kms covered -52.5
Weather- Day 1 cloudy and cool , Day 2 sunny and cool
Espinal to Zabaldika
I stayed at a hostel in Espinal called Hotel Haizea. The dorm had 12 beds and is relatively new. The room was spacious, plus they had a huge separate sitting area. It was only half full so that was pretty nice after the previous squished dorm in Orisson. I shared the laundry with two other people so that was nice. The hostel was 12 euros. Dinner was 10.5 euros and was spaghetti, a chicken leg, red wine, and an ice cream bar. And of course a baguette or two. I sat with a couple from New Zealand that were also at Orisson the night before, and a fellow from England. His plans were to blitz what he could of the Camino in 28 days. In fact, when I woke up at 4 am he was gone!
Awake at 4am but too chicken to walk in the dark, I dragged all my stuff out of the dorm, like a good courteous Canadian ( without putting a flashing red strobe light on my head ) and got my bag all packed and ready to go.
I set off at 0625 it was still very much dusk…can it be dusk early in the morning..probably not ..but it was darkish.
I walked for 7.5 hours this day. My plan was to stop at the first village for a coffee and breakfast. Good luck. The first three villages were all still sleeping.
It was very very cool , I started out with four layers and kept them on all day. Including my “tuque” ( thank you Mark for the proper spelling) . No toke…that was you and John …remember. I was the suck. One time you dumped butterscotch pudding over my head because I didn’t give you a fair portion. I digress!
I was worried about being shoulder to shoulder on my Camino with other pilgrims. This day I’d say I saw 20 at most. For the first 4 hours I saw no one. Just horses. Lots of horses. I talked to them. They didn’t understand me.
I passed through spectacular hills and valleys…still lots of climbing. I cursed God…he should have made the earth dead flat. Halfway through the day for the very first time I put in my earbuds and listened to music. Now the reader might find this odd, but with the music on, I did much , much more reflecting and thinking about so many things. I think that’s because I am a mini juke box, and I relate my whole life to music. Just ask my buddy Steve. When girls I fell in love with at 16 didn’t love me back, I’d put on Gerry and the Pacemakers or the Righteous Brothers, have a few beers and karate chop the ironing board. This is a true story. I remember walking home in the winter in Montreal from a dance singing to It’s A Long Way Home by the Staccatos. I danced with Patti Barry , who became my first serious girlfriend. At first she thought I was the janitor’s son..just hanging out.
I digress…the Camino does this to you.
Early in the afternoon I stopped and ate some salami I bought the night before. That was my breakfast and lunch. But protein…Reagan would be happy. Until this time on my journey I still had had no cafe con leche.
About 1 pm, I realized the weight of my backpack was seriously killing me. It was close to 26 pounds. My daughter Taylor tells me my granddaughter Mya weighs 23 pounds. So I was carrying Mya and 3 pounds of dirty diapers. Good Lord, no wonder I was so tired. And my shoulders were killing me. Thank god it wasn’t my granddaughter Harper who my amazing daughter -in -law Aimee tells me is 32 pounds. Harper wouldn’t have made it to Orisson.
I decided then tomorrow morning was the big backpack purge before I set off.
Tonight I was staying at an old church now a refuge run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Lodging, which included dinner and breakfast was by donation. The hook was at 1830 there was an orientation in the church, and after dinner at 2030 a blessing in the church.
At this point I need to say that my old parish priest Father Jack passed away shortly before I left, and I went to a service in his memory. It was moving, but I realized I miss church. I was never and will never be a regular attendee, but when I go I enjoy it. I get into my own space and reflect. I don’t like the coffee fellowship or the turning around and shaking hands..in fact I hate it. So, that’s just before I left.
So here I am in a 13th century church. It was beyond spectacular. I haven’t done much of Europe at all so perhaps it was quite normal, but I thought it was amazing. We were allowed to climb into the bell tower and ring the bell. Walking up those stone steps, round and round like a lighthouse up and up. How amazing.
