Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 1 - Gratefulness and Practical Matters of getting there

Blog 2 - trains, planes, and buses
A lot of natural resources expended to get to the start of our trip. We began about 40 hours ago and have since Taxied to the airport, flown to Paris, taken two flights inside France to Barritz, taken two buses, and now await the last two trains to arrive at St Jean Pied du Port - the traditional start of the the Camino de Santiago. The irony of all of this modern travel to walk a 1000 year old 500 mile pilgrimage is not lost on me. We could have certainly strapped on our packs and simply hiked back to California.
We are very privileged that we have the time and resources to take what most people would consider a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip. As I sit here drinking my second cappuccino in the cafe across from the train station, I realize that, while relatively inexpensive, even the ability to enjoy a second cup of coffee in a sit-down establishment without fretting about our budget is a 1%er activity.
I hope I can consider to feel grateful for my good fortune while thinking about ways in which I can share my wealth with others.

cappuccinos and Bluetooth keyboard
cappuccinos and Bluetooth keyboard

On the less philosophical side, in case anyone who is reading this actually wants some advice about the Camino, here's what I've learned. We debated a lot about how to get to St. Jean. Our first choice was where to fly into. Paris had relatively cheap and direct flights from Seattle - given our choice to fly to Biarritz, several other European airports may have worked just as well. One option from Paris would have also been train - they ran regularly but ultimately took about 6 hours - seems like given the time we were arriving, getting to St. Jean that day was questionable - we would probably end up in Bayonne or Biarritz anyway, so we decided to fly - a choice that was almost costly as we had a connecting flight through Lyon France that we almost missed. In hindsight, I might have opted for the train. In addition, we chose to stay in an Air BNB in Biarritz. Biarritz is a cute sea-side town that would have been nicer on a sunny, less wind-stormy day. It would have been easier (once again in hindsight ) to catch a bus from the Biarritz airport to Bayonne OR to have gotten organized transport to St. Jean (something I read in my guidebook this morning). All-in-all, nothing wrong with our plans but I might do it a bit differently if I had to start from France again (including walking from Notre Dame!).

made it to start!
My post didn't go out at breakfast as my WIFI dropped and we were about to miss our train. I now sit on my last section mass transit (I hope). The short mountain train from Bayonne to St. Jean is winding through the quaint Basque countryside, filled with streams, cottages, and sheep. Hopefully the weather won't keep us from our 8k hike up the Pyrennees (sp?) and our first Camino accommodation - where I hope to find more WIFI and make this post.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

You won't believe this click bait...

As I sit in the air France Business lounge (Thank you Janine), I contemplate potential blog posts for the coming 40 days. I thought it would be fun and ironic to make each of my entries extreme click bait. I plan to post a link every few days to Facebook and thought this might be hilarious. Of course, I could be wrong.

The following are all potential headlines for future posts. Please suggest others on the blog or in comments on Facebook.

Man creates way to walk across Europe for free.

5 things you should never say to your wife.

Seeing the Running of the Bulls - and you won't believe what the Bulls do.

When you find out what Janine did at Midnight your jaw will drop.

The top ten things not to pack on vacation.

This is not a joke. What just happened is horrifying.

Mike didn't know what he had eaten - until the bill came.

Couple aged 112 provide their age defying secrets

By air drying their clothes, they created a genius life hack.

When you read these 9 shocking facts about Spain, you'll never want to go.

He found this bag by the side of the road, but when he opened it, I'm speechless

8 hiking outfits that are pure genius

Think this is a normal church? just wait till you see what's inside...

All she did was sit her pack down. What happened next blew my mind.

Question? Disbelief. Ellipses...

Janine and Mike went exploring a cemetery. What they found was chilling.

Mike wasn't always a teacher. His story makes me like him even more.

This intense photo will shake even the most skeptics non-believer

These travelers wrote a note in the guestbook that could shock (and disgust) almost anyone.

Who would have thought a man talking about his foot care could be so fascinating?

When this backpacker sat down, this dog has a reaction you need to see for yourself.

You never knew these 7 facts about walking.

13 years ago they got married, but this anniversary card still makes him cry.

Here's what happen when a stupid American tries to jump across a raging river.

Numbered list about anything. Make sure you read the last one!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trying Bloggo App from My Phone

Catching bus back up to Ballard. Had to run home to sign house papers. Janine picks me up at 3 to go drop off dog at Boot camp.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Adiós Ballard. Hola España!

I feel super fortunate to have spent two years at Ballard High School - a place of high standards, great students, and helpful professional colleagues.  I'm sorry to be going but my life has so rarely been about staying in one place for very long - Hercules being the one exception.

I don't have the time or inclination to be super reflective right now.  I think the 500 mile walk across Spain should provide sufficient time for such introspection.  Some of it, I'll likely write about here.

A few things I'll remember:
My room at Ballard - can see Mt. Rainer on a clear day.
My Colleagues and their helpfulness in planning and mental support.  My "Letting Go" and doing it someone else's way was a mantra I tried to keep for two years.  For the most part, it always went well, I usually learned something, and it almost always saved me time.  The Thursday afternoon planning sessions with the "Alge-bros" was possibly the best professional development I've ever had.

Students saying "Thank You" at the end of each class.  Who trained these kids?  I was brought up as a respectful southerner but that's one piece of hospitality that I had never heard of.

My Biotech students: Especially those I've had for two years.  We've had some ups and downs but generally they've been everything I would want in students.  I've promised to come back for their graduations in 2018 and 2019. 

My short stint with the basketball program.  It was great to coach again. I'm hoping I don't take another 15 year hiatus.

All the videos I made.  I received a lot of feedback that they were very helpful.  I need to make sure I keep up with all of them.