During the Camino Glen started a journal. I was writing for my blog and the benefit of family and friends following from home but ultimately I had so many problems uploading to my blog it was all done at the airport whilst waiting on the final night anyway. So each night as I tapped away trying to recall all the details Glen did too and it was interesting to compare what we both remembered, what we both found important and which parts we struggled with. I asked him if he was willing to let me put his journal alongside mine for the purpose of this site and the result is that the new diary pages listed on the right now contain both of our accounts.

Here is his lead-in to his adventure. the day before our start over the Pyranees. I hope you enjoy the new content.

Start of the Camino begins leaving home Left home at 3.30 am, all excited and giddy.Mountain bike in its box with one of my panniers packed as my hand luggage.. Picked up Tony.. bikes put in the van and sat nav set for Stanstead Airport.. Off we go.. Get to Standstead really early, and we even called in at Mcdonalds…naughty but oh so good… Arrived at the airport took the bikes out and put onto a trolley.. waiting game now for the plane… plane due to leave at 1205.. I remember as my bike went through the scanning machine trust me that mine goes beep… id stuck a small bottle of wd40 near my seat in the box with my bike.. wd40 is a no no for future flights… The bikes went through ok.. now hoping they get put on the plane safely.. plane on time..  1205 and we could see the bikes go on board…. chill out time on the flight. We land in France…. on time everything amazingly going to plan.. We find the bus stop outside the airport… buses big enough for the bikes.. and we jump on.. heading to bayone train station…

We land at bayone train station, tickets purchased 2 hrs for the train…. we decided to build the bikes.. Bikes out of boxes and yep takes me longer to build me bike… cant believe how much sticky tape I used to fix all the tools..and finally the  the bikes were built panniers on either side. My first thought how heavy is this bike now it weighed a ton…

Ok I hold my hands up I over packed considerably… from this point i became obsessed to get my panier lighter..I took a stripey black top that I owned for years. I was contemplating leaving it at the train station but it ended up coming as I had so much stuff… but I kept it for now.. The train conductor came over to us as we waited with our built bikes.. and pointed ay the boxes and said to us bom.. bom.. tony caught on and understood we couldnt leave the boxes there as they could be perceived to be a bomb.. tony went back on the otherside of the track and moved the boxes…

And as he was gone… train arrives… first anxiety attack…. I was thinking it was like a train in England pull up and pull off.. I’m panicking now, I pulled my phone out and tried ringing tony.. but he was back in plenty of time… and I could breathe… bikes put on the train and we were ready to go… the train didnt leave on time either after all that panicking.

Leaving the train station about 6.15pm… the train was really new.. clean toilets on board and specific bike racks.. were bikes would be stored vertically… and the train set of… last stop.. our stop st jean pied de port… we sat back and the train pulled off…

Ok new train.. comfy train.. but the slowest train iv been on.. I remember writing in my notes that night “Got a bit panicky but at 8.40pm no accommodation booked just on a train with my mate it hit home this is a rough trip – lets hope we can stay dry” I remember that id been off work ill a week before this trip… and was still on antibiotics. throat was still sore but the cough sweets helped…

We landed in st jean pied de port at 9pm… found a hotel called ramutants the hotel was 65euros but after a full day of travelling a bed a shower was well needed… bikes stored in a garage in the hotel panniers removed put in the room and the hunt for food….

We had a little walk in st jean pied de port an amazing little village.. lots of little bridges and very steep hills… we found a open pizza shop a huge pizza shared 20 euros think it was one of the most expensive meals we had but it was so needed…. pizza taken back to hotel room and sat on a balcony eating pizza with a coke… so so happy to eat.

After food it was time to sort out my panniers and stuff… emptied the contents of each and tony laughed as I had brought the biggest spanner with a chain attached… I didnt need this but it stayed with me for the entire journey… id have swapped it easily for a spoke key to help tony out if I could…

Panniers sorted all packed, shower and off to bed… cycling the Camino begins tomorow…

This blog: Tony Hemans and Glen Eccles cycled the Camino Frances from St jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela covering 845km in 6 days in October 2012. If you are trying to get fit, planning an adventure, long distance cyclist or just curious about my mid-life crisis then subscribe and share!

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