Emily here! Lindsay and the crew started the Camino today. This post and the upcoming one will catch us up to where they are, starting the trail in the Pyrenees Mountains. Waking up at a hostel in Pamplona after a long train ride in from Barcelona. I can already hear different languages chattering in the nearby kitchen as people prepare breakfasts.
Pamplona is already a stark contrast to Barcelona. The air is a little chillier, the people a little warmer, and there's not a neon sign in sight. Walking around at night wasn't too different from walking around Winston-Salem, until you got to the town center. There, cafes once frequented by Hemingway were buzzing with life even at midnight, patrons sipping wine and eating pinchos. It's a more laid back, traditional city. Many have told us that Barcelona is like nowhere else in Spain. Our tastes of more "normal" cities begins, I guess.
We feel almost teased by the charm of the city, since we know we'll be stopping back through here in the Camino. Today, Ron and Gabriela will meet us here, and we'll take a bus the rest if the way to St-Jean-Port-de-Pied. Last night, when we told the taxi driver where we were starting the Camino, he warned us that it was the most difficult section. We've been told by Americans that this first section that crosses over the Pyrenees really is less difficult than comparable sections of the AT, but I guess we'll see. I've never carried such a heavy pack before. That will make a difference.
We can't wait to be done traveling, done adjusting to a new time zone (we're six hours ahead of the east coast). Right now it looks like we'll start the Camino in the 16th.