I thought I would be posting in real time, but I have had multiple connection challenges, and for that, please accept my apologies for not sharing the last four days with you.
Wed, April 13, 2016
My time in the Madrid airport was so interesting. I had a good/odd thing happen to me. In Madrid I had to go through passport control again. After getting off the long international flight I needed to use the ladies room, which I did just before passport control. There was no one in the area but me and the government officials. After I was cleared I was told to go to the elevator across the hall, go down one floor and take a shuttle train to terminal K. I got in the elevator and pushed what I thought was the right button, one floor down but the elevator did not move. I pushed another button, no movement. I pushed every button, no movement. So I got out and thought I would just try everything all over again. Sort of like rebooting. While I was standing and waiting a group of people was coming toward me -I thought I would wait for them and see what they did and would would happen. While waiting for them to approach me, I felt something was missing. Something had been in my hands when I got off the plane. I left my hat in the ladies room! I ran back and it was still there. I had to go through passport control again, guided to the same elevator and this time it worked like a charm. Had I gotten into the elevator earlier with the other people, I would have taken the shuttle to terminal K and who knows what would have happened to my new Tilley hat.
While waiting for the plane to Pamplona, I met several pilgrims on their way to St. Jean Pied de Port. One American lady was retired and traveling around the world. She had no reason to go back to the USA any time soon. Hugo was a retired American Airline worker and can fly for free. He had no agenda and was going to take as long as he wanted, maybe 5 miles a day and see everything along the Camino.
The flight to Pamplona was uneventful. The flight attendant spoke all instructions in both English and Spanish but I could understand his Spanish better than his English. As we approached Pamplona from the air, despite my jet lag I was excited to be in Span for the first time.
I was to meet the host of the pensione (like a B & B) at the Pamplona bus station. Hugo was taking a bus to France, so we shared the cab and Hugo, who is bilingual, did all the talking as the taxi drive did not speak English. I had a couple of hours to wait and spent the time trying to speak Spanish to the lovely Spanish urbanites waiting in the same place I was or walking in circles on a grassy area behind the bus station.
Istvan, my host picked me up on time and we had a lovely drive into the mountains east of Pamplona about half way between Pamplona and to the French border. His house (www.corazonpuro.es) is in a small mountain village in the Basque countryside . Staying in the house was an American couple from St. Louis and an American couple and their daughter from Seattle. It was a lovely time meeting them despite my jet lag. Istvan and and his wife, Barbara, were wonder hosts and served us a wonderful tasty dinner.
Tomorrow Istvan drives the St. Louis couple and me to St.Jean Pied de Port, France.