So I have left London in the middle of some fantastic silver jubilee celebrations; packing the last few items into my backpack whilst the concert in front of Buckingham Palace is in full swing. When the fireworks go off for the end I run between the telly and the balcony to get try and get the best view. A horribly early start 5:00am for Gatwick, setting off all smooth, except for forgetting I have booked with EasyJet (groan), arrive in time but have a massive queue to check in. Lyon airport on the transfer to Lyon Par-Dieu and I spot a another couple of ‘peregrinos’ who promptly identify and attach themselves to me – the walking poles and backpack are a dead giveaway.
Frank from Denmark is doing it for the fifth time… his girlfriend is 200km ahead of him. I don’t ask why they are not walking together, or if she even knows he is following(!)
Ray is from Canada, apparently only decided last Friday to walk the Camino. Nice enough, but already I know too much (Everest dreams, sold cheese cake, mother has had 10 heart attacks, deck builder, plays hockey, lives in Calgary, goes to Banff most weekends, had an accident from which he was never supposed to walk again, turned down $100k of work to the camino instead, is in the middle of a divorce which has hit him hard,). I am not ready to be counsellor and day one is way too soon to get tied in to walking buddies. I quickly detach myself from both of them at Lyon train station and manage to make the next stage of the journey to Le Puy solo, before spotting them again. This is a very small world and we are all going in the same direction. So much for worrying I will be wandering around the French countryside on my own.
First panic, I notice the plug sockets on the train and realise I have brought the wrong adaptor. Damn. However the very helpful Tourist Office in Le Puy directs me to a tiny little shop packed with electronics, where a lady pulls out a box full of adaptors for every possible combination you can imagine. Panic over – netbook, phone, camera and ipod can all be charged.
Next stop collecting my Camino Credencial from the Amis de Saint Jacque, which is staffed by volunteers offering advice and wine. The credencial is a vital document to be stamped along the way which enables entry to refugios along the way, a bed and a basic meal.
The Gite for the night is Les Capucins, great view of the cathedral and although a shared room, I have it to myself with ensuite. Result. A good night’s sleep with no snoring companions.