Only 5 of the 12 beds were occupied….two Koreans ( not the red flashing light ones) one fellow from Mexico and one American.
Dinner, blessing..in bed by 9 and fast asleep. The ” custom made ” earplugs I bought have been amazing and I am SO FAR enjoying the hostel experience.
In the morning was the backpack purge. I had to jettison some weight. Reagan, thanks for lending me the rain jacket. Gone. Aimee, thanks for the Spanish phrase book and camel pack. Gone. Converter that didn’t work..also from Aimee..gone. Hey, now I did get rid of some of my stuff. A bicycling vest. My Grisham novel, my brand new gators never used ( sorry Reagan and Aimee), hand sanitizer, sunscreen , safety pins. And my iPhone 4s that really let me down. The plan was to take pics with it, they would go to the cloud , and then I’d post them with my blog . Nope. Bye bye phone.
Now, what about this little monkey , which one reader suggested I dump even before I left. Well, it’s not a monkey it’s a gorilla . And it has a name. It’s MG. And MG has a story to tell, and MG is not going anywhere.
What about these four condoms? Hmmmmm. It was a lot easier deciding about the iPhone 4s! Some friends, both male and female, suggested…no …URGED me to bring these along . Ok. So I brought four. I can get lucky once every 200 kms. In reality , after walking for 7 plus hours the last thing you are going to do is show someone what an amazing lover you are. And in added reality, sleeping in a dorm, it’s not going to happen. But how could I ditch these in a place run by the Sisters of Sacred Heart, in the bin that says ” take what you need, leave what you don’t “.
Or how could I put them in the garbage here!
The condoms made the cut. And I expect they will travel the entire Camino with me and I will have a water balloon fight in the square in Santiago.
Zabaldika to Urtega
Good and faithful reader, I will try to make this summary shorter. Emphasis on try.
I set off late at 0820 thanks to the backpack purge. I had to find a store in Pamplona to buy a converter and a knee brace. What I haven’t yet disclosed is that on day 2 my left knee going downhill hurt like shit. I had a hockey injury two years ago, after making a highlight reel save and getting piled on in the crease. It ended my season but by the time the MRI was scheduled it was feeling much better. Alas, I didn’t get to test it this year as I had double hernia surgery in November and had to take the year off from hockey.
So, going downhill my left knee is really hurting. I am sort of walking downhill like…is is Festus or Chester on Gunsmoke?
I found an amazing department store for both. The young thirty something lady showing me the brace showed me how the put it on. I feigned ignorance and she had to do it for me. Apologies to the Canadian Company of Pilgrims as their crest is emblazoned on my fleece. I will apologize to them again because shortly after, leaving Pamplona with my new knee, I’m walking through a park singing and whistling to 5 Days in May and Look through Any Window. Look at me walk with my new knee. This was going to be a good day.
A few kms later as I grab my salami from my backpack I’m walking along grooving to There’s a Moon Out Tonight and I Need You Now. These Canadians…odd people. But I am on top of the world. I’m walking the Camino and I have a new knee.
The scenery today is spectacular. Fields and fields of golden Canola I think and some spectacular trails. I also enjoyed walking through Pamplona. Some people say just take a taxi through town. No way. It was quite fun.
I’m glad I have my Fitbit because when I’m working up a hill and hit 145 bpm I stop and rest. And it’s fun to count the footsteps.
About 3 pm my left calf was hurting. And I thought great…just great…I have fastened the brace too tight, I have cut off circulation. I will get to Urtega and have to be heli transported back to Pamplona for amputation below the knee. I will have to finish the Camino on one leg.
I stop and loosen the brace and all is good.
I arrive in Urtega find my “cama” have a shower and try to pretend I know what I’m doing outside washing some clothes. I have two beers. Life is good. Tomorrow is another day.
Dear Reader: I still cannot upload pictures. I think it’s the Internet connection. If you want to Friend me on Facebook please do. I am posting them there. You can feel free to unfriendly me after my journey.