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Saturday, April 28, 2007 

Day 5: WHY am I doing this again?

So, yesterday, after the beautiful walk from Pamplona to Puente la Reina, it rained & rained hard. Luckily I was having a glass of wine in the bar. Hee.

However for pilgrims, this bodes dangerous, slippery, muddy paths the following day.

This morning I had no problems waking up as the bunks around me totally woke me up... I was out the door by 6:45 am.

But M&M called out as I was walking & told me that the paths out of Puente la Reina were rumoured to be a bit hazardous from the rain and they were planning to take the highway to avoid some of the steep incline.

I was very glad to have walked with them: not only avoiding the steepness and muddiness by taking the bike route, but also they kept my pace up for the first 3 hrs (all the way to Lorca).

After this, I fell behind, due to my feet hurting again and I needed to walk a bit slower as I decided to continue from Estrella to Villamayor...

Well, made it to Azqueta and found the sign for Villamayor de Monjardin indicating that was 2km ahead. Uphill but not too bad actually... Until I slipped in the mud ONCE AGAIN. This time, no major injury... except to my ego.

I arrived at the hamlet, spent a good 10 min back & forth between albergues until I found the lovely Dutch run Albergue Hogar. After attempting to clean my shoes (which probably by the looks of it were cleaner than my backside that was covered with the red mud from where I landed) I proceeded to walk in and the Dutch owners had to stop me.

I took my cue and stepped back out, and pretty much broke into tears. I was already so frustrated from such a long day, the second fall, not to mention trudging through the mud & rain... I was just done.

Today, however tiring it was, was not a lost cause. I found the Fuente del Vino in Irache, where I promptly broke the bota rule (you're supposed to let wine sit for 5 days at least and then trash the first batch. Kind of like a Brita filter...) and dumped the cheapy wine I got yesterday and filled it from the winery. What can I say? I'm in the frakkin' Rioja region. There's no way I'm missing out on the good wine.

I also am grateful, despite the slippery mud, that I made 30 km today and up another big hill.

Tomorrow is a bit of crazy downhill, but if I make another 30 km, the following day will be nice and easy (according to M&M.)

Tired. Hasta mañana...


Day 4: The grass IS greener

(On the way from Pamplona to Puente la Reina)
This is was my favorite view and my favorite photo from the whole camino.

So today was muy muy bien. I tell you, the wheat fields in Spain are as beautiful as the ones in Manitoba. They just happen to be on hills.

It was great. Bota slung over the shoulder, good weather. This was the best scenic route.

Tonight, I had a great dinner with Marlou & Mariette (whom I've deemed M & M) and ozzies John & Gen... It was like having dinner with old friends, laughing and sharing. I'm very grateful to have met them. :)

In top bunk tonite, so have to be good about not moving too much...
More tomorrow...

Thursday, April 26, 2007 

Day 3: Items found: 3, and the easy day that wasn't...

Today was supposed to be easy.
Today was supposed to be a short walk of 20km.

Today has to be the longest day so far, and it's only day 3!! Argh.

It was going to be a leisurely walk to Pamplona. Not too much uphill stuff, a very nice scenic route.

Started late as I didn't wake up until 7:30am (grrr) and so didn't make it out the door until 8am.

Promptly took a wrong turn at the beginning: luckily I noticed and turned back without going too far. Went a little faster to regain the time I had lost being lost. Got to these wooden steps that go down next to the river and slipped on a muddy step, hand-planted in the mud of the next step down, and scraped both knees.

At first I was just mad so I walked another hour thinking I would stop at the next point of interest & deal with my knees then.

After booting it down the highway, I started to notice the blood seeping through my pants. Still refused to look but after I thought about it some more, I finally gave in: better to not have something infected & not be able to finish the walk...

Well, I have a fairly big gash in my right knee and a lesser one on the left. Neither hurt unless I'm putting antiseptic on them, but their not just light scrapes like I thought. *sigh*

Some fellow pilgrims I had met along the way stopped to give me hand and some larger bandages for my right knee. Then I forged on, even more angry with myself. Hole in my pants (this is the first frakkin day I wore them) and I felt like I was stopping too many times.

Sounds like I'm being harsh on myself but it was just frustrating not being to get ANYWHERE.

Then... Looking for Pamplona... Walking through the city just before it was gross as it takes lots of concentration to see the little yellow arrows amidst the city environment.. Walking... walking... Where is Pamplona? It's a city, I should see it anytime now.

I get to the University of Navarra and there's arrows pointing to get a stamp. Get to the office and then ask "How far is Pamplona?" Well. Turns out I just walked right through it and about 1 km outside of it. ARGH!

Although the rule is to never go back, I had just about had it with this day. I wanted the bota (which is even MADE IN PAMPLONA) and I really didn't want to walk anymore to the next stop (it was only 2 kms away - believe me I had to think hard about this.) I decided, Pamplona was my destination, Pamplona is where I'll stay, so I took the city bus back to the main area.

Got into a pension, cleaned my wounds, physically and mentally, then went out into the market just before everything closed for the night. Found a knife (Yay) a bota (Yay!) and then found the QuickPod stuck in behind the mesh part of my bag. (YAY!) I didn't lose it after all!

Time for bed. I hope tomorrow goes better walk wise. Ultrea!

Las Tres ZZZ, Pamplona: makers of the genuine bota (wine skins!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 

Day Number: 2, Number of Items Lost: 1

Everything seems to revolve around numbers... the number of kilometres to the next stop, the number of beds in an albergue, the number of euros it costs for food, the number of steps before I need to call it a day...

So this morning, I lost my first personal item, the QuickPod that I had brought (the little rod that I could attach to my camera and try to take decent pix of myself?) Totally unnecessary, so I wasn´t too disappointed with the loss. However, even stranger was that just shortly before I found that the QuickPod was missing, a guy from California in the refugio came and found me and told me he had my camera. I had been waiting downstairs for a phone call and totally left it behind... I didn´t even know it was missing until he found me still half asleep in my bunk.

This brings about an important lesson for the day. If an item is not securely attached to my person, or is not zipped up or attached on the pack that attached to my person, it will likely not stay long with me.

I only obsessed about the QuickPod for the first half hour today (this would be an improvement, I promise you.)

Stopped early in Zubiri which a nice little place. My feet REALLY hurt during the last bit of the walk today, so I´m stopping after the 21 km and will do the 26km to Pamplona tomorrow.

I hope to find a pocket knife and a bota here...

***photo of a glass of pancharán (fortified liquer made from cloes, anise, and sugar...) at the local bar run by the same family who owned the private albergue I stayed in at Zubiri.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 

Day 1: I made it Roncevalles!!!!

***photo of the first stage up the Pyrenees

Well, 8 hrs, 25km, up and over 1500m later I have completed the first leg of the trip. I can tell you that I got little emotional when I saw Roncevalles from afar. Mostly because it meant I did not have to walk uphill any more. Then I couldn't stop beaming... I MADE IT!!! This was the scariest part to me. And I really don't think I could ever do it again.

Having a café cortado now waiting for the refugio to open at 4pm. Reserved the menu del peregrino & will attend the mass for the Pilgrims Blessing @ 8pm.

Friday, April 13, 2007 

Tomorrow: Garbage Hill!

So the last couple of days I've been trying to do "incline" training.
Because I live here in the prairies, the walking has been good training so
far, but I definitely need to find elevations to prepare for that first
day of going up the mountain from St. Jean Pied-de-Port.

A few days ago while doing some errands, I realized that the answer was
Garbarge Hill would be the answer. A couple of treks up and down that
would definitely help prepare those muscles. We'll see how tomorrow goes!

** photo added Jun 1, 2007: Lauren & me on April 14th practicing on Garbage Hill...


me sending me the scoop on me

Everything's almost in place.

Got things packed. Doing the training.

Only one week left!


Pick a day...

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