Wednesday, June 9, 2010

El Camino- Day 1

On our first day of the Camino we were filled with great joy and excitement. With the help of a few good friends we were driven in to Boston for Iberia airlines flight to Madrid. After a few scary moments because of traffic jams, we finally arrived at Logan Airport just in time. After getting our stuff checked in and clearing security we were off to the gate to prepare to board the plane.

My two good friends who accompanied me on the journey, Jason and Alan, busied themselves getting food and drinks for the long flight, while I decided to play it conservative and not to bring much of anything. I would later regret this decision.
Once we boarded the plane it was off to Madrid. Iberia airlines deserves credit for good service, although my seat was torturous and should have been replaced twenty years ago.

After a long 7 hour flight, we arrived in Madrid just in time to negotiate our way through the subway to the bus station. After a few moments of confusion we eventually found our way on a 5 hour bus ride north to the city of Ponferrada where our true adventure would begin.

Once we arrived in Ponferrada, a city of about 20,000 people, we quickly began our search for a hotel for the night. After passing a castle, touring the old city we began to realize we were in trouble. What we would later discover was that there was a major Soccer game in the city and people from all over were visiting for the weekend. With little Spanish skills and no idea what to do we wandered the city trying to find something, to no avail. We even tried desperately to find shelter at a convent, but sadly were turned away. After about 90 minutes of wandering we were saved by Hotel Madrid and their friendly staff. We quickly rented a room. Dropped off our stuff, washed up and searched for a Saturday night Mass and a late dinner of Pizza and wine. We succeeded on each front and called it a night, as the first day of hiking would begin early the next day.

Unsure of what was to come, we were filled with excitement, nervousness and a lot of energy!

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