1. Strike One: Just arrived in Paris. Already hampered by a strike. All these boarding gates. Free. No planes. And we had to unload onto the tarmac and walk in to a non helpful terminal. Now my flight landed early, which prompted a "Why did the travel company not book me on the train to Bayonne that leaves from the airport instead of requiring me to taxi to another train station a whole bunch of Euros away?" And the answer is...because they only have two, count them, two guys processing you through customs and immigration. My plane load, and a bunch of others. I would have missed that 1030 train. My plane landed at 0730.
2. Strike Two: Looking for my train number on the board in Bayonne, to catch my second train to St. Jean Pied de Port. Only my train number did not appear. That's because there was no train. Due to a strike, THE strike. Still not clear on who was actually striking here. So we were
3. Strike Three: Well lookie here. On the board. My train from Santiago to Madrid is only going to Zamora. Because of a strike. Then a bus. Adding a couple of hours to my travel time, because buses cannot travel at 250km/hr. Yippee.
4. Ball: Not being
5. Not a Home Run: I eat out on my own fairly often. Most of the time I am treated like a regular human being. As opposed to a female lone diner. I am happy, I tip well, I am generally really pleasant and easy to please. That all changed in France. I was still happy, easy to please, but as a single female diner, I got the worst seats in the house, even though there were few patrons at the time I was eating. I even got to sit behind the potted plant. There were two other occupied tables in that resto. I felt like Arte Johnson on "Laugh In", cue the comment "Very interesting!", several times as I watched the other tables being waited on and served promptly while I had to rattle palm leaves to even be noticed by the guy who had seated me behind the tree in the first place.
|You can watch your perro run away for 3 days.|
Saskatchewan. If you stop to listen for a moment, you are serenaded by many birds hidden in the wheat fields, and it is glorious. No movie, and no photograph can adequately express what is to be witnessed along the way, difficult or not.
7. Sam I Am: Yosemite Sam. I had many magical Yosemite Sam moments. Like my first major descent into Roncesvalles, toes jamming against the hikers, knees singing a weary song. And this was day two. Rattin, frattin'....
|What I bummed down.....|
|Good intentions....the road to Hell....|
from the top. A lovely young couple, who then offered to carry my pack to the bottom for me. Which they did, and left a note on my back pack asking folks to leave it there as the owner would be down shortly. If they listened closely, they could have heard me coming, rattin' frattin' tarnation....
9. God's Little Joke: Was when I crossed that river to Portomarino, only to be greeted by a series of steep stairways to reach the inner town. Rattin' frattin' tattin'.....
10. Strikes, Spares and Misses: Ordered a waterproof breathable rain poncho a month before I left, from Amazon. Did not arrive by the Friday before my departure Monday afternoon. So I bought one from MEC at three times the price of my Amazon find. Only to receive the original order in my mailbox an hour before I left for the airport.
|Big Bird of the Camino|
11. He Lives: Joost from "The Way" was personified on this journey by a young man named Christian, from Denmark. A bit of a source of frustration for his walking companions, he slowed to talk and walk with all he met. A true character, one who truly loved people.
12. The Letdown: The one thing from the movie that I wanted so badly to be true was the entrance into the church of St. James. I descended the stairs to the right of the church, listening to the mystical notes of the gaita, a nod to the Celtic roots of Galicia. I rounded to the front of the church, only to see scaffolding. And a blocked entry into the church from the front. As well, you cannot take your back pack into the church, which the movie wrongly portrayed. As I had not been to my hotel yet, in fact, I had no idea
where it was, I advanced to the Pilgrim's Office, to receive my certificate and Compostela. I had a wee discussion with the clerk who was going to deny my distance certificate, because one hotel had not stamped my credential. In the end she issued both certificates, and I was free to go. Found my hotel, then went back to the church and entered through the back. I didn't feel it, the accomplishment, the spirituality, the peace. I felt nothing, and was willing myself to feel something. I left and met up with another pilgrim I had met at the beginning of my journey, a very special gentleman and an Anglican priest. We shared wine, dinner, and stories, as we had separated in Pamplona. His Way had been different than mine. I still wanted to go to the Pilgrim's Mass the following day, but was resolved that the feelings of emptiness would remain.
|Does not do the Cathedral justice....|