My Life as a Traveler

Back on the Trail

I checked out of the hotel this morning wearing my Camino walking clothes, backpack packed. Morgan and a somber Dominic were mostly ready and the hospital rolled him out to the taxi right at 7am. In 15 minutes we were at the airport and Dominic used his crutches for real for the first time to get to the counter (because the wheelchair I ordered through Iberia will only take him from the counter, not from the taxi!) We checked him in, got the wheelchair that would take him through security and to the plane, and rolled over to the cafe to get some breakfast. I chatted with some couples from California who had spent two weeks walking from St. Jean and were heading home. We said our goodbyes as the wheelchair guy came back and wheeled Dominic through security. I called Mary and told her we were on our way.

We got to the Pamplona albergue around 930am, way after everyone had left. Susie and Mary met us and we made a quick stop at the market to fill our water and get some snacks for the road. It wasn’t until about 10:30am until we left town. Morgan went on ahead.

All I wanted to do was walk, and walk at a strong pace. The last couple of days had been very stressful and I needed to walk it out. Susie and Mary, however, were still in sightseeing mode, so there was a lot of stopping and resting and looking back at the view and having a snack and exclaiming over a flower and looking at a bird and having lunch and getting water at the fountain and looking back at the view and taking pictures of a flower and stopping to admire the beetle in the road and turning around to look at the butterfly that just passed. We were ascending a hill, I grant you, but it was taking us soooooo long. I would walk, get ahead, then stop and wait. Walk, get ahead, stop, wait. My goal is 16km for today, but we are only making 10km. It’s 4pm when we stumble into our albergue. 2km per hour. Ooooh, slow. I’m freaking out because at this pace, we are never going to make it to Santiago.

We did pass through some gorgeous country today, though. From city streets to country roads, we walk with local folk, other pilgrims, and bicyclists whizz by. We see the windmills in the distance and eventually climb until we are right under them. As we descend the rocky trail, we see wayward gusts of wind play along the wheat fields. We walk until the next town and stop at 4pm.

Our accommodation tonight is at another private albergue. We are sleeping in a room with 18 beds, all bunk. I’m in the top bunk (not my favorite – hard to climb down the ladder in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom), but the bathrooms are clean and nice. We shower, wash our clothes and hang them outside. Mary meets some Portland folk who live just a few blocks from her.

The albergue offers a pilgrim meal for 12euros. Three courses in a family-style setting: salad or soup or spaghetti for the first, fish, steak, pork, or chicken for course two, and ice cream, yogurt, or cake for dessert. Wine is included. I sat next to two hikers, Rum and Liev (surely misspelled) from Jerusalem who were between jobs (who knew that Israel has the second largest number of entrepreneurial start-ups, second from the US) and Jake, a young man from Scotland looking forward to a college internship this summer with Rolls-Royce in England. Great conversations.

I move to the bar to try to Skype George and post a blog before bed. The proprietor shoos me upstairs to bed at 9:30pm. I brush my teeth, get my clothes ready for tomorrow, climb up the ladder to bed, and fall asleep. Hopefuly tomorrow we will get a little farther.

Be sure to scroll down for more pics!








4 responses

  1. Michelle

    Julie, I find I am daydreaming about your incredible trip during the day and wish I were there, not bogged down with the ordinary. I really know how you felt when you said you needed to stride out at a good pace to leave the stress behind. It’s hard to stop and wait. That’s when you are supposed to stop and smell the flowers. Easier said than done.
    How is Morgan doing with Dominic on his way to the USA? I imagine he is less interested in the butterflies and stopping and waiting also. What is the trail like from his now solitary teenage perspective? Are there other teens on the way? I’m sure he would have no trouble meeting and bonding with another young person if there are others not in school.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    • Yeah, I have a deadline of getting to Santiago by noon on June 25th, hence the hurry. Morgan’s doing great on his own, making lots of friends of all ages and from all countries. Most of the young people are college kids just finished, except for one German boy age 13 who got kicked out of school and traveling with his nanny, but I don’t think Morgan’s interested in someone that young. He’s thrilled that everyone thinks he’s 18!

      June 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

  2. Kathryn and Mike

    So glad that you were able to take care of Dominic and then continue,we felt concerned and sad that it might prevent you from continuing. We are back in califonia at a wedding this weekend inCarmel. Eating alfresco at a cafe feeling a little like we are still in spain. Coming back was hard, we are happy we can vicAriously continue the Camino through your blog! Buen Camino and hello to the group. kathryn and Mike(aka to you as John, haha)

    June 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    • Hey! Glad you to hear from you! I’m with you in spirit in Burgos having the best wine of the entire trip. Sorry, Mike! I met so many men named John, so I just wrote it and meant to double check on your card later, but ran out of time and just posted anyway. Mea culpa. Morgan’s on his own and enjoying the walk much more than he thought he would. Cheers!

      June 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

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