, there is only one real connection between leap year and travel, but since it also involves saints and vintage-style kitchiness, it counts as a suitable topic for a travel blog. Specifically, this travel blog.

If you’re a lady fixin’ for a gentleman in your life, I have terrific news. News which has largely been spoiled by a terrible-looking movie I didn’t see. There’s a leap year “tradition” in Ireland which states a man must accept a proposal he receives from a woman on February 29. Legend has it this was an agreement between Ireland’s patron saints, Saint Brigid and Saint Patrick to serve as a lifeline to single women withering on the vine while waiting for men to propose. Saint Patrick wanted such a travesty to occur every seven years, but hard-bargaining Saint Brigid got him down to four.

This leap year remedy for spinsterhood spread to other parts of Europe and has yielded some interesting consequences. In some cases, men who refuse these leap day proposals were subject to fines or required to purchase ladies pretty, sparkly things to atone for their rejection: a dozen pairs of gloves, silk dresses, or material for a skirt.

This tradition has also generated some pretty awesome images depicting the plight of these helpless men. Happy Leap Year!

Watch out, bachelors, the ladies are gonna get ya!
Watch out, bachelors, the ladies are gonna get ya!
Tragic spinster preys on helpless bachelor
Tragic spinster preys on helpless bachelor

Trenhotel: An Overnight Train in Spain

Update April 2015: I took the Trenhotel again in September 2014 as part of my Camino de Santiago journey, read all about my second trip!

Over a couple of months of planning, I narrowed down my preferred destinations in Spain to specific areas: Barcelona, Andalucia, and Madrid. Flying in to Barcelona and out of Madrid meant I had some options for getting from A to B. To hit all of places I wanted to go, a long-haul journey between Barcelona and Granada was inevitable. The train seemed the best option to see a lot of the country, enjoy relative comfort, arrive in the centre of town, and move around freely during the journey.

RENFE, Spain’s national railway, had a couple of options: travel all day or travel all night. It would be pricey, but not a budget-buster. Research indicated two things:

  • A small portion of tickets are nicely discounted if you buy them online in advance.
  • RENFE’s website has, well, user-friendliness challenges.

Continue reading Trenhotel: An Overnight Train in Spain