I’ve just taken off on my flight to Bilbao and finally I feel excitement instead of slight anxiety about this trip. To be honest I’ve been happy not going anywhere in recent times and could very easily have not made this trip. I think covid has robbed me of my spirit of adventure and maybe a little confidence too. The reason I have pushed myself to organise this trip is that I had a deep seated feeling that if I didn’t camino this year, then I might never camino again – and that prospect would really leave me feeling defeated and depleted.
So here I am, soaring above the clouds that are giving Bristol a very grey day and now I can see the blue sky that I hope will accompany me on this camino.
Checking in with EasyJet at the last minute has paid off again, with a rank of empty seats to myself.
We are now going to be a band of four camigos. My long-time camino buddy Marilyn has jumped over from the Camino de la Lana to join Renate, Paul and me in Bilbao. I’ve not seen Marilyn since we walked the camino Mozárabe from Almería in 2018, when Paul joined me for the last couple of weeks of that camino. The last time Renate and I were together was when she visited me in Bristol soon after I returned from Spain in 2019.
It turns out that Bilbao is also basking under a grey sky. The airport bus reached the city centre within 15 minutes and I was met at by Paul who walked me to my room in the old quarter of the city where I had an emotional reunion and a quick catch up with Marilyn before popping literally just around the corner to the Decathlon store where I finally purchased some walking shoes. Yay – it’s surprising how panic and necessity can make a decision relatively easy. Please all cross your fingers for me that I’ve made the right decision. I have with me an ancient pair of Merrells from my 2014 camino Portuguese that have very l little wear remaining, and I will carry them for a couple of days ‘just in case’!
We then meet up with Renate and her friend Bernadette for a bite to eat and a few drinks. And so a new adventure begins…