Started our day at 6:15am an took off directly up hill for the sun rise. 2.4km. A beautiful sunrise. And then down down down on a river of balls as my mother describes this part (she’s not wrong). Then a nice easy walk. We stopped in a town for 2 tinto des verano (my new fave drink). And the carried on 2.6 km to this wonderful place. It was flat then up and so steep I wasn’t sure if I would fall backwards. I’m still with the lovely Sherri and Leena for another day. So incredibly grateful for them. I have 6 blisters that I drain at the end of the day with thread. I like this technique. I’m surprised actually how far you can walk with blisters on your feet. The pilgrims dinner was the BEST YET. lentil soup, a big green salad from the hosts garden and the a cod dish (see photo) that is a speciality in the area. I’m feeling good mentally and spiritually. Physically my toes and parts of my feet are hurting but otherwise all is good. The hardest part by far is the uphill in the hot afternoon Spanish sun. Tomorrow Azqueta.
Day 8 – Cirauqui/Zirauki to Estella:
Today was about self love and slowing down. We got up early and started walking. It was clear to me from the get go my feet were not happy. I remember Eric in SJPDP say “listen to your body”, Michael in Puenta De Reina say “take care of your feet” and Iona say “take it easy the first 10 days. After that you’ll be able to walk more”. So I told Sherri and Leena (who clearly could walk faster than I as they would wait for me) to go and I’ll meet up with them later. If I didn’t then Buen Camino. And then I was alone again. And it was ok. I talked with Luc and Violette for about an hour while I walked and listened to an audiobook. Then I decided, it’s day 7, I’m going to practice fierce self love and get my own room in Estella. Which is where I sit now. I’m so grateful to be able to splurge and look after my body and soul.
Day 9 – Estella to Los Arcos:
I chose to leave a bit later today (8am) which had some significant consequences (walking in the heat of the day). I immediately forgot my walking sticks (walk back 200m). My toes are not happy. So it was slow going. I walked alone and up to villa mayor. Not before stoping in at the wine fountain! We Stopped for some breakfast at 10am with some awesome people who I saw in Orisson. Then it was 12.4km until I saw another town. And down. You would think that it would have been easy. But no, it was 12:30 and we walked until 5pm. It was as HOT. My toes were killing. But I had Alan, a 72 year old Brit who told me fascinating stories of his life when he was younger. Very occasionally there was a breeze and I was so grateful for this small mercy on the blazing Spanish sun. Every little piece of shade we saw from the trees we hunkered under until we finally made it to this albergue. I peeled off my socks and bandages, popped my blisters, and the Camino provided to me tape to deal with my blisters. We headed out for dinner to the square. Right now there seems to be a lot of German’s in my company. They are all so happy, pleasant and kind. I love to hear about all the journeys why people are walking the Camino. Tomorrow will be a rest day for me. I need to heal my toes and blisters a bit more. My feet are more important than doing the distance. It pains me to say that but I need to look after my little digits. ♥️
Today was hard. Not gonna lie. I started off alone listening to music walking through the beautiful countryside. At km 11 I stopped for a coffee and met up with Linda and Otto and walked with them the rest of the way. It got hot. And someone had told me that it was only down from Roncesvalles. They were so wrong. Up down upppppp dowwwwwwn. Up up up down down down. It was one of the hardest hikes I’ve done. My feet ached. Calves are tight. Shoulders ache. Blisters on pinkie toes. Now I’m in an Albergue In Zubiri. There is the most insane electrical storm I’ve ever seen. For the last hour the sky has been lighting up constantly. I haven’t seen any lightening really. And I think I can hear a low rolling thunder. Massive quantities or rain and hail. Insane. Tomorrow Pamplona.
Day 5 – Zubiri to Pamplona:
Another 23km day. Today was much cooler and easier. Although… I have 4-5 blisters on my feet and my feet REALLY hurt by the end of the day.
