Burgos to San Sebastián

Burgos to San Sebastián

I was conflicted last night! Should I go to San Sebastián by bus to meet Dave and walk the Camino del Norte (north coast) for a few days? Or, should I follow my original plan to walk the Meseta (high plains) to Leon and meet Dave in Oviedo for our hike along the Camino Primitivo? Still uncertain about what to do, I made a non-refundable reservation for a bed in an 8-person dormitory for two nights at the Downtown River Hostel in San Sebastián. I hoped I wouldn’t regret this.

My mind was still scattered this morning! Should I forego my non-refundable payment of 36 Euros for my stay in San Sebastián and keep walking the Camino Frances for another eight days? How would Dave feel if I didn’t show up in San Sebastián? I know he would like the company. I felt envious of pilgrims heading back onto the Camino Frances. On the other hand, I haven’t seen the Camino del Norte which is said to be beautiful. What to do!?

I walked up to the castle overlooking the city of Burgos just as the sun was rising. The air was cold and the tears that ran down my cheeks could have been caused by the cold, but the cold air doesn’t explain the lump in my throat. Honestly, my heart is here on the Camino Frances. Leaving the Camino Frances is like leaving home when you know you won’t be back for a very long time.

The only thought that pacified me was that I could return to Burgos and continue walking the Camino Frances another time. I have to say goodbye to friends I know now, but there will be new friends.

I had packed, said my good-byes to Sheena and Sandra, and gone downstairs, when I realized my scallop shell (the one you gave me, Bon) was no longer attached to my backpack. I returned to the dormitory to see if it had fallen off there.

In the meantime, Sheena had found my hiking poles under my bed. When she saw me, she assumed I had come back for them. She said she was planning to bring them up to the castle for me, knowing that’s where I was heading first thing this morning.

I explained that I was actually looking for my missing scallop shell. It wasn’t there! In a flash Sheena reached into her pack and presented me with an extra scallop shell she happened to have – one more example of a pilgrim giving another what they need. Both of my scallop shells, the one I lost and the one I now have, were given to me by friends. Both are treasured more for that reason.

After climbing to the castle for the sunrise, I headed to the bus depot where I had a couple of hours to wait for the 10:45 AM bus to San Sebastián – plenty of time to get a ticket. Because the wickets were closed until 10:30 AM on Sundays, I checked out the dispensing machines.

This is where a scammer (my guess) comes to help. He was walking the Camino until he ran out of money and now can’t get back to Madrid – a sad tale that may or may not be true, but I am betting scammers hang out at bus depots with similar stories.

He tried to help me with the ticket dispensing machine and we got so far as inserting my credit card and having the machine grab my card and not give it back. After a few worrisome moments, a back button released the card – whew!!! There was relief and nervous laughter from me, my scam artist, as well as other observers nearby who were watching the event unfold.

Cash was the next best option, but I only had a 50 Euro bill and needed change. With still plenty of time, I had breakfast at the cafe, got my change, and was ready to try the ticket machine by myself this time. Lo and behold there was a British flag to push for the English translation. Perfect! I got my ticket. I passed by the man at the information booth that I spoke with a couple times earlier, proudly waving my ticket at him along with a two thumbs up. I’m not sure he was as impressed with my accomplishment as I was, but so what!

So today I left the Camino Frances feeling sad. I met many people from all parts of the world, saw amazing scenery, and experienced so much. I walked alone when I wanted to and found someone to walk with if I wanted company. Now something different…

I took the ALSA bus from Burgos to San Sebastián and it was modern, comfortable, offered free wi-fi and entertainment that is no longer offered on flights. ALSA buses have it all, except flight attendants! The bus took 3 hours and 20 minutes and cost 18.36 Euros. The scenery was beautiful and my feet are already enjoying a two-day rest until May 7th, the day a new Camino begins.

San Sebastián

11 thoughts on “Burgos to San Sebastián

  1. Aww Mom! I understand your sadness. Perhaps your Camino shell disappeared because you had done all you needed to do on the French Way. A new shell has been given to you to start your new journey along the Norte and the Primitivo. Cherish the experience you’re leaving and welcome the new. Ultreia! You never know what adventures lay ahead! Buen Camino <3

    1. HI Tania! I love that so much. There was a reason for one scallop shell disappearing and another one taking its place in Burgos. Burgos was the end of that journey and now another one begins. I feel very positive about two new journeys. I was sitting in the hostel in San Sebastián just after noon when I heard a familiar voice at the front desk asking if his wife is here… It was so good to see Dad and he was looking great even after the big challenging 2-day hike! LOL! Love you, Mom. 🙂

      1. Yay! I’m so happy. Buen Camino to both of you! I hope that you’ll post a little blurb and some photos from Dad’s stint of the journey too. It would be great to see it again 🙂

  2. Hi Judy,
    I’m really enjoying your blog and can see that this solo part of the trip must be a real confidence boost. You are managing the travel details like a pro! All of that planning has paid off. What a wonderful experience you are having as you assimilate your surroundings with all your senses to create lasting memories.

    1. Hi Laurel,
      I’m glad you are enjoying this. You are right about the solo part being a confidence boost. It is challenging to have only myself to depend on. It has all worked out just like I had hoped in Chapter 1. Now on to Chapter 2 and 3! 🙂

  3. Hi Judy and Dave
    So happy you are together. Nothing like hearing a familiar voice that you love
    to warm your heart.
    Your Camino shell is not lost, it has been freely given to bless someone’s camino.
    I am so proud of you on this journey faced with changing your Virgo plans. Go Judy!
    Rest will bring happy feet and a pleasant stepping forward into more adventure.
    Sending love and healing feet blessings.

    1. Hi Bon! I like that my shell has been given to bless someone else’s Camino. I carried the one you gave me for more than nine weeks walking on the Camino. I hope that whoever finds it has memorable experiences like mine. Feet are feeling happy now that they are resting. 🙂

  4. Greetings. I’ve just enjoyed a marathon read to Day 14 but must stop to get dinner. Your blog and pictures are wonderful. So happy you are enjoying beautiful scenery and wonderful people. You’ll never forget this camino either. Hope the blisters heal soon and you have Happy Feet!! Guess we won’t see you at Stitch & Chat this week – you have your project with you, Right?! Take care. Hugs Glenna

    1. Hi Glenna! Say ‘hi’ from me to everyone at Stitch and Chat. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog/pictures. No blisters now, just one ugly little toe that doesn’t hurt and one sore foot that isn’t getting the rest it needs. So off we go to Santiago de Conpostela! Hugs to you, too.

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