Saturday, June 14, 2014, 12:47 PM England, 9:47 PM France
Starting with yesterday afternoon after arriving at Holiday Inn Express at Stanstead and checking in I start to use their “free Wi-Fi.” The deal is the free Wi-Fi is for 15 minutes then it gives you an option to purchase Wi-Fi for an hour or day. I’d call that “bait and switch” which is illegal in the U.S. Mark and I SKYPED for a while having to reconnect every 15 minutes. This did not happen in Winchester where the wifu worked without asking you to buy time. So I when down to the front desk and was told “that’s the way we do it here.” I smiled and when to dinner which was a decent meal of salad, all most salads here look like they when out back and picked some weeds, a vegetable loaf, and new potatoes with a nice glass of white wine. I had earlier walked over to the convenience store and picked up a few things including my own bottle of wine. After dinner I when back to my room and relaxed working on a section of my blog that has become quite difficult to write. I have to get up at 4 AM tomorrow in order to catch my Ryanair flight. Good Night.
A free breakfast is included in your stay which consisted of cold cereal, coffee, orange juice, and toast. You basic motel breakfast which also offers some other snacky foods, cheese and fruit. Off to the airport which is packed. There must be a couple of hundred flights going out around this time. Zipping through inspection after my gate is called I’m the first to arrive. Now getting on a Ryanair flight is just a tad different from say one of our low cost airlines. There are two queues, that what we call lines, one is for priority boarding and one is for plain Villella boarding. You get priority boarding when you reserve a seat which cost’s either and extra five or ten pounds depending on where you sit. I want to get on the plane first and get off the plane first and have gotten quit good at it. I’m usually the first in the priority line so I get to walk out to the airplane and board. Yes I said walk out and clime up the either the stairs that the plane has built in or ones that roll up.
My seat is the first one by the door and I settle in. Everything on Ryanair cost extra so I have my own snacks and water. They sell Ryanair lottery cards and supposedly all the money collected goes to children’s charities. I have purchased them a couple of time just for kicks as they are really cheap. The flight is nice I guess because I slept most of the way to Bordeaux. Now the fun starts! There is two ways to get from the airport to the Gare, train station. One costs 6 euro and takes 30 minutes, the other costs 1.40 euro and can take 60 minutes. However, the 6 euro bus only runs every hour. At the time I arrived the 60 minute bus would get me to the station first. I jump on and off we go, so far so good. There are kiosks in the station that you can buy your ticket from or wait on the long, long line to buy them from a human who may speak some English.
However, credit cards in Europe have chips in them so you only have to put the card in a little bit instead of swiping it. These machines only take those credit cards so I have to get on the long, long like. Upon reaching my agent I request to go to St Jean Pied de Port. He tippy taps on his computer and says the famous “Es No Posseble” followed by “we are on strike. Not today nor tomorrow. “Monday” I quary? He shrugs his shoulders and I walk away. My little brain goes into overdrive and I get back on line to talk to another agent. But this time I ask for a ticket to Bayonne where you change to get to St. Jean’s. She says nothing about a strike but tells me both trains to Bayonne are booked solid. I’m thinking they must be loaded with Pilgrims however, I’m in correct. They are loaded due to the strike with passages headed to the beach for the weekend.
O.K. now what I keep thinking. I purchase a map of France to see if there are other towns I can get a train to. BUS jumps into my head let’s see where the terminal is. While I’m thinking about the bus I keep thinking if I can just find out what platform the train will be stopping at I’ll just jump on and pay the conductor. Finally I find a like-minded attendant who tells me the train will arrive on platform 2. I arrive to find the platform packed with people; I wait. The train pulls in and it already has people standing for the ride. Everyone begins to climb into the train I’m last to push in standing on the steps waiting for the door to close. This is a ten car train which is packed from one end to the other like one of those trains you see in films about India. I expect people to start climbing on the roof.
The train is not moving, people are sweating, I back up a bit to get a little air. There is an announcement in French that, of course, I do not understand. People start getting off the train and I hear one woman say they have added another train. We get off and walk back to the next train which is actually attached to this on making it now a 20 car train. I get in find a seat and we are off Bayonne. Es not imposseble! There are times we go around bends in the track and I can see the front of the train that is how long we are. We arrive in Bayonne at the ticket window I’m sold a bus ticket to St Jean which will leave at 18:00 arrive at St Jean 19:30. I have two hours to burn so I walk about, have a biere and am able to get on the internet. The bus comes and is full this time with mostly Pilgrims. I am sitting next to a young couple who are from Switzerland. They are walking the Camino for the first time. We chat a bit as we ride, meanwhile the seat behind us, the backseat of the bus is filled with a group of young boys. They proceed to talk in loud voices for the whole 1 ½ hours.
At St. Jean I head to the Pilgrim office to get my Credencial del Peregrino. The office is packed at 7 PM and I am surprised to find it still open. I’m told that all Albergues are full except one so off I go. I was thinking about heading to the campground that I stayed at the last time and sleeping under the stars, however the weather is not looking promising. So I book a two day stay for 24 Euro and have dinner of 12. Don’t ever tell me “Es no posseble” as that become the forces to prove them wrong. Time and time again I’m told in Europe it can’t be done and I find a way to do it. I want to go back to the person and teach them it is “Posseble” Good Night! Love you!