Buenos Dias from España!
For those of you who have been keeping up with the Facebook updates, you know that we could’ve arrived in Paris, turned around and went home and would’ve considered that adventure enough.
Here’s a little recap:
The plan, ahh the plan, what a beautiful idea- the plan was to fly from good ol’ Green Bay (go Packers!) to Chicago (da bears still suck), catch a flight to Copenhagen, make a connection for a flight to Paris, stay the night in Paris, wake up, take a train to Bayonne, make a connection for a train to St. Jean Pied de Port, stay the night, and take a taxi to Roncesvalles (the Spanish side of the Pyrenees).
Here’s what actually happened: GB came through for us (I repeat, go Packers!).
We caught our flight to Chicago. Leave it to Chicago to ruin our lives (just kidding, the people in Chicago are delightful human beings). We had an 8 hour layover. Now, that might sound like a long time- until you realize that we ended up having a 32 hour layover. 8 hours aint soundin’ too bad amirite?
So anyway, the layover began by waiting in line for 2 hours before we could check in. Which actually didn’t really bother us at all. What’s 2 hours when you have 8 (or 32)? So we check in, make it through TSA without a hassle (God Bless America). And we eat some yucky airport food, make friends with some other people flying to Copenhagen, enjoy some cribbage and just wait for the beautiful giant airplane to take us on our adventure.
Our flight was at 10:30. At 10:15, we didn’t have a plane at our gate. At 10:30, they announced that our plane wasn’t at our gate because our plane was broken. At 10:45 they told us to wait, we might be going after all. At 11:30 they said the Captain was going to check out this “issue” and make the final call. At 11:45 they told us that we would, in fact, not be flying out to Copenhagen tonight, in fact, as far as they were concerned, we wouldn’t be flying anywhere ever. Goody.
What’s even more exciting is that the international terminal would be closing AND there were no vacant hotel rooms in a 50 mile radius. So we couldn’t sleep in the terminal and we couldn’t sleep in a hotel and we couldn’t fly to Copenhagen.
Now, you might think we’d be grumpy as we descended to the baggage claim to reclaim our luggage for the night. But we really weren’t. We were doing ok. The lovely humans at SAS told us there was a number we could call and they would reschedule our flight, no problem. There was also a website we could use to do the same.
As it happens, at midnight on a Saturday (Sunday? Idk), the call center for SAS is closed and in this series of unfortunate events, the website was down, too.
Again, you might think we would be grumpy as we found a nice piece of floor to sleep on for the night in the check-in part of the airport, but we weren’t. We were confident that things would work out in due time.
We all tried to sleep, we really did. But the floor of terminal 5 isn’t exactly 5 star material. So instead we did our best to get in contact with someone who could get us where we needed to be in a reasonable time.
Eventually, Paris came in clutch. Some blessed soul in the Parisian airport worked a deal for us (10/10 would call again) and we would be on the plane at 6:05 to Paris!
Long story long, we ended up making it to Paris, got a taxi to the train station and made our original train to Bayonne. (Naturally, boarding the train was accompanied by a thousand “Next stop, Hogwarts jokes)
P.S. Turns out trying to speak Spanish to a French taxi driver isn’t as helpful as you might think.
Anyway, here is a beautiful portrait of yours truly admiring the gorgeous French countryside.
But really, France is BEAUTIFUL. I’ve noticed that everything is so frickin’ picturesque. It doesn’t matter what it is- the French Pyrenees, cute little villages, someone’s trash in their backyard- it doesn’t matter, it’s French trash in a French backyard and that makes it beautiful or something I guess (someone’s literal trash has become my treasure, how cliché).
We made it to St. Jean Pied de Port, where the Camino really begins. We stayed in the most adorable little hotel and ate, as a true American would, cheeseburgers for dinner.
Here’s the view from my bed…
Then we slept like it was our job.
We got our little Camino passports the next morning and played around in St. Jean Pied de Port. Here’s what our little passports look like!
Then, we took a taxi with the kindest most smiley French taxi driver ever. We climbed through the French Pyrenees as Henri shifted gears 7000 times, winding us to Roncesvalles (Bienvenidos a España!)
Here is a picture of the entirety of Roncesvalles. Welcome!
It may be small in stature, but it is large in personality!
We ate lunch at one of the 3 buildings in Roncesvalles and folks, let me tell you that was an adventure.
This is Alejandro, as my Facebook post says, he is the nicest guy in the world and should be sainted for putting up with us ignorant peregrinos.
We tried to order food. We did our best.
We ended up with cow intestine.
I didn’t eat it. I’m sure that cow intestine is a delicacy of some sort and that millions of people love it. I’m not one of them.
But Alejandro came in clutch and gave us chicken wings because American.
He also made us Sangria in front of our eyes.
Like took plain red wine and put fresh fruit in it and stuff.
Also, in our fumbling stupidity, we probably ended up ordering around 70 euros worth of food.
Alejandro charged us 20.
WHAT A GUY!
Not to mention he gave me his number and his email (do people still email these days- you can bet this girl will now…jk…sort of…I’m blushing…) So, when I don’t return to los Estados Unidos, look for updates on my Spanish wedding.
Just kidding. But really, Alejandro is a saint of a server and absolutely made our day. If you’re ever in Roncesvalles, ask for Alejandro. He will quite literally be one of the 8 people in the village.
So, we’ve had some adventures, made some friends, and tomorrow begins our true Camino.
We’ll wake up around 5am and begin our walk. We’re excited and anxious and ready to go!
Thanks for checking in with us- stay tuned for more updates!
Buen Camino, my friends!