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Published: August 29th 2017
After a decent night's sleep at Antonio's house, I ate lunch then took a long walk down to and along the beach while Antonio took a nap. Soon after I returned we drove over to Tito Raphael and Tita Regla's for a visit. Around 9pm, we returned to the house for dinner. I had trouble getting to sleep again, I guess due to nervous tension and apprehension. After all, tomorrow I start my trip to Saint-jean Pied du Port and my Camino. Finally, around 4am I fell asleep.
Other than Antonio, I was the first one up, around 8am. I showered, had some breakfast, packed my backpack and Manuel and I were on our way to Jerez for me to catch the first of three trains that would get me to Pamplona. The first train was a "media distancia" train to Seville, but still quite comfortable and quick. When I arrived at Seville, I had to transfer to the Ave train to Madrid. Here, was the first time anyone checked my tickets... twice! One time to go down the moreescalator, then again after passing my backpack through the security check. The Ave train was no more comfortable, but went
really fast, taking only 2 1/2 hours from Seville to Madrid.
During the trip I finally got my LG Rolly Keyboard up and running. I was afraid I was going to have to download an app of some sort, but all I had to do was turn it on and pair it up with my phone. It's going to take some to get used to, but it was immediately quicker and easier than using the phone, plus I can view the screen horizontally since I don't need the keyboard display.
In Madrid I had a bit of a layover, so I went outside to watch people and ended up talking to a group of Police. Before I went looking for my next train, I grabbed a tuna sandwich. The train to Pamplona was an Alvia and was supposed to take just over 3 hours. I was able to grab a few winks and bought a hot coffee. Just over an hour from Pamplona, we stopped at Ribaforada ... and the power went out. Finally, about
On My Way to My Way:
The flight to Rota Sunday was still scheduled, so Saturday after lunch I loaded up my gear
and got on the highway. Just over 3 hours later I exited I26 at exit 209a and continued following my printed directions. Although they sent me on a couple of residential streets, I did find the gate to the joint base Charleston. Unfortunately the base map I printed wasn't as accurate. After spending 20 minutes trying to find the air passenger terminal, or someone out and about, I returned to the gate. Even they weren't sure where the temporary terminal was, so I called the base operator and got good directions. They are building a new terminal so the temporary one was in a couple of trailers. I got checked in about 4:30pm for 5:55am flight and went searching for something to do for the 12 hour wait.
The base is good sized but apparently pretty dead at times... like Saturday. I located the bowling alley, the commissary, the gas station slash mini Mart, and the club. Well, that took 30 minutes. I ended having dinner at the club, then went to the bowling alley for a while. It sure is weird without your own ball and shoes. After a trip to the mini Mart for food to take
My train compartment.
Madrid to Pamplona Alvia train.
on the flight, I drove to the long term parking lot to chill. It was almost 11pm, so only 6 hours til checking
I couldn't seem to get comfortable enough to sleep, so I walked around part of the base. I got about 2 hours sleep, repacked stuff I'd taken out of my backpack for pillows and headed back to the terminal. The flight was showing 70 seats, firm, and only 20 or so people were waiting. Apparently I was on top of the category 6 list since I got my ticket right after the last family.
Just after 9am the called us up for security check and after sitting in the waiting room for a bit, thery took us by bus to our waiting C5 and after climbing a very steep ladder to our cabin I grabbed two empty seats and waited to take off. A short time later we were in the air. They handed out meals for those who had paid the $5.50. My box contained 2 pb&j jammies, a can of dr. Pepper, a bottle of water, a bag of chips, and two little pastries.
The flight only lasted 8 hours before we landed in Rota Spain, safe and sound. The pilot must have been very experienced, as our landing was very smooth, especially considering it was a big old C5. Two busses took us to the terminal. Apparently they don't have any customs agents around very often so I will have to return to Rota tomorrow to get my passport stamped. After collecting my bags I grabbed a taxi to the main gate where hopefully my brother-in-law would be waiting for me. I didn't see him and just when I was going to call, my wife called me on regular cell phone (at 2 dollars a minute) to tell me he was waiting at control. Just then I saw a car just outside the gate flash it's lights.
My brother-in-law's wife and my niece and nephew greeted me and headed to Chipiona. I arrived at their house, chatted a bit, called my wife on What's up, took a shower, and hit the hay. I
0 minutes later, the lights came back on and away we went. We arrived in Pamplona about thirty minutes late. I had instructions on how to get the Aloha Hostel, but when I left the station, I ran into another pilgrim who'd asked how to get to the same area and had been told it was only a 10 or 15 minute walk and asked if I'd like to walk with him. I said okay, and ended up regretting it. First of all, it was more like a 30 minute walk and secondly, I was given different directions to the street my hostel was on, so we parted. He didn't have reservations and was just going to look for a hostel near the cathedral. My directions ended up taking me the wrong way on Avenida de Ejercito and I had to walk another 30 minutes to find the area where my hostel was. After walking down the right street, about 20 minutes too far. When I finally found the hostel, lo and behold, there was the pilgrim I'd started walking with, already checked in and showered! Oh well. I checked in, showered, changed into lounge/street cloths and went out to find something to eat since it was now after 9pm. I ended up eating at a cafeteria, ordering potatas bravas and croquetas with a cappuchino. After eating, I bought a Coke to take back to the hostel. Sorry for the lack of photos of the hostel and where I ate, but it was too dark to get good photos. I'll try to take a couple in the morning before I go. Tomorrow I take a bus to Saint-Jean Pied du Port where I'll start my camino the following day.
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