Thursday, August 30, 2012


We are at the starting point, ready to go tomorrow morning.

We arrived in Barcelona yesterday morning after a few days' stay in Singapore where we caught up with my family and K´s brother and sister-in-law who were passing through on their way back to Australia.

We found our way from Barcelona airport to Sants train station for the journey to Pamplona, but the real challenge was the 5-hour wait in 30 plus degree heat that the station´s airconditioning could not cope with. It was a relief when we finally got on the airconditioned fast train, which was indeed a reminder to us that while Spain may be having a third world economy, it still has a first world infrastructure.

Today was our rest day, mercifully a cooler day, which we spent exploring the beautiful old town. Our pilgrim status allowed us a substantial discount into the huge cathedral, but finding it was not easy partly because we had got so used to the Camino guide maps where the north was not the top of the page. I was disappointed that the bell tower climb at the cathedral did not get us to the bells but the display area at the top had an interesting high tech touch screen audio visual that played the different rings for various special occasions - all in Spanish.

Pamplona has also been a reminder that English is not quite an universal language yet !  Bilingualism only stretches to the different local languages, the second language being Basque over here, (and Catalonian in Barcelona). 

Finding an internet cafe had not been easy either. The two public places were closed - for siesta when we got there. One actually had a supervisor who was not sleeping, but I guess the computer needed the siesta. Meanwhile, we are getting used to Pinchos, and various types of jamon with our meals.

It was interesting to see groups of Camino walkers, some in various stages of unwashed. Tomorrow we will join them, leaving at the crack of dawn to make our way to the next town half way up a ridge, one with an unpronunciable name starting with Z.

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