A man with a flashlight at his chin lighting his face came over to our beds and said "Feliz Cumpliaños, Feliz Cupliaños, Feliz Cumpliaños" to wake up his friend in the bottom bunk. Poor Alex did not realize that ment ´Happy Birthday´ He did not seem to care that it was still shy of 6am. (I don´t think I´ve ever really heard her swear so much) Ear plugs were my saviour for a great nights sleep but they could not keep out that kind of wake up call. Alex saw them later, maybe 6:15am, dancing around and realized they were the crazy perky morning people. My sleeping bag was a great investment, I was toasty warm.
We got to Pamplona about 5pm yesterday to a very nice albergue. It´s huge, fits about 100 people. It´s nice and clean with internet and free laundry. Alex and I stumbled upon the kitchen area early and nievily thought we were the only ones who cared about it. After a great dinner alone up there we came back a few hours later for tea and were assalted by a diverse mix of cultures preparing dinners. There was an asian group at the back doing their thing, communal sharing of greens and meat. The Spanish table ready with tablecoth, wine, water in a coca cola bottle, bread basket. They didn´t find those things in the kitchen so they have to be carrying that on their backs. Then two girls about our age who looked as though this is the first meal they had to prepare on their own. We did not get a relaxing tea but found ourselves huddled in a corner sharing a spoon as different noisy people ran back and forth.
Our Pilgrims credential passport will say we started in Pamplona but we actually started before Huarta. We initially wanted to start at St. Jean Pied de port but when I found out my cousin Maribel lived right on the camino just a few km outside of Roncesvalles we jumped on the chance to start up there. Since we are going to Finistere (the once end of the world) we will be doing over 800km even with starting a bit later on the trail.
Being at Maribel & Jose´s house was such a great way to start the trail, Jose actually grew up near Santiago and was able to share so many neat facts and beliefs about it. He said that once we finish the camino and walk under the cathedral and do our confession and take the bread, then we basically get a pass direct to heaven. Not having had my communion I´m technically not allowed to take the bread so, no pass to heaven even with all the walking... shucks.
Maribel made us a great dinner after taking us for a walk around San Sebastian (it was like summer and I got to wet my feet in the Atlantic). Then Oct 3rd Jose helped with mailing our luggage to Alumñecar. The whole 20kilos of mostly mine and some of alex´s stuff only cost us 13,90€ and my computer was less than 30€ on priority post. After dealing with Canada post I figured I was in for $100 expense.
Jose also helped with the final push out of the car, we were both eager to start the walk and only got slightly lost twice so far. Blister-free and gearing up for day two.