01 It’s Showtime

Leaving Pauline and Franks place at 5:15am shouldn’t have been a problem for me as I am typically up at that time….but with jet lag this is a whole new thing to enjoy.

I hit the pillow at 11:30 and woke to what I thought was the alarm on my phone. Brushed my teeth, punched everything into my pack and went to the front door. Why is the stove clock so wrong? I look at my phone…the clock wasn’t wrong at all. My phone is linked to a doorbell/camera designed to sent me notification when someone comes to the door. It was probably a person at the front door of the house in Toronto……

It was only 1:15 in reality. Back to bed.

I woke up to the real alarm and made it to the  airport with plenty of time to make my flight. Finally when the flight arrived at Biarritz it turned out to be in the middle of a rain storm. This is a really small airport and you have to walk from the plane to the terminal. A couple of hundred meters….not a problem. But by the time I reached the terminal I was shivering. I didn’t have the appropriate clothes packed. I may have to revisit this part of the plan. I think I will get a fleecy in Pamplona.

The transport from Biarritz to St. Jean Pied de Port is on time and Julian (our driver) is a geologist by training…but hasn’t been able to find a job in 6 years.

When I went to toss my pack to not the van I noticed several straps looking odd. I figured I needed to look at this when we arrived at SJPdP.

Upon arrival a short investigation shows the pack and frame, such as it is was destroyed. Obviously it was the airline handling of the pack, or the way it was stowed under the aircraft responsible for destroying this necessary component of my trip. Time for a new pack……unexpected, expensive, but available. There are a number of stores catering to the fresh Pilgrim needs. And it did the trick. I may have lost 30 minutes of time and a hundred or so Euros….but at least I was on my way.

There is an expression. The Camino provides. In this case it was true, or maybe the expression should be changed to Visa provides.

After a short delay, I was on my way…..in a manner of speaking. I may have mentioned the initial road out of town feels like walking into a vertical wall. Then it starts to get even steeper in sections ahead. At one point I was only taking 20 steps or so, and I had to rest. My lack of training rears it’s ugly head…..big time.

I finally see and then arrive at Orisson and end up in the overflow accommodations. These are not as nice as the regular accommodations. 10 bunk beds with no headroom for the top bunk…..my bunk.

After the communal dinner it is customary to have everyone stand up and say a few words. Terence, a 77 year old pilgrim I am sitting across from wants to sing a song. In a weak moment I offer my services…..without prompting what song does Terence want to sing? The ……and I kid you not,…. “Wild Rover”.

A number of people have just started laughing. Those on the Camino in 2013 for sure.

After dinner I retired to my low headroom bunk and discover one of the little Korean women in the same room snores like a freight train.

Why not.

Tomorrow, the real Pyrenees.