Travel Date: Wednesday, April 16 2014
We arrive in Saint Jean Peid de Port (SJPP) and walk around till we can check in to identify us as pilgrims walking the Camino so we can stay at albergues.
We find the check in point at SJPP and one by one we are called to check in. I get a lady who doesn’t speak English but only French. Well I am in France. She really doesn’t converse well with me, and after my conversation and check in process with her ends I find out that she missed a lot of details – probably due to the language barrier – but it puts a bad taste in my mouth. I could have waited for the English speaking check in person. Glad I have a great group of people who inform me on what I missed out on.
One major turn off was that they didn’t have a room in their albergue. Bummer, the last bed went to Fernando. So it looks like I will have to go door to door and ask for a bed. That is when I notice the albergue next door (L’Espirit du ChemiN ) has 3 beds available. I then realize from the sign outside that this is the alburgue that my friends Tim and Cathy suggested that I stay on the first night. Thankfully I reflected on the facebook image they sent me ages ago.
It comes at a steep price of 22 Euros when most of the other albergues are charging 12 Euros. But they do make you a full dinner. Right now all I want is a room and peace of mind, and I trust Tim and Cathy completely so I go with their suggestion. I pay the money and am all checked in.
BEST DECISION EVER!
Right from the start the all volunteer staff is welcoming and asks your questions with genuine curiosity. They give me a tour of the albergue and the next thing I know and see is my name on the bed assigned to me.
We meet up for dinner at 6:30 PM and it is a communal dinner. We take a shot of vino, introduce ourselves in random but orderly fashion and then take a shot of vino and celebrate the first meal together. We have people from Spain, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, America (not me but me included), Canada, Belgium, France, Ireland and Taiwan. I hope I got them all.
Absolutely delicious home cooked food. I do a little hand washing, dry my clothes on the clothesline. To let people know I am alive and reached my destination, I get a couple of photos on Instragram, Facebook and Twitter uploaded with the very weak and limited wifi signal from the check in building. And I’m off to bed with a 10 PM lock down and curfew.
Only to get up at 12 AM and write three Day 1 posts in Word to preserve the memory because I cannot go to sleep and don’t want to forget the amazing experience..
Expenses: 42 Euros
Groceries: 7 Euros
Supplies: 13 Euros (wall Adapter for US to European electronic devices)
Albergue: 22 Euro (with dinner and breakfast)