After a jaunt around Bilbao to find breakfast and SIM cards (so we can text one another while here in Spain for a reasonable amount of $), we strolled along the Rio Bilbao to the Guggenheim. The city is remarkably charming and warm (in friendliness and in weather today). We are appreciating our Spanish as we try to get around from one place to another, though a few individuals have laughed at our word choice, calling our speech, Mexicano. We proudly bear the moniker and today the Spanish woman who welcomed us to the Albergue pulled out her Virgin of Guadalupe necklace to affirm her love for Mexico.
Which brings me to the second part of our day. We have officially started the Camino. We walked across town and up a long hill to the local Albergue (pilgrim hostel). Jason is fine and seems to be pain-free…I am finding it a challenge already. There are about thirty beds in this location and about 18 people staying for the night. Two young men from North Dakota are on their 6th day. They both have blisters and pain in their knees. They are encouraging us to take it slow and enjoy a pace for going the long haul. One of them also said (when I commmented on the long hill we had to climb to get here).
“It’s better than going downhill. I’d rather go up two of those hills than go down once.”
I will ponder this comment next time I feel like complaining about an up hill walk. He speaks as one with experience, having accomplished more extremes, up and down some difficult terrain, from the city of Irun where he and his buddy began.
We have our first two stamps on our Camino passports. (I’ll post a photo of those later). Dinner is served at 8:30 tonight. Spanish cena for pilgrims new and experienced.