Journey to Pamplona
Some more goodbyes this morning- aargh- but maybe I can make it back to Moissac again before I go back to Paris...
It's a sunny day for the journey. First train was from Moissac to the bigger station of Agen, just a 30 minute journey. Passed a few pilgrims in the first few kilometres, who were walking along the canal. Then passed by the chimneys of the nuclear power station- surprisingly close by.
Had an hour wait in Agen. My French was somewhat Challenged by the system for the WC where you needed to find the jetons first. Took me so long I decided to wait until I was on the train. Then my phone started ringing in my bag- an unusual event- and it was Francis wishing me all the best for Espagne.
On the train to Bordeaux for an hour and a half, and it seemed like we were passing over river flood plains. It's all very flat, and there are many crops growing, as well as huge areas of vineyards. I remember walking over similar land in southern France in 2008: it made quite a change from the more difficult ups and downs in the first ten days out from Le Puy.
Back in the world of Big here in the station at Bordeaux. Haven't been anywhere like this for a while. A bit like finding your way around an airport.
Journey south of Bordeaux is on flat flat land, past lots of forest. TGV is so smooth it is hard to believe we are going so fast. Have passed Bayonne and saw some packs with scallop shells walk off the train- heading for SJPP I guess.... Passed Biarritz and wondered why I wasn't getting off the train to go and relax on a beach somewhere!
And suddenly I am in Spain, waiting on the platform for my last train of the day. And crazy as it seems when really I have only just crossed a bridge from Hendaye in France, everything seems different, the sights and the sounds. Even Orange, with its outrageously short expiry times on pre-pay, has sent me a text acknowledging I'm in Spain. There is a beautiful looking dome not far away, so different from French churches, but I don't have time to investigate. But there'll be time to soak in all the newness tomorrow.
Now this Spanish train is moving amongst more hilly land, and many of the rock cuttings are well tilted. This is the edge of mountainous land with many well-wooded hillsides and rocky rivers below. And tunnels, lots of tunnels. When I was a kid I loved tunnels, but now I hate how they hide the view!
I am in Spain, and the jpurney continues. The time has come to un-squeeze the bits of Spanish I know from the hidden recesses of my brain....
Sent from my iPod