Day 1 The journey begins
Today I started my Camino. They say that the journey starts from your front door, and mine sure did.
I flew from Sacramento to Seattle, Then Seattle to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Madrid. From Madrid I had a 4 almost 5 hour train ride to Oviedo, my starting point. All of my connections but the train were very tight.
My day started with the crew for my Sacramento to Seattle flight being late because they arrived late in Sacramento the night before. So we arrived a little late in Seattle where I needed to transfer from one terminal to another one I finally got off the plane. It was a bit rushed but I am a fast walker and made it.
Once I arrived in Amsterdam I only had an hour and 10 minutes to make my flight to Madrid. Note to self that is not enough. The lines to get through customs at the Amsterdam airport are horrific no matter which direction you are going. You need to give yourself at least 2 hours for connections in that airport. I literally ran through the airport only to find a line that was what seemed like 100 yards long. I simply walked all the way to the front and told the officer that I had a short connection. Fortunately, my flight was on the list so they let me through to customs in the quick line. The first guy told me to let them know if I was still in line in 10 minutes. That was ridiculous so I tried another guy and he let me through, thank goodness.
My flight to Madrid was delayed due to equipment problems, they ended up switching planes and gates and after and hour delay we finally were on our way to Madrid. That actually turned out to be fortuitous as a Camino friend from Sacramento, Roxanne Morgan was arriving about the same time. I needed to go to terminal 4 to catch my train and she arrived at terminal 4. We had time for a coffee and a chat before we were both on our way. She is starting the Camino Primativo a few days after me.
The coolest thing that I learned is that every Renfe train that leaves from terminal 4 goes to Chamartin train station, and your ticket for the train is all you need to get on one. You simply swipe your ticket / phone and the gates open. I was able to grab a train and off I went. My train to Oviedo was on time so I grabbed a bocadillo and off I went. I arrived in Oviedo about 9 pm after a very long travel day. Happily my hotel is literally at the train station so I just walked over checked in and my day was done.
I could have done this more efficiently. There is a flight from Madrid to Oviedo. It would have been a better choice.
Meet up with my Camino friend Ramon who lives here in Oviedo. We met on the Via de la Plata in 2015 and have remained in contact since then. Also, a friend Dale from Seattle who I met on my first Camino back in 2013 will also be here for the day with his brother. They are walking the Norté. We are all having lunch today. It is a small world indeed.