I have arrived safely in France and am spending the night in a hotel at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Tomorrow I plan on taking the high-speed TGV train south to Bayonne where I will spend the night and then take a local train on into St. Jean Pied de Port on Sunday morning. I received word that Clint has also begun his travels and we will meet up in St. Jean on Sunday if all goes according to plan. Our first official steps on the Camino will be on Monday morning.
Unfortunately, my itinerary did not leave enough time for any sightseeing here in Paris, but I did enjoy a lovely tuna salad for dinner and have had fun practicing my French (which isn’t much but is much stronger than my very limited Spanish). I can understand quite a bit when listening to conversations or watching television, but my conversation skills are pretty weak. It will be a bit of a shock going from modern transportation modes and luxury hotels to walking on the Camino and sleeping in dormitory-style albergues. But, that is the real purpose of this pilgrimage and I am anxious and excited to have it all begin.
A big challenge right now is getting over the jet lag and acclimating to the local time zone. Hopefully that will be accomplished within the next two or three days. I had an interesting traveling companion sitting next to me on the flight over from New York. This woman flew pretty much the entire way with a small airline-provided blanket draped over her head. Very strange. I think she was trying to block out any stray light so she could sleep, but I don’t really know. All I can say is that it was kinda weird! But then again, if that’s the worst thing that happens during a trans-Atlantic flight I think you should call it good.
My backpack made it over in excellent condition and I wore my hiking boots. So, equipment-wise I think I’m in good shape. I still need to repack the bag when I get to St. Jean to see if I can squeeze things in a bit more efficiently. But one way or the other we will be leaving with everything on our backs in a day or two. Not much else to report today. I’m tired after the flight and will try to get a good night’s sleep.
Bonne nuit et Buen Camino.