It felt surreal to be finally heading to Spain on Monday/Tuesday after two cancellations in the last two years. Now it’s Thursday and we are in Leon, the starting point for our Camino San Salvador. Dave and I are relieved to finally leave the built environment of Barcelona, look for some fellow pilgrims, and head for the trails. Life will be a lot simpler when our only responsibility is to follow the yellow arrows. We are more than ready for that journey.
It took three flights to get to Spain. The first two were fine but the third flight from Toronto to Barcelona on the WestJet Dreamliner was a little more special with it’s soft, indirect lighting, two meals including wine, pillows, and entertainment on the seat back. There were rows of nine people across in economy. Our “row mate” was Michaela a bubbly 25 year old from Victoria. Her excitement about her upcoming three month stint as nanny and teacher of English to a five year old Spanish girl was infectious!
We finally met our first pilgrim as we exited the plane in Barcelona. She was from Nova Scotia and about to walk from Sarria to Santiago with a friend. Even though this is her first Camino, she already imagines how easily she could become addicted to it. The conversation and excitement flowed – so much so that a customs worker had to urge us firmly but with good humour to keep moving along in the line snaking toward the customs agent.
Making our way into the heart of Barcelona from the airport by bus was easy but locating Hostal Goya was more challenging. By the time we found it we had just enough energy to shower and stretch out on the bed for the rest of the afternoon, evening, and until early the next morning.
Visiting La Sagrada Familia first thing the next day was a huge highlight! Antoni Gaudi was influenced by nature in his work. He designed the interior of the basilica as though it was a huge forest with branches spreading toward the ceiling. The details of his design are amazing! Photos don’t do it justice. (By the way … for some strange reason many of my photos are showing up sideways or upside down so I won’t post them here but will later on Facebook.)
We got lost again later that evening after dinner. Everything looks different in the evening than during the day. Busy restaurants spilled out onto sidewalks and they were teaming with mostly young people. It was such a relief to finally find our hostal and get ready to leave Barcelona the following day by train.
It was an eight hour direct train trip from Barcelona to Leon. What fun it was going so fast along the same route we had taken weeks to walk in 2015. I don’t remember the Meseta being that flat but it sure looked that way from the train.