Jó reggelt, szevasztok …
So here we are and all this is becoming superreal. I had a few amazing days in Paris with my sister, had my pre-30th birthday celebrations and today on the 1st of May, I am sitting on a train that takes me to Saint Jean Pied de Port.
… The day has finally come, to be honest with you I still have a feeling that I didn’t realize what the hell is about to happen. My train is leaving from Paris – Montparnasse station to Bayonne at 9:47am – takes like 4 hours. I’m gonna have an hour to wait and then I will carry on to Saint Jean Pied de Port – only an hours-ish journey. There are many other ways you can get there, to me this was the most convenient. Oh, and I got my ticket for 75€ a few months before the trip from GoEURO which is Omio now, apparently
Some people were recommending a nighttime journey cuz there’s not much to see, so it’s better if you just sleep through it. I didn’t really believe this, I thought that I will see some parts of France. Well, they were right, I didn’t. Mostly because the train goes with 300 km/h so everything is a big smudge.
Storytime nr. 1 – cuz Bitch, ah, believe me, it will be plenty from now on. – When I arrived at the station I went to the nearest shop to grab some snacks and stuff for the ride, and as I was trying to find my wallet I put down everything next to the counter, including the ticket. Paid. Merci – …gracias. – and walked away. I heard some weird, out of this planet screaming – french. – behind me so I looked back all innocently and the cashier was shouting – god knows what – and waving with my papers. Gracias again. Great start. I know.
It was so many backpackers around, so thank fuck at least I was at the right place for sure. I sat down right under the big DEPARTURES board just in case, waiting for the info to show up. And then I heard a quiet voice: ” Do you speak English? ” … I looked up and said: ” yes ”
… ” Ahhh, thank GOD. Finally. Hi. I’m Angie ”
So this is how I met Angie from Australia and Flavia from Brazil. And my solo traveling lasted at least 11 minutes. So no, don’t worry you never ever gonna be alone on the Camino.
Fast forward 6 hours…
Excuse my Shakira merch sweater
Yea probably by now I realized what I signed up for… To be fully honest with you guys, I don’t know why, but I wasn’t really stressing about this trip. I mean I was excited but not in an over-excited way. I was super-calm about it – even though I had no idea where I’m gonna sleep each day, and how it’s gonna be… I don’t know how to explain, it just felt right and like a casual thing that I’m doing all this. Okay, I remember when I booked the train ticket from Paris to basically the unknown I was just staring at my laptop for few minutes like Bitch am I really gonna do this?
After the quick photo op under the sign, we straight away headed to the Pilgrims Office, where you can get your credencial and a shell for your backpack. It was pretty crowded already I think we were waiting like an hour. They do speak English there, we got everything, a detailed map for the first day, and a list full of hostels and albergues and good to know stuff. You can find the Pilgrims Office just a short walk from the train station under 39 Rue de la Citadelle
I saw on forums and comments that so many people are like scared what if they gonna get lost. It did cross my mind before too, I was wondering how it’s gonna be shown and how often and what about big cities such as like Leon and blablabla. Well, no stress Babes. The signs are straight away visible as you make 2 steps from the train. Plus if there’s someone around with a backpack that counts as a clear sign. Just in May more than 46.000 people walked the Camino so chances are pretty good that you gonna run into someone.
… And of course, the locals. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask they are guiding you in the right direction if you seem to be lost. – happened. Day 5 in Puente La Reina. An old guy was just walking nearby and literally pointed out the turn we had to take, and later we realized that he was still like 5 – 10 meter behind us, checking if we took the right turn or not, and shouted BUEN CAMINO and disappeared.
Shells and yellow arrows. Find them on buildings, poles, trees, rocks, painted on the road and sitting in the bushes. Everywhere, guys, I swear. Maybe 2 times it happened during the whole trip that we were like hmmm… what now?!
After we got the credecials I headed to my hotel. – Later on, I will put out a list of all the hostels and albergues I stayed in with addresses, current prices and all. I had a private room with breakfast for tonight, I thought that it’s kind of necessary to get a night of proper sleep before the big thing. Plus I knew beforehand that every now and then I will treat myself with private rooms for sure. It’s just me, I need it.
I had a thing about hostels before anyway… So believe me even like this it was a huge “breaking the ice” moment for me. Straight on the next night, I ended up in a mixed dorm with 6 stranger guys, a girl and me. Hola.
So anyway, I had a quick power nap, and then I decided to walk around a bit in this cute little city.
Saint Jean Pied de Port
It has some really nice vibes, I’m a bit sad I couldn’t spend a whole day here. While I was wandering around I ran into another Australian group I met on the train before. They were all stayed an extra day in SJPdP so I never saw them again – too bad. I spoke with Angie and Flavia and we said we gonna meet tomorrow at 8 in the morning next to the tower and start our Way. So I thought I will go and check it out to make sure I’m not gonna get lost in the early hours.
I decided to take few more steps away from SJPdP. As I was leaving it a bit behind and saw the first km signs and the road that carries on and will take me to the unknown after that turn… It became so real. It just hit me then I guess. It was just a very weirdly kind of emotional moment.
After that, I just went back to my hotel, tried to relax and had a good recharging sleep. Cuz big day tomorrow
2nd of May, 2019
My 30th birthday and the official 1st day of My Camino
See you tomorrow,
Damn… should I give you a spoiler already?! Ahh, fuck it, I will. You guys know me too well by now and everything is always so random here in this Blog anyway so…
… I did it.
… Jó éjszakát, szevasztok!
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11 thoughts on “Camino de Santiago, Day 0 | Saint Jean Pied de Port”
Been waiting patiently for this post! Walking el camino in September cant wait to hear more!
Best wishes in your journey. A very good town to start, many folks there I buy from and follow but that is another story. Enjoy your Camino
Safe trip, jealousy is out of bounds. Looking forward to reading and seeing more..
So excited to hear about your journey. I feel the need to walk this, as well. And! I’m about to be 30. May start it planning soon.
Wow so nice..yeah I can imagine how exciting you were as I was too.
But it is a pity I tell my experience has been pssed too long , it was 1994 or 95 and I did not bring Camera with me at that time. But I can send the picture .
Happy birthday to you 🎤🎶 I’ll never forget your birthday anymore 😂😘
A beautiful journey it seems
Buen Camino. Looking forward to my Camino in Sept/Oct….some days I’m so excited….then again there are those days I ask myself what ami doing?
I’m enjoying your blog, Noemi! You included great info for those new to doing this. Greetings from Sarria!
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