After a 30 minute weather delay, our flight left CLT on August 11 for an incredibly smooth and eventless journey across the Atlantic.
We landed in Madrid on August 12 at 7:03 a.m., essentially on time. In spite of the smooth flight, nice inflight dinner and breakfast, we slept lightly and fretfully(typically), for at best, a total of 2 hrs during the 7 1/2 hour flight.
Clearing customs and retrieving our backpacks took an unusually fast 30 minutes. A free 20 minute train ride from Madrid (MAD) T4 terminal to Atocha train station in central Madrid went smoothly, allowing us a couple of hours to get a second breakfast of cafe con leche and tostadas. Our train departed at 11:35 and delivered us to Pamplona on time at 2:55 p.m. A short 15 minute wait in the shade for a taxi, seemed longer in the 99F heat. Five minutes later, we were delivered to Hotel Maisonnave, our base for the next three days.
The three days in Pamplona are to give us some transition time to recover a bit from losing a night’s sleep, to adjust to crossing 6 time zones and to make a few final preparations on our way to St Jean Pied de Port, France.
Blogger’s note: As we walked out of the Pamplona terminal wearing our backpacks, a gentleman greeted us with “are you the people who are walking the Camino for 68 days”. He (Paul? from Miami) had discovered our blog and was beginning his first Camino. Ironically, his wife has speculated that maybe he’d see us. Perhaps we’ll see him again. A nice way to begin our Camino.