Ever had that nightmare where you are on the toilet and you realise that people are watching you?
I have it all the time. It’s my worst nightmare.
Yesterday it happened to me.
I didn’t realise it before I sat down but the window to the outside world was clear glass… And for some reason two people outside were keenly interested in watching other people do their business!
Hostel living may not be for us!
Walking day 3: Akerrata to Pamplona
The trip from Akerreta to Pamplona was mostly pain free. It was a pretty good day with about 6 km of downhill. We had a rest day in Pamplona.
Life in Pamplona seems swell.
Firstly, no one seams to get up before 9:30 am as virtually everything is closed. (9 am on Pamplona streets is about as busy as 5 am in Melbourne)
Secondly, there’s siesta from 1 ish until 5 ish…
After that vino (wine) and cerveza (beer) seems to flow freely along with pintxo.
What more do you need?
Even though Pamplona was a rest day we walked 22 km around the city. A day isn’t enough to explore Pamplona’s history and get to know the people but we loved what we saw and experienced.
A lot of pilgrims take a rest day in Pamplona for that very reason.
I was desperate to find myself a Bikram yoga class to help me stretch out my back and legs. Michael wanted a massage.
The only Bikram Yoga class we could find on a Saturday charged 25 Euro- that’s about $50 Australian. (Note to self: come back to Pamplona and open a Yoga centre)
Instead I got my yoga on in the Laundromat while washing our clothes.
I’d never do something like that in Melbourne…but in Pamplona no one blinked an eye as I went through my sun salutations and warrior poses.
Between the yoga, using a foam roller on our legs, eagle oil and a few drugs our bodies did much better on the next two days of walking.
Walking Day 4: Pamplona to Peute La Reina
About 5 km out of Peute La Reina we come across a scantly dressed goddess-like young woman walking up a rocky track towards Michael. (Long legs, short shorts, long brown hair…very pretty)
“Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?” she asked Michael seductively.
Michael looked confused and turned to me with a question is his eyes.
Ignoring me completely she says, “I work for an Albergue, would you like to stay there tonight?”
Having just walked 17 km in the hot sun I’m in no mood to put up with this so I put on my don’t try and flirt with my man voice and say “we’ve got our accommodation sorted.”
Nice try dodgy Albergue! (I’m sure your strategy works on single men)
Walking Day 5: Puente La Reina to Estella
We were a little grumpy setting out for Estella.
We’d braved a hostel for the second time and it didn’t go well.
Michael slept above a loud snoring man.
The sound moved through him- he could feel it from head to toe.
He slept for no more than 10 minutes at a time and during those minutes dreamt that he was killing the snoring man with his bare hands.
Abandoning our plan to stay in hostels for the next week, we booked a bed and breakfast for the night and set out.
I left my headphones in my bag for the day and chatted to people along the way.
We met a woman who had been walking for seven weeks (since Belgium)!
There was a lovely Irish man who was on his 10th Camino (he even met Martin Sheen once!)…
And a couple of kids from New York and an Australian couple from Sydney.
The trip went quickly and before we knew it we were in Estella.
We were excited to arrive at our BNB as it was beautiful only to find we’d stuffed up our booking and had to find somewhere else to say.
They were so lovely though- helping us book a room in another hotel and even driving us there (although it was a 15 min walk away).
If you ever stay in Estella please book a room there- they are amazing.. B&B Estella
The hotel we ended up in paled in comparison. I guess we had to have our “worst meal so far” somewhere. Thank goodness the wine saved it!
We saw Sherrie and Doug, the lovely couple we met on Day 2 at breakfast that morning and ended up staying in the same hotel. They were a godsend the following morning.
Firstly, their Spanish got us in the small van which drove us to the Camino trail when others tried to push in front of us. Secondly, they were able to point us in the right direction when we weren’t sure where we were going.
An observation I will make is that you learn to stop comparing yourself to others on the Camino.
It’s easy to get competitive and feel that you need to walk faster, or take the more difficult path.
You worry that people judge you because you have a huge back pack, or because you send your pack on to the next city. (Or in my case when you get your laptop out as you need to do work while you’re away).
You think people judge you for staying in a hotel rather then a hostel.
The truth is that no one is paying you any attention. They are on their own journey and you are on yours.
Just like life.
Lessons for the last few days:
- Ask for advice from the locals. It’s better than Google.
- While I’ve practised yoga for years, I spent a lot of time going to classes to learn specific poses I could use on the trip in the months prior. (It’s been really helpful)
- Each time I have pain in a new area I just google the best yoga move and stretch out that night or morning.
- Learn the words for the foods/drinks you like. I can order beer and wine and communicate that things I don’t eat (meat/chicken/fish). When people ask you want you want vs. what you don’t want you need to know the words for the things you like to eat.
- Hostels are cheap and have their advantages but weren’t for us…. if you’re a bit older (and can afford it) a pension or hotel may be better.
- Always have tissues in your pocket when you go to the toilet – it’s inevitable that at least one toilet per day will have no paper (and make sure the experience is private)