Long trip. We (Tina, Jessica, me) flew to Toronto and were there for a few hours, Munich for a very little while, Madrid for the night (I woke up in the middle of the night disoriented and wanting food). We lost a lot of hours that we won't get back until we return, in three weeks. Madrid was a bit of a shock, hot and grumpy and disorganized, somewhere I've never been except as a stopover. Although the hotel I had booked us into advertised a free shuttle from the airport, it never came and we ended up in a cab after waiting an hour. Tired and jetlagged, I just wanted my bed, but it made me anxious about the transfer to Pamplona - I hadn't looked up how one gets from the airport to the town and realized I should have done that.
This afternoon we flew to Pamplona, to start the walk across Spain that I mentioned earlier here. We're starting the Camino Santiago, the Way of St. James, although I'm pretty sure we won't manage the whole 600k in the time we have. Inquiries at the nice clean airport in Pamplona established that a taxi to the hostel would be eight Euros. A nice minivan was waiting for us outside, and the driver was jovial. My worries were for naught. We pulled up at the hostel and checked in, got our assigned bunk beds and went out to look for food.
This, however, proved to be a problem. I hadn't anticipated that my companions would not like the menu selections listed on the walls of the bars in the surrounding area, and the fact that dinner was not going to be served much before seven o'clock. Tina declared, "I'm going to starve, here." Eventually we found a bar that served sandwiches, and I got the largest sandwich I've ever seen, a baguette with ham and cheese. Ate half, tucked the other half away for later. Back at the hostel, the beds were soft but I had some trouble getting to sleep. After all the sitting on planes, one of my feet kept falling asleep. Jessica, in the bunk below, was kept awake by my thrashing. At 3AM I was starving again, and got up. I grabbed my leftover sandwich, climbed three flights of stairs in almost pitch darkness, and sat in the high-ceilinged kitchen and ate ravenously. Sitting there, I thought, this is it. We're walking from here. After that I slept.
One gentleman whom we met just before we went to bed turned out to be a champion snorer. The other strange thing was that the bathrooms were unisex, and the lights were on a motion-sensor timer - while I was in the shower the lights went out, plunging me into darkness, and I had to wrap a towel around me and go out to wave at the light switch. So at one point I was headed for the bathroom to brush my teeth, and walked in just in time to see a naked man step out of the shower, wave at the sensor, and go back in. So this is the Camino...