An easy day consisting of errands and tasks and doing the first kilometers of the Camion. I checked out of my hotel and headed toward my next night’s stay at the Pensión Bowling. Pensión translate to “rented living quarters”.
Just 5.6 km with drizzle in the morning changing to clouds and then mostly sunny in the afternoon. I never really got wet.
Today’s walk started off with a bit of an error. Somehow, my Garmin GPS watch got off by 3 hours. So, when I thought it was 7:00 and I was expecting breakfast, it was really 4:00 in the morning. This gave the hotel clerk a bit of a smile. I went back to my small room and got a couple more hours of sleep.
I checked out of the hotel at 7:30 a.m. I took a short walk north to the official start of the start of the Camino del Norte which is at the border with France. I then headed to the south and then to the west following the yellow arrows embedded in the sidewalk. However, at one intersection there were no yellow arrows, at least I could not find one, and as such I got bonus kilometers today. After walking quite a ways off route I realized I was off route and used my maps to confirm.
The tasks I had to do today were to purchase walking sticks, mail items that I did not want to carry to the post office at the destination – Santiago de Compostela, activate my spare cell phone, and purchase stamps to mail postcards home. I accomplished all these. The first test that I did was to activate the spare cell phone. This did not go as well as I had hoped as all four people working spoke only Spanish. But, we all muddled through it and I got my iPhone working. In fact, I can use it as a hotspot for my Android phone. This is a good thing as my Android phone has all the apps that I need to not get lost.
The second task was to purchase stamps and to mail items to the destination. I was very pleased to find one person at the post office who spoke fluent English. It was quite humorous as she would often stop helping the person in front of her to assist the clerk helping me. But the other customers were not upset with me. In addition, the English speaking clerk gave me two postcards showing all the Camino routes in Spain for free. Yay!
I got lucky purchasing the walking poles. Google only showed outdoor stores that were not in my local area. And, asking for help confirmed this when I spoke with passerby’s. I finally just did a simple Google search for sports store and this led me to a store just around the corner from where I was at. When I arrived, I saw it was a sports shoe store. Oh dear, this didn’t start off well. Nonetheless, I entered the store and began asking the clerk if they did sell walking poles. She was confused and did not understand what I was asking for. But then I noticed another pilgrim (person walking the Camino) in the store with a backpack and walking poles with the pack. I smiled and just pointed to the poles. The clerk thin checked with the owner of the store and found out that they did have just one set of poles. I purchased them as fast as I could.
My only disappointment of the day was I was unable to enter the large church that was on the Camino route. In addition, at this point in time I’m unable to determine when the church stores will be open. But, it’s early afternoon and I still have time to accomplish this.
I returned to the church at 7:00 pm, just in time for Mass which I did attend. It was not in English (Spanish or more likely Euskara, the Basque language.