BootsnAll Travel Network

Camino De Santiago No 1:Madrid-Pamplona-Roncevalles

What I´ve decided to do as far as writing about the Camino, is write it by dividing it up into parts of the route I am on.

This is the first entry of many…These entries may sometimes be solely informational(prices, how tos, etc) and other times, more spiritual, cultural, etc.

I landed in the Madrid airport in the morning of may 7th. I took a shuttle bus to the bus station (1 euro; find the shuttle station by heading out the exit double doors at the airport and walk to the right until you see the kiosk). The bus station was terribly confusing, and I did not find people in Madrid terribly friendly or helpful. People seem to be extremely preoccupied with their hair and clothes, and sort of sashay about, even the men.

I finally found out where to buy my ticket(3rd floor; take escalator), andf stood in line for quite a while. I bought a ticket to Pamplona (26 euros) and had to wait in the bus station for about 4 hours.

I was so exhausted and had jet leg and so on that I kept dozing off. Apparently this is against the rules in the bus station-especially if you doze off in a comfortable position, such as lying down. If you doze off sitting up, however, the police leave you alone. Food choices were somewhat limited-the best choice was the cafeteria downstairs. I bought a bocadillo, a kind of sandwich made from a baguette and some sort of salty ham and cheese. (I have been told I will be eating alot of these along the route, as they are available everywhere and are cheap and filling.)

I got on the bus for Pamplona in the afternoon-it took 5 hours to get there, with a few not so interesting stops along the way.

Once in Pamplona, I took a taxi from the bus station(follow the taxi signs to the kiosk; one will show up eventually) to the ¨Meson del Barro¨, a place suggested by a woman on the bus. (Taxi 4 euros)

The Meson turned out to have decent rooms, a decent bar with snacks, and a great location. In fact, it is a hostal used not by tourists, but Spaniards. (Single room 45 euros, with private bath and lovely view; dinner of snacks at bar under 5 euros). The rooms are not in the same building but all over the surrounding neighborhood, in different apartment buildings. It was nice and quiet. The shower was the hottest and best shower of my life!

Two days later, I´m heading off to the Cathedral de Santa Maria, built in the late 14th century, before heading back to the bus station to catch the only bus leaving for Roncevalles(which leaves at 6 pm, takes about 1 hour).

Once in Roncesvalles, I´ll go to the monastery to get my Pilgrim Pass, and then hopefully to the Refugio, with enough time for Mass and so on.

I start out walking tomarrow, and I plan on walking to Esteribar, about 14.42 miles.

How I´m feeling is a little nervous, wondering what it will be like. After being in the States for a week, I´m having a hard time getting my ¨travel focus¨back into sync with the rest of me. In the States there are many concerns and stresses, and I don´t want those worries to play into my experience of the Camino.

From what others have told me, this isn´t unusual. To take on this kind of journey, one must set aside many things.

I´m hoping I can really focus on the spiritual part of the journey without getting too distracted by more worldly concerns. This is one reason I am visiting the Cathedral today.

There are alot of people in Pamplona doing the Camino(easy to distinguish by our comfortable shoes and walking poles!) and everyone I have met has been incredibly kind. Advice abounds-some good, some not.

One thing is for sure, there are many ways to do the Camino!



104 responses to “Camino De Santiago No 1:Madrid-Pamplona-Roncevalles”

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