“Be like a train; go in the rain, go in the sun, go in the storm, go in the dark tunnels! Be like a train; concentrate on your road and go with no hesitation!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan
Monday, June 3rd - We were up by 6 a.m. - I made my morning coffee with some dry coffee packages I brought from home, but did add a little honey from the pot Patricia tells me is local honey from a friend of hers that owns bees. I tried taking a morning shower but could not get the hot water to work. Jessy woke up quickly, she showed excitement for riding the RENFE to Pamplona to start our journey.
We walked down to the Metro Station without having to ask for directions since Patricia and I had walked there the night before to make sure we would not get lost in the morning.
After we got to the station we got help from an attendant in buying our metro tickets. We caught the yellow line at Jaume I to the Verdaguer exchange with the blue line which took us to Sans Stacion which takes us to the RENFE Station.
Calmly we walked around knowing we have a little extra time and validated our RENFE pass and bought our the tickets to Pamplona. I had bought a Spain Pass earlier in the month which gave us 4 rides within 30 days of validating the pass.
We got time to get a drink and a croissant each before it was time to show our tickets, after a small hiccup of not picking up our RENFE Spain Pass which should have been issued as we bought our tickets. We got back in line and we were on our way to the platform. Jessica is staying very calm just like her mother has taught her to be, in fact later I found out that mom had told her to keep me calm when things were not running smoothly.
For some reason we given passes in two different compartments but we could move freely from one compartment to the other, which was OK with Jessica as she told me later that it makes her feel like an adult to be sitting without me. Thirty minutes outside of Barcelona the train was already moving at about 200 Km per hour and was barely felt with the smoothness of the ride. The day was very calm and cool, the weather was perfect to start out our trip. Outside the train were row after row of vineyards. It made me think of the vino tinto I had the night before must have come from a local grower.
Jessy slept for most of the four hour trip. I had a conversation with a man in his 60's who told me he had just retired and is headed to Pamplona to spend some time with his daughter. Pamplona came quickly. On the bus ride a man traveling with his son who just graduated from High School and will be walking the Camino. He tells me that they are on their winter holiday. We got off and asked for directions to the bus station. On the ride to the bus station the driver let us off a few hundred yards away from the station.
We are all walking and again asked for directions from another bus driver who was a couple of hundred yards away. He tells me "Don't bother getting on, it's just ahead." I was beginning to think that at this point there would be either miss communication or someone trying to take advantage of the tourist. Just as the day before some extra items had shown up on our bill at lunch time, if I had not looked at it , I would have paid a few extra Euros. On the bus ride we met a man from Australia traveling with his son who just graduated from High School, they too were headed to the Camino. He told me that they had been on their winter holiday.
Once inside the bus station we paid for our tickets to SJPP at 20 Euros each. For some reason the bus company had not accepted my credit card and I had to pay cash. I thought to myself that this would be a very tight budget trip if we were not going to make a charge once in a while. The bus trip was exciting as we crossed the Pyrenees. It reminded me of crossing the Sierra Madres years earlier with my wife Carmen in the Land Cruiser. The bus was full of Peregrinos headed to start the journey.
Once in SJPP we all got off the bus with no instructions and we had no choice but to follow the older couple who have a couple of Peregrino patches on their well worn backpacks and seemed to have the most experience of the whole group. Within a few minutes of twisting and turning through some vary narrow streets we found the Peregrino office which is the official starting point. We walked in and was warmly greeted by a volunteer in his 60's, he gave us attention for we are about to take on a great journey. The line outside the office now builds up because the volunteers give each pilgrim the proper attention and secure them on a well informed journey.
We now had a map and walked down the hill to our Albergue for the night. I had made online reservations back home at the request of Bicigrinos, the company I had rented or bikes from. Our Albergue is named Ultreia Guitea. We walked inside and head straight upstairs , but are quickly told by the ill-tempered Italian owner to go downstairs and take off our shoes. We are quickly learning the ways of the camino. We walked back up and now checking in. We were given the option of pre-buying breakfast for 3€. We decided to think about it. We headed upstairs to the third floor into our room that we shared with two guys from Ireland whom we think are together, but later never see them together.
We unpacked and sent mom an e-mail to let her know that we have arrived and are doing well. That evening we went out and have dinner of fish soup. Before ordering we asked if it had a fish head in it, but the lady assured us that it did not. Later as the soup arrived we learned that it is mainly broth. We thought that it was nothing more than soup out of a can with some bread added to it as a side to give it some substance. I think we just paid 5 € for a can of fish broth.
We go went back to our Albergue and the owner told us that we could now pick up our bicis and bring them back to the hostel. We walked a few blocks away and knocked on the door of a side barn from a house and are shown the boxes that the bikes came in. I'm thinking that we are going to have a difficult time putting them together, but soon after we took them out and put them together fairly quick. We decided to ride around and adjust to the gears in an open parking lot.
Now back at the Gitea Ultreia we told the owner that we picked up the bikes and would like to pay for breakfast. He tells us that we have to pay a storage fee to keep the bikes there overnight. I asked him why had he not told me this before sending us for them. He told me it is information which is on the website. I told the owner I could not afford both breakfast and the storage fees, so would have to do without breakfast. He got mad at me and decided to argue. I pulled out my wallet and took the money out to pay for the storage fees and he continued to get even more hipped up. I laid the money on the table and he walked away arguing and told me to keep my money, but adds on how he has to make a living. Jessy and I start to walk upstairs and he continues to argue from his office, Jessy tells me that by the view of the leather couches and big screen TV in his office he seems to be making a great living. I think by now he feels so bad about tricking me into the fees that he can not control himself. He was very angry that I did not argue back with him, but my goal was to keep a very positive trip with Jessica. We talked for a while about the situation and went to sleep.
I was very tired that night, I had very weird dreams and even knocked my night stand lamp off the table in my sleep.