This blog post is one in a series of posts about Camino de Santiago. Be sure to read the first, introductory, part HERE, so you’re all up to speed. Without further ado here’s what happened on Day 1, Wednesday, December 6th.

I woke up at 7:00 a.m. Besides me there were the father and his son from South Korea and an American guy in the room. I mentioned all of them in the previous post. There was also quite an old guy from Spain who had left the albergue just after I got up. After a quick toilet and breakfast, which consisted of buns with jam and coffee, I had a short conversation with the American. It was his third Camino, but the first one at this time of year. He spoke with a characteristic southern accent. I decided to ask what he thinks about Napoleon’s path and passing through the Pyrenees – You are crazy?! Never in my life! – he shouted. Well… I had the answer. If the guy from Texas told me he wasn’t up for that, how could I do that? As it later turned out, he obviously exaggerated. But at that moment, I didn’t know it yet. I gathered my stuff and left.

Direction … Lidl.

Yup. I started my Camino in all Poles’ favourite store (after Biedronka). I needed to buy shampoo. I realized in the evening, that I left mine in the hostel in Barcelona. I quickly grabbed the first one from the shelf. A bottle of water and a croissant with almond filling landed on the tape. Outside, I poured the water into the water bag and started walking. 9:17 a.m. At this time I took my first photo on the Camino. I had about 28 kilometers to go that day. It went well, although the first part of the day was not very interesting. An alternative route, through Valcarlos town, led along the asphalt road. Boring. Earlier, in the planning phase, I decided to do short 10-minutes breaks every hour and a half hourly one every three. After the first hour I checked the pace. 5km/h. Quite good, considering 25 kilograms on my back. It was definitely more of a challenge to find a place where I could take a break. The first one was at a bus stop. Immediately after it I passed the French-Spanish border, where I bought a pack of menthol cigarettes. After next hour of marching I was in Valcarlos. Fortunately, just behind the town, the Camino’s “sign” pointed to a side road that led towards the forest.


The landscape changed radically and, despite heavier conditions, it was much better. After three hours I made a planned stop for dinner, after which I decided to lay down and relax with my backpack under my head. It was getting warmer. When I left the albergue the temperature oscillated around zero degrees Celcius, but after about two hours I could feel the warmth on my face. The road was climbing uphill and around 2 p.m. I was already walking in the snow. It was amazing. At 4 p.m. I reached Roncesvalles or Spanish Orreaga. This small town, located at 926 m above sea level, became famous as the place of Roland’s death (the guy from Song of Roland). I checked in at the albergue, filled out a form in which I was asked about the purpose of my trip. Religious, sport, cultural. After a moment of reflection I marked “other”. In a small, perhaps 10-bed room, I met a Spanish guy and an Italian. I took a bed above the Spaniard and went out to find a store.



Unfortunately! December 6th is the Constitution Day in Spain … Despite walking two and a half kilometers (one way) to the neighbouring town (yes, at the beginning of my Camino, I had such stupid ideas) I did not find anything open. Well, no beer today – I thought. But the food case was worse. I had emptied my box of pasta before, and in the albergue there was only microwave available. But there was also additional information, that cooking is not allowed. Crap. For dinner and breakfast Knorr’s delicious soup. At about 7 p.m. an American appeared and Korean father came half an hour after him. Son arrived after 8 p.m. It turned out that all three lost their way and had to walk more than 10 extra kilometers that day. Real Texas Ranger – I thought – remembering our morning discussion about the path through the Pyrenees.

Before going to bed, I noticed that the Spanish and Italian guy were pointing at my backpack and discussing. After a moment I asked what was going on – How much does your backpack weigh? The Spanish guy finally asked – 20 kilograms, more or less – I answered – And you want to walk to Santiago!? – Italian guy was outraged. – That’s the plan, we’ll see what happens. – I answered with a smile. They felt a but stupid. – Young and strong. He can do it. – said Italian guy after a while. – But with a lack of experience. – I added and climbed onto the bed. I set the alarm clock for 5:00 a.m. The next day I wanted to do two days of the guidebook and reach Pamplona. I had to do about 45 kilometers.