Camino Diary Entry #1

Hard to take a good shot half asleep on an open deck bus tour

Hard to take a good shot half asleep on an open deck bus tour

(Emails home  from the Camino Adventure)

# 1: Let the Adventure begin. ( May 2012)

A stroke of good luck found us in Koru club prior to departing Christchurch and despite the early hour of the day a wee ‘drop’ was always going to help enroute to Singapore! And so it did!    

With hours to fill we sought out the Singapore airport swimming pool – apparently an amenity that airport staff know nothing of its whereabouts! With determination that Sherlock Holmes and Watson would have been proud of we located the pool and before long were stripping down to our strategically packed swim wear. The actual transition from sticky humidity to luke warm water wasn’t easy to distinguish and floating about avoiding squawking children while keeping our eyes riveted on to badly concealed back packs poolside, the relaxation value was questionable!

The swim came to an abrupt end once we noticed white lumps developing on the palms of our hands! Funny how you suddenly start to itch all over! Amazing how fast you can exit a swimming pool!
A lot more luck  and  a bit of secret squirrel stuff found us happily ensconced in the Singapore Airline business class lounge to wait out the remainder of the 6 hour stopover.

We stumbled aboard the next flight scarcely able to keep our eyes open and were asleep before takeoff. Somehow 12 hours drifted away in semi darkness and we were both surprised to wake up in Milan. Apparently neither of us had read the itinerary very carefully! I sense a theme of lack of preparation creeping in – and we are only in the first hours of a rather long adventure!

Landing in Barcelona the 30 degree temperatures were warmer than anticipated. The good old stretch longs for travelling soon looked the height of fashion once rolled up to the knees well above the smart hiking  shoes and socks.

As all good tourists should, we climbed aboard an open top double decker bus and baked ourselves over a couple of hours sightseeing, a little retail therapy and back to the train station.

Despite having tickets we queued forever amongst throngs of travellers hoping to catch the only train to Pamplona that day. As the long line of hot sweaty people surged forward we were confronted by a particularly steep descending staircase. Did I mention our bags at this stage were weighing in around the 23/25 kg mark (and let’s not forget the back packs!)? With much cursing and shoving surrounding us as we methodically crashed our ridiculously heavy suitcases down one stair at a time to Platform 2.

Our carriage was extraordinarily comfortable and un-crowded which was explained when Gwyneth pointed out she has her standards and only does first class on trains! We dozed away the four hours charging through the Spanish countryside until we arrived in Pamplona.

By now we really have no idea what day it is, what time it was and nor did we care! Yet another steep stairway down off the platform to manipulate and then, oh no! Another bloody set of stairs to get back up to the other side of the tracks.     A  taxi – any taxi was looking pretty damn good!

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