It was exactly 10 years ago today that we embarked on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. In the photo above we are all smiles. Right after it was taken, I realized I had forgotten my Tilley hat on the train lol.
It was a Holy Year – July 25, the Feast of St. James fell on a Sunday. This meant it would be more crowded than other years and that there was the possibility of gaining a Plenary Indulgence. The next Holy Year isn’t until 2021, an 11 year gap. We had been in training for months, read everything we could find and been to a workshop or two to prepare. Still we were green and not sure what to expect.
After taking a trans-Atlantic cruise to Barcelona and then a train to Pamplona, we decided to start here. We could have gone on to St Jean Pied de Port, France to start but it was complicated to get there. We walked only about 10 km that first day as far as a place called Cizur Menor. It was cool and dry.
We checked into the Albergue pictured above but forgot to get our pilgrim passports stamped. While we were checking in, an American man was making enquiries about how to send some stuff back home that was ot needed and too heavy to carry. His name was Richard and we got to know him well.
After showering and a short nap (de rigour as we were quite tired) we headed out for a short walk to find something to eat as we had not been invited to the group meal depicted above. We immediately met a friendly lady from South Korea who answered all our questions and made us feel most welcome on our first night. Dave is connected with her on Facebook.
We found a restaurant right across the street and enjoyed the 3 course pilgrim meal including all the wine we could drink for 10 only Euro each. Very reasonable. We then retired to our bunk beds in the open room refugio dorm and slept as well as might be expected given some very loud snoring. We later met and befriended the loud snorer named Kim who several people were talking about in the morning.
All in all we felt quite exhilarated and satisfied after our first day. So far so good.