We don’t need no stinking plans!

Travel is more fun without plans.”  Maybe I should have paid more attention to that advice.  Mindful of the admonitions to get to the airport hours before a flight, we got up at dawn and took off into the sunrise.  With the sun in our eyes, we learned the hard way that the lane we were traveling in ended in a curb.  So, while my parents dealt with getting new front tires, my sister picked me up and took me to the Fort Smith ghost-town-disguised-as-an-airport (FSM).  There was someone to check me in, but security screening to get to the gates was closed.  When it opened, we five passengers went down to wait another hour at the gate.  Finally, twenty-plus hours to Barcelona (BCN), via Dallas (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL).

I found some lunch in Barcelona and got to the train station early afternoon.  The guard (“access control”) said “Train’s not until 15:30.  Come back at three.”  So I found a place to plug in my almost-dead phone and almost-dead spare battery, hid them with my backpack, and settled down to use the backpack for a pillow.  Was soon awakened by security, worried about my health, who asked me to sit up.  So, I tried to sleep half-sitting against the backpack (not much better than closing one’s eyes on a plane).  Was soon awakened by another security fellow who thought I should use the nearby chair (left there when the baggage screening computer it had been at was removed). Sleeping sitting in a chair is a slight improvement over sleeping sitting on a floor, so I didn’t argue.  Was soon awakened by another security fellow who didn’t think I should be in their chair.  Back to the floor.  Was soon awakened by the timer I had set to ensure I’d go to the train at three.  Found the empty space I had left at one now occupied by a three lines about a couple of hundred passengers.  We all stood there for twenty-five minutes and then they let us go down and board.

Well, “Day Zero” ended in Logroño instead of Pamplona.  They told me what train to get on, but they didn’t direct me to any particular car.  It was on the ticket, but I didn’t know that.  (And the ticket was wrong about which track to go to.)  They split up the train somewhere along the way, and I was not in the cars that went to Pamplona.  So I got to see more Spanish scenery than planned.  Or I would have if I’d been able to stay awake.  My phone did managed to map the route (GPX/KMZ), but drained it’s battery to four percent doing so.

When I realized I was more than four day’s journey southwest of Pamplona, I thought I might head west from here to Finisterre and then bus or train through Portugal to Zamora.  That would completely scrap the plans.  But then I remembered I had told Oasis Trails that I would stop at Villamayor de Monjardín to drop off some copies of John’s gospel in Japanese.

So the planning is not for naught.  I’ll skip Day One and replace Day Two with a run from Logroño to Villamayor de Monjardín.  If I can find a bike in Logroño, I can be there early afternoon. Otherwise, I can take a bus and be there before noon.  That will put me a day ahead of the original plan.

Stayed last night at Albergue Santiago Apóstol.  If I had come in on the Camino, as soon as I crossed the bridge into Logroño, I would see a large sign with a map showing various places of interest to pilgrims.  Knowing this from last year, I went directly to that sign from the train station.  Seeing that Albergue Santiago Apóstol was less than a block away, and thinking it might be the “parish albergue,” I went there.  Parish albergues (I’m told) are financed by donations.

Were it not that my phone’s battery was very low and couldn’t get on-line anyway, I might have seen that this albergue has very bad press and gone elsewhere.  Now that I’ve slept here, I think the complaints are exaggerated.  Still, it is pretty much the minimum in service yet not the minimum in price.  So I don’t recommend it.

Now, off to find some real breakfast (the albergue’s makes “continental” look like a feast) and a bicycle.  Or a bus.  Then east to Navarre.  ¡Ciao!

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One Comment

  1. Ruck Blankenship says:

    Hey Wes, that is really amazing all the things you go through in your travel. Sounds like the security was trying to keep you from sleeping..haa And to think they took your chair. Oh my, I doubt I could handle that at my age. Are you able to understand the language? Do they understand English? I would have a problem without a computer to translate for me..
    Keep those batteries charged.
    I bet the food is good there. That breakfast must have been great.
    Did you get a bicycle or did you take bus?
    Thanks for the “Words of the Wild Wes”, Unique web page.
    Stay in touch.

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