Mea culpa

Please forgive all the typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in the last post.  I am new to this and it escaped before I was finished.  

For you Fit Bit people. 42,756 steps, 19.23 miles, 152 flights of stair, 494 minutes

 walking( 8 1/2 hours) 4,256 calories burned and too tired to eat. Note to self. All first days are like this

The first day is the longest day

Sept 17

The first day of any walk is always the hardest. If you have spent the night before in an alberge it could be even harder. On one end there are excited people who talk far into the night and on the other there are people who get up very early  to get a jump on the race for a bed at the next alberge. Add to this the rule that everyone is out by 8 am. Our hospitaler does a yeoman job fixing breakfast for all of us and we are off.

The forecast is for rain but the morning is clear. The first steps are brisk.? We are happy and up to the days walk which is given a 5 ( hardest ) rating for “terrain. Read that hills, steep hills. 

We are always the slowest on the trail. We average about two miles an hour so we are already planning to stay in a hotel tonight as the next alberge only has 14 beds.

After four hours of up up up the pack has doubled its weight, we are twice as old and half as strong, we are only half way and it is raining lightly so the path has become muddy and slipperyand of course, steep. The views are the Bay of Bisque are shrouded by clouds and usual slow pace gets even slower.After seven hours and a very steep road down and a ferry ride across the harbor it’s time for google to find us a hotel. 

We spend an hour following the dots to our hotel and go round and round and finally realize the pile of rubble on the corner is what is left of our hotel.

More google.  Another mile to a hotel which is full.  We give up. A taxi takes us to a hotel and we go to bed.

Who knew?

Sept 16

Pouring rain is not the best way to begin a camino if you have a choice. We have a choice and we are flexible.   Today we will stay put and “do the town”.

First stop. What a surprise!  The bookstore. B gets a map and of our walking area and I get an updated Camino Norte guide.  (heavy and in Spanish)

Second stop. A sports store. B finds a pair of hiking sandals and we are taught how to say thank you (A scary cosco)  and goodbye ( R silent – Aoul).   When used this produces many smiles.

Third stop. The Oiasso Roman Museum- a little gem. Oiasso was the Roman name for Irun. It was an important port of the Roman Empire. Copper and silver were mined here and fruits from the Mediterranean were introduced here. This museum is a store house of information and archeological artifacts.

Last stop. The Camino Alberge ( hostel) where we get our credentials ( camino passports stamped) and are assigned beds for the night. We are in ” girls room “- two Americans , a Canadian mother and daughter, a Russian and a Finn. The alberge is overflowing and people are sleeping in the basement. 


whCamino 101. Patience and flexibility

Plans are one thing. Real life is another. The flight to Spain was 7 hours. The trip from Madrid to Irun almost twice as long.

Arrive in time for early bus but can’t buy ticket. Machine does not work. Desk does not open until 9. By 8:30 line so long we’ll miss 9:15 bus. Next bus 3pm. Next option-train. Practice flexibility.

Buy train ticket. Subway to train station.  Arrive 9:35 for 2:45 train.  Practice patience.

Take train to Valallodid. Wait hour for train to Irun. More patience.

Train to Irun stops every 15 minutes. After three hours announcement that train will stop one stop before Irun due to “track work “. Another train will come and we can get the on that. More flexibility.

All this happens as promised and at 8:30 pm we have arrived in Irun. God is good.

Hotel has cancelled us but has room. Dinner and bed. Forecast for our first day of walking.  Patience ( We will not walk tomorrow in the rain.) Flexible ( We will spend the day in Irun playing tourist.)

Bottom line. Real life doesn’t always conform to the written schedule but it usually works out.

Welcome to Nancyelnorte

My name is Nancy Mead.  I first walked the Camino de Santiago in the year 2000 from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago and on to Finistetre. I was about to turn  fifty. I wanted to reflect on where I had been in my life and to  think about where I wanted to go. The Camino did all of this and more. It taught me much about myself.  Somewhere in the middle of Spain I met Barbara. Since then she and I have met nearly every year to walk for a month somewhere in the world.

Come walk with me.

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