I walked with Sherri and Leena today. We got a good early start on the day (6:30am). We stopped for breakfast at a little cafe with the other pilgrims around 9. Then ups and downs couple of times and a few kms later we’re in Pamplona with hurting feet. I drained my blisters with a needle and thread (thanks mom for the tips). We FaceTimed with Luc and Vivi (in Switzerland 🇨🇭), my mom and Jaedyn (in Canada 🇨🇦) and me (in Spain 🇪🇸). Then we had delicious tapas and wine with Alex. One of my friends has some serious blister stuff going on (worse than me) so we’re going to take it easier tomorrow and see how we feel. I’m feeling in good spirits. 23kms seems like too much for my feet (I get quiet and I suffer for the last 5kms) so I’m hoping a couple of infiltrations with padding will help tomorrow. I also got a new hat!! I’m feeling pretty good. Miss my family like crazy. Tomorrow is a new day. I’m grateful for cooler weather, Camino friends, draining blisters, amazing food/wine, seeing my family, talking to friends and love all around.
Day 6 – Pamplona to Zariquiegui:
Today we walked from Pamplona to Zariquiegui – a tiny town along the way. Today was hot again. More hills again. I have mantras now as I walk up the hills that I recite in my head to take my attention off the suffering and difficulty of the hill. “Kill the hill”, “it’s just a hill, get over it” are a couple. My feet hurt today. My blisters on my toes are getting worse. We will start tomorrow at 6:30am to catch the sunrise at the top of the hill. 2.4km up out our door tomorrow morning. I might be parting ways with my friends. They have a much shorter time to get to Santiago than I so I can afford to go a bit slower. We’ll see how we’re feeling.
France, Cannes to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port, Orisson, and Roncesvalles
Day 1 – France, Cannes to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port:
First day on my own. It was an early wake up call. We cleaned the studio and left for the airport. I cried. We got to the airport. I cried. Vivi cried. It was hard to say goodbye to her and Luc. Then through security where I sat and wondered what the hell I was doing. Onto the plane. Then into the airport in SJPDP. I waited for Express Bouricot to find me. Then Linda from California found me. Then Lori and Jeff. And two people from Australia. Then our driver. Into the van and off to SJPDP. Linda, Lori and I visited the pilgrims office, our places we are staying, the citadelle, an ATM and then we parted ways. And then I was alone. I checked into my alberge where Eric the host was talking. See below for his words of wisdom. It’s absolutely perfect for my first moment alone on my first day. I put the covers on my bed and pillow case and then I was alone. Like really alone. What was I feeling: nervous, afraid, weird, excited. I’m here. I’m sleeping in a room with 4 bunk beds. I’m really here. Tomorrow I walk to Orrison.
“The more you love yourself the more you will love the other person. It’s not Important to get to Santiago, what’s important is your journey. Listen to your body and stop when it tell you too. You will stop at the right moment and get exactly what you need not what you want. Just be humble. The first gift on the way. You do not have any control. Leave it to the way. The way will tell you something important. Live intensely each moment. You have the right to choose to be happy. Walk with your heart not with your head. It’s magic. 1. Stop when your body tells you to stop 2. Drink. All the time.”
Day 2 – Saint Jean Pied-de-Port to Orisson:
Wow what am amazing day climbing up up up. I understand that this first day can be quite foggy… definitely not for me. The views were stunning. Walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson. It was a hard quick walk. Stopped at a lovely little place along the way for a coffee and rest. I’m meeting so many new people and learning about why they are doing the Camino. Today I even met a new friend from Victoria. Wow small world. Every person I meet I’m learning something from. Cheryl taught me about bed bugs and being “home free”. Tomorrow Roncesvalles.
Day 3 – Orisson, and Roncesvalles:
Epic day. Over the Pyrenees and down to Roncesvalles. Not gonna lie… it was hard. But I did it and I’m super proud of myself. I also understand that I’m pretty lucky as the weather can be pretty shitty doing up and over. It was simply amazing today. I woke up to the most incredible sunrise. Then breakfast and we hit the road. I walked with Leena and Sherri today. The sun was incredible in the morning. There was a truck selling fruit, drinks and snacks. So we grabbed something and took a break before a massive hill. We left the road and walked through beautiful shaded trail until we hit a super cold fountain where I changed my socks. Then a little further and another break for our prepacked sandwich. Then the last killer hill and a stop at the top. You could go the straight down route or a milder meandering route. I chose the latter to save my knees. We found our albergue and did some laundry. Vivis first day of school today. She did great!! Then a pilgrim dinner (meh) and off to mass at the church for a pilgrim blessing. Tomorrow Zubiri.
They say the first 2 days of the walk are the hardest. It’s the first 3 days (tomorrow as well) that make you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing.