This year I decided to walk a section of the Camino de Santiago for my holidays. For those who have never heard of it, most people haven’t when I tell them, the Camino de Santiago is a number of ancient pilgrimage routes across Europe that lead to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. So, I’m on my way to Santiago, my journey beginning at Charles du Galles airport in Paris.
However, it was far from a peaceful start to my pilgrimage.
On arriving at the airport I made my way down to the train station. I looked at the four escalators and as I lugged my ruck sack, I thought in a busy airport it was strange that only one was heading down, and of course it had to be the one furthest away.
On reaching the next floor I started to feel something was not quite right; I suddenly noticed 2 army men guarding the up escalators, with rifles posed to fire, and then 3 policemen scurried passed me. I was pretty calm as I headed into the mass of people waiting at the barricaded entrance of the train station. I don´t think the situation had really registered in my mind, still tired from the early morning start.
Suddenly, the station staff started shouting at us. It was terrifying as it was all in French and I couldn’t understand one word of it. From my complete blank expression the young girl providing instructions must have realised I was completely clueless and thankfully spoke to me in English.
A suspect luggage had been found and they were evacuating the train station. We had to leave immediately.
After the tragic events of Barcelona I felt very scared. I was in a panic. My first instinct was to get the hell out of there; however looking around I couldn’t see me leaving the station in a hurry. There was a huge crowd, in front of me, all trying to get up the escalators.
All of a sudden, the escalator right in front of me was reopened. I didn’t hang around to find out what was happening, so in a split second I jumped on the upward bound escalator, raced to the taxi rank and I was out of there in a flash. I didn´t know I could move so fast. My heart was still racing when I arrived at the hostel an hour later.
Afterwards I searched the news web sites, but there was nothing. I can only assume (and hope) it was a false alarm and the airport was just on heightened alert.
It was a scary start to my trip!!!