Just a quick post this time to catch you up on our arrival in Spain. We had a one night stop over in San Sebastián and another transit the next day to St Jean pied de port.
A delayed flight meant we didn’t arrive in our hotel in San Sebastián until 7pm. We showered changed and headed out to the old town with our bodies still swaying from the 40 plus hours in transit. We stayed at Hotel Parma, a basic hotel, which is on the edge of the old town at the mouth of the waterway. The air conditioning was good but the beds were hard. The place was clean and the staff were lovely. It’s a very small hotel and I would highly recommend it even given the hard beds. We both entered into a comatose state within seconds of heads touching the pillows.
I awoke early (as usual) and was able to see the sunrise at 7am! Glad I bought those headlamps. The morning was cool and it was quite pleasant walking around for a little while hoping to find some eggs and bacon for my beloved. As luck would have it Desayuno Ingles (English breakfast) was just a block away from our hotel. The trouble is we walked around the whole town before we found it! Oh well a good warm up for our camino! I grabbed a couple of bus tickets online for 16 euro total .
Had a quick dip (of my feet) in the ocean, then we headed down to the bus station to transfer to Bayonne and catch our train to St jean.
All was well – bus on time – we were refreshed and carried our packs the few blocks from the hotel. Plenty of time to catch our train to St Jean so we sat our packs down at the bar opposite Gare Bayonne and had a beer and a sandwich. Little did we know what was to come when we crossed the road to catch the 2:50pm train!
Another unplanned event left us stranded in the heat waiting an additional 4 hours for a bus as the train to St Jean was cancelled. One can only plan so much. Our first camino saw us catching a bus due to landslides on the same line. I managed a train with Michelle but this time it was not to be. We were destined to hang around for four hours in a hot miserable station until we could jump on the bus. All the while knowing our first albergue beds were waiting for us and the lovely little town of St Jean was so close.
As luck would have it a young Irish spy slumped next to us with a disappointed look on her face. We got chatting and we hatched a plan to hijack a taxi and engage an additional accomplice to head up the mountain sooner rather than later. An eager young lady from Transylvania just happened to be waiting to buy a ticket when she was encouraged to participate in our endeavour.
So husband arranged the taxi and the Irish spy negotiated the fee of 100 euro. We were transported the 70 odd kilometres at great speeds. I noticed 120km on the dash at the same time I noticed 70 km on the road sign! It was an interesting journey in more ways than one. As it turns out the driver was actually a paramedic and was clearly a competent high speed driver. The French conversation in the vehicle suggested he would have been a good catch for our Irish friend. But some things are not meant to be. So in no time whatsoever we landed at the gate to the old city of St Jean at the foot of the pass and bid farewell to the French playboy.
We arrived in good time to visit the pilgrim office and obtain our passport and shell and check in to our albergue. It was still damned hot and, luckily our room was in the attic of the albergue; because husband located a fan stored behind some furniture.
Beilari was the hostel where we stayed as our starting point in France in 2015. We again had the communal meal and met a great bunch of people many also heading up to Orisson to stay the next day. We had an early night ready for our adventure and slept well in the cool mountain air.
- And for those who are wondering about the bedding – there are only 4 beds in this room and we both got the singles!- check this out!
Big day tomorrow! The journey begins. Hasta manana!