Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day One

Date 6-26-08

Temperature Pleasant - low 70s with slight breeze

Mood: A little hesitant but optimistic

I arrived in Roncesvalles last night at about 6:30 pm. I was fried or hecho polvo (made of dust) by the time I arrived. Yesterday was the last day of the student tour and my poor kids, the other teacher and I had to be up at 3 am so that they could catch their flight back to San Francisco.! Yes, nightmarish, but doable.

We had a great time through Spain however. I have plenty of photos but no USB port on this public computer! I´ll be uploading as soon as possible.It was hard to say goodbye to my group especially since we were together pretty much 24-7.

The bus ride to Pamplona from Madrid takes about 5 hours. Pamplona is a pleasant city, not too urban but with plenty of cafes and movida (night life). As you know, the running of the bulls will be happening on July 6th. The whole city is preparing for it with tons of outdoor stalls and guys walking around with their white shirts and red scarves around their neck.

A more adventurous traveller might try to plan their trip to coincide with the big bull-running, but that won´t be me! Although Pamplona is part of the El Camino de Santiago I try to avoid huge crowds. Especially crowds that are trying to make their big escape all at once!

I took another bus to the established beginning of the El Camino the town of Roncesvalles. It´s really just a small village (about 10 quaint hotels, the pilgrim hostal and the church make up the place) Upon arriving I had a decision: turn left to go the refugio for pilgims or right to a nice 3 star inn. I turned right. Hey - one last evening of luxury before beginning my journey.

I slept for 10 hours straight. I needed that after getting up at 3 am. Ohhh, so restful.

I decided to stay the day today and get myself in order after spending some 10 straight days with teenagers. I loved our student trip but dealing with adolescents can be stressful at times and exhausting. So a day of just rest and relaxation was in order. Time to email, write in my journal, take pictures, pick up my pilgrim credential, go to pilgrim mass, take a short hike and meet other pilgrims.

Great day so far.

Ciao for now.