Day 0: A train, a bus, a minivan and a taxi.

Any thoughts of walking today were washed away.

I took a train from Toulouse and was surprised when it came to a halt at Lourdes and we were all told to get off. I came to walk the Camino, not seek a miracle. And this little interruption was a job for Noah, not the Virgin Mary. Because of serious flooding in the area everyone was being bussed to the next train station. There, we jumped off the bus intending to get back on the train, but the flooding had increased—so, just that quickly we found ourselves back on the darn bus. Our driver made one more attempt to deposit us at the next train station, then with a characteristic Gallic shrug he gave up and drove us the rest of the way to Bayonne. My first class train ride had become a second class road trip.

I was so far behind schedule that I abandoned all hope of making the shuttle to St. Jean. To my surprise the minivan was still in front of the station when we arrived. But as luck would have it, it pulled away from the curb before the bus came to a stop. The bus door opened oh so s-l-o-w-l-y and I flew out. There I was, running across the parking lot with my backpack slipping off one shoulder while waving my arms like a mad woman. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of the roundabout that the driver finally saw me. Seriously, how could he miss me.

In St. Jean, my luck ran out and I missed the bus to Roncesvalles. I checked in at the Pilgrim Office then wandered the narrow streets trying to decide what to do. In the end a delightful old Basque taxi driver took me to the beginning of my Camino.

After being trained, bused, minivanned and taxied, I’ll be up early tomorrow to take my first steps on the Camino. Only 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela…