I am sitting in my top bunk in the only abergue (pilgrim hostel) in Roncesvalles, one that sleeps 400. I’m in one in a row of small portable buildings, each of which sleeps 8. The washrooms are across the yard. It’s a bit like summer camp.
Getting here was an adventure of its own. I had been in transit for twenty-four hours (4 legs) before I arrived in Bilbao Aeroporte but of course I arrived without my backpack. It was still in Brussels. The women in the baggage handling room were very nice about it but couldn’t be sure where it was or when it would arrive. It looked like I might have to wait another day in Bilbao and delay walking until Saturday. I decided that if I was to be open to what the camino can teach me, then I would have to be open to this, too. Not that I had a choice. But the women seemed grateful that I wasn’t all uptight or yelling about it.
My pack was delivered the next morning about 10:30 just after I had checked out and walked downtown. When I got my phone charged up again (the European adapter was in the pack), I called and discovered it was back at the pension. So I walked back to get it, then took a cab to the bus terminal with a half hour to spare before the bus to Pamplona.
As I was trying to figure out where my bus was, a fellow spotted me as a peregrino and called out to me. He was a hospitalidero, a volunteer who works in an abergue. His name is Entoon (sp?) pronounced En-tone, and he is from Holland. He accompanied me for the rest of the trip and I learned many things from him. We had time to walk around Pamplona before getting the bus to Roncesvalles (which he pronounced Ron-se-val, accent on the first syllable).
I met one other person on the trip that surprised me. From Calgary to Montreal I was seated beside a middle aged woman who noticed I was watching the Movie, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, and asked if I was going there. She was on her way, too, and would be starting a few days after me. What are the chances of that happening? An interesting conversation ensued. She was in a midlife transition time and was looking for some sense of direction.
There’s more to tell but it’s late, the lights are out and most of my cabin mates are asleep. I should be, too. Perhaps I could be tired now.