June 1-2, 2006:  Departure Day!

Life starts early on a day of transatlantic travel.  A bus ride for  several hours made quite a bit longer by an accident on the highway to Chicago O'Hare finally dropped this traveler at the Iberia departure desk very ready to check in and get on the plane.  

Chicago to Madrid on to San Sebastian --- all within a twelve hour time span but with a seven hour difference in time.  Arrived to a cool, but sunny morning at the Hotel Jauregui in Hondarribia, a small resort, fishing town outside of San Sebastian.   The apartment wasn't quite ready yet, so set out on foot to explore the surroundings.  Within a few steps met up with Jan, Michele and Nancy, who had arrived a day or two before.   A pleasant lunch on the village square, then back to the hotel for a siesta.  Spain has a great custom -- work a little, stop for lunch, sleep all afternoon, then dine at 9m only to retire by midnight.  Could get into this life!!

By 5pm all members of this excursion had arrived.  Frankie, Angela and Mary by way of Madrid, Nancy and Michele the day before out of Paris, Jan from Milan, and me ready to "walk the Camino".

Michele, Frankie, Sue, Jan, Mary, Nancy, and Angela


June 3:  Exploration of Hondarriba Day!

After a late breakfast the plan for the day was for a investigative walk around the town enjoying the antiquity and beauty.  Michele, Jan and Nancy decided to have a late morning coffee while waiting for Mary, Frankie, Angela and me to get organized.  After clear instructions from Jan on where to meet -- the three set out in their pursuit of "lattes.  A few minutes later the rest of us followed only to lose the front three entirely.  Not a good sign for a trip of "follow the leader" with only the leader (Jan) knowing where we are going!!!  After many attempts of searching the neighborhood for anyone who might look a little like an American, the foursome gave up and "investigated" the town alone.  Figured can't get lost walking in circles!!!

Hondarriba -- a beautiful seaside village built into the hillside reeking of antiquity, surrounded by colorful flowers, and a walled in old city with castle and church intact.  A slow, gentle stroll around town brought gorgeous vistas into view of the bay as well as to the hills in the countryside.  Following the Alley of Santiago de Compostela up the hillside to the center of the old city, the 15th century Iglesia Sta. Maria de la Asunción appeared dominating the square.  Upon entering through the main doorway one immediately sees the font shaped like a sea shell, the symbol of this pilgrimage.  By tradition, one would attend a mass prior to the venture, asking for a safe and successful walk.  A wedding was in progress during our visit, limiting our ability to specifically ask for protection.  The priest seemed a little preoccupied -- however, each of us in our way knew in spirit the message was heard. 



Hondarriba Bay

The Symbol of the Camino

Mary, Frankie (background), Angela on the Santiago Compostela Kalea

The Font in Iglesia Sta. Maria de la Asunción

Mary, Frankie, Angela "Lunch Break"