We're safe, and finally checking in with you after 3 days as pilgrims. Pamplona is the first city we have come to where we can get on a computer to update our blog. What an adventure so far! Just getting to the start of the pilgrimage trail was challenging. Our only piece of checked luggage, our hiking poles, didn't make it to Paris. Looking for them and filing a missing baggage report made us almost miss our train to southern France. But we got safely to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port Saturday afternoon, and checked into a little pension. Our room was on the 4th floor, with a balcony overlooking the old city wall. The next morning we set off, with new hiking poles and a lunch packed by our innkeeper, Maria Camino. That first day was the hardest. About 18 miles, climbing up over the pass of the mountain into Spain. That was hard enough, but the descent was even harder. Very steep, over gravel. Down, down, down. By the time we reached Roncesvalles I thought I would never walk again. A shower and some refreshments helped a lot.
We have met many other pilgrims from all over the world. Only a few speak English and fewer still are from the U.S. The second evening, when we stayed in Zubiri, we had dinner with a group from South Africa. That night it poured all evening and through the night -- fortunately after we had arrived and found a room in a little pension right next to the Zubiri bridge. The rainstorm brought in colder weather, and yesterday we walked through mud and puddles, through rain and wind and occasional moments of sun. We got to Pamplona in the afternoon and decided to stay a day here, to rest and be tourists for a day instead of pilgrims. It has been cold the last 2 days. We have worn our fleece vests and rain jackets and all the long sleeved things we brought.
We're taking a lot of pictures, but there doesn't seem to be a way to load them at this computer. So... we'll try to post photos next time.
love, from Pamplona, on the Camino de Santiago,
Lydia and Mark
On May 27, 2011, we will lock our front door and set off on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain. We'll fly to Paris... Take a high speed train (TGV) to Bayonne, France... Change to a slower train that will take us to St. Jean Pied de Port, in the foothills of the Pyrenees -- where our walk begins. On May 29, Sunday, we will set out on foot for our 500-mile walk across Northern Spain.
The Camino de Santiago is a centuries-old pilgrimage trail. We join millions of pilgrims who have walked this path over the years.
Journey with us, as we post pictures and highlights of our adventure.