Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Camino: Day 0

We're in Spain. Mom and I arrived this morning after a good flight on Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) via Jeddah.

We picked up the flight three-months ago for an excellent price (R6400) with the only downside being a lengthy stopover in Jeddah. For four hours we were kept in a large room, with decent seating. The bonus included free tea and coffee and leftover airplane meals. We then spent just over two hours 'on the other side',  which really wasn't much. Leaving Jeddah just before 4am meant that we both slept for most of the flight.

For my first time on Saudia, we found the flight attendants and the airport staff to be friendly and efficient. At a bit over 6hrs to Jeddah from JHB and 5hrs to Madrid, flying time is favourable. The airport and stopover isn't. If they fix this... Ah, and as Saudi is a 'dry' country (no liquor) there is no booze to be had. Fine for me but mom would have enjoyed an on board nip.

On arrival in Madrid we were met by my long time adventure racing friend Jeremy. He and his wife and daughters have been living in Madrid for six months now. His folks are visiting too so we all went for a drive about to see some of the city, including the building of the massive bull - fighting ring. It's an impressive structure.

It was also a treat to catch up a bit on Jeremy 's life in this country and we look forward to seeing him and his family after our walk.

After lunch at the train station,  we said goodbye and made a dash for the train to Leon.

Trains are so novel as we don't get to ride them much. This one was super smooth and super fast. A screen in our cabin displayed our speed, which ranged from 190km/hr to a max of 300km/hr.

I'm a hopeless traveller and like a baby rocked in a pram, I struggle to keep my eyes open. Surrounded by expanses of fields, I nodded off many times, waking when poked by mom to look at this or look at that.

We slid into Leon and made our way into the town to gawk at the old buildings, flower boxes, to locate a local SIM card for me (with data) and to check in at our albergue. It is a good thing we got here when we did because we were around numbers 95 and 96 of the 100 available beds.

After grabbing our bunk (mom below and me on top), we headed out again to walk around the town. We stopped and enjoyed people watching as mom enjoyed a beer.

Tomorrow will be our first day of walking and we're looking forward to shaking out our limbs after two days of travelling.

A sculpture at the airport
A Camino route marker across the road from Jeremy's house.
Madrid's bull fighting arena
Jeremy takes the bull by its horns...
Liz and Lisa arrive in Leon
A few sights of Leon

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