You can read part one of this story here.
Still on the bus to Soria, I don’t want to fall asleep because I am afraid that the bus has any stops after Soria and I’ll miss leaving the bus in Soria, and honestly I did not feel like getting lost at the moment. I reach Soria, get out of the bus and grab my backpack and wait for 15 minutes to the next bus. There seemed to be many backpackers also waiting for the Pamplona bus, which made me feel a little better for some unknown reason.
On the 1 and a half hours bus to Pamplona I just couldn’t resist passing out (was it only a 1 and half hour bus?). It was dark already, and I had 2 seats beside each other for myself, so I just made myself comfortable and tiredness did the rest. I woke up while we were getting into Pamplona however, and noticed that the bus station is underground.
Now that was the point when I felt really really stupid, it was at this point when I got out of the station into the city, totally empty and silent. What the heck was I doing here? How did it occur to me to go all the way to here with no reservations? And arriving after midnight? Really? And then I was like punishing myself “you deserve it because you were too lazy to go online and look for hostels and book yourself one! Now show me how you’re going to manage this!”
I started to get back to reality when I noticed that even the people that were with me on the bus were starting to vanish. I quickly go to two guys and ask them if they know any close by hostels, they gave my directions (in Spanish) to two hostels. I tried reaching them, and after a while I reached the first one, which didn’t pick up their door bell. I couldn’t reach the other one they told me about. I go walking around aimlessly, when I encounter a homeless guy who I -unintentionally- wake up by walking beside him and he starts shouting at me!
Now I was starting to freak out, and I suddenly noticed that the weather was really cold! Maybe because of the adrenaline I haven’t noticed it up until that moment, but I was freezing! I only had shorts and t-shirts with me! So I just keep walking, every once in a while meeting someone and trying so hard to explain that I am looking for a hostel, some gave me directions.
At one point there was a lady who was parking her car, I asked her and she was like “yes yes follow me” and we keep walking together, along with her dog. All the time I’m thinking to myself “do you really trust walking with random people now into a city where you know nothing? You might even not know the way back to the bus station, and it’s not like there are plenty of people to ask”
By the time it was almost 2 in the morning I had already visited 4 hostels and 1 hotel, 3 hostels didn’t answer the door bell, the other hostel that answered and the hotel were totally full. So, feeling frustrated, I try to find my way back to the bus station, which I do.
Last chance, I’ll go ask this couple, they are of the backpackers I’ve seen on the bus with me and they are still sitting on a bench beside the bus station. I go and ask and the answer wasn’t what I expected at all!
“I’m sorry but no we don’t know about any hostels, we’re not from here, we’re from Czech republic, and tomorrow we are heading to Saint Jean Pied de Port to start walking el Camino de Santiago”
*Stare Face* “WOW COOL! I’m going there as well! How do you plan on reaching SJPP?”
“We’ll hitchhike tomorrow morning, there is no other option.”
“Oh yes there is! There’s a bus that goes from here to SJPP, I don’t know what time exactly though”
“Great! We didn’t know about that! I’m Tom by the way and that is my girlfriend Camilla, she doesn’t speak English.”
“Oh, never mind 🙂 , I’m Mina, from Egypt”
So now it was me, Tom and Camilla stuck in that situation together. Felt a little better, or a little more scared, still they are two strangers that I have met on a street bench after midnight! We decide to spend the night in the nearby park, which is the citadel’s garden. We sit there talking about random stuff. I was really amazed by myself, my sitting there through the night, with 2 total strangers, talking about random issues, politics, culture, stereotypes, what we were expecting to see on the Camino…etc.
But NO, the night can’t just go so smooth, some action must happen, this time it was the water sprinklers, we had to change places 5 times because of the water sprinklers, each time we would run away grabbing our bags, then looking back, running back, waking Camilla up, grab her sleeping bag and run again.
And to end the amazing night, it rained. It was FREEZING for an Egyptian that came from hot Alexandrian summer right to the north of Spain where it’s normal to rain in August!
6am, we decide it’s about time we go down from the freezing park to the bus station, we get inside but it’s still closed, we wait for another hour inside the station until the tickets booth opens up. We go ask about the bus to SJPP, it’s available! It’s at 2pm!
7 hours!! 7 more hours of waiting!! Tom and Camilla decided right away that they would stick to their old plan of hitchhiking their way there, and they ask me if I want to join. Left with that, or waiting in this station for 7 more hours, I decided to join them! Tom checks his map (which I didn’t have, I didn’t bring any maps with me!) and we make a rough plan on the way to reach “via de Francia” which, obviously, leads to France, the N-135.
*I didn’t think this part of the story would be so long, so im postponing the last part of it to another post, therefore:
*TO BE CONTINUED
*Picture of “Pamplona the the bull running city” is taken by Kerstin Dittman.
Read Part Three “How I Finally Got to SJPP” Here